Allyson Altit

It’s all about TLV

New York may be known as the city that never sleeps, BUT let me tell you that TEL AVIV is, suffice to say, the city that’s NOT sleeping…….

First of all, what is the story with all these cafes and how is it that they are always packed? If I walk onto Masryk Street, the places are busy so I make a U-turn and run down Frishman, where it’s also busy. I thought if I drift off the beaten path to Ibn Givrol toward the end or perhaps Bavli I would catch a more quiet scene. As it turns out no matter which road you take in TA, if there is a “Cafe” there is a crowd. I wonder how much time is spent on work and how much time is spent at play around here. And I’m not getting into the Namal or Yafo at this moment.

People are living life here. It is really nice to observe the family scene, the single scene, and the weekend scene.

If you can plan your walking route to include a stroll through HABIMA and KIKAR RABIN it is always uplifting. Beginning early on Sunday or any morning of the week, Habima has it’s regulars. The energy in that square is great and offers special sunshine in my opinion, I think it is because of the open design. Besides the theaters offering a variety of entertainment, there are a couple of cafes that all have a nice view of the square. The flower garden in the center has become a favorite stop for me to pass through as it offers a calming effect from the garden and a nice place to people watch or just relax.

Kikar Rabin is always filled with great energy. I feel that it may be due to the giant size square that it is, which offers seats and benches near sweet and very pretty trees placed in the shade which are scattered around all in full view of the fountain. The sun always shines on Rabin square. Many nights you could get lucky and find an event taking place on the square; it is just the perfect location for a concert, a speech, or even a children’s show. On Shabbat it is a particularly tranquil and a relaxing place to lounge on one of the chairs and meet up with family and friends; the environment is particularly warm…

If you want to get some good food, Tel Aviv has the food, the selection and the quality to offer. The only problem is most nights in most places you need a reservation. It is as if the cost to dine out is low, but no, it’s actually not. People must be earning well at their jobs, because the restaurants are charging top shekel! It is to the point that some of these restaurants, in my opinion, have been overcharging. I compare with personal dining excursions around the world and really it can be over the top in some of the restaurants here. But more impressive is the advance plans that are needed in order to experience the cuisine. This city is one of the busiest in the culinary world. If you want excellent fish, a hearty burger, homemade pasta, or various Asian food, Tel Aviv has some of the most delicious and innovative styles in every category. And of course I would be neglectful if I did not mention the cafe scene on Mencahem Begin and Rothschild. These locations are impressively popular with young couples with babies or without babies, older folks drinking a coffee, dog walkers, and just lots of people at all times, on all days, hanging out at these small, but very cool kiosks.

The YAM and the scene over there is full of life everyday of the week. If you want to walk, take your stroll on the sand or along the Tayelet. There is so much going on near the beach at any hour of the day. During some visits I felt that I was in the middle of a movie setting, for it was just so beautiful from all angles and filled with lots of life. You have the racket ball crew, and the volleyball games on the sand as well as soccer games to watch. There are also always windsurfers and regular surfers and the sailing schools in full view and this all happens during winter months as well! In addition there are the gym stations on the beach where the machines are busy and open to the public, too. On Shabbat there is dancing where there is a crowd that performs from a local dancing school. It is fun to watch and attracts quite a crowd. And if the weather is good (and it usually is) lots of luck – you will need to sit at any one of the cafes from Yafo down to the Namal. Be prepared to wait for a table on a warm weather day in particular. On those days it appears that the entire city is at the beach area. Once again doesn’t anyone cook! While you wait for your table the port just behind Gordon pool is quite picturesque to stroll over to, true tranquility.

Yet there are so many areas to fit into your route when walking this city. Hayakaron Park that lies just between the Namal in the Northern part of the city is delightful. If you want yoga classes they can be found as yoga is being taught in small groups by a variety of instructors in the center of the park. Rowing classes are also offered on the waterway along the park. It is a very sweet area to relax and picnic in and apparently Tel Avivians are doing that at any free moment they have.

Neve Tzedek is also really adorable. It almost feels like it is hiding in Tel Aviv but when you walk into that area you can find some more good restaurants, very cool shops and people that appear to live in their own private world. If you visit that part of the city on a Tuesday you can continue on the way out of Neve Tzedek and roam into the Tuesday art festival off of Allenbey right at the foot of the shuk. Many local artists displaying everything from unique handmade jewelry to decorative objects and trendy gifts. Worth a walk around over there for sure!

There is a hustle and bustle that marches to a unique beat in Tel Aviv. Not so easy to describe, as busy as a day can be there, it generates a remarkable sort of serene feel to it which seems a bit out of character for such a booming and flourishing city that can be nerve wracking at times. The attitude is good, from morning until night, people are going strong.

About the Author
Allyson Altit is from New York. She has worked in the travel industry for over 30 years as a leisure specialist. Her area of expertise is in European destinations and Israel. She has been involved with charity work for the Hadassah organization as well. In 2009 she graduated from Queens College majoring in Jewish studies. She has just completed writing her first novel...