Tel Aviv blew me away. I don’t think I’ve ever gone to a city and just immediately felt so attached to it and alive! Instead of writing on and on about how I felt, I want to tell you what experiences in Tel Aviv made me feel this way. These are the experiences in Tel Aviv that you do NOT want to miss out on when you visit, and if you aren’t planning a trip- these are the reasons you should be.
FYI most of these photos (all the ones I am in) were taken by Matanya Tausig.
9 Experiences in Tel Aviv You’ll Love
1. Surf Vibes and Tan Lines
Maybe you didn’t know, but this is a surfer’s city. There is also SUP and kitesurfing around. I love the switch from office to beach here because the beach is right up in the city. The vibe all across Tel Aviv is laid back. I knew Israelis in Goa were laid-back, but overall Tel Aviv had that chilled out vibe. There was an opportunity to surf but I could NOT get out of bed. I was so tired each night I couldn’t bring myself to set my alarm even earlier than I already had to get up. FYI beer on the beach is a fortune.
2. Sharing a Shabbat Dinner with a Sweet Local Family
Thinking that I just got to do this because I was on a blogging trip? Actually, you will be surprised to find that you will be invited into nearly every Israeli you meet’s home. They love to host! If you mention to someone you want to try a Shabbat dinner, chances are they’ll invite you to one. This family wasn’t super religious but does this is as a tradition. I think it was cool to see that there are so many types of Jewish people who focus on religion in different ways or are Jewish but not actually religious.
3. Doing Graffiti + Exploring Art in Tel Aviv
I loved this tour and wrote a whole article about graffiti in Tel Aviv because it was that cool. There are many companies who do graffiti tours, and I suggest you reach out to them if you want to understand the art you’re seeing. If you just want to check it out casually, you can just walk the streets yourself. There are loads of cool cafes and shops in this area, which is Florentine and in the South parts of Tel Aviv.
4. Staying in affordable boutique hotels
There are an unlimited amount of cool boutique hotels in Tel Aviv. Prices here, in general, are high, so you’ll be shocked to know hostels can cost up to $70. If you are sharing a room and happy to spend a little extra, check out this list of boutique hotels in Tel Aviv. Some start as low as $150 a night.
PS: If you are looking for a boutique/luxury planned out tour I met a woman who runs them in Israel called Tova who you can check out!
5. The Epic Tel Aviv Nightlife
Can’t beat a good party and Tel Aviv knows how to throw one. In fact, at all times someone was trying to put a drink in my hand and when I resisted for days I became the “sober” girl who they called me in Hebrew. Finally, I gave in on our big night out and had some drinks. Here are the places we hit up:
- Port Said (Har Sinai Street 5) where you need a reservation for sure! Drinks were great and food was better.
- met with mixologists and learned a bit about it at French 57 (Brenner Street 2).
My drink was bourbon based of course! This bar has a New Orleans vibe.
- Next up SpeakEasy (Rothschild 24). This is a cool rooftop bar to chill out and actually have some conversations (you won’t remember).
- Jimmy Who was kind of connected to SpeakEasy, or just right outside. You cannot bring your drink from one to the other and if you try, as I did, you will get yelled at haha!
- Sputnik (Allenby 122), for end of night clubbing. My night ended here, but next up was Breakfast Club. I knew my early morning wake up (this WAS a work trip after all) would make me regret pulling an all-nighter, so I went home at 3 AM. Breakfast Club is open til at least 9 AM. While I didn’t go out, my friend Trish did. She’s a party animal. She gave even more tips on her nightlife guide to Tel Aviv.
6. Renting Bicycles to Tour Tel Aviv
We used the cities green bicycles to get around for an early afternoon. Tel Aviv is pretty huge, at least it felt that way to me. I hadn’t ridden a bike in forever but turns out the saying is right, you can’t forget. It was one of my favorite things to do in Tel Aviv!
7. It’s a Cafe Culture
Do Tel Avivians work? Apparently, yet at all times the cafe are full on young awesomely dressed people chilling out, having a beer, and eating some of the best food I’ve ever tried. Isreal food isn’t just veggie salad as is on most international menus, but it’s Mediterranean style food, which means lots of great seafood. You don’t have to eat Israeli though. There are pizza places, pub food, burgers, you name it. Long late lunches are necessary.
8. Shop ‘Til You Drop, Tel Aviv Style
That means you need Tel Aviv money, which I don’t have! I’ve always thought Israelis had a great laid-back bohemian style, based on the girls I see in Goa. Their clothes aren’t from India, so I know they must be getting them back home. I was really excited to find their shops! Mindy, another girl on the trip, had Israeli friends and was always keen to emulate their style. I have to say I was a little let down. The road we were on shopping near the beach (near CUCU hotel) had overpriced low-quality clothing.
During our graffiti tour I saw the shop Shir Gershovitz and was obsessed with her clothes. I couldn’t afford them though. From there, every shop I saw was the cutest. These clothes were all so expensive for me though. If you have money to blow, you will love shopping here in the Neve Tzedek area. I did also find some jewelry that was affordable and super cute called Feathers Art & Heart.
Definitely check out the Jaffa flea market too.
9. Dining in the Dark
There are only 10 blackout restaurants in the world and one is Na Lagaat in Tel Aviv. In the photo below, we are walking in about to be totally surprised as none of us knew we would be trying this, funnily enough, we are almost all wearing black.The experience started with us learning about the projects this place does, for example putting on shows done by deaf/blind people who take years to get ready. The chefs and waiters in the restaurant are all blind. We did a test to see how we could communicate blind and epicly failed.
As we walked in, they kept saying don’t be nervous. I thought, well I’m not. It’s just the dark. But once we got inside it was totally blacked out. You had to sit down and then you stay put. You have to figure out how to pour your water, dip your bread in sauce, and of course, eat with your hands.
Our waiter told us his story and it brought tears to one in the group. We were all quite moved by it. This is an experience I won’t forget. Although, I could do without Vaughan making a sneezing noise and flicking water to make it seem like he sneezed on us LOL such a funny guy!
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I was in Israel hosted by Vibe Israel, a non profit, non political company. Thanks Vibe!
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