Tel Aviv Gay Travel
wolfyy’s Tel Aviv gay guide to the best hotels, gay bars, clubs, pride events, beaches & things to do.
The Gay Travel Experience: Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel Aviv stole my heart in every way possible. Part of my visit was during Tel Aviv Pride in 2018. I arrived several days ahead of the pride events though, to authentically experience the city before tons of tourists poured in.
Nowhere else in the world have I met so many genuine, kind, and I must say handsome, gay men. I think many of you will agree! Where better to meet handsome friends than in gay-friendly Tel Aviv?
Tel Aviv is truly the gayest city in the Middle East. Interestingly, 25% of the city’s population identifies as gay. This high number results from many members of the LGBT community outside of Israel coming to live in Tel Aviv.
A Middle Eastern country that protects gay individuals is quite obviously attractive in a region known for the opposite. It’s one more reason that you have to experience the Tel Aviv gay scene!
Gay Tel Aviv: Hotels & Where to Stay
Tel Aviv gay travelers have various options for accommodations, from hostels to luxury hotels to vacation apartment rentals.
Hilton Beach and Old North hotels are usually travelers’ first choices. While there isn’t a true Tel Aviv gay district, the gay beach and lots of LGBT tourist activity are in this area.
I recommend this area especially for those who prefer nightlife and restaurant options that are more off-the-beaten-path and away from busy beaches.
Tel Aviv Hotels & Hostels
INTA Hotel is a popular gay-friendly hotel with a boutique vibe located south of the Florentin area. It’s also a top recommendation of one of my Tel Aviv gay local friends!
INTA Hotel is adults-only and has a fun, intimate design, as well as a cozy roof deck. The rooms are beautiful and some include private terraces.
Given my preference to be alone before seeing my friends for a week, I instead opted for beginning my stay at a budget hotel called Hotel SunAviv.
For the price I paid, it was well worth it. $55 USD a night got me a room with an adorable miniature balcony, a mini-fridge and best of all, a powerful air conditioner to beat the heat.
There was a full kitchen on the first level with free coffee. The staff was so kind. I even made friends with one of the guys that worked the 24-hour desk at the entrance.
Tel Aviv Vacation Rentals
After a few days of solo travel, I met up with friends in a four-bedroom rental apartment (we booked months in advance). It was located a couple of blocks from Metzitzim Beach, which is adjacent to Hilton Beach.
The total cost was about $100 USD per person per night. Our amenities included an outdoor living space, laundry, five beds along with the rest of the standard apartment amenities.
I loved having a place to cook and enjoy ungodly amounts of hummus. My friends and I went all-in for this trip because we wanted something large and comfortable.
Tel Aviv Gay Travel Experiences
New high-rise buildings line Rothschild Boulevard, which has a wide median and a bike path. The streetscape is lovely for a walk.
Tel Aviv is very bike-friendly and has various bike routes. If you love biking, consider booking a private guided Tel Aviv bike tour.
Walking to Old Jaffa was the most peaceful thing I did while visiting Tel Aviv. On my stroll southward, I stopped to enjoy a drink at Café Vista, a small takeaway restaurant stand set up on the waterfront. The mood was calm as both locals and tourists take in the beauty of the landscape.
As you approach Old Jaffa, walk toward the Clock Tower first along Yahum Goldmann Street. The waterfront in this area isn’t great so it’s best to walk through the city through here.
Choose your own route from here, but be sure to explore the narrow streets around the Mahmudiyya Mosque and St. Peter’s Church. There was nothing quite like walking through this area at sunset, feeling the local’s tie to these historic places of worship.
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Shafim Water Park
Shfaim Water Park was one of my favorite experiences in Tel Aviv during pride! It’s just a short drive north out of the main city. There is a ton of space to spread out and lounge in the sun or in the shade, go on various water slides, or the wave pool.
Make sure you get tickets for the waterpark if you are going to Tel Aviv during gay pride so you don’t miss the fun!
Tel Aviv Restaurants
Hakosem is the place to go for amazing food in Tel Aviv! Locals love this place and it is one of two restaurants that I will recommend in Tel Aviv for dinner. Choose from shawarma, falafel and various veggie options.
Hakosem’s eggplant was mouthwatering and all the sides were delicious. You stand in line to order (they move fast!), get your drink and the staff brings your order to your table. I loved sitting on the sidewalk area. You can really connect with the city.
The Tel Aviv Gay Beach
Hilton Beach is the iconic Tel Aviv gay beach that’s consistently packed with gay travelers from all over the world each summer. It’s an absolute blast!
Local gay Israelis will come here too, even just to walk along the shore or enjoy a beer. It’s one of the best-known international gay beaches.
The days before the main Tel Aviv Pride events were happening, there was a DJ on the beach that would announce the parties of the night every so often throughout the day.
The music was always upbeat and fun, and made for a great time with friends! Chairs and umbrellas can be rented cheaply at Hilton Beach.
Metzitzim Beach is just north of here, which has a large restaurant and bar beachfront. The Metzitzim Beach area is a bit more relaxed and more ideal for couples.
Jerusalem Beach, to the south, was a favorite of mine. There is plenty of space to spread out here as well as more robust facilities suited for families.
Tel Aviv Gay Bars
I got to try some of the best gay bars in Tel Aviv even though my nightlife choices revolved around Pride. Nonetheless, the city has a fantastic gay nightlife scene year-round. I wouldn’t doubt for a second that Israelis definitely love to party!
Shpagat was my first stop in Tel Aviv, a crowd-favorite gay bar known for good vibes. They play fantastic music mixes and have quite a unique setup.
Half of the space is actually a tiered staircase, while the other half has an open floor plan. On busier nights, a bunch of guys tend to stand outside on the sidewalk.
Lima Lima is another awesome gay bar in Tel Aviv that perfectly mixes dancing with an outdoor space to socialize. A huge outdoor terrace provides plenty of room and is decorated with awesome tropical jungle wall coverings. The toucan logo is pretty awesome, too.
Lima Lima has multiple bars and the service is much better than any other bar I have been to in the city. Plus, the prices are super reasonable.
Dont Tell Mom (D.T.M)
One of Tel Aviv’s newest gay bars is D.T.M., which is short for “Don’t Tell Mom!” Since it wasn’t open back when I was in Tel Aviv, I’ll definitely have to try this place next time!
Tel Aviv Gay Clubs & Parties
The layout of the club was unique, something I don’t think I have ever seen before. I loved the huge outdoor space with tiered stairs and a center bar. The DJ rocked and the lighting was stellar, so I would make this place a priority if you like larger parties.
To reiterate, the location of Dreck on google may not always be reflective of where these Tel Aviv gay parties actually take place.
During large gay events like Pride festivals, Dreck parties will move to large venues. It seems more typically that Jimmy Who Bar & Lounge hosts the weekly party, which is actually right around the block from Lima Lima.
Tel Aviv Gay Pride 2018 Parties
I went to a party at the Convention Center to see Netta sing her famous winning Eurovision song “Toy” on my final night in Tel Aviv for Pride. If you’re going to an event here, you’re in good hands since it’s very organized and has suitable facilities.
As you may expect, everything at the Tel Aviv Convention Center is very controlled and organized. There are bars set up within as well as a decently sized food mart where you can buy snacks.
Tel Aviv Travel Tips
Don’t forget that Saturday is Shabbat and many establishments are closed. When I visited, the city came to a halt except for a few local food spots as well as chain convenience stores.
But, some restaurants do stay open. There are still plenty of things to do in Tel Aviv on Shabbat, mostly the beach!
Taxi cabs in Tel Aviv can try to take advantage of tourists by price gouging, especially on Shabbat. I’ve experienced getting ripped off by cabs in various cities, but nothing was as extreme as in Tel Aviv. To avoid this, download the Gett Taxi application and order a metered cab.
Cabs will often refuse to use their meter and charge triple to quadruple (yes, quadruple) the price to those in need of a taxi, especially so at special events. Cab drivers are very friendly and safe; however, I recommend to keep your hard-earned cash and pass up bad prices.
Israel LGBT Rights
Israel is undoubtedly the most tolerant Middle Eastern country. The LGBT community thrives here. Gay men and women are allowed to adopt children jointly, as of a 2008 ruling.
Israel also allows LGBT people to serve openly in the military. Israel was the first country in Asia to recognize any type of same-sex union by recognizing the cohabitation of same-sex partners.
A 2013 Pew Research Center study found that in 2013, 40% of Israelis supported homosexuality. For reference, support at that time was 16% in Russia, 60% in the United States, and 88% in Spain.