Tel Aviv

From the city center, it's easy to head south to Jaffa and its ancient port and lively flea market—to get there the scenic way, saunter along the seaside promenade overlooking the beach—and the other southern neighborhoods like the gentrified Neve Tzedek and the more rough-edged Florentine.

Farther north, at the edge of Tel Aviv proper, lies the sprawling green lung of Tel Aviv, Hayarkon Park. You'll also discover the city's renovated port area, an ideal setting for a seaside breakfast or a toast at sunset with which to usher in Tel Aviv's famous inexhaustible nightlife.

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  • 1. Carmel Market

    The northern half of the Carmel Market (commonly referred to as the shuk) consists of cheap clothing and housewares, but continue farther down to the fruit and vegetable section, where the real show begins. Vendors loudly hawk their fresh produce, and the crowded aisles reveal Israel's incredible ethnic mix. Don't pass by the small side streets filled with unusual treats. The market is busiest on Tuesday and Friday, when it can be combined with a visit to the Nahalat Binyamin Pedestrian Mall's crafts fair. If you don't like crowds, though, avoid Friday, when shoppers preparing for Shabbat pack the market.

    Along HaCarmel St., 65161, Israel

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    Rate Includes: Closed Sat.
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  • 2. Hilton Beach

    In front of the hotel of the same name, Hilton Beach is very popular, especially with enthusiastic matkot players. The northern end of the beach is a gay-friendly area known as Gay Beach, which can get packed on sunny summer afternoons, especially during Tel Aviv Pride. Here you'll also find Dog Beach, which got its name because pampered pooches are let off their leashes to play. There is no car access, so walk or bike down the promenade to reach this stretch of sand. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; showers; toilets; water sports. Best for: surfing; swimming; walking; windsurfing.

    Shlomo Lahat Promenade, 61032, Israel

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    Rate Includes: Free
  • 3. Jaffa Port

    This small, intimate-feeling marina (one of the most ancient ports in the world) is home to bobbing wooden fishing boats and a waterfront of restaurants, cafés, and a small number of art galleries. Some of its warehouses have been converted into public spaces for rotating art exhibits. From here, enjoy a fish lunch or a snack from one of the food stalls, and then hop on a boat for a cruise along the city's coastline.

    Retsef Aliyah Ha'Shniyah, 68025, Israel
  • 4. Nahalat Binyamin Pedestrian Mall

    Everything from plastic trinkets to handmade silver jewelry can be found at this bustling artisans street market, open on Tuesday and Friday along this pedestrian mall. A profusion of buskers compete to entertain you. For a finishing touch of local color, cafés serving cakes and light meals line the street. At the end of the market is a large Bedouin tent, where you can treat yourself to a laffa with labaneh and za'atar (large pita bread with tangy sour cream, sprinkled with hyssop, an oregano-like herb).

    Nahalat Binyamin St., 65161, Israel

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Closed Sat.–Mon., Wed., and Thurs.
  • 5. Rothschild Boulevard

    Center City

    Half a century ago, this magnificent tree-lined boulevard was one of the most exclusive streets in the city. Today it's once again what visionaries at the beginning of the 20th century meant it to be—a place for people to meet, stroll, and relax. Along the street are some of the city's best restaurants and bars, and many Bauhaus gems are on or just off the street.

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  • 6. Suzanne Dellal Centre for Dance and Theatre

    A pair of whitewashed buildings—one built in 1892, the other in 1908—make up this attractive complex. The square, designed by noted landscape architect Shlomo Aronson, has hints of a medieval Middle Eastern courtyard in its scattering of orange trees connected by water channels. One side of the square is decorated with a tile triptych that illustrates the neighborhood's history and famous people who lived here in the early years, including S. Y. Agnon, who went on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. There's a café--bar on the premises and a number of great restaurants nearby for pre- or post-performance meals. It's worth a stroll here even if you aren't seeing a performance.

    5 Yehieli St., 65149, Israel
  • 7. Tel Aviv Museum of Art

    This museum houses a fine collection of Israeli and international art, including changing exhibits as well as a permanent section with works by prominent Jewish artists like Marc Chagall and Roy Lichtenstein. There's also an impressive French impressionist collection and many sculptures by Aleksandr Archipenko. The Herta and Paul Amir Building, designed by Preston Scott Cohen, is a dramatic, light-filled modern addition to the 1971 main building. The gift shop sells unique pieces of jewelry and other items that make memorable souvenirs. Visiting on Saturday is a great option, as many other places are closed for the Sabbath.

    27 Shaul Hamelech Blvd., 61332, Israel

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    Rate Includes: NIS 50, Closed Sun.
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  • 8. Alma Beach (Manta Ray Beach)

    Commonly known as Manta Ray Beach (for the outstanding restaurant that sits right on the beachfront), Alma Beach is one of those under-the-radar spots that attracts more locals than tourists. Smaller than the sprawling beaches in the city center, Alma Beach is within easy walking distance of the charming Neve Tzedek and Jaffa neighborhoods, enticing residents to pop down for a quick swim before or after work. For those with more time to spare, modern conveniences are available, from sun loungers to umbrellas and public toilets. If you get peckish, Manta Ray's deliciously fresh seafood dishes are literally steps away. Amenities: food and drink; toilets; lifeguards; parking (fee); showers; water sports. Best for: sunset; surfing; swimming; walking.

    7 Kaufmann St., 63305, Israel
  • 9. Andromeda's Rock


    From Kedumim Square, a number of large boulders can be seen out at sea not far from shore. Greek mythology says one of these (pick your own, everyone does) is where the people of Jaffa tied the virgin Andromeda in sacrifice to a sea monster to appease Poseidon, god of the sea. But the hero Perseus, riding the winged horse Pegasus, soared down from the sky to behead the monster, rescue Andromeda, and promptly marry her.

  • 10. Ashdod Art Museum


    This family-friendly museum hosts exhibitions by contemporary artists from around the world. It has 12 galleries and two halls, as well as a striking pyramidal space for cultural events and performances. The Mishbetzet gallery features works by Israeli artists and is especially fun for kids. Young visitors can pedal a bike to generate energy, solve riddles, and uncover the secrets hidden in the permanent exhibitions. The Green Submarine gallery is dedicated to activities involving art and the environment.

    Derech Eretz 8 Street, , Southern District, 77154, Israel

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Sun.
  • 11. Ashdod Yam Park

    City Park

    Located near the shoreline, Ashdod Yam Park is a pleasant 20-hectare space that's perfect if you're visiting with kids in tow. There's a good playground with shade, biblically-themed sculptures, basketball courts with hoops at different heights, plenty of nearby cafes and restaurants, and a large man-made lake with paddleboats for getting out onto the water. Visit in the evening and catch the Dancing Fountains show, a fun water and light show that happens six nights a week (Sunday through Thursday at 6:30 pm, 8:30 pm, 10:15 pm and Saturday night at 8:30 pm and 10:15 pm).

    , Southern District, Israel
    972- 8-856-2926
  • 12. Azrieli Towers

    A spectacular 360-degree view of Tel Aviv and beyond awaits on the 49th-floor observation deck of the circular building in this office complex, which consists of one triangular, one circular, and one square tower. Call ahead, as the observation deck sometimes closes early for special events.

    132 Menachem Begin Rd., 67021, Israel

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: NIS 22 for observatory, Closed Sat.
  • 13. Bauhaus Foundation Museum

    A good stop for those who love architecture, this one-room museum on historic Bialik Street occupies the ground floor of an original Bauhaus building, built in 1934. You'll discover that the pristine lines and basic geometric forms typical of the Bauhaus school extend to everyday objects as well, from furniture to light fixtures to glazed stoneware. There's even a door handle designed by Walter Gropius (1883–1969), founder and first director of the Bauhaus in Germany.

    21 Bialik St., 63324, Israel

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Closed Sat.–Tues.
  • 14. Ben-Gurion House

    To learn more about the history of the state of Israel, visit the modest house where its first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, lived from 1931 to 1953. Historical material and curious snippets of information give insight into both his personal and public life. Don't miss the statue of him doing a headstand in a pair of blue briefs on Frishman Beach. It turns out this hardened political strategist was also an early adopter of yoga, and rumor has it he could often be spotted standing on his head in his garden or on the beach—even during his time as Prime Minister.

    17 Ben-Gurion Blvd., 63454, Israel

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed afternoons
  • 15. Bialik Street

    This area has been more successful than many other Tel Aviv neighborhoods in maintaining its older buildings. Bialik has long been a popular address with many of the city's artists and literati, so it's not surprising that some of the houses have been converted into small museums, including Beit Ha'ir, Beit Bialik, the Rubin Museum, and the Bauhaus Foundation Museum.

    Bialik St., Israel
  • 16. Clock Tower Square

    Completed in 1906, in time to mark the 30th anniversary of the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid II, this eye-catching limestone spire marks the entrance of Jaffa. The stained-glass windows from 1965 depict events in Jaffa's history. The centuries-old buildings around the square have been carefully restored, preserving their ornate facades. Since Jaffa was a major port in Turkish times, it's not surprising to find the Turkish Cultural Center here.

    Yefet St., 68028, Israel
  • 17. Corinne Mamane Museum of Philistine Culture


    The only archaeology museum wholly dedicated to Philistine culture, the exhibits here combine traditional archaeological findings with innovative, high-tech, and experiential displays. The permanent exhibit features a Philistine family, idols and cultic objects, and the pillars of Samson. There are also temporary exhibitions on a number of ethnographic subjects. The museum restaurant features a fun selection of Philistine tea and sweets.

    16 Hashayatim, , Southern District, Israel
  • 18. Design Museum Holon

    Israeli-born architect Ron Arad designed this striking, much-acclaimed structure made of rounded ribbons of orange-and-red steel that rises off a drab street like a modernist mirage. Inside is a two-story space with changing exhibits on contemporary design, including fashion, jewelry, and textiles. English-language recorded tours are available for free. A good café known for tasty pastries and cakes is located at the entrance. The museum is in Holon, a suburb south of Tel Aviv that is easily reachable by taxi.

    8 Pinhas Eilon St., 58459, Israel

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: NIS 45, Closed Sun.
  • 19. Dolphinarium Beach

    At the southern end of Hayarkon Street, Dolphinarium Beach (sometimes known as Aviv Beach) has a festive atmosphere, especially on Friday around sunset. Young Israelis, many of whom have returned from post-army trips to Asia or South America, gather for drumming circles and other group activities. It's also a popular spot for music festivals and concerts. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; showers; toilets; water sports. Best for: partiers; sunset.

    Shlomo Lahat Promenade, 61501, Israel

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 20. El-Mahmoudiye Mosque

    Tucked behind the shops along Jaffa's Clock Tower Square is the El-Mahmoudiye Mosque, whose hexagonal minaret and pink-granite-and-marble fountain can be seen from the square. When Turkish governor Muhammed Abu Najat Aja built the fountain in the early 19th century, it had six pillars and an arched roof. The fountain's foundation is still visible in the parking lot west of the minaret. The mosque is closed to the public, though you may be able to sneak a peek through the ornate carved doors on the western side into the spacious restored courtyard. The archway on the south side formed the entrance to the hammam, or old Turkish bath.

    Yefet St., 68038, Israel

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed to the public

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