All The Things No One Tells You About Tel Aviv

3 min read
Zoë Biehl
Zoë Biehl

Everyone knows Tel Aviv has gorgeous beaches and a buzzing nightlife. But what about the things nobody tells you?

Here’s some interesting insider tips about Tel Aviv that can come as a big surprise to newcomers.

1. Cats rule the city.

Cats roam free all over Tel Aviv. You can find them examining the contents of garbage cans and lounging on top of cars on every street you go. There’s even people that religiously feed the local street cats daily. It’s a good life to be a kitty in the White City.

2. When it rains, it pours.

During the summer, not a drop of rain falls from the sky. But once winter arrives, big storms can occur. And when they do, locals act like they’ve never seen the substance before and nobody leaves home. In their defense, the streets do turn into literal rivers.

3. Monit sher-what?

There’s these minivans in Tel Aviv called מונית שירות (moh-neet shei-root), meaning “service taxi.” They generally follow the public bus routes — though sometimes they don’t feel like it. You don’t have to wait at a bus station to get on; all you have to do is flag them down no matter where you are, and you can tell them to stop anywhere (on their route, that is). They’re great to use on Shabbat when public transportation doesn’t run.

4. No alcohol after 11 at night.

While bars stay open until the sun rises, it’s prohibited to buy alcohol from stores after 23:00 (11 at night). So, don’t wait until the last minute to stock up your fridge, or your party might be seriously lacking in Goldstar and arak.

5. Everyone’s more attractive than you.

Tel Aviv is packed full of sexy, fit, and tan locals that may knock your self esteem down a few notches. Better hit the beach and go for a run to fit in!

6. It’s the most dog-friendly city in the world.

It’s totally normal to bring your dog to work, to restaurants, and even to the mall. You can’t lounge at the beach without a furry pooch coming up to say hello, and maybe kicking sand all over your blanket in the process. But they’re just too cute to stay mad at!

7. There’s a singing and dancing bug car.

That’s right. There’s a guy in Tel Aviv that created a strange robot bug band that dances around on the back of his car to advertise his pest extermination business. He blasts bug-related songs he created himself as he drives all over the city with a big smile on his face. Only in Tel Aviv!

8. Bats are everywhere.

Every night, you can find bats swooping around the city in large numbers. There’s even a massive bat colony living in the central bus station!

9. Everything changes in the blink of an eye.

Tel Aviv is constantly transforming. Oh, there’s a new restaurant that popped up you want to check out? Too late, it’s already gone out of business and now it’s a trendy cafe.

Buildings are getting knocked down and built up, new parks are being put in, and of course, there’s murals of street art that are created and then quickly painted over with new masterpieces on every surface of the city.

So don’t get too comfy with anything in Tel Aviv, because this amazing, ever-evolving city is one of the most dynamic places in the world.


Zoë Biehl is a full-time freelance writer and editor with an insatiable passion for travel. Originally from New York, she now happily calls Tel Aviv home.

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