The southern part of Tel Aviv boasts of a variety of attractions that include sights, shops, restaurants, cafés and clubs. You can find there historic buildings and neighborhoods, hardcore nightclubs operating well into the wee hours of the morning, fancy and well-designed wine bars, an alternative bar scene, quaint shops, high- rise buildings towering over old one- story houses with decaying pavements alongside the poorest neighborhoods in town.
With the exception of pockets in Neve Tsedek and parts of the Jaffa beach, southern Tel Aviv is less developed than the central and northern parts of the city. The imaginary line of southern Tel Aviv starts in the corner of Yehuda Ha’Levi and Allenby and ends all the way in Jaffa, which before it was integrated into the Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality, had a history of several thousand years of independent as a port city.
The population in these parts also differs quite a bit from that in other parts of the city. In Neve Tsedek and Jaffa beach you’ll come across the city’s old and new (Jewish) money, mainly those involved in the finance industry, who can afford some of the most expensive real estate in the country, and live in renovated old structures which were once inhabited by the city’s poor in cobblestone and narrow alleyways that have now become fashionable.
Around them live the less fortunate. They are, among others, the Russian Jews and Christians who immigrated to Israel in the 1990s, who have their own shops, grocery stores and book stores (a surprisingly not so small minority does not even speak Hebrew). Also, in the areas around the Central Station, in Ha’Tikva Neighborhood along Ha’Aliya and Yafo Streets, in the Shapira Neighborhood, the Shabazi Neighborhood and the like, live the poorer “Mizrahim”, Jews who came here from the neighboring Arab countries in the 1950s after being expelled by hostile regimes. Living amongst them are African refugees and migrant workers. Though not dangerous, these areas are more rife with crime, and most are downright unpleasant after dark.
In contrast, it is when the sun goes down that Florentin comes to life. In this SoHo-like quarter, artists, musicians, hippies and wannabe artists, musicians and hippies, have made themselves an alternative Tel Aviv neighborhood that is ever growing in popularity. This very low-tech industrial zone turned residential and entertainment district has succeeded in creating enough viable and enviable food, drink and shopping options to allow residents to remain within the confines of Florentin all year round without feeling they’re missing anything. More often than not, it’s those who are not getting a taste of what Florentin has to offer that are missing out.
East of Begin Street, especially on Yad Harutsim, you’ll find many restaurants and nightclubs, surrounded by an industrial district which is lively by day and goes quiet by night.