What do you get when you combine a visit to bustling Carmel Market, a night out on Rothschild Boulevard, and a day at Hilton Beach? You get a list of the best things to do in Tel Aviv during your free time! Here are six ways to pass the time in The Holy Land’s bustling, modern metropolis.
1. Ignite all your senses at Carmel Market
Since opening its doors in 1920, Carmel Market has cemented itself as an integral part of Tel Aviv’s history and culture. It’s also one of the top Tel Aviv attractions to visit during your free time. “Walking through Carmel Market and seeing colorful spices piled high and merchants selling dallahs (traditional coffee pots) while munching on fresh pita with olive oil and za’atar is really a feast for the senses,” said staffer Kara. Spend your day experiencing Tel Aviv’s culinary traditions by adding the Carmel Market & Israeli Cooking Class with Dinner excursion on our Israel tours. Not only is it one of the best things to do in Tel Aviv during your free time, but you’ll have a local expert with you throughout the whole experience.
The Carmel Market & Israeli Cooking Class with Dinner excursion begins at a cooking school, where you’ll meet experienced chefs and learn what you’ll be whipping up for dinner. Then, head to the famous market—one of the top things to see in Tel Aviv during your free time. You’ll pick up the ingredients you need for your recipe while interacting with vendors and learning about the flavors essential to Israeli cooking. After, make your way back to the school and start cooking alongside the chefs. They’ll teach you new techniques and once your meal is complete, you’ll sit down to enjoy the dinner with some beer and wine. “It was a fantastic experience to go shopping with our chef and work one-on-one to prepare a meal together,” said traveler Tamara.
2. Relax on the stunning beaches
If you’re asking yourself, “Is Tel Aviv worth visiting?” the beaches alone make the answer to that question a resounding, “Yes!” The sandy shores stretch along the western edge of the city and some of the most popular spots include Bugrashov Beach, Frishman Beach, and Gordon Beach. Staffer Bernat even said that hanging out at the beach is one of the best things to do in Tel Aviv during your free time. One more Israel travel tip he has: Cap off the day at Por Do Sol restaurant to sip a drink on their outdoor rooftop at sunset.
Plus, did you know Tel Aviv is one of the world’s top LGBTQIA+ friendly cities? Hilton Beach is Tel Aviv’s unofficial LGBTQIA+ beach and locals and travelers alike are invited to hit the surf and sand here. “I would honestly just recommend going to the beach or any public space and striking up conversation,” said staffer Robert. “Everyone is so welcoming, and you never know where the day will take you!” Hilton Beach is fully equipped with sun chairs, volleyball courts, and a host of restaurants. Those amenities paired with the coastal views and the sense of community found here make it one of the most enjoyable places to visit in Tel Aviv during your free time.
3. Pine over the perfect souvenir at Jaffa Flea Market
Nestled in one of the city’s historic neighborhoods is Jaffa Flea Market, and visiting this indoor-outdoor market is one of the top things to do in the Tel Aviv area. From vintage antiques and spice stalls to trinket shops and textile stores, the sheer number of vendors selling anything and everything is one of the can’t-miss things to see in Tel Aviv during your free time.
Any good shopping day includes a stop for a sweet treat and coffee. Luckily, this marketplace is chock-full of casual dining options. The perfect place for a pick-me-up? Dama. Staffer Bernat said one of the best things to do in Tel Aviv during your free time is to stop at the cafe for a coffee or brunch, or both. You are enjoying a trip to Israel after all!
4. Dig into delicious food and drink
Falafel, and sabich, and craft beer, and... should we go on? If you’re a food lover you don’t even need to ask, “Is Tel Aviv a good place to visit?” The food scene surely makes it a must-visit destination, and ordering all the local specialties is one of the top things to do in the Tel Aviv area.
Start with sabich. It’s a warm pita stuffed with fried eggplant, hard boiled eggs, chopped salad, hummus, tahini, and a drizzle of amba, which is a spicy mango sauce. Our Israel Travel Guide says Sabich Frishman and Sabich Tchernichevsky are two places to visit in Tel Aviv during your free time to order authentic sabich.
Still hungry? Staffer Lael recommends stopping at Falafel Hakosem. “It’s the best falafel I’ve ever had,” he said. Then, wash it all down with some beer. The brewing industry is booming in Israel. With over 100 brewers and around 30 microbreweries to choose from, you’ll never be at a loss for what to do in Tel Aviv during your free time. Our pick? Check out Beer Bazaar, a popular bar chain that pours every local craft beer imaginable.
5. Wander around Old Town Jaffa
All of our Israel tours include a visit to Old Town Jaffa, where you’ll stroll along the cobblestone streets to admire the many shops, restaurants, and cafes located in this historic port city. On our Small Group Tour of Israel you’ll even step inside an Arab Israeli family’s home, meet the homeowners, and enjoy a cup of coffee paired with a traditional sweet. But, there are so many sites to uncover here that if you’re wondering what to do in Tel Aviv during your free time, you should stay in Old Town Jaffa after the guided walk is over.
This district is a backdrop for stories of biblical proportions—literally! “Old Town Jaffa is mentioned four times in the bible,” said staffer Kara. “It’s where prophet Jonah left the city to later be swallowed by the whale. You really feel the history of this ancient port as you wind through alleyways and take in breathtaking views of the Mediterranean coast.” If you want to go even deeper into the area’s Christian heritage, visit St. Peter’s Church. This is one of the Tel Aviv attractions to see during your free time as it’s dedicated to the Apostle Peter’s resurrection of the disciple Tabitha.
6. Put on your dancing shoes and enjoy a night out
After the sun sets, Tel Aviv lights up. The city is famous for its nightlife and getting out on the town is one of the things to do in Tel Aviv during your free time. “The outdoor dining and nightlife scene in Tel Aviv is incredible,” said staffer Lael. There are countless bars and restaurants, and it’s not a true Israeli experience without stopping in for a dance and a drink!
Since the city has such an electric social energy come nightfall, it means there are a slew of spots to satisfy any type of traveler. Rothschild Boulevard is a sure bet if you’re looking for things to do in the Tel Aviv area at night. The southern tip of this street has rooftop bars, jazz clubs, and outdoor courtyards serving up some of that delicious Israeli cuisine.