Cool Things To Do In Tel Aviv

Named “The San Francisco of the Middle East” by Lonely Planet, Tel Aviv definitely must be on your travel list. Here are some fun things to do in Tel Aviv.

Imagine a place with world-class beaches, incredible nightlife, gorgeous men, great shopping and restaurants that can make foodies drool. A place that manages, at the same time, to be rich in history and culture, and is the home of 10 UNESCO world heritage sites.

Israel tends to be equated with political unrest and turmoil, but people live, work and vacation there. I can honestly say that I’ve almost never felt safer on vacation than when I am in Israel.

Security is high and crime is low; in fact, I feel perfectly at ease walking to my hotel alone at three in the morning. There’s an intense sense of community there that I’ve seldom felt anywhere else, which is perhaps what contributes to the low crime rate. Of this, I can’t be sure.

In 2010, Tel Aviv was ranked by Lonely Planet as one of the world’s top three cities, calling it ‘the San Francisco of the Middle East’ due, in part, to its large gay community.

Here are some reasons why this city should be at the top of your vacation destination list and why there are so many cool things to do in Tel Aviv.


Beaches of Tel-Aviv

The Mediterranean was calm the first day that I set foot on the beach in Tel Aviv. The molecules in the air had painted the sky above my head an imperial blue and there was a warm breeze on my skin that was heavenly.

Every day that followed during my eight-day trip was filled with the same sultry climate. You really can’t go wrong with a beach vacation to Tel Aviv.

National Geographic ranked Tel Aviv as the 9th best beach city in the world. It boasts 9 miles of gorgeous, well-maintained beaches, and the Tel Aviv promenade, which runs along the Mediterranean seashore, is a very entertaining spot for people watching.

It’s full of tourists, children and, of course, let’s not forget the beautiful people jogging, playing volley ball, cycling or just hanging out. The best months to enjoy the sun are May through September.


Haifa works, Jerusalem prays and Tel Aviv plays.

Alive. Electric. These are a couple of words I would use to describe the nightlife in Tel Aviv. My favorite time to go out on the town is during the Sabbath, which starts on Friday at around 4 in the afternoon.

Shops and businesses are largely closed, but most restaurants (non kosher), bars and clubs are open. In the summer, the vibe in the city is hedonistic, and I always get the feeling that everyone is out making the most of the night.

Good to know: cheers in Hebrew is Le Haim!



Neve Tzedek is my favorite neighborhood for boutique shopping and lazy brunches. Tel Aviv was first founded there. It’s gone through some kind of hipster renaissance, and now reminds me of a miniature Greenwich Village.

It was the first Jewish neighborhood built outside of the ancient port city of Jaffa. Step into Shlomit Ofir at 21 Shabazi St. and check out her handmade jewelry. I treat myself to a piece every time I go.

The flea market in Jaffa—in Hebrew: Shuk Hapishpishim—is also a lively and vibrant place to hang out and a good place to hone your bargaining skills. Peruse the treasures and junk, and if you see something that catches your eye, always let the seller name the price, then offer them about half and go from there.

If you’re looking for more conventional shopping, there are some fantastic malls. Azrieli, Mall, Dizengoff Center (which is open 24 hours) and the Opera Tower are a few of my top choices.


Benedict restaurant
Benedict restaurant

You almost can’t go wrong with any restaurant you visit in Tel Aviv. I have never had a bad or even mediocre meal there. Check out Rothschild Boulevard for dinner. There’s also and all-day breakfast restaurant called Benedicts on Rothschild Blvd 29, which is open 24 hours.

There are a few such restaurants but this one is, in my opinion, the best. I’ve spent many nights there (post clubbing) stuffing my face with the fluffiest, thickest pancakes I’ve ever eaten.

Red Velvet restaurant
Red Velvet restaurant

For an absolutely divine piece of cake, visit Red Velvet at Ibn Gabirol St 9. I own a catering company that specializes in cakes and cupcakes, so naturally I have to sample cake in every city I visit.

It’s for research. Red Velvet can give even some of the New York City bakeries a run for their money, so definitely check it out.

City Bikes


Make use of them. There are stations everywhere! Cycling is a great way to see the city—no need for buses or taxis.

Adventurous side Trip: Ramallah

I took my first trip to Ramallah this year and I’m not going to lie: I was a little apprehensive about it at first, but when I arrived, I was completely at ease. The city center is bustling and the locals are very friendly.

Ramallah has been under military occupation since 1967, which makes it a relatively stable area. I think there’s a common misconception about Ramallah among foreigners that it’s a dangerous place to visit, but it’s not.Here’s

There are cool markets, delicious Arabic-style ice cream shops (I recommend Rukab’s on the main street) and the people are lovely.

There are buses (numbers 18, 19, 218 and 219) that go from East Jerusalem to Ramallah. You can catch them at the Damascus gate. There is a checkpoint to go through, but no passport information is collected.

I do advise you not to bring up the Israeli occupation with the locals, unless you are adamantly anti-occupation. Even then, the safest thing is to avoid the topic.

Tel Aviv—indeed, Israel—has so much to offer tourists. Don’t be afraid to explore its historic and cultural treasures because there are many parts that are extremely safe and tourists are welcomed.

About the author


Bostonian living in The Netherlands. Writer, entrepreneur, world traveler. Lover of cake, cookies, cities, art, books and handsome men with big brains.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment