[Travel Advice] Tel Aviv, Israel

Random Observation/Comment #781: There’s so much more to eat and see in Israel. Time to plan another trip.

Totally looks like the Dude is walking on water

What Tel Aviv Does Well:

  • Super friendly bike and scooter commuting – The roads have dedicated bike lanes. There’s even a new modern looking light rail being tested that runs North and South connecting major neighborhoods.
  • Extremely attractive people who are very health conscious – We think it’s because the mandatory military training leads to an incredible regiment and dedication.
  • Public park gyms – Even people walking home from work in work clothes will stop to do some exercises.
  • Beaches – I love the jetties, shallow water, and small waves. Even in Nov, I thought the water was refreshing.
  • Foot volleyball and paddle ball sports – While walking on the beach, I loved watching the one touch juggle circles and super experienced older teams.
  • Veggies and salads – If salads tasted this good in the US, I’d totally be able to go vegetarian. Tomato salads come with the whole vine.
  • Stray cats, crows, and bats – The cats are super friendly and wander, but I wouldn’t recommend petting them (in case there’s diseases). Bats flying near the trees in the middle of the night and they’re just super cool. On a side note, I saw the latest episodes of the Rick and Morty Season 5, so I love crows.
  • Extremely walkable city – I was able to walk from old Jaffa to Tel Aviv north along the beach within 30 minutes.

Things I Didn’t Expect:

  • Palm trees – Beautiful trees lining the beach and parks. For some reason the flora didn’t connect in my mind because I expected more drought and desert.
  • Jaffa friendliness to multiple religions – Super modern acceptance and practice. Synagogues, monasteries, and mosques within blocks of each other.
  • Israeli weddings are super relaxed and just a fun party – Congratulations to Stephanie and Aviad! Lovely ceremony with delicious meals and lots of dancing. Party until 1:30AM with a gorgeous space.
  • Not as kosher keeping as I thought it would be – There’s definitely a lot of people who keep kosher, but it’s pretty flexible.
  • High real estate costs – It’s pretty close to NYC prices for rentals and apartment purchases with matching space scarcity.
  • Tree fruit and pretty much no grass – I love the extra color of the blooming fruit while walking through neighborhoods. It does feel less like a concrete jungle.
  • Mosquitos – I think the mosquitos just like me. Long pants or mosquito repellent recommended.
  • Smoking is everywhere – People still smoke inside bars and on the streets. I don’t think vaping has caught on.
  • Dinged/Dented cars – There’s not much space for parking or wide streets for driving. It seems like every car has scratches.
  • Be careful of bikes and electric scooters – The bike lanes are arguably more dangerous than the car ones.

Quick Itinerary:

I didn’t have a long trip. For me, it was more about catching up with old friends and being in the moment. We did walk around everywhere though.

Wandering areas

  • Tel Aviv along Dizengoff St – We stayed a block off from the major street and usually just walked out the door to explore new restaurants and bars.
  • Tel Aviv Carmel Market – If you want a huge market of random things, the Carmel Market is open on Tuesday and Saturdays.
  • Old Jaffa – We started walking on the port area and continued along the cobblestone stores. It’s super artsy and a scenic place to get lost.
  • Florentin – There were some back streets with some incredible graffiti and weird shops.
  • Wandering on the beach – I can easily spend 4 hours just walking up and down the beach area. The boardwalk feels natural and inviting.

Places I loved visiting

  • Sushi at Moon – I would have sushi here on a daily basis. It’s a little expensive, but the business lunch is the way to go.
  • Persian and Iranian food at Kaful – I didn’t even know I wanted this as a category of food. Delicious combination of flavors.
  • Beers at Cheers – This rock and roll bar was very inviting towards Americans. We stayed up until 4AM every night.
  • Hummus at a place that didn’t speak English – The full set of dishes were really abundant and expansive. I love the smooth with the chunky.

General delicious eats

  • Fresh Juices – So much juicing!
  • Malabi – Crushed orchid pudding with rose water syrup on top. I don’t like desserts, but this is pretty refreshing.
  • Hummus – I think the pita is just as important. Loved the flavors and the crema that is used in general.
  • Pomegranate – Crunchy and juicy.
  • Shawarma – Absolutely a must drunk food.
  • Challah bread – The bakeries in general were really delicious. Maybe there’s something in the water for some tight breads.

~See Lemons Love Israel