After telling you what you shouldn’t do, many demanded a list of what you should do, so here it is:
1. Go to the dog beach
Unless you have something against dogs – when in Tel-Aviv, you should consider the dog beach. It is fashionably located exactly on the seam-line of Jaffa and Tel Aviv with all the benefits this location includes. You can find it right under a fortress-like house, which is actually a museum for the ‘Eztel’ underground. From first glance it is hard to see where the beach starts or ends. There are no signs, chairs or sun umbrellas – and that’s exactly what we love about it. The coastline is maybe 10 Meters wide, so you can literally jump from your towel to the sea and back. One point worth mentioning is though, the beach got it’s name – you got it – due to the fact that it’s allowed to bring on doggies and let them play a little in and out of the water. It’s not like there are 100 dogs fishing in the deep waves, but from time to time you would be able to see a non human hairy swimmer next to you. If this happens, just stay calm, and bark friendly.
2. Buy an overpriced pita, coffee, and burger
So for now you probably know already that Tel-Aviv is not the cheapest city in the Middle East. I mean yes, there is also Dubai, and maybe some part of Cairo or Saudi Arabia but but when it comes to food prices TLV is giving a fair fight to the mentioned above, and some other major cities in the western world. The good news are, it’s worth it. The food in TLV is extremely good, and in most cases you shall not regret these extra shekels you are spending. So if you are already breaking you bar mitzva piggy bank, you might as well use it in the right places.
PITA – you can spend 7 shekels on half a Falafel in Allenby, or you can spend 50NIS (+-) on a gourmet pita place, so well hyped like this.
COFFEE – since the coffee revolution in the 90’s you can find excellent coffee everywhere. Tel Avivians appreciate good coffee, and are willing to pay for it. Here’s a good one.
BURGER – Same goes here. A good hamburger is very easy to find in the city. At least 5 brands specialise in the making of the perfect meat clop, and so many others have it as a constant guest of honour in the menu. Here is a good one, that fits perfectly with the next item:
3. Spend some time in Jaffa
One of the best parts of Tel-Aviv is actually Jaffa. This section of the city has a seriously long history behind it – The pharaohs of Egypt where here, Napoleon was here, and the people that decided to make TLV happen, also came out of here. These days Jaffa still has the magic of an old city combined with the coolness of a new one – which makes it the place to be. What to do? You can check up the ever so fashionable flea market with all it’s restaurants around it, then hit the beach from item #01 until the sun goes down, stroll a bit on the beautiful boardwalk to the renewed Jaffa port, grab something in a fish restaurant and prepare your belly for a night out. Than you can try the Anna Loulou bar, or if you feel artsy catch a drink in Casino San Remo, with the crowd going out of Gesher Theater just a few feet from you. Assuming all tips above where fully implemented, you are now drunk on the beach, the time is 11:00AM, the sun is waking you up together with a local dog that wants to play catch. But you don’t feel like playing, because you are hungry. Congratulations, you made it to the last challenge – the diamond in Jaffa’s crown: Abu Hasan Hummus.
4. Shop in Shuk Hacarmel
And by saying shop I mean almost everything from shoes to shoe laces to printed funny t-shirt, cheap sunglasses and off course fruits and vegetables. The shuk is one of the greatest places TLV has to offer. I think, it’s best to start from the top (Shenkin/Allenby streets) and stroll down in it. Right before the entrance you can always find some kind of streetart action going on, drummers, painters, soccer trick dribbling artists and even one of israel’s past biggest stars Miri Aloni sitting every day and singing along with the crowd. Inside the market it’s just one big tunnel with so many surprises. Note: it is crowded. Note #02: if you feel it’s too crowded and you need a good wash – just walk on to the beach, it is just 5 minutes away.
5. Get a bicycle
Tel-Aviv is a mini paradise for bike lovers. The city is small (52 km²) which makes it easy to get from one side to the other, it’s almost totally flat (unlike Jerusalem) which makes it easy to roll and the nice weather makes it possible to use your ride almost all year long. If you are staying in TLV for no longer than a week or two, best choice would be the City’s public bikes:Tel-O-Fun
6. Drink, cheap and expensive, in the street
Tel Aviv is a party city. Whatever happens in Israel or the area around, it seems like the creature named TLV is not influenced. All it wants is to party, and then party some more. Missiles from Iraq, rockets from Lebanon – when jesus christ apocalypse will come to claim the end of time TLV will still be having another shot of whisky. That is if – you can afford yourself. Painful point here (see item #2), the prices of alcohol in TLV is surprisingly not low, but this is not a reason to miss party. You can always find your way in. DRINKPOINT for example – is the cheapest option, by all means. Happy hours offers great deals! if you are not afraid of hipsters check out Salon Berlin or the Minzar right next to it on Allenby. Scale yourself a notch up and the sky is the limit, plenty of places are happy to offer good return to your money. If you find yourself broke but still in need for liquor, go to the closest “pizuzia” (convenience store) and grab a cold Goldstar like everyone else. Just make sure to do it before 23:00, or else all the king’s money and all the king’s men, couldn’t buy you a Goldstar again.
7. Play matkot
Did you know that Israel is the former world champion in matkot? The very loose version of tennis on the beach is almost national sport and something you should try too. Where can you play matkot? everywhere. In the beach area there are no special sections for matkot playing, everything close to the waterline can considered to be and actually is matkot zone. Just grab yourself some matkot (from 25NIS for amature ones to 100NIS for a pro kit) and ping your way to the world cup.
8. Get flip-flops
If you are not visiting TLV in the 2 months when the so called winter comes to visit, you should definitely buy a pair of the most ugly and unofficial flip-flops you can find and wear it everywhere. TLV is not about being official, and even if you are here for business you can feel pretty comfortable with a loose and comfortable style. leave your black tie at home, no one is going to miss it.
9. Don’t stay less than a week
Actually, it would be better to say don’t stay less than a month, but lets be realistic and put some time aside for Jerusalem etc. Till then, the official recommendation to clear a whole week for Tel Aviv, if you can.