Pride in Tel Aviv: A First Timer's Guide

by  Alex Schechter | May 7, 2014
Tel Aviv skyline
Tel Aviv skyline / Dance60/iStock

We've showed you how to experience the best of Tel Aviv on a shoestring budget — but for those of you traveling there next month, a bit more guidance is in order. Tel Aviv Pride, which takes place June 8-14, is one of the world's largest pride celebrations (over 100,000 celebrants made it out last year). And not just that: it's a fantastic opportunity to see the city's most vibrant bars, beaches, and restaurants come alive. Here, a few essential spots to add to your list:

Eden House: A renovated 19th century townhouse in the heart of Kerem HaTemaneim beckons travelers of all stripes. The 12 rooms, all fitted out in retro-Victorian decor, include an "Economy" category, which sells for as low as $79 a night. Downstairs, there's a Tea Room inspired by the owner's Russian grandmother, where you can fuel up on caffeine before the festivities.

Brown Hotel TLV: Israel's only Design Hotels member, the wood-accented rooms at this trendy downtown hangout are mini-worlds unto themselves. A newly-opened Garden Lounge bar offers weekly DJ nights and other events, while a rooftop bar — with jacuzzi, outdoor showers, and a lounge area for sunbathing — remains the place to be seen.

Gordon Gym & Pool: Plenty of hotels these days are equipped with on-site fitness centers, but what if you feel like socializing with locals during your workout? Squeeze in a little pre-parade cardio at this locally-vetted spot, which offers day passes from $25, granting full access to the gym and pool. The nearby Gordon-Frishman Beach also offers outdoor gym facilities.

Shpagat: If you arrive in the city solo, a good place to get yourself oriented is Shpagat, a pulsing dive bar with weekly themed parties, live music performances, and even the occasional local artist exhibit. During Pride week, use it as a way to meet fellow travelers, knock back cheap drinks, and enjoy post-parade shenanigans.

The Dolphinarium: Feeling the ocean's pull? Head south along the city's iconic beachfront promenade until you reach the Dolphinarium, a crumbling former amusement park that now hosts a popular weekly drumming circle. Locals show up each Friday at sunset with a beer or wine and boogie late into the night.

Jaffa Flea Market: Stroll up and down the tiny streets of the city's original port center, Jaffa, where dozens of vendors set up shop six days a week selling musical instruments, jewelry, antique clocks, woven carpets — pretty much anything you can think of. Right around the corner is the famous Cafe Puaa, a two-level lunch spot decorated like an old library.

Port Sa’id: An Egyptian-themed restaurant with a twist, this cafe on Allenby Street doesn't hit its stride until well past midnight, when a post-bar crowd shows up to bop to Egyptian tunes on the radio, while devouring an array of hearty sandwiches, salads, steaks, and typical Nile valley nosh, served up by Chef Eyal Shani.

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