Tel Aviv: 24 hours in the city that never sleeps

It's the longest day of the year so take advantage of the extra sunshine and check out this hour-by-hour guide of what to do in TA.

View of Tel Aviv 390 (photo credit: Yoni Cohen)
View of Tel Aviv 390
(photo credit: Yoni Cohen)
It's the longest day of the year and you find yourself in Tel Aviv. You've heard there are plenty of things to do in the city that never sleeps but you're not quite sure where to start. This hour-by-hour guide breaks it down: How to spend the longest day of the year in one of the most happening cities in the world.
Noon to 1p.m. - Haggle at the Carmel market
You may have been out the night before (this is Tel Aviv after all), so we wouldn't want to start too early. That's why noon is a comfortable time to begin the adventures. Start in the center of the action at the junction of Allenby Street, King George, Shenkin, Nahlat Binymain and the Carmel Market. Walk around the shuk and check out the local produce and bargains to be had. Make sure to haggle with the stall owners as they fight for your custom.
1p.m. to 2p.m. - Eat hummus with the locals
Time to eat like a local. Just next to the Carmel market is the slightly calmer, yet just as interesting Yemenite Quarter with its authentic Yemenite restaurants and shops. While the veteran neighborhood has undergone some serious gentrification in the past few years, it still holds a certain charm and allows visitors to explore what Tel Aviv was like before the high rises came into town. Make sure to check out some of the great family-run restaurants that offer cheap and wholesome local food around where Yehya Kapah and Yishkon streets meet. Erez Restaurant on Nachlieli Street is a firm favorite. The service may not be up to much but the food speaks for itself.
2p.m. to 3 p.m. - Shop till you drop
After recharging with some authentic food it's time to head to Neve Tzedek for some upscale shops and great ice cream parlors. Twenty years ago the first neighborhood built outside of Jaffa was a no-go area but after some serious urban regeneration, today it's the perfect place to pick up some designer clothes and snap up some of the most expensive real estate in town. The main street Shabazi is where most of the action is, but it's worth deviating a little and strolling around some side streets to check out the beautifully restored homes and cute museums such as the Nahum Gutman art museum.
3p.m. to 4p.m. - Close body contact
Who said biology was just for the science labs? Just past Neve Tzedek lies the recently-restored Hatahana complex, which also offers a selection of high-end designer stores and fancy restaurants. If you're bored of shopping and long for something a little more educational then head to the BODIES Exhibition which gives a glimpse of the wonders and mystery of the human body. This international exhibition visiting Tel Aviv until August is not for the squeamish, but it does offer a very unique insight into the way the human body works. Whether you've been busy shopping or visiting the exhibition, treat yourself to a cold drink at the trendy outdoor bar Vicky Cristina.
4p.m. to 5p.m. - Find a gem among the junk
Moving away from the fancy shops, head over to Jaffa's flea market and check out the sights and sounds of this unique trading arena. Nestled between the veteran traders are plenty of new designer shops too, but we recommend exploring the more traditional sellers who offer anything from furniture to weird and wonderful clothes. If you have time and want to check out a Jaffa institution, then head to Dr Shakshuka for traditional food all the way from North Africa.
5p.m. to 6 p.m. - Wonder through the ancient alleyways
Staying in Jaffa, it's now time for some history. Get lost among the alleyways of the Old City and take a little time to appreciate some of the local designers and artists studios, which have just as much character as the designs themselves. Maybe catch a short show at the Arab-Hebrew theater or even the Gesher Theater.

6p.m. to 7p.m. - Get ready for a 'blind' date
No trip to Jaffa would be complete without visiting the Nalaga’at Center, which does amazing work to help blind and deaf people. As well as the Blackout restaurant, in which diners eat in complete darkness, there's Café Kapish where the deaf and hearing-impaired waiters engage in sign language with patrons. The center also includes the Deaf-Blind Acting Ensemble, which integrates deaf-blind people into the community by providing them with the opportunity to perform on stage and put across their message. A truly unique experience.
7p.m. to 8p.m. - Jaffa sunset is as good as you're going to get
There really is no better place to watch the sun set on the longest of day of the year than from Jaffa's Old City. Head up to Jaffa's observation point, which offers a great vantage point overlooking the whole of Tel Aviv. This is the time to relax and do nothing except watch the rays glisten on the hot Mediterranean and marvel at the breathtaking view as the city that never sleeps prepares for yet another action packed night.
8p.m. to 9p.m. - Catch some live music
No day in the city that never sleeps would be complete without hearing some live music. Tel Aviv is a busy and bustling place during the day, but it's once the sun goes down that things really get started. After relaxing while watching the sunset it's now time to explore what Tel Aviv by night has to offer. Head inland to the legendary Barby Club where local upcoming artists as well as music legends like to perform. Comeback Kid will be playing this Thursday and it promises to be quite the performance.
9p.m. to 10p.m. - Eat and be seen in Florentin
Now that we're in Florentin it would be rude not to hang out in some of the coolest bars and restaurants in the city. While many say that this neighborhood has already been overrun by yuppies looking for the next "in" place to live, there is still an interesting scene and the restaurants and bars here are always full of colorful characters. Some places that are worth checking out include Bugsy Bistro Bar, Mezcal Tequila Bar & Mexican food, Norma Jean and Sublime.
10p.m. to 11p.m. - Jam the night away
Head back over to Jaffa to the Container at the port, a great venue that always has a good selection of live music. Local band The Raw Men Empire will be playing a set to celebrate the release of their new single. Container also has a seafood menu that will satisfy you if all the jamming makes you hungry.
11p.m. to midnight - Sip the finest of champagnes
Last summer Rothschild Street was transformed into a tent city full of young people who brought their own unique brands of entertainment, especially on Thursday nights. This summer the tents have not yet reappeared, so its business as usual barhopping among the trendy establishments that line the southern part of the street. Shampania is the place to be if you want to sip on the best champagne and watch the world go by on a massive balcony overlooking the busy intersection with Allenby.   
Midnight to 1a.m. - Gay it up with the guys
It wouldn't be a night out in Tel Aviv without checking out the city's famous gay scene. On this longest day of the year the best option would have to be Cheesecake at the Breakfast Club. Dance the night away with the local boys as the DJ spins the best electronic sounds. If you're looking for something a little cheesier we recommend  joining the tourists down the road at Evita for their weekly student night.
1a.m. to 2a.m. - Go underground for an alternative party
Looking for something with a little less sparkle but just as much punch then head to one of Tel Aviv's best underground clubs, Radio E.P.G.B. When we say underground, we mean underground, so don't get put off by the fact that you have walk down a dingy alley and then some even dingier stairs. Once you peel back the curtain you'll be transported into one of the hottest clubs in town where this Thursday DJ Eliezer Perez will be playing a unique set.
2a.m. to 3a.m. - Raise the roof
Rooftop parties and summer in Tel Aviv are a match made in heaven, so it's almost compulsory to visit at least one of these awesome places with incredible views during a night out. As it's close by we recommend Gag at Saadia Gaon 24 for the opportunity to dance the night away while taking advantage of the panoramic views.
3a.m. to 4a.m. - Chill out in a secret garden
Gan Yaakov between the Habima Theater, Mann Auditorium and Helena Rubenstein Pavilion for Contemporary Art is a quiet oasis in the bustling city and is a perfect place to take a moment out, especially late at night. Established in 1964, the park underwent a face lift during the recent changes at Habima Square but it still holds a certain charm as you climb up the stairs and find a romantic bench under a tree to sit on.
4 a.m. to 5a.m. - Treat yourself to a Brasserie breakfast
After spending all night enjoying the best that the nightlife scene has to offer, it's time to have some breakfast. Tel Aviv institution The Brasserie is just as busy at 4:30 a.m. as it is at dinner time. Open 24 hours, this is the perfect place to treat yourself to a fancy breakfast and imagine you are in Paris eating fine French food.
5a.m. to 6a.m. - Watch as the sun heats up the city
It's now time to watch the sunrise over the city that never sleeps. While with the sunset it's best to face the sea, with sunrise you want the sea behind you and for this reason we recommend going to the top floor of one of the many high rise hotels on the beach and looking east to watch the sun rise as it heats up the city before your eyes.

6a.m. to 7a.m. - Take a ride on the wild side
Being at the beach is a great excuse to rent a bike from the Tel-O-Fun scheme and take a leisurely ride northwards towards the Tel Aviv Port. The bike rental system is easy to use and you can either rent a bike for the day or opt for a yearly subscription. Either way, it's a great way to get around the city and there's nothing better than an early morning ride along the beach when the clubbers have just gone home but the tourists have yet to leave their hotels. There's something magical about this hour in Tel Aviv so take advantage of it.
7a.m. to 8a.m. - Pamper yourself at the port
At the port, take a walk around the farmer's market where you can find a whole host of fresh produce. The port is also a great place to sit and relax and if you feel in the mood to indulge Coola Spa is a hidden gem, offering women a full range of spa treatments. This is the time for the women to do some pampering while the men enjoy the cool sea breeze.
8a.m. to 9a.m. - Pedalo through the park
The port is a perfect starting point to explore Park Hayarkon. The park has lots to offer such as renting a pedalo to cruise the river with family and friends. If that sounds like hard work then you could always check out the petting zoo or if you really are feeling lazy then just pitch up a place on the grass and watch all the runners pass by.
9a.m. to 10a.m. - Fill your face at the food fair
After getting a bit of exercise you'll probably be hungry again (well maybe not, but Tel Aviv has so many great food options and we only have 24 hours) so Dizengoff Center is the place to be on a Friday morning because of the famous food fair. With different foods from all around the world as well as the best local delicacies there are no excuses for not finding something you like. The Tunisian women located right outside the SuperPharm pharmacy who cook hearty food for Shabbat are not to be missed. They may not smile as they serve you their offerings but you can be assured their food is made with love. 
10a.m. to 11a.m - Build up your Bauhaus knowledge
Taking a tour of the city's architecture can be more fun than you think. As well as being known as the city that never sleeps, Tel Aviv is also known as the White City, mainly because of the abundance of Bauhaus architecture. Now we wouldn't want to bore you with looking at white buildings all day but it's definitely worth heading to the Bauhaus Center on Dizengoff Street and taking their quick tour of the best buildings to see. The shop itself is full of great gadgets and the exhibition about called Paris discovers Tel Aviv which opens Thursday is definitely worth a visit.
11a.m. to noon - Search for the perfect gift
Friday mornings in Tel Aviv cannot be beaten. With the streets alive and the sun shining, one of the best places to be at this time of day is the Nahlat Binyamin craft fair. Among all the tourist kitsch and handcrafted creations, there are some real gems to be found. If you get hungry again after all the shopping then we recommend a stop at legendary burger joint Agadir for one of the best gourmet burgers in town.
We are now back where we started, right in the thick of the action. From here you could crash out after having an exhausting 24 hours, but hey - this is Tel Aviv and the sun will still be shining for another eight hours. We say go to the beach to chill out for a bit and then carry on exploring. It is the weekend after all!