Pictures of the floating world

 Modern Tel Aviv in 17 sights

Get ready to fell in love with Tel Aviv!

By Anna Purpurpurpur

UPD: this post was written before the recent terrorist attack and now is published ahead of the schedule without any changes.
Although Tel Aviv is not the capital city of Israel, it’s definitely ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to major governmental organisations and businesses.

Although it cannot be compared to Jerusalem in terms of religious and cultural heritage (but let’s be honest: are there many cities out there that can?), at the same time, it’s still an amazing destination for tourists. Let me introduce some of them.

Important: Tel Aviv is famous for its museums but I hardly cover any of them in this article. Old city Jaffa deserved a separate text too!

1. Tel Aviv promenade

The 14 km long Tel Aviv promenade is one of the nicest places for a perfect chill day outside or an evening stroll stretching from the Old city Jaffa through the Tel Aviv port along the Mediterranean Sea. We were lucky to live in the Sheraton hotel that overlooks the promenade – probably the best location of the city!

The pedestrianised area is surrounded by beaches from one side and path for cyclists from the other, and you can spot surfers and swimmers, many play volleyball or enjoy other sport activities, with their kids playing in the sand or at the playgrounds (by the way, Tel Aviv is one of the baby friendliest places I’ve been to!). There are a bunch of restaurants and cafes out there too. 

2. Azrieli Center Mall

The futuristic Azrieli complex built in 1998 consists of three buildings: Round tower, Triangular tower and Square tower, with the names corresponding to the towers’ shape.

There are lots of shops and cafes, and on the top of that (sorry for a pun) there is an observational desk. Sadly, it was closed for a private event during our visit but you can try your luck: just take a lift to the third floor and look for the signs!

3. Dizengoff Square

Circular Dizengoff Square, built in 1934 and named after Meir Dizengoff, first Mayor of Tel Aviv, is undoubtedly one of the main attractions in Tel Aviv.

It’s primarily famous for its colourful Fire and Water fountain created by Yaacov Agam and installed in 1986 – however, it was moved to another location, and the fountain stands all bare at the moment. The square is still a nice buzzing place to visit with many cafes and restaurants around.

4. Namal Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv Old Port called Namal functioned since 1938 but later came into decline. Now it’s a very nice area with many restaurants overlooking the sea front, galleries, kids friendly zones and shops – come here for instance for White Pergola! 

5. Rothschild Boulevard

If you’re visiting only one street in Tel Aviv, let it be Rothschild Boulevard, the very first street of the city! It’s a very nice avenue lined with trees and stretching almost from the Great Synagogue to Habima Theatre.

There are lots of cafes by the sides of it, a playground, a pond, a cycle lane, and many architectural landmarks, especially in the Bauhaus style. 

6. Neve Tzedek

Neve Tzedek is a historical district of Tel Aviv dating back to the 19th century. This is the first Jewish area that has been used for house construction outside Old city Jaffa. It’s a nice and quiet space to walk around the citrus trees (we were bombarded by juicy ripe grapefruits falling from the trees there, I’m not kidding), to shop, watch a performance at Suzanne Dellal Center and to have lunch: we opted for Dallal restaurant. HaTachana, the first train station built in the Middle East – in 1891, also is located here. 

7. White City 

White City is not a particular place of Tel Aviv: it’s a collection of stunning white residential buildings constructed in Bauhaus architectural style and erected in Tel Aviv in 1930s-1940s (many were designed by architect Sir Patrick Geddes originating from Germany). Now they are protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

There are over 4 thousands houses in Tel Aviv, many of them are crying for a restoration – however some are beautifully rebuilt. The best places to admire them are around Ben-Gurion boulevard up to Rabin Square and around Rothschild Boulevard.

8. Carmel Market

Carmel Market is the epitome of buzzing open air Middle Eastern market: there are lots of food stalls as well as stalls selling clothes, souvenirs, and home appliances. To be honest, I wasn’t very impressed by it but probably if you take time and dive into the gourmand exploring, you’ll like it more! 

9. Ben-Gurion House

The Ben-Gurion House on Ben-Gurion Boulevard as you probably already know was the house where David Ben-Gurion, the founder of the state of Israel and its first prime-minister, and his wife Paula lived. The building itself was built in 1930, and after Ben-Gurions moved out and after David’s death, the house was eventually opened to the public in 1974.

Now you can explore the collection of personal items of Ben-Gurion there. By the way, did you know that Ben-Gurion lived in the Little Venice area  – just minutes away from where we live!

10. Rabin Square

Rabin Square is one of the main squares of the city commemorating the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin on the 4th of November. Now a large part of it is occupied by the reconstruction works but you can still spot lots of cafes and restaurants framing it and the beautiful Town Hall (nice example of the Brutalist architecture!) surrounded by Bombax trees with large red flowers. 

11. King George Street

King George Street is considered one of the main shopping streets of the city (that’s true for the small independent businesses as well as for the large shopping malls such as Dizengoff centre, and again, there are lots of places to dine too! 

12. Sarona Market

Sarona market established in 2015 is a must visit for everyone in Tel Aviv! It’s located in the Sarona area where the German Templer Colony was established in the late 19th century – and you can still see the restored small houses around. Surrounded by skyscrapers, Satona market is a food court with a great selection of food stalls and cafes.  

13. Independence Park

When exploring the seaside of Tel Aviv, don’t miss the Independence Park. It’s located right along the promenade near the Hilton Tel Aviv. As it sits on a hill, it’s a perfect place to watch the Mediterranean and meet the sunset or sunrise among beautiful trees and numerous cats (cats are everywhere in Tel Aviv, by the way). 

14. Bialik Square

Bialik Square is named after famous Israeli poet Hayim Nahman Bialik (his house is located on this square too!) used to be the main square of the city with the Beit Ha’ir building, a former Tel Aviv’s town hall (until 1965) standing there. The development of this place started in 1922. Make sure you have a proper look around as the Bialik street has another great collection of BauHaus buildings! 

15. The Great Synagogue 

The Great Synagogue of Tel Aviv used to be located in the very centre of Tel Aviv, near the Rothschild boulevard and Bialik square. It initially was designed by Yehuda Magidovitch (the construction starten in 1920s) but later was transformed by Aryeh Elhanani, who added arches surrounding it. It’s definitely a gem of modernist architecture now,don’t miss it!

16. Kikar Hamedina 

There are more great places to shop in Tel Aviv! Kikar Hamedina is a destination for you if you’re looking for some high end fashion loke Dolce Gabbana, Valentino, Dior. The square itself is large (the largest in the city!) and round space currently under reconstruction, and its name means “the Square of the State”.

If you need more shopping destinations, try TLV Fashion Mall.

17. Charles Clore park

Charles Clore park is a nice green space on the waterfront of Tel Aviv and stretches out all way to the historical Old city of Jaffa.

It was built on the site of Manshiyya, an area squeezed between Tel Aviv and Jaffa, which was transformed into a new financial district. The park was opened to the public in 1974 and named after Charles Clore, a British financier. Go for a walk there or to have a picnic!

Where to stay in Tel Aviv?

We stayed in the Sheraton Tel Aviv. Part of the hotel was under reconstruction such as an outdoor pool but our stay was very enjoyable anyway: I especially enjoyed the breakfast area with nice interiors and delicious selection of fresh veggies and fruits.

By the way, on the site of Sheraton Tel Aviv once stood the “Red House”, the headquarters of Ben-Gurion

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