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Tel Aviv Travel Guide

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  • Photo: ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock

Plan Your Tel Aviv Vacation

Tel Aviv, Israel's ever-growing metropolis, would be unrecognizable to its founders, a small group of Jewish immigrant families in what was then Ottoman-ruled Palestine. A skyline of shimmering skyscrapers has replaced the towering sand dunes of just over a century ago. The city is now known for its boxy Bauhaus apartment buildings, theaters, and concert halls, as well as its legions of sidewalk

cafés that host overflowing crowds every night of the week.

The city manages to pull off the seemingly impossible task of being both hip and homey: witness the happy mix of wine bars, clothing boutiques, hardware shops, and greengrocers—often on the same block. High-end restaurants mingle with old-school eateries where elderly men hold noisy court about the issues of the day over black coffee and apple turnovers.

Sometimes described as an urban village, Tel Aviv is made for walking (or biking, now that it has an extensive network of more than 100 km [62 miles] of bike paths and a bike-share system). From most parts of the city, the sea is never more than a 20-minute walk. In this combination beach town, business center, and arts mecca, people spend Friday afternoons bumping into friends, wandering from café to café, and pausing to hear live jazz trios, all the while strolling with their dogs down boulevards lined with 1940s-era newspaper kiosks that have been transformed into gourmet sandwich stands.

Tel Aviv isn’t the most beautiful of cities, although its charms have a way of making you forgive its aesthetic shortcomings. It was declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 2003 because its collection of International-Style architecture, known more commonly as Bauhaus, is the largest in the world. Although restoration efforts are moving along, many of these buildings are in need of a face-lift. It might take an hour or two of wandering on the tree-lined side streets for you to appreciate their graceful lines and subtle architectural flourishes.

There’s a spirit of freedom in Tel Aviv, where it's possible to escape from the difficult political realities that are closer to the surface in places like Jerusalem. After all, the city's nickname among Israelis is "the Bubble." Residents tend to be politically and socially liberal. The gay scene is thriving, as are the arts and music communities. It's an exciting city, one that newcomers, returning visitors, and longtime residents all find captivating.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Exploring the neighborhoods Check out Neve Tzedek's pastel-colored homes and boutiques, Jaffa's jumble of a flea market, Tel Aviv Port's undulating boardwalk, and Florentine's urban hipster feel.
  2. Mediterranean beaches Hit the sand, walk along the promenade, or watch the sun dip into the Mediterranean with the locals in the evening.
  3. Bauhaus architecture Tel Aviv is also known as "The White City" because it is home to the largest concentration of Bauhaus architecture in the world. Explore it on a walking tour.
  4. Nahalat Binyamin Pedestrian Mall Stalls of this twice-weekly street fair offer a range of handmade crafts from pottery to jewelry at reasonable prices.
  5. Israel's best modern cuisine Inventive chefs have put the city on the gastronomic map—all good news for the hungry traveling gourmet.

When To Go

When to Go

Tel Aviv's mild Mediterranean climate means that any time is a good time to visit. Nevertheless, midday summer temperatures in the 90s may mean...

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Check historic weather for your trip dates:

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