Vibrant, Young, Proud and Loud, 10 Do's and Don'ts of Tel Aviv by Gili Brenner

We keep climate, culture and country hopping. After 10 do's and don'ts of St. Louis (Missouri) and Stockholm (Sweden) we head for the middle east with 10 do's and don'ts of Tel Aviv.

They come our way courtesy of Gili Brenner.

Gili is a commentator on Middle East social and cultural affairs, and serves as the Middle East Communications Associate at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies . Before returning to Israel, she had studied Politics at Cambridge University and headed the Israel education organization StandWithUs UK.

10 do's and don'ts of Tel-Aviv

Tel-Aviv is vibrant, young, proud and loud. Don't Mess. You may poke though.

1.  Strolling along Rothschild Avenue with its chic cafes and restaurants, you may confuse Tel-Aviv for a Middle Eastern version of Berlin. Except that Tel-Avivi hipsters sweat (when no one sees). If you are feeling for a special chocolate treat try Max Brenner restaurant and chocolate store.


2.  The southwestern neighborhood of Neve Tzedek dates back to 1887 and is the first that was built outside the walls of Jaffa. It is dotted with charming streets and beautifully-restored old houses. Check out the Chelouche House, a delightful small art gallery, for exhibitions and The Suzanne Dellal Center for dance performances. Opposite the Center you can enjoy Mediterranean-style dishes at the atmospheric Café Suzana.

3.  Dining lovers would marvel at the seemingly endless culinary options of the city. For seafood and fish, book a table at Mul Yam, Pier 23, Dallal, Manta Ray or Basta, to name a few. Meat lovers would appreciate Dixie, Hatraklin Bistro Meat & Wine and The Place for Meat in Neve Tzedek.

Mul yam

4.  Breakfast lovers behold: Tel-Aviv offers excellent options for hearty breakfasts. Benedict serves only breakfasts and is open 24/7. Do not miss.

5.  The Old City of Jaffa, Tel-Aviv's older sister, is a definite non-miss for visitors who want to experience the place's multiethnic feel and learn about its long history. The narrow passageways are dotted with art galleries, archeological ruins, cafes and artisans shops. The stunning port offers beautiful sunsets and seafood restaurants, and is also the home of the Na'Lagaat Center, a unique deaf-blind acting ensemble. Nearby in Jaffa, visit the flea market (open Sunday to Thursday from 10am to 6pm and on Friday from 10am to 2pm),and the Mayumana  House, where a unique performance troupe skillfully combines dance, song and percussion.


6.  No discussion of Tel-Aviv is complete without Hummus. Where one can find the best Middle Eastern chickpea paste in the city is a topic of much debate, but a famous few include Abu Hassan in Jaffa, Hummus Masabacha at the Carmel Market , Hummus Abu-Dabi, and the Hummus House on Hahashmona'im St.

Abu Hassan humus 1

7.  Tel-Aviv is known as the City that Never Sleeps, and rightly so. The place is packed with cocktail bars and dance clubs playing music until dawn, during weekdays too. Have an elegant drink at the Brown boutique hotel. For the hipster vibe, check Port Said and the Pasaz on Allenby. Music lovers would appreciate Rothschild 12 which houses free performances. Fancy dancing? Check Shalvata at  the Tel-Aviv port and the ultra-hip Radio E.P.G.B. club on Shadal St.


8.  Tel-Aviv is proudly gay-friendly and is known as one of the world's gay capitals. Check the next Pride Week which starts on June 8th 2014, which will have events throughout the week until Saturday June 14th. The parade will take place on Friday, June 13th, 2014

9.  Despite its hedonistic feel, Tel-Aviv offers traditional attractions for sophisticated visitors. Art lovers should visit the Tel-Aviv Museum of Art which houses a permanent collection of 20-th century leading artists and movements, and also presents temporary exhibits. Note the giant two-panel mural created by the American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein. To learn about the history of the State of Israel, visit the Independence Hall on 16 Rothschild Avenue, the Palmach Museum and the Diaspora museum.


10.  Last but definitely not least – for some, Tel-Aviv's beaches alone should suffice to make it a top destination. From May to September bathers in Tel-Aviv enjoy the Mediterranean sea and sun. Gordon and Frishman are two of the most popular beaches in the city, offering a lovely stretch of sand where each can take their pick between lounging chairs, sunshades or sand only. To maximize the experience, rent a city bike Tel-o-Fun ("Telofan") and cycle along the seafront from Jaffa to Tel Baruch

A couple of Don't's should be taken to consideration:

1.  Do not expect camels at the airport. True, Tel-Aviv is no Geneva but it's a highly modern city and the heart of a thriving high-tech industry.

2.  Do not go sea bathing without a lifeguard on duty.

3.  If walking a dog, do not leave its feces on the street. Tel-Aviv is dog friendly and as part of a municipal effort to keep the streets clean, dog-walkers are encouraged to collect their waste with special poop bags.

4.  This is up for debate, but the central bus station area in the southern part of the city is generally known for its urban neglect and relative sense of insecurity.

5.  Do not be shocked by the sight of people smoking indoors. It is legally forbidden, but this is still the Middle East…

6.  Unless absolutely necessary and provided with a parking space, do not rent a car to get around this jammed city. Walk, cycle, take the bus or a taxi instead. Locals are still awaiting the Metro/light train promised decades ago.


7.  Do not get on a taxi before making sure the meter is switched on and that the driver knows the way. Do not take this for granted…

8.  Do not forget your bottle of water, hat and sunscreen when staying outside in the summer. It gets very hot and sunny and you might become dehydrated before noticing it.

9.  Don't be offended. Tel-Aviv, as part of Israel, is known for the direct (and often loud) manner of its people. Embrace it and don't be shy. No one else around you is.

10.  Don't worry. The sun is shining.

Gili brenner id2

Thanks Gili... (pictured above)

Listen to Minimal Compact while reading...

(* Photo credits, Suzanne Dellal Center for Dance and Theater from Facebook page, Mul Yam dining room from their site, Nalaga'at Center from their site, Abu Hassan Hummus restaurant from Hungry in Tel Aviv blog, Port Said from their Facebook page, Diaspora Museum from Wikipedia, Telofun from Telofun Facebook page, Gili Brenner by Gili Brenner)

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