Tel Aviv, on the western coast of Israel, is well known for its rich history and modern flair. Here are 5 reasons New Yorkers will love visiting Tel Aviv.
1. Accessibility and Ease of Travel
Delta, United, and El Al offer nonstop overnight flights to and from Tel Aviv out of NYC airports, which means you hardly lose any time traveling. Once in Tel Aviv, airport staff, taxi drivers, restaurant owners, and the general population all speak English well. Wifi is available at nearly every establishment (Ben Gurion Airport, hotels, restaurants, coffee shops) so you can stay connected and explore the city on your own. The car service company Gett (an Israeli based startup) is also widely used in Tel Aviv so you can book taxi rides through your phone. Gett service to the airport (at the time of this post) needs to be booked at least 18 hours in advance.
2. Restaurants and Nightlife
Foodies will rejoice at all the dining options in Tel Aviv. Indulge in tasty tapas options at Vicky Cristina’s (order the sliders!), savory shakshuka at Cafe Sonya, and some modern European cuisine at Babayaga while you are here. For breakfast, head to Benedict in the Rothschild area. Thursday and Friday nights are most popular for late night going out, but, just like New York, the after work crowd can be found enjoying drinks on Tuesday and Wednesday nights during the week. New Yorkers have a high bar set for food and cocktails, and Tel Aviv does not disappoint.
3. Historical Significance
Admist the trendy dining and widely available wifi, it is easy to forget how much history Tel Aviv has. Head to the Old Jaffa area in Tel Aviv to explore this ancient port city. Make Tel Aviv your base as you take day trips to Jerusalem, Caesarea, Masada, and, of course, the Dead Sea.
Dining at trendy and delicious restaurants will run anywhere between 35 USD and 55 USD per person, including alcohol. The same meal and type of restaurant in NYC would be nearly double. More importantly, the majority of the upscale restaurants take credit card and will actually split a bill over 9 credit cards (from experience). For casual meals, the per person cost is anywhere between 10 USD and 20 USD.
Break up your historical sightseeing with a day or two at the beach. The beaches in Tel Aviv are great for sunbathing, surfing, and swimming. The surfing is more towards the Jaffa portion of town and the jettys further north provide safe and calm waters for relaxing. Bars and restaurants line the beach so you can enjoy the sunset over dinner. Make a reservation at Manta Ray well in advance as this popular spot fills up quickly for seaside dinner reservations.
Things to remember
Smoking IS allowed in bars and restaurants so keep it in mind when selecting a table. While Tel Aviv is very safe, given the region’s turbulent history, security here is taken very seriously. Plan to spend a few hours at the airport on arrival and on departure. It is common for questioning to take close to 30 minutes per person and for luggage to be searched very thoroughly. While Tel Aviv is a cosmopolitan city, remember to dress modestly when visiting religious sites in the surrounding areas. Strongly consider hiring a local tour guide. We did and it made our experience exceptional. Some sites, especially ones in Jerusalem, are best visited with a guide that speaks the local language and knows how to get around the city. Overall, by taking proper precautions, safety was never an issue during our visit, and I would not hesitate to return.