Tel Aviv with kids

Tel Aviv with kids

End of December 2018 we sat on the plane, direction Tel Aviv. A city that has been on my travel list for a very long time and that I was so excited to discover. Finally!

And boy, this place did not disappoint. On the contrary, Tel Aviv is one of the most interesting, lively and energetic cities I have visited so far. (and that list is fairly long!)
With top-notch food, epic stretches of golden beach, The New York Times who crowned it the ‘capital of cool, and this young, upbeat vibe. We fell in love!

The White City never sleeps and if we would still be in the ‘party, nightclub and dancing all night long place of our lives’, this is the place that covers all your wishes in that area too. However, we came as a family and were looking forward to some calm, slow days and open plans after all the events in 2018.

On average we had about 18C (in December) and the good thing is the temperature stays stable throughout the day. Imagine a December day at 18C for a whole of 24h. Some days it was even around 20C. However, I would like to say that the same goes for the summer months where temperatures go up to 40C. Which means 24h of extreme heat…


Tel Aviv with kids

Tel Aviv with kids

Note: You should know that Tel Aviv is a fairly expensive destination. I think it usually ranks at the 10th spot worldwide for most expensive cities.

But you get so much in return! Tel Aviv has at least 300 days of sun per year, National Geographic lists Tel Aviv as one of the top 10 beach cities in the world, and it is a paradise for vegans.
The culinary scene is considered one of the most creative in the world. What other cities may have in sights, Tel Aviv tops it with its amazing food places. (and even so the prices are high, the quality is superior!)

Let’s start with my version of Tel Aviv with kids:

Since we stayed for two weeks, we were in no rush whatsoever to run through the city and see everything mentioned in books and blogs instantly. On the first day, we went down to the beach, had a long lunch just by the water and enjoyed ourselves. After that, we started to venture and walk down to places that I had noted down beforehand. We usually walked, with some stops here and there, and discovered the city this way. There are many playgrounds, of various sizes, all over the city and they made for great pit stops. Especially because you can find cute little kiosks on more or less every corner, so a cafe or a fresh juice was never far away as well.
Tel Aviv with kids

Tel Aviv with kids

Tel Aviv with kids

Areas to visit in Tel Aviv with kids:

To the south, the ancient port of Jaffa is home to many historic buildings and a vast alfresco restaurant-bar scene. In the centre, Carmel Market is the lively heart of the city. The bustling Rothschild Boulevard is near the market, the heart of the city, and earned this area World Heritage status with Bauhaus architecture wherever you look. We loved to discover these areas:


Jaffa is the most ancient city centre and port within the Tel Aviv region. Tel Aviv was only founded in 1908, in the sand dunes north of Jaffa. Today, Jaffa is a southern suburb of Tel Aviv. And, no surprise, the oldest part of the city that is often referred to by its double name Tel Aviv – Jaffa.
The famous Jaffa flea market is a well-known attraction of the area, and vendors are selling a diverse range of interesting and unique products. The ancient Jaffa Port is still an active fishing port. Stroll or bike around and discover its unique mix of old and new.

The Jaffa Park is on the hilltop where the ancient city of Jaffa in Israel was located. Beautiful views above the city guaranteed! For an even better view, you can climb up the Jaffa Watchtower
And the most fun is discovering what is hidden in these beautiful winding streets and alleyways. Galleries, jewelry shops, juice bars, and more…

Tel Aviv Beach Front & Tayelet

The coastal strip is 14 kilometers long and home to 13 official beaches, stretching from Herzliya to Bat Yam. During summer, every beach is equipped with changing rooms and bathrooms, a lifeguard, a rescue station and everything else you could need. There are lots of restaurants and cafes as well as play areas and outdoor gyms.

During winter the lifeguard stations are minimised and you need to check where you can go in. Do not go in the water at an unsupervised beach, it is forbidden, and people get called out very quickly!
By the way, “Tayelet” means boardwalk or promenade in Hebrew. And it runs along the Mediterranean seashore in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Tel Aviv with kids

Tel Aviv with kids

Tel Aviv Port

Namal Tel Aviv, or the Tel Aviv Port, has recently been restored and is now one of the hottest places in town with lots of cafés and bars. You can find a little bit of everything here: the sea, markets, cool shops and restaurants, play areas, and a lively night scene.
And you can find Hayarkon Park, Israel’s largest urban park, here. And the park is home to a very nice and big playground as well as an outdoor gym. Inside the park, you can find 6 different gardens!

Neve Tzedek

Just walk down Shabazi Street and you can explore lots of galleries, shops, and hip restaurants. Neve Tzedek, once one of the city’s most rundown areas, is now the centre of its arts community. We went back here several times, especially because there is an excellent ice cream parlor (more about food later) as well as a good playground. Furthermore, it is one of those areas that has something for everyone…


East of Neve Tzedek, you can find Florentin, also called the ‘Brooklyn of Tel Aviv’. The hipster place! A bit grungy, lots of chill bars and boho cafes, graffiti everywhere and close to Levinsky market which is full spices in every aroma and colour you could think of. Street art, small shops, galleries, and a very nice community vibe.
Tel Aviv with kids

Tel Aviv with kids

Sights in Tel Aviv:

Street art. You will find beautiful murals, graffiti art and other creative decorations all over the city. It is so inspiring, colourful and interesting!

Carmel Market, Shuk Hacarmel, is the largest market, or shuk, in Tel Aviv. A vibrant place where you can find anything ranging from fruits to electronics. A fascinating and busy experience.

Tel Aviv Museum of Art – Israel’s largest art museum. The architecture is stunning, the permanent collection contains some great modern & contemporary works, and is a place you should have on your list. The temporary exhibitions are excellent as well, please check what is on when you are around.

Another great museum is the Eretz Museum. We went here because they showed the World Press Photo exhibition and I absolutely wanted to see it.

Jaffa Market, an eclectic flea market in the Jaffa Area and a must-do!

HaTachana – The Old Train Station, is a very smart public space. It was originally built in 1892 as the terminus for the Jaffa-Jerusalem railway. And is sitting at the end of Neve Tzedek and on your way to the Jaffa neighbourhood. And it is a great spot for families because there is a bit for everyone. History, art galleries, boutiques, and specialty stores, restaurants, and activities for kids. It is open from 10 am – 10 pm every day and hosts lots of events. You can find great souvenirs that are made and designed in Tel Aviv right here too!

Levinsky Market. Big spice market that is colourful and begs you to shop as much as you can fit in your suitcase. Cooking with the right ingredients is just so much more fun…


Let’s talk about Shabbat!

Before we talk about food, we need to talk about Shabbat. According to Jewish tradition, the week begins on Sunday and Shabbat falls on Saturday. Days are considered to last from sundown to sundown. Therefore, Shabbat begins on Friday evening and continues until Saturday evening. The Sabbath is a holy day, and shops, markets, and public transport are all closed. Restaurants and bars start to re-open on Saturday afternoon. Which means you need to do a bit planning for these two days to get the most out of the city.

So yes, Tel Aviv is a very lively city, but some things do stop on the Jewish day of rest.

However, there are exceptions: Not all restaurants are closed (but you need to check which ones are open and which are closed) because the majority of restaurants in Tel Aviv are not Kosher and therefore opened on Shabbat. And they are all packed! Book in advance or plan to queue. It is their weekend, people love to go out and the open places are just full.
So prepare to decide where you would like to go and try and book a table. Book a taxi if you need to get to the airport for example. Or calculate the waiting time. Also, the beach will never be closed. Organise a picnic (before shops close) and enjoy your day here.


Restaurants and cafes in Tel Aviv:

This could easily be an article on its own and every person I know who visited Tel Aviv raves about the food. So one more time, this city is heaven for everyone who loves food! Our family loves the more casual places that are easy, fun and cool with the kids.

Vegan:  Tel Aviv is among the top five vegan destinations in the world. And you can find vegetarian as well as vegan options on the menu in almost every café. And it is not just salads…

Meshek Barzilay
Delicious organic vegan restaurant in Neve Tzedek. The farm-to-table concept with very friendly staff, a little garden, and a very colourful menu!

Do you love breakfast? You will love this place! There are a few outlets in the city and they serve their mouthwatering breakfasts all day long. We went more than once…

Ha’ Achim
Classic Israeli cuisine the modern way. Very busy, with a DJ and you can order lots of little side dishes to share which we did.

Right in the heart of Jaffa and serving Mediterranean dishes. Pumpkin dumplings, moussaka or a colourful plater of mezze. A very colourful and fun place!

A fantastic vegan restaurant where we had brunch one Saturday noon (after we had to wait for a while because of Shabbat). My favourite was the vegan cheese plate that changed my opinion about vegan cheese and I am still busy figuring out how to make some myself. The desserts were delicious too!

Abu Hassan
Abu Hassan does one thing, and that is hummus. The service is more ‘fast food’ as is the decore but the food is fantastic. And the rest does not matter much. The place opens in the morning and closes when the hummus runs out.

Bucke has two cafés in Tel Aviv and is a vegetarian place. Their vegan Shak-Shuka was awesome and we also ordered some mixed breakfast plates for the children and they loved all the different things like hummus, eggs, warm bread, jam, and cheese.

Port Said
Serves terrific food on butcher paper right behind the Great Synagogue. We loved the eggplant with tahini and watching people from here…

Streetfood! Pita with meat (if you want), falafel, veggies… order, wait, eat! Busy but so good! They also serve baked cauliflower – a delight. Oh, and whilst you are waiting, they hand out warm bread which we happily took and handed over to the hungry kids…

The Streets
We had our first as well as last diner here because it was just around the corner from our apartment. Quite the hipster place, super friendly service and a great mix of food from Falafel to Pasta to Schnitzel.

Famous for the best falafel in Tel Aviv and, lucky us, just across the street from our apartment. So we went here a couple of times and even picked up some falafel to take home on one or two evenings.

An institution in Tel Aviv that serves all the classics in a very elegant environment.


Tel Aviv with kids

Tel Aviv with kids

Tel Aviv Cafes:

Slow-roast coffee!

They do have delicious pastries!

Boulangerie 96
You need to buy a loaf of chocolate cake for your afternoon treat or breakfast here.

Take away or enjoy some pastries in the small bougainvillea-covered patio.

Anita Ice Cream
Just yum!

We got some goodies for a picnic from here and everything was lovely.

Tony & Esther
Cute cafe with scrumptious brunches.


Tel Aviv Shopping:

For clothes, you will discover a lot of dark colours, wide and interesting shapes as well as high-quality fabrics.

Levinsky Market as mentioned before.

Carmel Market as mentioned before.

Anny Jacobson in Jaffa sells lovely clothes that are all made and designed in Tel Aviv. I bought a dress that already got me many compliments.

Concept 13. Cool concept store in Neve Tzedek with designers such as Vanessa Bruno, Forte Forte as well as a lovely kids selection that includes Bonton, Bellerose and more.

Ginger, in Neve Tzedek as well, sells colourful home goods and accessories. Great for souvenirs!

Comme il faut is a Tel Aviv brand with a big store in the Port area. Great basics!

Papier is a shop where you can get lost easily. Discover lovely notebooks, paper, and pens.

Yooletta is another paper haven. And Israel’s first paper boutique, with a huge selection of stationery, greetings cards, wrapping paper, notebooks, calendars and lots more!

Shtaim is for the cool kids. A children’s shop with that edgy Tel Aviv vibe.

Sarona Market. A trendy hub of gourmet food stores, restaurants (incl. Benedict and Anita) and shops like G-star, Diesel, etc…


I hope you enjoyed this tour to Tel Aviv and got a good idea of the atmosphere. It is such a special place…

You love to travel with your children? How about Lyon with kids or Iceland? A place we still remember fondly too…


All images: Paul & Paula

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