Sexy, sultry Tel Aviv is as cosmopolitan and liberal a city as you will find. The Mediterranean Sea metropolis is the veritable nerve center of Israel and a far, far cry, both culturally and socially, from Jerusalem.
While a relatively short drive from Israel’s capital and pilgrimage city, Tel Aviv is the global, progressive face of the country. Fashionable, hip, avant-garde, bohemian, famously laid-back and international, the city throbs with nonpareil nightlife and restaurants. Tel Aviv has a magnificent architectural landscape and a panoply of parks to admire and with long, hot summers, the Mediterranean coast always beckons.
Here are ten must-see attractions to enjoy in the city.
Tel Aviv’s most famous feature for tourists, beaches provide the city with a gorgeous, unbeatable edge. Like other Mediterranean hubs, the city has a wide variety to enjoy, from meat market-type pickup spots for young singles to quiet family-centric spans of coastline. If you want peace and quiet, venture away from the high-rise skyline to the north or south.
One of the best markets in Israel, bar none, Carmel is a hive of activity throughout the week (save Shabbat of course). A great place to pick up picnic provisions and mingle with locals, Carmel Market also provides access to some of Tel Aviv’s best spots, like Magen David Square, King George Street and Nahalat Binyamin Street.
The ancient port city of Jaffa is now part of metro Tel Aviv and represents a nice break from the city. The fine municipality contains many notable religious landmarks that visitors can enjoy in one easy afternoon.
The venerable heart of Tel Aviv is handsome Zina Dizengoff Square. The iconic point of interest was built in the mid-1930s but was raised to new heights in 1986 with the inauguration of Yaacov Agam’s world famous kinetic sculpture fountain. All in all, a great spot to people watch in Tel Aviv.
Human rights advocate and Israeli politician Natan Sharansky is the eminent director of the Beth Hatefutsoth, or more formal Nahum Goldmann Museum of the Jewish Diaspora. Built on the campus of Tel Aviv University, the museum traces the epic story of Jewish life in exile from the Holy Land.
5. David Ben-Gurion Museum
The name Ben-Gurion is ever-present in Israel. The late first Prime Minister and foremost champion of the country was one of Time‘s “100 Most Important People of the 20th Century”. The former home of the statesman is now the fine David Ben-Gurion Museum.
A lush strip of sand that calls to mind the Riviera and South Beach, Tel Aviv’s Herbert Samuel Esplanade is chock-full of resort hotels, high-rise condos and pretty people.
3. Eretz Israel Museum
Israel’s premier historical and archaeological museum is built around the supreme 3,000-year-old Tell Qasile excavation site. Throughout the years the inherent dig has unearthed a treasure trove of distinct cultural artifacts from as far back as the 4th millennium BCE. As a result, the Eretz contains several sections devoted to various disciplines, such as earthenware, copper and coins.
2. Tel Aviv Museum of Art
A massive two-panel mural by pop artist Roy Lichtenstein welcomes visitors to the excellent Tel Aviv Museum of Art and hints at a glorious permanent collection inside. Indeed, with works of art by Kandinsky, Klimt, Pollock, Picasso, Miró, Matta and Pousette-Dart, the museum is first-rate.
The top must-see attraction in Tel Aviv is actually many in one. The ensemble of architecture that makes up a UNESCO World Heritage Site known as “The White City – the Modern Movement” is more than notable. With more than 4,000 landmarks in Bauhaus or International style, a direct consequence of German Jewish immigration after the rise of Hitler and the Nazis, Tel Aviv boasts a spectacular architectural heritage.
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