Eat, drink, and dance the night away in Tel Aviv. Oh, and don’t forget to hit the beach. (Photo: Frederic Soltan/Corbis)
Tel Aviv is truly a city of contrasts. It’s young and hip with nightlife that doesn’t even pause when the sun comes up. Yet, in so many ways, the city still maintains a mature spirit of history, culture and elegance.
A quick warning—the denizens of Tel Aviv can appear brash, but it’s worth breaking down their stony and impossibly self-confident exteriors. Once you do, the locals are truly dedicated to showing you the very best their city has to offer.
Before you even land at Ben Gurion airport you have to follow @Telavivian on Instagram for the latest gallery openings, specialty cocktail creations and pop-up parties. If you want an even deeper dive into the city, sign up for one of the Telavivian tours, which provide a true insider’s look at everything local.
Tel Aviv is quickly encroaching on New York City’s title for the “City that Never Sleeps.” There is something to do here 24/7.
Here is our guide to prepare for the perfect night out in Israel’s hottest city.
Uzi-Eli the “Etrog Man” has the perfect pre-party elixir. (Photo: Uzi-Eli The Citronman/Facebook)
Fuel up for a big night out with the “Etrog Man.” You’ll find Uzi-Eli, a Yemeni healer by trade, at his juice stand at the opening of the Carmel market. Get here early because after the workday ends a line begins wending its way outside of the shop. These self-proclaimed “juice addicts” can’t get enough of Uzi’s magical elixir of etrog fruit, a biblical super-fruit that does it all—gives you energy, makes you look younger and even increases fertility.
Soak up some sun and curl your toes in the sand down at the beach. (Photo: iStock)
Hit the beach. Most visitors don’t realize that it is summer for ten months of the year in Tel Aviv.Head down to the beach for an afternoon dip and paddleboard. Grab a snack at one of the to-die-for beachfront restaurants where you can bury your toes in the sand while enjoying a delicious local wine from the Zichron Yaakov wine country just an hour’s drive outside the city.
Bike along the beach down to Old Jaffa. (Photo: Atlantide Phototravel/Corbis)
Israelis love exercise. It’s not uncommon to see men and women of all ages starting their morning workouts on the beach promenade well before the sun rises. Take a queue out of their play book (we promise you don’t need to showcase your own six-pack abs while you’re at it) and take a healthy walk (or a ride on Tel Aviv’s bike share) down the beach path to the old port of Jaffa, built into the high cliffs bordering the glassy Mediterranean.
Get your art fix at the Ilana Goor Museum in Old Jaffa. (Photo: Ilana Goor Museum/Facebook)
Pop into the Ilana Goor museum in Old Jaffa, an architectural gem built in the 18th Century. It was once an inn for pilgrims en route to Jerusalem and a factory for olive oil cosmetics before it was purchased by the artist Ilana Goor in 1983. Today the building houses an eclectic collection of Goor’s own modernist art in addition to contemporary art from around the world.
You deserve to have dessert before dinner. Pop into The Capitolina ice cream shop where ice cream maestro Yair Sharon crafts an incredible real Italian gelato.
Once your sugar-fix is in hand weave your way through the narrow alleyways down to the port and grab a table on the balcony at The Old Man and the Sea (Hangar 1, Jaffa Port) to soak in the sunset over the skyline before you head back downtown. Have you had the hummus in Tel Aviv yet? If not then the Old Man and the Sea is the perfect place to indulge. Order up some of Israel’s unofficial national dish in addition to some pickled cabbage, tabbouleh and falafel with a side of fresh out of the stone oven pita bread.
Walk around Florentin and check out the shops, street art, and bars. (Photo: Flavio~/Flickr)
Hop in a taxi (Tel Aviv has both Uber and GetTaxi) to the up and coming neighborhood of Florentin. Stroll the narrow streets of this part of town and you’ll understand why young Israelis are flocking here in droves.
Thrillist recently named the neighborhood the second most “hipster” neighborhood in the world.
Florentin is home to a vibrant street art scene. (Photo: galit seligmann / Alamy Stock Photo)
“In a city already known for its Bauhaus-style architecture, inspired street art, and 24-hour nightlife, Florentin’s the go-to spot for artists, musicians, and people who dress like artists and musicians,” Thrillist explained.
Even after dark, you’ll be able to soak in the incredible street art decorating the walls.
Head to hipster haven Hoodna for a pre-dinner beer or two. (Photo: Hoodna Bar/Facebook)
There are so many options for a pre-dinner cocktail here that it’s hard to choose just one. For something simple, but truly original head to Hoodna Bar, a low-key pub carved out of an actual carpenter’s workshop.
If you’re into a spot that is a little more upscale try Aria on the outskirts of the neighborhood where mixologist Custer Thompson serves his famous Bloody Mary with a side of bone marrow.
HaShulhan is the place to go for a beautiful and delicious fusion dinner. (Photo: TripAdvisor)
It’s still early for dinner in Tel Aviv, but you can bet that Rothschild Boulevard will be buzzing with activity. Make sure to have a stroll before you settle in for dinner at HaShulhan (73 Rothschild Blvd) for chef Omer Miller’s global cuisine—egg schnitzel in garam masala, polenta cannelloni with crab bisque or a hearty chicken stew in a spicy broth.
Pull up a stool at Moonshine for some truly unique cocktail creations. (Photo: Moonshine/Facebook)
Step directly into the “Great Gatsby” at Moonshine (43 Lilienblum St), a true speakeasy with no street signage. To enter the bar go through the restaurant next door, fumble about a bit, look for some foreboding curtains and follow the very well-dressed people. The small bar can fit just about 20.
Cocktails are obviously prepared in mason jars and most of them contain some form of the bar’s original house-made moonshine, infused with flavors like maple and honey ginger.
Be sure to try the tequila-based moonshine to really start your evening off with a kick.
All the post-midnight partiers know that Radio EPGB is the place to be. (Photo: TripAdvisor)
Still going strong? For some edgier fun head over to Radio EPGB (7 Shadal St), one of the many underground club’s in Tel Aviv. You never really know what you’re in for in this intimate space. It could be hip-hop night or indie electronic night. The element of surprise is part of the fun. A good time however, is always guaranteed.
With a name like “Benedict,” you know all their bennies are going to be top-notch. (Photo: Benedict/Facebook)
Nightcap? Late night snack? You can get both at the 24-hour Paris bistro Brasserie (70 Ibn Gvirol St). Tuck into one of their Art Deco stalls and make sure to order the Mille Feuille. Another option for late night breakfast lovers (also open 24/7) is Benedict, (171 Ben Yehuda St and 29 Rothschild), named for everyone’s favorite brunch dish. You can order a full Israeli breakfast or the perfect bennie with added strips of extra crispy bacon. If you want to be all American about it order the Bennie Joe….a Sloppy Joe eggs benedict. But God help you in the morning.
Check out our original adventure travel series A Broad Abroad.