Tel Aviv Gay Travel
Put simply, Tel Aviv is packed with gays. The LGBT haven of the Middle East, Tel Aviv gay travel is a must. Tolerance abounds in a region with deep religious roots.
The Gay Travel Experience: Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel Aviv stole my heart in every way possible. I partially visited Tel Aviv during Tel Aviv Pride in 2018. I arrived several days ahead of the pride events before the rest of the tourists. This way, I could get a more authentic feel for the city. Nowhere else in the world have I met so many genuine, authentic, and I must say handsome, gay men.
Interestingly, 25% of the City of Tel Aviv 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.
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Gay Tel Aviv: Where to Stay
However, I would also consider staying along the stretch between Dizengoff Center and the Florentin neighborhood. This area of Tel Aviv has a fantastic vibe. I recommend it especially to those who prefer nightlife and restaurant options off the beaten path and away from the main beaches.
Tel Aviv Hotels & Hostels
One of the highest rated hostels in Tel Aviv is Hostel OverStay TLV. It’s a community-driven place where travelers can engage with each other. This was the first option I came across in my search. Given my preference to be alone for a few days, 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 more than friendly; I even made friends with one of the guys that worked the 24-hour desk at the entrance.
Tel Aviv Airbnbs
After a few days of solo travel, I met up with friends in a four-bedroom Airbnb (we booked months in advance). It was located a couple blocks from Metzitzim Beach, which is adjacent to Hilton Beach. Airbnb’s are plentiful in Tel Aviv and there are many affordable options.
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 Experiences for the Gay Traveler
Rothschild and Dizengoff are two main thoroughfares you must get acquainted with. Dizengoff Street runs parallel to the sea and is lined with restaurants, perfect for those who love to peruse menus.
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. I’m aware there are various bike tours, however I personally did not do one. I would say biking around the city would be an awesome way to explore.
Walking to Jaffa and visiting the old city was the most peaceful thing I did while visiting Tel Aviv. On my stroll southward, I stopped at Café Vista, a small take-away restaurant stand set up on the waterfront. I enjoyed a beer while watching the sunset and editing some photos. The mood was calm as both locals and tourists took in the beauty of the landscape.
As you approach Jaffa, walk toward the Clock Tower first along Yahum Goldmann Street. The waterfront in this area isn’t great so its 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.
Restaurants & 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 dont miss the fun!
Hakosem’s eggplant was mouthwatering and all the sides were delicious. You stand in line to order (they move fast!), get your drink and they bring the order to your table. I loved sitting on the sidewalk area. You can really connect with the city.
While walking through the neighborhood outside my hotel on my first night, I stumbled upon this bar/restaurant that had pink neon lights and great music pouring onto the sidewalk. The restaurant is called Nanuchka and I everything I ordered here was perfect.
The owner recently announced the venue is closing after 25 years, so If you have the chance to go before then, I highly recommend. I’m not sure when exactly it will close but check if you can visit.
Tel Aviv Gay Beach
Hilton Beach is the iconic Tel Aviv gay beach, just as popular with locals as it is with tourists. Local gay Israeli friends of mine often head to the Hilton Beach gay beach, even just to walk along the shore or enjoy a beer.
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. Just north of here is Metzitzim beach, which has a large restaurant and bar beachfront. Metzitzim beach is a bit more relaxed and more ideal for couples.
Heading southward, Gazoz beach was a favorite of mine. There is plenty of space to spread out here as well as more robust facilities suited for families. Neighboring Gazoz beach to the south is Jerusalem Beach, which is much less commercial and quieter.
Tel Aviv Gay Bars
For the most part, my nightlife choices revolved around where events were being hosted for Tel Aviv Pride. Israelis sure do love to party. Everyone was rowdy and friendly!
Shpagat Tel Aviv
My friends and I went to Shpagat on our first night, a standard Tel Aviv gay bar with good music and a unique setup. Half of the space is a tiered staircase and the other half is more open. A good amount of people stand outside on the sidewalk. Definitely check it out.
Lima Lima is another awesome gay bar in Tel Aviv that perfectly mixes dancing and an outdoor space to talk with friends. There are multiple bars and the service is much better than any other bar I have been to in the city. Prices are also very reasonable. Check out the Lima Lima Facebook Page for event information.
Tel Aviv Gay Parties
The best Tel Aviv gay party (based on venue and DJ) was by far Dreck. This party changes locations, so I’ll note that I visited the venue at the Tel Aviv port, a short drive north of Hilton Beach.
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.
I went to a party at the Convention Center to see Netta sing her famous winning Eurovision song “Toy” my final night in Tel Aviv for Pride. If you’re going to an event here, you’re in good hands since its very organized and has suitable facilities.
Tel Aviv Gay Travel Tips
Taxi cabs in Tel Aviv can (and will) take advantage by price gouging tourists, especially on Shabbat. I’ve experienced getting ripped off by cabs in various cities, but nothing was as extreme as in Tel Aviv. If you have a smartphone, avoid this by downloading the Gett Taxi application and order a metered cab this way.
Often, cabs will 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 keeping your hard-earned cash and pass up bad prices.
If you are leaving a major event, try to have someone pick you up or pre-order a car since it is usually difficult to get a taxi without paying inflated prices.
Finally, don’t forget that Saturday is Shabbat and the city comes to a halt except for a few local food spots as well as chain convenience stores. Don’t expect to go out for a meal or buy clothes before sunset.
Saturday is reserved for spending time with family and reflection. Local Israelis may tell you “oh, no…everything is open.” This did not seem to be the case during my visit.
LGBT Rights in Israel
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