Here’s a little preview of what underground Tel Aviv is like and how you can find alternative things to see and do while you’re in town. I wrote a whole guide about it, which you can download from this site.
Tel Aviv is the most liberal city in Israel. It’s modern, westernised and full of action. Tel Aviv has a huge gay scene, a good underground party scene and alternative art and music scenes.
But Tel Aviv has also retained some of its older, more historic side. I don’t mean just the old Bauhaus and eclectic buildings (though these are also pretty cool), but all kinds of weird old shops, markets and random sights and sounds you’re not likely to see in your average major Western city.
All this is stuffed into what is essentially a relatively small town – Tel Aviv has a population of about 500,000. This means you can get just about anywhere worthwhile in under 30 minutes walk or around 10-15 minutes of cycling. It’s easy to get around by foot or bike, as the city is predominantly flat. Though it can occasionally be a tad frustrating, Tel Aviv definitely has its own unique vibe and style.
Underground Tel Aviv comes in many forms. No other city in Israel draws as many cool young people (or young people who believe they are cool 🙂 ) and the result is a good number of alternative Tel Aviv night clubs and a whole load of alternative music venues, cafes and bars in Tel Aviv’s typical eclectic, casual style.
If you’re expecting a religious experience like something you’d find in Jerusalem or Nazareth, think again. Although there are religious people in Tel Aviv, like anywhere else in Israel, you’re far more likely to have a religious experience on a dance floor or at a gourmet restaurant in Tel Aviv. It’s very much a secular, cosmopolitan city and there is always something to do and somewhere to go, 24/7 (with the exception of the occasional holiday). Chilled licensing laws means that you can get a drink 24 hours a day, though locals are more into their cafe culture than heavy drinking on the whole.
The street food in Tel Aviv is, frankly, pretty amazing. You could actually live on it. Cheaply. However, you’ll probably want to try some restaurants as well (less cheaply). There are also plenty of options for vegetarian and vegan food in Tel Aviv.
Tel Aviv also has a very big bodywork and complimentary therapy aspect. There are plenty of yoga studios in Tel Aviv (practically on every other street). Dance studios, martial arts and complementary therapy clinics are also remarkably common.
If you want to, you can also find quite an active left wing / anarchist scene here that includes both alternative community centres and regular anti occupation demos.
For over 230 pages of pure Tel Aviv information including underground cafes, bars, activities, venues and other hangouts, download the full guide. It’s 100% advertising free and is how this site makes money while retaining its independence. You won’t find any sponsored listings or advertorials inside, just honest reviews of the best places in town.