Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Tel Aviv

Fri Jun 5, 2009 7:32am EDT
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TEL AVIV (Reuters Life!) - Got 48 hours to spend in Tel Aviv, the cosmopolitan, urban heart of Israeli culture?

With its vibrant nightlife, delicious eateries and Mediterranean beaches, the city tries hard to tempt visitors and next week hosts the annual conference of IOSCO -- the world's financial regulators will debate ways to avoid new crises.

And there's no better time to visit than now, as Tel Aviv, dubbed the first modern Hebrew city, celebrates the centenary of its founding in 1909 by Jewish immigrants to Ottoman Palestine.

The work week starts on Sundays, so weekends typically begin Thursday night. While much of Israel closes from Friday night to Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, many shops, cafes and restaurants in Tel Aviv remain open.

Unless noted otherwise, restaurants are reasonably priced, though dinner reservations are highly recommended.


6 p.m. - Start the evening with a stroll down Rothschild Boulevard. The wide promenade, named after a scion of the banking family who financed early Jewish settlements, is dotted with coffee shops, sushi stands, restaurants and the occasional street performer. Enjoy a stop at Max Brenner (, now a famous chocolate chain. Its 20-page menu is dedicated just to desserts.

At the south end of the boulevard is Independence Hall (, the cramped, modest building where David Ben-Gurion declared Israel's statehood in May 1948 as British rule over Palestine ended in war between Arabs and Jews. Take a detour along any small street to see some of the 1930s Bauhaus buildings that helped earn Tel Aviv a UNESCO World Heritage site designation.

8 p.m. - Enjoy dinner at Nanuchka on Lilienblum Street, a Georgian bistro nearby with unique Black Sea cuisine and charming atmosphere. As the night rolls on, the music gets louder as diners flock to the bar. There are several other pubs, nightclubs and late-night snack joints just around the corner.   Continued...

<p>Israelis play a game of "Matkot" on a Tel Aviv beach June 2, 2009. REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen</p>