Tel Aviv is Israel’s cultural and commercial capital. Named “The Mediterranean Capital of Cool” by the New York Times, Tel Aviv is a city with a savvy attitude and cultural astuteness. “The city which never sleeps” is a center for nightlife, cuisine, culture, and liberalism. Bordered on one side by the Mediterranean and long stretches of sandy beaches, and on the other by glass towers housing technology companies in what is considered to be the world’s second most important hi-tech area, Tel Aviv has it all. Prominent museums, restored neighborhoods such as the ancient Port of Jaffa, Neve Tzedek and the White City of Bauhaus style buildings, and a young and diverse population, make Tel Aviv a city which you can never stop exploring.
A short history of Tel Aviv…
Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 as a suburb north of the ancient city of Jaffa, believed to be the oldest port in the world. The suburb grew and grew and eventually overtook Jaffa in size, merging with it after Israel’s independence to form a single municipality. Today, Old Jaffa is a pretty collection of quaint alleys in the southern part of the city, while downtown Tel Aviv lies at the heart of the Israeli hi-tech industry known as Silicon Wadi. The Tel Aviv Diamond Exchange, the largest diamond trading center in the world, is also situated in the city.
Immigrants have come to Tel Aviv from far and wide, bringing with them their own styles, cuisine, culture, and architecture. As such, no matter what you are after, you’ll be sure to find it here. Tel Aviv is world-renowned for its high-quality restaurants and a world-class cafe culture, as well as a superb nightlife scene.
Tel Aviv: Cultural Center
Tel Aviv’s cultural scene is rich and diverse diverse. Theaters, dance centers, and concert halls are found across the city. The city regularly hosts international musicians giving concerts in Israel, which is just some of the many events in Tel Aviv.
Tel Aviv also has a large number of museums and galleries, which are sprawled around the city – from the world-famous Tel Aviv Museum of Art to smaller, more specialist museums such as the Museum of the History of Tel Aviv-Yafo, and the Bauhaus Museum which tell the story of Tel Aviv, and in particular of its unique architecture.
In 2003, Tel Aviv was designated UNESCO World Heritage Status for its White City. This is an area around Rothschild Boulevard in the center of the city which has the world’s largest collection of international, Bauhaus, and eclectic styled buildings. The area is slowly being restored to its original glory and is the heart of the city to this day. To explore the area, we recommend joining a Tel Aviv architecture tour or Urban Tour, which explores the city’s architecture, street art and food.
Since the 1980s, gentrification has taken place in many of the formerly poor southern neighborhoods of the city to create what are now some of the trendiest quarters of this cool city. Among these are Neve Tzedek and Florentin. In Florentin you can find the Levinsky Market, one of the most exciting pedestrian-only streets to spend time at. Join the Levinsky Market and Cooking Workshop Tour to learn about local spices and foods and how to make Israeli dishes.
Other exciting areas to visit include Kerem Hateimanim, adjacent to the Carmel market and the Tel Aviv Port (Namal Tel Aviv) in the north of the city. Nearby, Park Hayarkon is a green oasis in the city.
During the 1990s,Tel Aviv developed into a hi-tech mecca, bringing with it new skyscrapers. The tallest of these, the Azrieli Center offers an observation gallery with views across this vibrant, modern city.
A visit to Tel Aviv wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Tel Aviv Beach. Running the length of the city, from north to south, allots a view of the large hotels which dot the promenade. However, the real scene is not among the bigger hotels but rather in the city’s growing collection of unique, trendy, boutique hotels which are the hottest places to stay. Check out our guide to the best area to stay in Tel Aviv to understand the city’s layout better.
Exploring Tel Aviv
Exploring Tel Aviv is easy as the city isn’t big and sites are accessible. This is a city for walking or biking, with wide boulevards stretching from north to south, and with bike rentals and scooters to rent on practically every block. If you want a more unique take on the city, join one of the many unique tours taking place in Tel Aviv – from cuisine to nightlife, architecture, and more. This Tel Aviv bucket list is a great starting point for visiting this metropolitan city.
Tel Aviv is also a great starting point for exploring other highlights of Israel, like Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Masada, and the Galilee, and Petra. Tours starting from Tel Aviv are often the most convenient and cost-effective way to travel.