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Tel Aviv

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Tel Aviv Basics

Tel Aviv

In Tel Aviv, Israel’s commercial and cultural capital, the Mediterranean Sea makes its presence felt in more ways than one. Of course, there’s the beach: some 10 miles of sandy shoreline that stretch from the bustling shopping area of the Tel Aviv Port in the north to Old Jaffa in the south. And there’s the climate: almost always sunny and generally warm, with common daytime temperatures in the low 80s. Tel Aviv’s heat (especially in the summer) has the twin effect of putting the brakes on those who try to do too much during the day while ramping up an enviably sun-kissed lifestyle. There are too many sidewalk cafés too count, and after the sun sets, the city’s nightlife takes over at a frenzied pace.

If beach bliss and shopping adventures—start with HaTachana, an outdoor designer mall in a beautifully renovated train depot—leave you hungry, there’s no better place in the Middle East to indulge your appetite. In Tel Aviv, New Israeli cuisine really takes flight.

In sharp contrast to more serious-minded Jerusalem, Tel Aviv is a city that trades on the moment, not the past. Even its most famous architecture, the Bauhaus buildings of the “White City,” with their gentle white curves and balconies, seems like the design vision of the future it was when brand new in the 1930s and ’40s. The city itself was founded only a couple decades before, in 1909.

Not that you are ever far from antiquity: Jaffa, one of the oldest functioning ports on the planet, officially belongs to the municipality of Tel Aviv. It’s hard to believe that the serpentine byways and enchanting flea markets of Jaffa and the skyscrapers of the Azrieli Center are part of the same city, but then again, Tel Aviv is full of surprises.

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