Tel Aviv, Israel’s capital of cool, is a big city with a small-town beach vibe. It’s Israel’s cultural and financial heart, but with its flat, bike-friendly boulevards, neighbourhood outdoor coffee kiosks and a friendly, laid-back vibe, it offers a local scene that’s uniquely easy to dive right into. Want to live like a local? For a perfect Tel Aviv day, follow this guide:
Smell the coffee
Tel Aviv is a city where coffee is king, and nearly every Tel Avivian has their favourite local java purveyor that they claim offers the best brew in town. For a true Tel Aviv coffee experience, head to Waycup Coffee, where the coffee is bitter and strong but the locals are friendly and sweet; located in the southern corner of the city and offering a wide range of espresso drinks, home-baked pastries and convenient workstations for laptops and tablets, this spot is as buzzing as its drinks at nearly every hour.
Feed the hunger
After a caffeine fix, it’s time to eat. Tel Aviv tourists flock to Shuk HaCarmel, the city’s biggest open-air fruit and vegetable market, but locals know the real delicacies are hidden at Shuk Levinsky, a spice market turned hipster street-food mecca a few blocks south. For a late breakfast or early lunch, head to Bourekas Levinsky, a workers’ canteen in the vibrant Levinsky Market that serves incredibly flaky bourekas, a savoury Turkish pastry that has been adopted by the Israeli kitchen. (If you’re around in the later hours, squeeze past the crowds to grab a seat at Dalida, a quirky locals’ favourite where North African flavours are merged with the freshest ingredients.)
Tel Aviv is a lot more than just a pretty seafront. The city is also home more than 4,000 registered historic Bauhaus buildings — so many that it’s been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its trademark whitewashed, clean and geometric buildings are clustered around the aptly-named “White City,” an area best explored on foot. Start at the southern end of Rothschild Boulevard and head north, stopping to gawk at gems like the Baumel House (Rothschild 87); the Old Russian Embassy (Rothschild 46); and the Rubinsky-Braun Haus (Rothschild 82). Make sure to take detours down Sheinkin Street, Ahad Ha’am and Nachalat Binyamin, all which intersect with Rothschild — and don’t forget your camera.
Tag, you’re it
Families traveling with kids will love Streetwise Hebrew graffiti tours, a different kind of walking tour offered along the colourful, street-art-covered streets of diverse south Tel Aviv. Visitors get a dose of Tel Aviv history, an urban art lesson and also a mini Hebrew class, all through deciphering and exploring street art.
For a real out-of-body experience, end your Tel Aviv day with dinner and a show at Nalaga’at Theater. The name translates to “Please Do Touch” and the complex, located on the seafront in Jaffa, offers a theatre featuring only deaf-blind actors and an on-site restaurant where dinner is served in total darkness. It’s a feast for the more latent senses, and it’s an ideal way to close a colourful Tel Aviv day.