Gay Guide to TEL AVIV

There are more bars than synagogues, God is a DJ and everyone’s body is a temple. Called the ‘city that never sleeps’ Tel Aviv offers a fantastic vacation destination for those whose purses tinkle with pink Pounds, Dollars or Shekels!

Tel Aviv Gay Baches

Tel Aviv is one of the top gay cities in the world – and it has great beaches!

Tel Aviv Party Scene

More Mediterranean than Middle Eastern, Tel Aviv has a throbbing hot party scene, nightly!

Our Insiders Guide to Gay Tel Aviv!

Voted as one of the 10 sexiest cities in the world by the New York times, some say the city rivals New York and London for its nonstop action. Miami Beach on the Med, Tel Aviv is the Dionysian counterpart to religious Jerusalem.

Packed with quality restaurants, atmospheric sidewalk cafes, modern clubs bringing top name DJ’s, lively bars, live music venues, exceptional local and international dance and theatre options, fabulous art galleries and an endless array of designer fashion boutiques, the city speaks to everyone and with the bonus of a beach on your doorstep and delicious sunshine 365 days a year, it’s a city that simply must be experienced.

That Tel Aviv, not a huge city but a high-octane one, has become the new gay mecca of the Mediterranean is something of an open secret, both in the Middle East and increasingly, outside it, too. Unfailingly sunny and tirelessly tolerant, its energy level is at once intense and beguilingly relaxed. There’s an openness and warmth to the people of Tel Aviv which means once you’ve been there and seen it, you’ll be planning your next trip there before you know it.

Tel Aviv

The unofficial, loosely designated gay village is roughly centred around the Dizengoff area of Shenkin Street, and Rothshild Blvd. The beautiful thing about Tel Aviv is that is doesn’t need a gay village. It is a gay village.

Getting Around Tel Aviv!

Upon arrival in Israel, a cab into the city from the Ben Gurion International Airport is easy to catch and inexpensive (note: taxis are always more expensive on the Sabbath, between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday, and taxi drivers are not customarily given tips. From the airport, a 20-minute taxi ride costs $35-40. A train takes about the same amount of time at one tenth of that price). The city is officially known as Tel Aviv-Jaffa (sometimes written as Tel Aviv-Yafo in translated Hebrew), combining the big modern city and the old, ancient seaport city of Jaffa.

Situated on a 14-kilometer-long strip on the Mediterranean seacoast, Tel Aviv extends beyond the Yarkon River to the north and the Ayalon River to the east. Hundreds of thousands of workers, visitors, tourists, and partygoers move about the city each day until the early hours of the morning, seeking out the city’s nightclubs, restaurants, and centers of entertainment.

The name Tel Aviv means “The hill of spring,” which might evoke wildflowers and grasses…funny for an area that was desert and sand dunes and is now skyscrapers, glass, and whitewashed buildings with residences more Mediterranean than anything. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is known as “the White City” for all of the modern structures, many white, with curved walls and extreme, ocean lineresque, streamlined design—the largest collection of Bauhaus architecture in the world. With only 400,000 residents, it can feel like a small town in tree-lined residential neighbourhoods or a bustling metropolis from downtown. What it doesn’t feel is Middle Eastern.

  • Getting Around

    The city was designed with the automobile in mind and is more driver-friendly than most big cities with wide streets and plenty of parking. However it is easy to navigate to the gay areas of Dizengoff area of Shenkin Street, and Rothshild Blvd and to the Gay Beach at the Hilton from your hotel. The large clubs are located outside the city, so you will need a taxi. If you are staying for a while, then car rental is a great option and very cheap when compared to European or US rates.

  • Opening Times

    Anytime! Gay Tel Aviv is a city that never sleeps; therefore, you can find something to eat 24/7. There are all day breakfast hang outs, great beach side cafes and post club eateries to satisfy any hunger! Clubs get busy from 2am. Bars are busy from 10pm.

Brown hotel Tel Aviv

Where to stay in TEL AVIV?

Tel Aviv is relatively small and compact so it’s best to stay in a neighborhood central to most of the places of interest. The population is just over 400,000 people but the metro area stretches out in all directions and there’s no physical distinction between Tel Aviv city and its neighboring towns. Neighborhoods like Florentine or Neve Tzedek are some of the best places to stay.

Hilton Tel Aviv

By the gay beach

Set within the Independence Park and providing direct access to Hilton Beach and Tel Aviv promenade, the Hilton Tel Aviv features a large outdoor salt water pool, 5 kosher restaurants and a spa.. Check rates now

Renaissance Tel Aviv Hotel

Beachfront

One of our top picks in Tel Aviv. The Renaissance Tel Aviv is right on the beach. The hotel offers a wellness centre with indoor swimming pool, and rooms with views of the sea, the marina or of Jaffa.. Check for rates

Carlton Tel Aviv

Sea Views!

One of our top picks in Tel Aviv. Set directly on Tel Aviv’s Marina, Hotel Carlton features a rooftop terrace with pool and views of the sea. Rooms have a private balcony, overlooking the sea or the city. Check rates now!

The gay scene in TEL AVIV

The architecture of your evening out in Tel Aviv may progress from sundowner drinks to dinner to drinks at a smaller bar to drinks at another bar to dancing at a club or two before getting back to your hotel in time to turn off the alarm clock and pull the drapes against the rising sun. The “walk of shame” isn’t carrying your shoes at dawn after debauchery like in other cities—it’s getting home before dawn that is cause for embarrassment.

Tel Aviv gay beach

Fit men walk on the beach with tight bathing suites and well kept figures checking each other out or just laying on the beach chatting and sunbathing, discussing plans for the weekend on Fridays.

Tel Aviv Gay Club

Tel Aviv likes to party late. Evenings begin at Popular watering holes such as Evita and Apolo(Men Only) and continue late into the night . Clubs get busy by 2am!

Dreck Tel Aviv

Ask the locals what’s hot this week – Line Parties come and go each week with venues changing depending on the Party! – Dreck Wednesdays is always popular!

Sauna Parties

Both of the two gay saunas host theme nights and parties which can be very popular, especially Thursday’s Underwear parties. Hot!

Tel Aviv Gay Bar and Clubbing Scene

Tel Aviv’s gay scene is constantly in flux. Bars have come and gone with rapid succession, but there are 3 big names that have remained local favouites and continue to stand the test of time. The city is famous for its Line Parties, large club nights and parties that hop from venue to venue and change theme depending on the season, DJ or festival.

Gay people are an integral part of the city. Gay men and women serve openly in the military, and same-sex marriage, while not yet legalized in Israel, is on the political horizon. Under current law, same-sex couples are considered married without a religiously recognized ceremony, marriages performed in other countries are fully recognized, and adoption is legal for LGBT parents.

Perhaps the most famous, or infamous, element of Tel Aviv’s culture is the wild nightlife. While it may sometimes seem that everybody in Tel Aviv is simply waiting for the moon to rise and a chance to party, there’s plenty to see and do during the daylight hours, starting, of course, with the beach.

  • Starting out - Happy Hour and Snacks!

    Tel Aviv likes to party late, which means that happy hour observed at most watering holes between 5 and 8 p.m. is all about fueling up. Luckily, the outdoor perch at Rothschild 12 offers nibbles of all sizes, like salmon tartar on toast and roasted fennel with Gorgonzola cheese  paired with cocktails  and an unrivaled view of the boulevard’s pedestrian parade. As the sun sets, the back room of this funky, street-art adorned cafe morphs into a music hall, with D.J.s and live bands taking over the soundtrack.

The gay beach, Hilton Beach, is the one outside the Hilton Hotel, and ironically, it is adjacent to the orthodox beach where men and women can only sunbathe on separate days. You’ll find the neighbours no impediment to lots of buff boys in brief Speedos strolling the sand and stopping off at one another’s blankets to talk and make plans for the evening. You’ll also see a surprising number of paddle ball games, known as matkot, on any sunny day at the beach—it is something of a representative city sport.

The need to get out to socialize makes the well-known and not-particularly-lascivious cruising park, Independence Garden (next to the Hilton Hotel), a place where, yes, people meet to trick in the bushes, but also meet to sit and chat on the benches for hours.

There is no real gay neighborhood in Tel Aviv, but for the whole country, this city is the hub of gay life. The unofficial, loosely designated gay village is roughly centred around the Dizengoff area of Shenkin Street, and Rothshild Blvd. The beautiful thing about Tel Aviv is that is doesn’t need a gay village. It is a gay village.

Shenkin Street, widely regarded as Tel Aviv’s yuppie area, this busy cosmopolitan street sees bustling t-shirt shops, juice bars and cafés teeming with a broad range of the city’s population, including a healthy dose of homosexuals. It’s an ideal starting point for exploring Tel Aviv, especially on Fridays (essentially their Saturday), sitting in a coffeeshop, watching the hot guys mingle with puppies being sold on benches and frolicking in baskets, next to pseudo-scientology stalls and student campaigners.

Popular daytime cafes include Judah 177, Cafe Bistro, a 4-minute walk from Hilton Beach and Benedict, a 24-hour cafe serving delicious all day breakfasts! The cafe at the Gay and Lesbian Centre close to Gan Meir park is also great for finding out what’s happening later on that night.

You can sit on Dizingoff Street, take in a coffee just off Ben Guiron street and you’ll see more local gays wandering the street that in the more conventional “gay” areas. Indeed, Tel Aviv raises the bar for any nation in showing support for the LGBT community. The Gay Center Tel Aviv serves as a cultural center, event space, meeting hall, host to support agencies, and café.

It seems that there is nothing that Israelis love more than dancing and having a wild time, as you will discover when you go clubbing. You see it immediately on everybody’s face. There are parties every night of the week, while on weekends, there are dozens, beginning with the mega clubs, hosting thousands, and ending with more intimate dance bars.

So when should you go out? It depends on what you are looking for. Many bars have a “Happy Hour” policy, from 19:00 to 21:00, but still, most Israelis never go out before 23:00, even on weekdays.

The Tel Aviv night life begins late. Most clubs don’t open until midnight, and the parties really only get hot an hour or two later. Most places don’t close until dawn, and if you still haven’t had enough, there are after- parties for the truly devoted clubbers. The music played at the clubs varies from House and Techno music at the large discothèques, through dance, and there are even more esoteric places playing hip hop or reggae music. Variety is the name of the game. Several clubs (and restaurants) are located in the Yad Harutzim Street area, an industrial zone during the day, which comes to life at night and is one of the hottest spots in town.

Most nightclubs are mixed and promoters are always changing venues, but there are regular nightly gay bars, clubs and beach parties too. Still more clubs are considered gay-friendly and/or have special gay events on rotation, especially during holiday weekends and for Pride. Some club nights are 18-19-plus, others 21-23+ –but others may sometimes admit only men in their late 20s or older.

Evita is a classic and one of the oldest gay bars in the city. Inside you’ll find pop music and casual dancing or you can head outside to enjoy outdoor patio. Apolo Club is another gay favorite and cruisey-type place located off of Allenby Street.

Those looking to cruise should check out one of two of Tel Aviv’s gay saunas. Sauna Paradise, open 365 days a year for 18+ men (and bi men and women on Wednesdays) and the new Sauna Tel Aviv with full saunas facilities, plus dark room and bar. For outdoor fun, by night stroll in the cat-teeming Haatzmaut Garden, just north of the Hilton.

Another night-life center is the Tel Aviv Port, located at the north end of the city. The once-neglected port has been completely renovated, and is now a beautiful attraction, with its bars cafes, and restaurants, located along the wooden peer. Some of Tel Aviv’s best clubs are located there.

Last but not least, is the area of Nachalat Binyamin and Lilienblum streets. There are dozens of fashionable bars and restaurants; some of them attracting a specifically gay clientele. At night these streets are packed with people out for a drink and a good time. The atmosphere is great. A don’t-miss experience.

In spite of the greater political turmoil in the Middle East, Tel Aviv is a very open city that welcomes people of all walks of life. Tel Aviv offers a unique experience in understanding how minority groups can live together. Tel Aviv is like most European cities—modern and culturally inclined—only the men have better tans and bigger pecs thanks to the desert sun and required army service. Remember, everybody loves a Jewish boy…

  • Breakfast tips!

    The classic Israeli breakfast two eggs any style, breads, salad and dips holds semireligious importance in Tel Aviv, where every cafe offers a nearly identical spin. Opt instead to start your Saturday with a spread of morning appetizers, including roasted eggplant, smoked fish and fresh ceviche (20to 24 shekels) at the seafront institution Manta Ray. It might be hard to focus on your menu, though the breathtaking view from the restaurant, perchedfeet from the waves at the sandy corner where Tel Aviv and Jaffa meet, offers quite a distraction.

  • Beach Scene!

    The Tel Aviv coast is a string of separate beaches. From Manta Ray’s Alma Beach pedal north. Just after the Hilton Hotel you’ll find the city’s unofficial gay beach (the rainbow-paintedcabanas will tip you off), which juts up against the religious beach, with separate sunbathing days for men and women. Pedal past both to Metzitzim Beach, where a man-made lagoon keeps the waves calm, and a cafe will deliver snacks to your towel.

What to See & Do in TEL AVIV


Tel Aviv began its history in Jaffa (Yafo) – the ancient 3,000-year-old adjoining city that lies to its southwest. The current Old City of Jaffa was built during the Ottoman Empire and its stone houses and narrow alleyways now house the picturesque artists’ quarter and tourist center.

Jafa

. Around Jaffa there is the Ottoman clock tower, a vibrant flea market that is always worth visiting, and the Ajami neighborhood.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is known as “the White City” for all of the modern structures, many white, with curved walls and extreme, ocean lineresque, streamlined design—the largest collection of Bauhaus architecture in the world.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is known as “the White City” for all of the modern structures, many white, with curved walls and extreme, ocean lineresque, streamlined design—the largest collection of Bauhaus architecture in the world.

Tel Aviv has an amazing 24 hour cafe culture, meaning you can grab a bite to eat whenever you like - and al fresco dining is perfect with their Sunny climate!

Tel Aviv has an amazing 24 hour cafe culture, meaning you can grab a bite to eat whenever you like – and al fresco dining is perfect with their Sunny climate!

Dizengoff Center

The Dizengoff Center is at the heart of where the three main gay streets of Tel Aviv meet! Sitting in the many cafes and guy-watching is a local pastime!

Sights worth seeing!

Among the main attractions of Old Jaffa are Gan HaPisga – the Summit Garden with its restaurants, galleries, shops with Judaica, and unique atmosphere, the seaside promenade and walls of the old city, the visitors’ center in the old courtyard, and the fishing port.

There are also several important Christian sites in Old Jaffa such as the Church of Saint Peter, which dates back to the 17th century, the house of Simon the Tanner where Peter had his vision of the non-kosher animals, and the tomb of Tabitha, whose righteous deeds enabled Peter to raise her from the dead. Around Jaffa there is the Ottoman clock tower, a vibrant flea market that is always worth visiting, and the Ajami neighborhood.

The White City extends from Allenby Street to the south to the Yarkon River to the north, and from Begin Boulvard to the east to the sea. There are large concentrations of buildings of this style on Rothschild Boulevard and in the area of Dizengoff Center. Park HaYarkon is in the northern part of the White City on the banks of the Yarkon Rive and the Tel Aviv port lies at the northwest corner and has a large concentration of entertainment centers, nightclubs, and restaurants.

It’s hard to imagine that one of the city’s most striking and popular centers for commerce dining and fun the old Tel Aviv Port compound, stood practically derelict a few years ago, Now it is a lingering Mediterranean promenade running from the north of Tel Aviv all the way to the old town of Jaffa, designed in a wavy patter that drew inspiration from the undulating sand dunes upon which the young city of Tel Aviv had been established. It is a delightful way to explore the coastal treasures of the city. While a stroll through the leafy inner city streets, will surely enchant you with its unique mix of sophisticated and exotic riches.

Speaking of old, Neve Tzedek is the city’s oldest neighborhood where folks first moved outside from Jaffa. While it went through some dicey times, it is now quite gentrified and has become a premiere strolling and shopping neighborhood. The main shopping lane, Shabazi Street, has so many boutiques, window shopping browsers, and those promenading on a sunny afternoon, that people spill from the narrow sidewalks into the streets and cars can’t get by.

This artsy neighborhood is also home to funky galleries and museums, including the Simon Rokach House, once one of the area’s nicest homes, it fell into near-ruin, then it was reclaimed by Rokach’s artist granddaughter and turned into a museum for the neighborhood’s history as well as her bounteous sculptural work. You’ll also find (and should seek out) the Suzanne Dellal Center for Dance and Theatre set amid shady lawns and an open-air plaza where there is some cultural festival going on almost every weekend. Live bands and dance troupes regularly grace the indoor and outdoor stages, and it’s a great spot to sit on the steps or lawns with a cool drink, shaved ice, or ice cream.

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