The Five Best Things To Do In Tel Aviv, According To An Insider

Here Are The Best Spots In Tel Aviv, From The Beach To The Theater, Local Markets, And More
Gali Kremer, guests relations manager at The Drisco Tel Aviv.
Gali Kremer
Guest Relations Manager, The Drisco Tel Aviv

The Drisco Tel Aviv's guest relations manager, Gali Kremer, has been fascinated with travel, hospitality, and people, since early childhood. After pursuing an MBA in Hospitality and Entrepreneurship, Gali traveled the world as a business and first class flight attendant in charge of VIP clients for El Al Airlines. Soon, she was promoted to the position of company trainer for etiquette and servicing for VIPs. Now married and a mother of two, Gali entered the hotel business a number of years ago, and her passion for travel, hospitality has continued to grow. "We are fortunate to work in an industry that encounters people while they are making memories and fulfilling dreams, and our role is to make sure their experience is perfect, surpassing even their own high expectations. This is the part of the job that excites me and my team every day," says Gali.

The entrance to The Drisco Tel Aviv by night.
The Drisco Tel Aviv

The Drisco is a luxury boutique property in the American Colony neighborhood of Tel Aviv, just outside the old city walls of Jaffa. The structure dates back to 1866 and was, for a time, Israel’s most prestigious hotel, where it attracted the likes of Thomas Cook and Mark Twain. Today, after a 10-year restoration, the Drisco mixes European and Turkish décor elements, revived historic murals, and 21st-century conveniences like grand marble bathrooms and mini-bars stocked with locally-sourced treats. Spacious, original wood balconies offer stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea, while select rooms overlook the enchanting cobblestone streets below. For ultimate privacy, guests can book the historic Villa Drisco just next door, comprised of five rooms, including the beautiful Norton Suite, complete with a private terrace overlooking the hotel’s inner garden.

Local Recommendations

The Best Of Tel Aviv

The Drisco Tel Aviv's Very Own Insider Shares Her Guide To The Best Things To Do In Tel Aviv.

Surfside Stroll

Tel Aviv is at heart, a beach city. So a dip in the Mediterranean is a must, but enjoying the sand and sun is just as important. A favorite of many Tel Avivians, including Gali, is a walk along the beach, from the Jaffa Port to Tel Aviv Port. There's a boardwalk with walking, running, and cycling paths along the whole route, allowing for city dwellers and tourists alike to enjoy the path in various ways. As Gali says, "If you have the blue sea, sand, and sun, what more do you need?"

A stretch of beach between Jaffa Port and Tel Aviv. Photo courtesy of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.

Clay-Oven Baked Specialties

Tel Aviv is full of lively, colorful restaurants with outdoor gardens that remain full well into the night. Next to the Great Synagogue in Tel Aviv, hip and happy Santa Katarina (2 Har Sinai Street; +972-58-782-0292) is a prime example of this type of restaurant, but it garners acclaim for its skillfully prepared and tasty cuisine, like meat, fish, vegetables, and pastas cooked in its taboon (clay) oven from Italy. There's a curated list of pizzas and focaccias, but the crusty Jerusalem bagel is a must to start. Wash it all down with one of their eclectic beers or wines, and save room for the warm semolina cake served with homemade ice cream.

The spread at Santa Katerina. Photos courtesy of Santa Katerina.

Jaffa's Singular Church With a View

Perched on a hill by the sea in Jaffa, St. Peter's Church (1 Mifratz Shlomo Street; +972-3-682-2871) is a grand structure with elements dating back to the 13th century, although the current building is from the late 1800s. The grand façade has a lofty bell tower and inside vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows await. The historic church contains the remnants of St. Louis's citadel from the 13th century, which include two circular rooms with low ceilings and fire embrasures that supposedly housed Napoleon in 1799. Quiet and peaceful, the church is the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, while still enjoying a spectacular view of it.

An aerial view of St. Peter’s Church. Photo courtesy of Gilad Kavalerchik.

An Authentic Israeli Market

Israel is full of incredible shuks, or markets, where fresh produce, locally sourced meat, and delicious street food are ubiquitous. Jerusalem's Ben Yehuda is world-famous, and Tel Aviv's Shuk HaCarmel is renowned across the country. But smaller, authentic markets abound—if you know where to find them. HaTikva Market (HaTikva Street) is the colorful yet intimate market where Gali goes to buy special spices, hard-to-find vegetables, and local Israeli beef and lamb. And she can't leave without a quick meal of freshly made couscous and lamb. The best part? Vendors are super friendly and will easily remember you—and your tastes.

A stall inside HaTikva Market. Photo courtesy of Avishai-Teicher.

Performance Art

Gali loves to experience live performances, and the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center's Cameri Theater (19 Shaul HaMelech Blvd; +972-3-606-0960) is a favorite spot to see local Israeli performances, as well as classical plays, modern dramas, and musicals. The Cameri, which has five auditoriums, stages 10 to 12 new productions per year, as well as some revivals. The theater is so respected that in 2005, it won the Israel Prize for its achievements and contribution to society and the State of Israel thanks to its thoughtful approach to tense subjects that affect Israeli citizens. It's a great way to experience real Israeli culture through the lens of theater.

Theater-goers arriving at the Cameri Theater before a show. Photo courtesy of Miki Koren.