Many people don't know that Tel Aviv was actually the first modern city established by Jews back in 1909, when the State of Israel was still known as Palestine.
During the second Aliyah wave to Israel, cities were beginning to fill up, and a group of about 66 families decided to take their vision to the sand dunes just outside of old and overcrowded city of Jaffa.
Originally known as Achuzat Bayit, the Tel Aviv we that all know and love today has always been a home of openness, culture, and vibrant life. Since the beginning, Tel Aviv was planned as a garden city, with many shared open spaces for its residents to gather and enjoy life together.
For over 100 years, Tel Aviv has lived up to its original vision, and has been a cultural center for Israelis and tourists alike. As a coastal city, it is well known for its beaches and nightlife. But what other hidden gems are waiting to be discovered in this garden city?
Well, iKonnect has the "Secret Tel Aviv" that you have been looking for, with some of the best, yet lesser known places that this social and vibrant paradise has to offer! Ready?
Cafes, Cocktails and Culture.
Something that makes Tel Aviv so unique is the enormous array of cafes and bars that seem to be ALWAYS busy. Day or night, you will easily find the streets of Tel Aviv filled with coffee drinkers and brunch goers at the cutest spots, and lined with beers and cocktails each night.
But here, as the cultural hotspot of the country, art, music and activism is always infused into everyday life!
1. Beit Ha'amudim- בית העמודים: This internationally acclaimed jazz bar sits right in the beautiful neighborhood of Nachalat Binyamin, and houses live, professional jazz music each night of the week. It's cozy and funky interior is the perfect place to sit back with a drink, and let the sounds of the trumpet and piano take you away!
2. Makers TLV- מייקרס: Coffee, plants, and art. Can it get any better than this combination? This unique shop doubles as both a plant shop and boutique café, and is the home of a vibrant "community center", where local artists and musicians gather for intimate workshops and performances!
3. Na Laga'at- נא לגעת: This non-profit cultural and arts center which sits in Jaffa is a home of tolerance and integration for deaf and blind Israelis, and serves to educate the public about this population, through art and love. The center offers a "BlackOut" dining experience at their restaurant, in addition to many educational workshops and theater performances with the center's participants. Food and art has never felt so meaningful!
4. Chess on the Boulevard- שח בשדרה: As we said, Tel Avivians LOVE a good communal experience, especially when it involves games! Situated right on the beautiful Yehudit Boulevard, community members come together each Sunday night at 7PM to play chess together along the colorful and picturesque boulevard, with laughter and drinks!
5. Folk Dancing on the Promenade: Tel Aviv may be hip and modern, but Tel Avivians definitely know how to honor our age-old culture...with folk dancing! Every Saturday on the coastal promenade, hundreds gather with live Israeli music, and spend the afternoon dancing with one another. It's classy, it's lively, and it's oh so wholesome.
6. Graffiti Tour: Street art may be seen as a distraction in some cities, but in Tel Aviv, it's a true art form. With some of the most famous street murals and art around the world, this city is filled with graffiti gems. Specifically in the areas of Florentine and the Jaffa Port, you'll find some of the coolest and funkiest art. The city is known to be home of Rami Meiri murals as well, one of the most famous street artists! Happy graffiti hunting!
7. Levinsky Market- שוק לוינסקי: Israel is definitely known for it's magical outdoor markets. We all know the famous ones, like shuk HaCarmel in Tel Aviv. But many of us don't know that within the city lie some pretty neat spots of authentic culture and cuisine- one of those being Levinsky Market of South Tel Aviv. This shuk is home of spices, delicatessen and the unique cuisine of older cultures brought over to Israel, specifically Greek and Persian.
8. Ecstatic Dance- דאנס אקסטטיכ: This communal experience may happen all over the world, but it is definitely one that perfectly jives with the vibes of Tel Aviv. Basically one huge dance party, Ecstatic Dance experiences offer 2 hours of DJ'd music, in a space of total non-judgment and openness, for the chance to dive into uninhibited self expression with the flow of the music!
9. Kuchinate- קוצ'ינטה: Not only is Tel Aviv the cultural center of modern Israel, but is also a place of deep compassion and openness, and stands as the country's heart of social change. Kuchinate creates a safe and supportive space for African asylum-seeking women through the wonderful art of crocheting! These women not only sell their artwork, but offer crochet workshops and host traditional coffee ceremonies as well. In Tel Aviv, art and meaning usually come hand in hand!
10. Palmach Museum- מוזאון הפלמ"ח: The Palmach was the active brigade of the Haganah, Israel's pre-state military force, who trained underground for years during British rule. We can attribute much of Israel's establishment as a modern, independent country to the Palmach forces, and have a museum dedicated to these brave heroes right in Tel Aviv!
11. Park Hayarkon: Tel Aviv may be known for its picturesque beaches and its turquoise waters, but many don't realize this garden city is home to some of Israel's nicest parks! Park Hayarkon is one of those hidden treasures, with a botanical garden, sports facilities, concert halls, and even a water park! Rent some bikes and cycle through the magic of this park, or rent a paddle boat, and flow with the Yarkon river in peace!
12. Hatachana in Neve Tzedek- מתחם התחנה: Situated on the old railway station between Jaffa and Jerusalem, Neve Tzedek is home to one of the chicest and vibrant areas in all of Israel. Hatachana is a fashion, art and music wonderland, with restaurants and boutiques galore, heaven for any culture buff. It's great to wander on your own, with friends for a classy night out, and perfect for families too!