Welcome to MetroGuide Networks' overview of Tel Aviv-area attractions. As the first all-Jewish
city in modern times, Tel Aviv originally was named Ahuzat Bayit after some 60 families founded
it as a neighborhood near Jaffe. In 1910, the name changed to Tel Aviv, meaning hill of spring,
taken from biblical and modern literary references. During WWI, the Turks expelled most Jewish
people from both Jaffa and Tel Aviv, many to return after the war. Steady growth followed,
spurred by unrest in Jaffa, predominantly Arab. Second only to Jerusalem in size, Tel Aviv –
once little more than a sparsely inhabited sand dune – has become the nation's cultural and
business hub, with the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and the Diamond Exchange serving as two major
institutions. As a tourist destination, Tel Aviv sparkles with attractive beaches, warm waters,
cultural offerings, excellent shopping, a developing culinary scene, and vibrant nightlife
extending into the morning. Tel Aviv's two bus lines, the Dan bus cooperative and the Egged,
are augmented by red mini-buses operating on two major routes (Ben Yehuda and Allenby streets,
and Dizengoff Street and Rothschild Boulevard), at identical fares and on Saturdays when regular
buses don't run. Metered taxis are plentiful with fixed fares to suburbs and tipping not customary.
For walking tours, a good place to start is Bialik Street, offering architectural glimpses of
the city's early years.
Below is a list of some suggested things to do in the Tel Aviv
Metropolitan Area, with links to more details when available.
- Athletic Events
Basketball fans can head to Yad Eliahu Stadium. Football action unfolds at both Bloomfield Stadium and the Israel Football Stadium.
Yad Eliahu Stadium, (03) 537-6376
Bloomfield Stadium, 1 Hatehiya Street, Jaffa. (03) 682-1276
Israel Football Stadium, Abba Hillel Road. (03) 579-9966
- Azrieli Observatory
On the 49th floor of Israel's highest building, Azrieli Observatory telescopes provide enhanced views from 84 windows with a vocal guidance system describing major landmarks. Azrieli Towers, largest commercial center in the Middle East, have a cafe that is the highest place to take in a meal within Israel.
Azrieli Center, third floor entrance, inside Azrieli mall.
- Beach & Water Fun
Tel Aviv beaches are free in the city center, although entrance fees are charged at Hatzuk and in Herzliya. Beaches often carry names of something notable nearby, such as a street or hotel, and confusion can occur when hotels reflag to other brands. The landmark Gordon Health Club has an Olympic-sized saltwater pool, with admission separate – visitors must show passports -- from its club. Hayarkon Park has boat rentals, as does the Sea Center at the Tel Aviv Marina.
Park Darom has boat-free water ski fun with cables attached to a crane for pulling skiers around an artificial lake.
Gordon Health Club, 165 Hayarkon Street. (03) 527-1555
Hayarkon Park, north of the city. (03) 642-0541
Park Darom, south of Tel Aviv. (03) 739-1168
Sea Center, Tel Aviv Marina. (03) 522-4079
- Ben-Gurion House
The two-story former home of Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion and his wife Paula, remains as when the couple lived here. Ben-Gurion left the house and contents, including their personal library of some 20,000 books, to the State of Israel. Upstairs, used solely by Ben-Gurion, has four library rooms and a bedroom. Downstairs, visitors can view the kitchen and “Paula's room,” where the leader spent his final days. There is also a 20-minute film. Admission is free.
17 Ben-Gurion Boulevard. (03) 522-4925
- Bet Bialik Museum
Built in 1927, Hebrew poet Chiam Nachman Bialik's former home remains just as it was upon his death in 1934. The museum contains 94 books he wrote, with translations in 28 languages.
22 Bialik Street. (03) 525-4530
- Bet Rubin Museum
Israeli painter Reuven Rubin, (1893-1974), bequeathed his former home to the city of Tel Aviv. Now an art museum with 45 of Rubin's works forming a permanent collection, changing exhibits feature other Israeli artists, and upstairs is an art library.
14 Bialik Street. (03) 525-5961
- Dining Diversity
Apart from the falfel or schwarma (spit-grilled meat) tucked into pita bread at stands on seemingly every block, Tel Aviv's dining scene mirrors city development. Chicago pizza, dim sum, burritos and curries are on menus along with more traditional fare, and coffee shops with exotic brews tantalize just about everywhere. Yet in contrast to Jerusalem, kosher restaurants in Tel Aviv can be tricky to find outside hotels, where kosher kitchens are mandated. Many worthy Tel Aviv dining outposts are in the so-called Little Tel Aviv, on the north end of Ben Yehuda and Hayarkon streets near the old port, and the shoreline has a concentration of restaurants as well. Israelis dine late, with casual attire always in vogue, even at upscale places. Bebale serves old-style Jewish food to trendy Israelis seeking roots and tradition with chopped liver and such. For Tex-Mex, Cactus serves up burritos, fajitas and chili washed down by memorable margaritas. A door or so away, Chicago Pizza Pie Factory cranks out either deep-dish or thin-crust, along with a house cake laden with chocolate, whipped cream and nuts. Vegetable pies, quiches, salads and seductive desserts from pies and cakes to brownies are the specialty at the meat-free Café Cazeh. The white tablecloth Keren, known for stuffed zucchini flowers with ever-changing fillings, is considered among Israel's top choices. Ranking as Israel's first oyster/seafood bar, Mul-Yam flies its specialties (including lobsters) in fresh. In the Hatikva Quarter among many restaurants on Etzel Street, barbecued goose liver stars on the menu at Shipudei Hatikva, a family-style eatery with Formica-top tables. Tandoori chicken tops the menu at Tandoori, where curries are in various levels of heat.
Bebale, 177 Ben Yehuda Street. (03) 546-7486
Cactus, 66 Hayarkon Street. (03) 510-5969
Café Cazeh, 19 Sheinkin Street. (03) 629-3756
Chicago Pizza Pie Factory, 65 Hayarkon Street. (03) 517-7505
Keren, 12 Eilat Street,Jaffa. (03) 681-6565
Mul-Yam, Tel Aviv Port. (03) 546-9920
Shipudei Hatikva, 37 Etzel Street. (03) 687-8014
Tandoori, 2 Zamenhoff Street. (03) 629-6185
- Eretz Israel Museum Complex
The multidisciplinary Eretz Israel Museum has several pavilions within a huge campus housing exhibits of ceramics, ancient tools, glass, coins, folklore and more in fields of archaeology, Judaica, ethnography, material culture and applied arts. Every pavilion is dedicated to a different subject, and the center of the “museum park” has an ancient Tel – a mound – where excavations have continued for decades.
2 Haim Levanon Street, Ramat Aviv. (03) 641-5244
- Founders Monument and Fountain
The stone Founders Monument, dedicated in 1949, heralds the founders of Tel Aviv. Bas relief panels represent pioneer times.
Rothschild Boulevard at Nahlat Binyamin Street.
- Gan Meir Park
Gan Meir Park's oasis of green is popular with both people and birds. On summer evenings, musicians sometimes show up to entertain.
Off St. Georges Street near the Dizengoff Center.
- Givatayim Observatory
Founded in 1968 by the Israeli Astronomical Association and the Givatayim municipality, the Givatayim Observatory is in a hillside garden providing a dramatic view of the city.
Gan Haaliya Hashnia Hamery and Golomb street. (03) 573-1152
- Habimah Square
This cultural center complex, among Israel's most important, contains the Habimah Theatre, Mann Auditorium, and the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion. Founded in Russia in 1918 and relocated to Tel Aviv 10 years later, Habimah Theatre is the home of Israel's national theatre company, with most performances in Hebrew and simultaneous translations in other languages. Mann Auditorium is home of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, established in 1937 and where Yitzak Perlman started his career. The Helena Rubinstein Pavilion exhibits contemporary art by Israeli and International artists and houses the Helena Rubinstein Collection of Miniature Rooms.
Junction of Bograshov Street and Rothschild Boulevard
- Hagana Museum
This four-story museum records Israeli military history through the War of Independence.
23 Rothschild Boulevard. (03) 560-8624
- Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Museum
The Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Museum, opened in 1986 during the 23rd World Diamond Congress and in the heart of Israel's diamond complex, is an independent subsidiary of the Israel Diamond Institute. It showcases Israeli achievements within the industry, with permanent exhibits portraying the story of diamonds. Guided tours are available.
1 Jabotinsky Street, within the Diamond Exchange.
- Ilana Goor Museum
The Ilana Goor Museum, on the third floor of the artist's residence in Old Yafo (Old Jaffa), exhibits works by the artist and others from her personal collection. The building dates to 1740, and has the orginal arches, stonework and vaulted rooms characteristic of Jewish hostels of the period. There is a gift shop on premises. Check before going, as the museum may close due to an event and may have special holiday hours.
4 Mazal Dagim Street. (03) 683-7676
- Independence Hall
Once the residence of Tel Aviv's first mayor, Meir Dizengoff, this historic house is where the independence of Israel was declared in 1948. The museum's Hall of Declaration remains as it was on that day (May 14) with original microphones on the table and a portrait of Herzl, the Zionist leader. Admission is free.
16 Rothschild Boulevard. (03) 517-3942
- Jabotinsky Museum
Philosophy and teachings of Ze'ev Jabotinsky, collected in 18 volumes, were published a half century ago by his son Eri. In 1972, Moshe Bela produced a single-volume “World of Jabotinsky” digest, including pieces on Social Redemption, Bi-National Palestine, The Iron Wall, and Trumpeldor's Anniversary – Yom Tel Hai. Museum exhibits include a three-dimensional, audio-visual "Ze'ev Jabotinsky - Historical Life-Span," emphasizing his political and educational activities in service of Zionism as well as his Hebrew cultural and literary heritage. "Detention and Deportation," depicts British Prisons and Detention camps in Palestine and Africa.
38 King George Street. (03) 528-5587
Some 4,000 years ago, the port city Jaffe served Egyptian and Phoenician sailors. Christian legend has it that Jaffa was named after Noah's son Japhet, building it after the flood. Razed and rebuilt dozens of times, with Napolean being one of many invaders, Jaffa's history is marked by turbulence. Bargaining still takes place in Old Jaffa, a draw for tourists. At least three hours are recommended for walking around Jaffa, with primary sights including the Clock Tower in the central square, the Jaffa Museum (first constructed during the Crusades and exhibiting artifacts from area digs), Kikar Kedumin (formerly Tel Aviv's red light district, but now an artsy place with restaurants and gift shops), and the port marina with its abundance of houseboats and restaurants. Buses run from downtown Tel Aviv, and parking is free during the day.
- Kikar Magen David
This meeting point of six streets is named for Magen David, or Star of David, and is renowned for chaotic traffic. Pedestrians would do well to take the underpass.
- Malls, Markets & Shops
From outdoor flea markets to exclusive shops, department stores, and huge modern malls, Tel Aviv has adventure for shoppers of assorted tastes. Bezalel Market is known for picturesque stalls. Carmel Market (known in Israel as “Shuk Ha'Carmel”) is the biggest marketplace with tantalizing breads, exotic spices, fresh produce, fish and poultry, along with inexpensive clothing and footwear stands. Nachalat Binyamin Pedestrian Mall in the Yemenite Quarter is an open-air bazaar with outdoor cafes. Trendy Sheinkin Street is known for young crowds, street performers and café life. Shuk Hapishpeshim flea market still has bargaining for everything from jewelry to the occasional antique. Department store Hamashbir's second-floor Designer Avenue features women's apparel by local designers. Opera Tower has assorted shops, and Allenby Street is known for bargains on clothes and Judaica objects.
Bezalel Market, near corner of King George and Allenby streets.
Carmel Market, enter alley at Allenby, King George and Sheinkin streets.
Dizengoff Center, at Disengoff and King George streets.
Hamashbir, Dizengoff Center, Dizengooff and King George streets.
Nachalat Binyamin Pedestrian Mall, runs on a pedestrianized street parallel to Carmel Market.
Opera Tower, 1 Allenby Street.
Sheinkin Street, opposite Nachalat Binyamin and Carmel Market.
- Migdal Shalom
At the north end of Tel Aviv's first road, Herzl Street, the Shalom Tower (Tower of Peace) sits on the one-time site of Israel's first secular Hebrew language grammar school. Shalom Tower, with government and private offices, has shops on the ground floor.
9 Ahad Ha'am. (03) 517-7305
- Museum of Antiquities
Also known as the Jaffa Museum, five halls contain displays of objects excavated from 30 different sites within the city between the fifth millennium B.C. and the Arab period, including the Neolithic period and the Byzantine era.
10 Mifratz Shlomo Street (03) 682-5375
- Museum of the History of Tel Aviv Jaffa
This renovated museum uses film, photography, and models to tell the story of the city's founding and history.
- Museum of the Jewish Diaspora
North of the city on the University of Tel Aviv campus, this museum, opened in 1978, tells the story of the Jewish people from expulsion from the Land of Israel, 2,500 years ago, to the present. The story unfolds thematically rather than chronologically on subjects such as, family, faith, community, and culture.
Klausner Street, Gate 2, Ramat Aviv. (03) 646-2020
- Neve Tzedek
South of the Yemenite Quarter, this stylish neighborhood was the first built in the “new” city of Tel Aviv around 1887. Notable is the architecture of old houses on quiet streets. Neighborhood highlights include the Suzanne Dellal Center for Dance and Theatre and its lovely gardens and piazza.
Suzanne Dellal Center, 6 Yehieli Street. (03) 510-5656
- Rokach House Museum
As one of the first 10 houses of Neve Tzedek, the first Jewish neighborhood created about 1887, the Rockach house was restored in 1983 and opened to the public by artist Lea Majaro Mintz, Shimon Rockach's granddaughter
Shimon Rockach Street, 36. (03) 516-2531
- Safari Park
Hundreds of animals roam freely in this 250-acre wildlife sanctuary, opened in 1981, in Ramat Gan near Tel Aviv. Touring is only in closed vehicles.
Bernstein Street. (03) 631-2181
- Shalom Aleichem House
Preserved in this modern building are the works of Shalom Aleichem, the Yiddish author whose stories provided the groundwork for Fiddler on the Roof. The permanent exhibit includes an archive of manuscripts and unpublished works, correspondence, photographs, first editions, documents, and personal artifacts. Admission is free.
4 Berkowitz Street. (03) 695-6513
- Tel Aviv Museum of Art
Israel's largest museum, emphasizing Jewish fine arts, has European art from the 16th to the 19th centuries including paintings of famed artists including Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh, Matisse, and Picasso. Guided tours are offered in English on Wednesdays at 11:30 a.m.
27 Sha'ul Ha-Melech Boulevard. (03) 696-1297
- Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center
Opening in 1995, the home of the Israel Opera also hosts performances by the Israel Ballet as well as concerts by the Zion Symphony Orchestra.
28 Leonardo da Vinci Street. (03) 692-7788