Saturdays in Tel Aviv differ from Shabbat in other Israeli cities, as they offer several activities for locals and visitors. Moreover, the transport system in Tel Aviv allows people to move around with ease. This article explores the fun things to do in the White City on a Saturday.
Understanding Shabbat in Tel Aviv
Before we explore the activities to do on a Saturday/Shabbat in Tel Aviv, it is important we understand what Shabbat is all about. Simply put, Shabbat is a day of rest in Israel. It starts on a Friday evening and ends the following evening. That day, most Israelis refrain from driving or using their mobile devices.
So, how do Israel residents welcome Shabbat? On Friday evening, friends and families gather to enjoy a Shabbat dinner. The next morning, they attend a service at the synagogue and then end Shabbat with a Havdallah ceremony later on Saturday.
What Makes Shabbat in Tel Aviv Different?
Most shops and restaurants in other Israeli cities like Jerusalem do not operate on a Shabbat. But that’s not the case in Tel Aviv, as many bars and cafes remain open during that time. In fact, they become busier on a Shabbat than any other day. Moreover, on Saturdays, the beaches in Tel Aviv are filled with visitors and locals who want to enjoy the day off.
That said, check out this list of activities to do on a Shabbat in Tel Aviv:
Go to a Shabbat Dinner
As mentioned earlier, most Israeli residents join their families and friends for a Shabbat dinner on a Friday evening. The dinner is candle-lit and includes feasting on a special bread known as Challah. If you are a visitor with Israeli friends, do not ignore a Shabbat dinner invitation. Instead, accept it and bring a gift such as flowers or wine.
But does it mean you cannot enjoy a Shabbat dinner if you don’t have friends in Israel? No! Several hotels and restaurants offer Shabbat meals to their guests.
Go to the Beach
Tel Aviv is known for its beautiful sandy beaches, giving the locals and visitors a perfect spot to relax on Saturdays. There are numerous beaches to visit, including Hilton Beach and Alma Beach. If you don’t like lying in the sand or swimming, you can take a leisure walk along the shore. Prepare yourself for huge crowds during the summer months.
Explore the Street Art in Tel Aviv
While beaches, bars, and hotels in Tel Aviv get busier on Shabbat, the streets are usually quieter, making Saturdays the perfect days to check out the city’s street art. You can find fantastic graffiti from Jaffa to Floretin. As a visitor, booking a walking tour with a local tour company to show you around is advisable.
Explore Tel Aviv Using a Bike
With few vehicles on the road during Shabbat, exploring Tel Aviv on a Saturday with a bike is the perfect thing to do.
Participate in Watersports
There are several watersports in Tel Aviv you can take part in, including kitesurfing and surfing. Windsurfing is the most preferred watersport among Israelis. If you haven’t done this before, you can always hire surfing trainers standby on the beach.
Although Shuk Hapishpishim is normally closed on Saturdays, small clothing and jewelry stores remain open. Therefore, you can visit Jaffa to buy clothes and jewelry made by Israeli designers.
Check Out the Tel Aviv Museum of Art
The Tel Aviv Museum of Art is a must-visit if you are an art lover. It offers an excellent collection of permanent and temporary exhibits. The museum has its own cinema showcasing foreign films.
Go Clubbing in Tel Aviv
After enjoying your Shabbat dinner, you can spend the rest of the night partying at a Tel Aviv bar. This gives you an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the Israeli music.
Tel Aviv offers something for everyone during Shabbat. Whether you want to relax on the beach or be involved in watersports, you can do that in the White City.