The part of the city that is central Tel Aviv is like a gift that keeps on giving. A different kind of gift every time: architecture, shopping scene, party scene, coffee scene, and even the theater and movie scenes – with several movie theaters. Welcome to the beating heart of Tel Aviv.
This heart starts south of Bugrashov and goes all the way south until it reaches Yehuda Ha’Levi. Its eastern boundary is Ibn Gabirol and its western one is Ha’Yarkon. Here you’ll find more things to do, see, eat and drink than you’ll have time for. Every other part of TA has its own particular thing going for it, but as it is with most metropolitan cities – nothing rocks like the center of town.
If you’re into architecture in general and Bauhaus in particular, you’ve arrived in Bauhaus central. Rothschild and its surroundings have a sublime collection of early 20th century structures, some of which have been so gracefully restored that you’ll want to walk by them over and over again.
Bialik is not as famous as Rothschild, but it’s just as exquisitely preserved and just as historical, with its own little pedestrian mall and several interesting museums showcasing the street’s significance in TA history. This history can be seen almost everywhere in the city’s center, from the first Hebrew neighborhood of Ahuzat Bayit to the lottery of land on Rothschild in the 1930’s, and the rapid developments of the surrounding streets as the city began to take shape and Jewish immigrants started flowing in.
More buildings to marvel at are around Dizaengoff Square and Nahalat Binyamin, which was built even before Tel Aviv was a concept, while the Yemenite Quarter had Jews living in it as far back as the 19th century.
Not everything here has an historic value, rest assured. This area is home to some truly splendid restaurants offering all kinds of concept, fusion and gourmet food. It all depends if you go to Nahalat Binyamin, the Yemenite Quarter or Bugrashov. Here is also where most of the city’s cafés are huddled together, allowing you to coffee-hop or gain a few pounds thanks to tasty deserts. More into drinking? Well, new drinking spots open up every month trying to outdo one another. You can go chic, cozy or gigantic, it’s all here. And then there’s Lillinblum Street, which is Routhschild’s nightlife partner, and that’s saying a lot.
On the shopping front, there are just too many options to name. Dizengoff Center and its hundreds of shops are one thing and the stalls at the Carmel Market are another.
Those of you wishing to make a day out of an ordinary Friday, can start the morning in the Crafts Market on Nahalat Binyamin buying art items and artifacts from local artisans while all around you street performers try to brighten your day. Then have a genuine hummus at the Yemenite Quarter, go through Rothschild and admire its beauty, until you get to the Dizengoff Center Food Fair with its stalls filling every space with traditional Israeli and international cooking. Your final stop might as well be the Junk Market at Dizengoff Square, with its antiques and bargains.
Entertainment buffs will not be disappointed by the movie selection, while true theater lovers can sample simultaneously-translated plays in Habima National Theater, where some of the country’s best actors, writers and directors come to work, believing that if you can make it there you can make it anywhere.
If you have only a few days to spend in Tel Aviv, you can happily spend them all here, and not really feel like you have missed out on anything. On the contrary, you’ll need a few weeks to feel you’ve seen all the city center has to offer.