These are some of the coolest alternative things to do in Tel Aviv, especially if you’re a hipster, including Florentin, Tel Aviv’s Brooklyn, to an underground rock bar, a design center, and some great art in unexpected places. This article is written by Adam Groffman, a travel blogger who spent four months in Tel Aviv last summer and then into the fall as well, and is an excerpt from his site.
Florentin: a lot like Brooklyn
It’s a lot like Brooklyn, except everything is in Hebrew and there are way less Orthodox Jews than there are in Brooklyn. A bit grungy, you can find some of the best bars in Tel Aviv on the main Florentin street and down by the intersection with Vidal Street. Lots of cafés, too. On Vidal, you’ll also find Tel Aviv’s BEST Mexican food at Mezcal. No joke. And the bartenders here are notoriously good-looking.
Most hipster bar in Florentin: Hoodna. Dirty couches, metal tables and live music. The bar is stretched out across two buildings on a side alley not far from all the main action.
Radio EPGB: underground rock bar
Literally underground. Tel Aviv’s first bar to start marketing on FourSquare, it’s a trendsetter. But first you’ve got to find it. This place is your absolute best bet to hear good music on any random night. And for that, it’s my favorite bar in the city. On Sundays they put on a very popular, fun & crowded drag night. Any other night, you could just as easily catch a live band as a 70s disco DJ. Personally, I’m a fan of the nights when you hear Don McLean followed by The Beatles and then some Radiohead, maybe some Libertines and then back to the 50s music. Without a doubt, one of the best bars in Tel Aviv.
On FourSquare, if you check-in, you get a free chaser. How cool is that? Follow them on Twitter – they’re nice people.
Neve Tzedek: picture-perfect place for yuppiefied hipsters
Want to embrace the soon-to-be yuppie in you? Head here. Shabazi Street in the Neve Tzedek area of TLV has some very Park Slope-esque art & book shops (though maybe we should just call ‘em galleries). You can grab a really nice, if not too terribly expensive (for Tel Aviv), meal at the Suzannarestaurant on Shabazi which has a beautiful terrace under a gigantic fig tree. Neve Tzedek is also home to Tel Aviv’s popular ballet studio and some of the best restaurants in Tel Aviv—for a price. One I wasn’t willing to shell out often enough as a dirty, cheap hipster. But there’s no doubt that Neve Tzedek has many of the best bars in Tel Aviv, so it’s worth a visit. The Tel Aviv nightlife on Shabazi and elsewhere in Neve Tzedek is a bit more dignified than in other areas. If you’re a hipster and want the best nightlife in Tel Aviv, you’ll want to be in Florentin.
SOHO Design Center: design oasis in commercial hell
Okay, so you’re dragged to the Dizengoff shopping center because it’s considered a sight to see. It’s really just a big mall, but among all the European clothing chains you’ll find the SOHO Design Center. It’s on the top floor and it’s got everything from over-designed kitchen knives to Moleskine notebooks. This place is for the yuppie inside of you that wishes you had a bigger apartment than just a mattress on the floor.
Tel Aviv museums: art! art! art!
You could and should also check out the Tel Aviv Museum of Art which, though it’s not free, has everything from modern art to your usual impressionists. Can be nice to visit when it’s stifling hot outside because they’ve got some strong a/c.
Just outside of Tel Aviv, in Holon, you’ll find two other hipsterish museums worth visiting: the Design Museum in Holon and the Israeli Museum of Caricature and Comics.
And when you’re walking around the city, sober or not, pay attention to all the graffiti. It’s seriously everywhere (even on the beach) and some of it is even adorable. Yes. Adorable.
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