Think of a Mediterranean hotspot and chances are you’re thinking of the glittering coast of Spain, Italy or France. But for Episode #3 of Stay True Cities, we’re heading further east, past Greece and Croatia, all the way to the junction between the Middle East and Europe: Tel Aviv, Israel.
Recently hailed as the #5 most Googled tourist destination for 2020 and hitting Forbes #2 city in its annual must-visit hotlist, Tel Aviv’s tourism’s pull is its casually cosmopolitan vibe, and it’s finally getting the attention it deserves. From hipster-happy cafes to nonstop nightlife, old-time charms of the ancient city in Jaffa to the bustling metropolis along Rothschild avenue, every corner of the city moves to a relaxed beat, one where sunshine pleasures and a proud commitment to LGBTQ Pride overrides the government’s complicated politics.
We meet local performance artist Uriel Yakutiel to get under the skin of the city you never thought to visit (but probably should). Watch to see how the city fosters his personal, creative expression through its unique mix of contrasts and juxtapositions. Empowering him to stay true with the freedom to be who he truly is.
MOST OF WHAT I DO IS ABOUT PERFORMANCE ART, AND MY ART IS ALL ABOUT THESE CONTRASTS. I FEEL THAT WHAT I DO IS ABOUT FREEING YOURSELF AND YOUR EXPRESSION TO BE WHATEVER YOU WANT TO BE.
FROM THE EYES OF THE LOCALS. LIFE, CULTURE, HISTORY, AND MORE IN TEL AVIV.
Tel Aviv is of course, a city not without controversy. But like anywhere in the world where people are living through complicated issues, thrums the underlying need for outsiders to see Israeli’s as individuals; separate from complicated politics. To truly get under the skin of the city, we speak to three locals to find out ‘My Tel Aviv’ means to them.
Dani Bar Shay of Everything is Honey costume studio has spent a lifetime outfitting nearly every performer that’s taken stage in Tel Aviv. Eurovision contestants, TV personalities, the biggest drag queens in the city, he’s seen and dressed them all. Press play to find out how the famous gay scene of the city is intrinsically linked to the culture of Tel Aviv.
For most Tel Aviv locals, a sunny day without at least a stroll on the beachfront is like being served whisky soda without the lemon. There’s a lot of outdoors living to be had in the city and we spoke to Anat to find out the main draw: Tel Aviv’s beach.
We met the man who gave the world Shakshouka in a pan- Dr Shakshouka for a brief history of the old town and epicentre for modern Tel Aviv culture which was born out of Jaffa.
It’s impossible to describe anywhere in Tel Aviv without the gentle buzz and relaxed energy thrumming through the city.
Check out our curated list of what to see in Tel Aviv to get the true east-meets-west V-I-B-E-S.
Teder is a place where late-night hangs shifts into early-morning parties all too easily. Born from a nomadic concept of pop up bars and pizza vans around the city, Teder finally set down roots within a disused shopping mall. A hip open-air space where the music flows as smoothly as the drinks, dip into old shopfronts flipped to dancefloors to boogie, or head back to the bar area to lounge on marble staircases and no-frills picnic benches.
Come for the innovative Middle Eastern menu, stay for the music history lesson at the sister bar of Teder: Port Said. A strictly daytime lounging institution with serious eats and primo beats that’s easily made its way into most top-ten lists of Tel Aviv restaurants. This inner-city oasis doubles as a restaurant-come-bar with a serious vinyl library that specialises in forgotten old school artists and re-issuing their records for the new generation. Issa a vibe.
If you like to explore on feet rather than wheels, chances are you’ll be strolling down the tree-lined street of Rothschild Boulevard. Make sure to stop at Café Habima for the freshest pastries and tastiest coffee to fuel your wanderings.