Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv

 

Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv pin

About an hour’s drive away from the ancient capital city Jerusalem is Tel Aviv, the second most populated town in Israel. Situated on the Mediterranean coast, tourists come for the white, sandy beaches and surfing. However, there is far more to this fast-paced city than meets the eye. Here is our list of fifteen must do things for kids in Tel Aviv.

Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv sky

Zapari in Ganei Yehoshua

In the heart of Tel Aviv is Ganei Yehoshua. It is basically to Tel Aviv what Central Park is to New York, but on a much smaller scale. A peaceful oasis of grass and trees, children’s playgrounds, picnic spots, paddle-boat hire, climbing walls and much more, it is a fantastic place to take the kids.

Fifteen Must Do Things with Kids in Tel Aviv bird

There is also the Zapari, the biggest bird park in the Middle East. This park features an interactive parrot show and avian nursery where they teach visitors how to look after and hatch eggs. Also, they have a petting zoo, animal feedings, reptiles, and other small animals.
Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv wood

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents should allow a few hours to enjoy this location thoroughly.Packing sunscreen , insect repellent and hand wipes is a good idea.
  • This place is the perfect location for antsy and active kids to get out some energy.
    Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv beach

 

Tel Aviv Old Port

Built between 1936 and 1938, the old port of Tel Aviv is now far more famous for its restaurants, pier, and water sports among other things. The Yarkon River estuary empties into the Mediterranean here and offers spectacular scenery making it a popular place for walking. Travelers will see joggers passing by at all hours of the day from sunrise to midnight.

Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv sea

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Bring the kids here for some delicious ice cream or gelato while you watch a magnificent sunset over the sea.
  • There are bikers and skaters everywhere so parents should be attentive.Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv red

Carmel market

For those wanting to give their children a real cultural experience, the Carmel Market is the place to go.
It is the largest open-air market in Tel Aviv and the sights, smells and sounds should not be missed! What both tourists and locals alike enjoy most about the “Shuk HaCarmel” is that everything is fresh.

Travelers can walk through the alleyways seeing the spices, dried fruit, and yellow and white cheeses. They have other ready-to-eat meals with Druze, Yemenite, Iraqi and Eastern European influences, as well as traditional Middle Eastern street food.

Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv seed

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Don’t miss out on the freshly squeezed and pressed fruit and vegetable juices.
  • Parents with kids with smell sensitivities might want to avoid the smelly alleyways where fresh fish, meat, and chicken is prepared and sold.
  • Like most markets, this one can be noisy which may be challenging for noise sensitive kids.
  • The market tends to be crowded on Fridays.
  • Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv dress

Nachlat Binyamin

Keeping with the open-air theme, another great place to take children is the Nahlat Binyamin Pedestrian Mall. During the week, it is a favorite place to buy fabrics and art materials. However, twice a week, there is the Arts and Crafts Fair where local artists sell their extremely well made and unique wares. Street performers wow the crowds and there are all sorts of delicious foods to purchase to satisfy all palates.

 

Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv blue

Autism Travel Tips:

  • This area is a great place to introduce kids with autism to street performances.Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv car

Neve Tzedek

This neighborhood, dated back to the 1880’s, started out as a prosperous little suburb of Tel Aviv where artisans lived. One hundred years later, it had become a neglected slum full of ruins and a bad reputation. If some of the houses had not been on the preservation list, the whole area would have been demolished. Plans were made instead to renovate and beautify Neve Tzedek with an attempt to restore it to its former glory.Nowadays, Neve Tzedek is also known for its winding alleyways, charming restaurants, and beautiful architecture.
Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv rug

One of the places to take your child to see is the Nahum Gutman Museum of Art which is named for a very well-known Israeli author, painter, sculptor, illustrator and all-round artist who was born just before the turn of the 20th century and spent a good portion of his early childhood in Neve Tzedek. The museum exhibits much of the late Nahum Gutman’s work in all sorts of mediums.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • This area is the perfect location to take art and history buffs.
  • The sidewalks aren’t well kept so close toe shoes are advised.Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv pond

Sarona

Sarona is a newly renovated neighborhood in Tel Aviv. Children might like to see houses that were moved whole from one place to another in the preservation project. Virtually each house in the neighborhood serves as a museum with a story to tell.

Sarona was originally a German colony established in the 1870’s, and as the residents got older and moved away, the population dwindled. Now, visitors will find a  bustling market, a vast grassy area with the best outdoor gym and a popular place for community events and performances.

Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv play

Autism Travel Tips:

  • This location is a great place to relax outside between events.
  • The indoor market can be noisy at rush hour.17104889215_89ea63552e_k

Beit Hatfutsot

No matter how old they are, something every child would enjoy is Beit Hatfutsot. Located at the Tel Aviv University, this is the Museum of the Jewish People and their culture. Many displays and exhibits depict over four millennia of Jewish history in permanent displays. There are also temporary exhibitions during the summer or other times of the year. Children and adults alike enjoy seeing the incredibly colorful dioramas and other audio-visual displays. It is an excellent introduction to Jewish history and life both local and international.

6639779361_9e90efaa46_z

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Best time to visit is in the early afternoon after the school groups leave.

6663618663_1a9c652275_z
Azrieli Mall and mini theme park

The Azrieli Mall is the place to go for a unique theme park experience. Made up of three geometrically shaped buildings, the Azrieli Towers are a landmark in central Tel Aviv and currently include the largest shopping center in this city.
16760996015_8cf1d96d99_k

On the third floor, there is a roof section with a mini theme park called The Island. It is a water-based park and has a pirate ship with slides. There is even a little train ride around the ‘island.’Throughout the area, there are trampolines, climbing walls and rope sky-walks all with supervised lifeguards.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Budget a few hours at this place and have lunch in one of the restaurants in the Mall’s food halls.

6639777345_bdd8ea446a_z

Old Jaffa

The most southern and coastal part of the Tel Aviv municipality is Jaffa. With its ancient port and its ancient winding alleyways and arched walkways, it is quite an adventure to explore. There are little museums and even the remains of a second-century house.In the newer section of Jaffa, there is a flea market as well as lovely little cafes and restaurants with excellent menus.

Old Jaffa is an artist colony with amazing galleries and workshops, and the weekly craft market should not be missed. One can visit St Peter’s, a centuries-old church, an old lighthouse, and a wishing bridge with a beautiful view of the Mediterranean Sea.

6639779993_2ba5a07929_z

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents should be aware the Old Jaffa area ground is uneven, and there are steps to navigate.

4969438512_c08da296aa_z

White City Tour

A little-known fact about Tel Aviv is that this city was a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. This is because of a unique architectural style of residences, the largest collection in the world, called Bauhaus. It became very popular from the late 1920’s and into the 1930’s because it combined practicality, design functionality and the ability to use less expensive building materials; perfect for that time in Tel Aviv’s history.The city’s municipality offers Bauhaus tours and even free guided tours for visitors.

4968829809_17f3d364c4_z

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents should try the free tours since they can leave at any time.

8573269003_458fb3593b_o

Gordon Pool

This Olympic sized pool was first built in 1954 and has undergone much reconstruction. There is an entrance fee, but it in worth it to be able to experience the refreshingly cold water in the summer and also make use of the heated indoor pool in winter.

 

8573269963_609ae97454_o

Autism Travel Tips:

  • For kids who are afraid of swimming in the sea, this is an excellent introduction to swimming in salt water.

8572583814_293ea5c619_k

Tel Aviv Marina

With beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea and the piers, the stretch of white beaches, and a variety of hotels and restaurants, the Tel Aviv Marina should not be missed. The area is well known for its surfing, sailing and canoeing activities and other outdoor sports.A popular past-time among locals in this area is a bat and ball game that has the locals call Matkot. The trick is to break the record and not lose the rhythm by dropping the ball.

8573270821_0cfc668d4a_k

Autism Travel Tips:

  • There are a lot of great physical activities here for energetic children with autism.16484685583_9d97695246_k

Buffet Israeli breakfast

There is no shortage of good places to partake of this delightful culinary experience. Children would enjoy having an Israeli breakfast buffet style.

Each establishment has their atmosphere, style and signature dishes. Start off with a selection liquid refreshments both hot and cold. Move on to cereals, porridges, yogurts, eggs: boiled, fried, scrambled or prepared by the chef in a design-your-own-omelet variety.
16553758727_baf08ea511_k

 

There is also Shakshuka, an egg poached in a spicy tomato based sauce or the creamed spinach white version. One can try savory and sweet pastries,  freshly prepared local or international salads and the option to build your own with seeds, dried fruit, and dressings.

There are cheeses, both yellow and white that come with added olives or garlic and herbs. Also, there are different fish options like smoked salmon, herring, mackerel, tuna, and sardines. Continue with the Israeli version of pies called bourekas and end the meal with fresh fruit, either whole or in a fruit salad There is no way to leave a Tel Aviv breakfast buffet hungry!

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents of children with food sensitivities should always ask servers if they are unsure about what ingredients make up a dish.
  • These breakfasts are an excellent way to introduce kids with autism to new tastes and textures.

16759423635_2dee98cfab_k

Hotel Sabbath Dinner

Many hotels offer this experience, like the Hilton Tel Aviv for example. This activity is a cultural experience that requires much preparation in advance on the part of the staff to get everything served before the sun sets on a Friday night, so as to comply with the kosher laws of Judaism. The dinner is a wonderful way to start the Shabbat, the holy and commanded day of rest.

16733537276_d7b0fe977e_z

There are hot and cold dishes including various meats and poultry, vegetables, side dishes, and pastries. The desserts catch the eye of those who have a sweet tooth. Some hotels have an allocated room for a synagogue especially for conducting religious services. It is very special even to be on the outside hearing prayers and singing.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents should make sure their children are respectful of the customs they witness.8573265967_5b2f113c48_k

Holon Comics Museum

To the South East of Tel Aviv and under a different municipality is the Holon Comics Museum. It is a unique institution in Israel and specializes in cartoons and caricatures, humorous and artistic in nature. They have exhibits and displays as well as workshops for children and adults of all ages. There are life-sized cartoon cutouts dotted about the museum grounds and massive sculptures based on pictures that are interactive and children can climb on them. It is an excellent experience and a great way to introduce children to this form of art.
16482473334_8ce4c27b3f_k

 

Autism Travel Tips:

  • This area is the perfect location for any comic collector. Parents should be advised most signage is in Hebrew.
  • Children interested in art may be interested in the workshops offered at this site.

 

 

 

 

Dining at Jaffa’s Itzik Hagadol Restaurant


We first visited Itzik Hagadol in Jaffa, Israel back in 2011.
We were walking back to our beachfront hotel – the David Intercontinental, after spending the afternoon in the famous Jaffa flea market. We loved the restaurant so much that we’ve since made going back there a family tradition of sorts.


Dining at Jaffa's Itzik Hagadol Restaurant salads

 

As you come up David Raziel Street from Tel Aviv’s beachfront, you will find the restaurant in a nondescript old building dating from the turn of the previous century. The display of different meats in the window reminds you that this is mainly a steak house.

Dining at Jaffa's Itzik Hagadol Restaurant mosaic
Decor

The two rooms are decorated sparsely with long dark wood tables close to each other for a cozy atmosphere. Patrons who are a mixture of tourists and locals all know to come here for the food rather than the ambiance.
Unless you have made a prior booking, service is first to come first served. Often there are long lines of people waiting for a table. If you or your child are unable to wait for a long time, it is recommended that you call ahead to reserve a place since it does tend to get crowded in the evenings and weekends.

The Food

Even though the restaurant prides itself on its meat, we go there for the 20 or more salad selections (many vegetarian and gluten free) on the menu.
They have a superb appetizer platter that includes tahini, carrot salad, eggplant made three ways, falafel, Israeli chopped salad, cabbage salad, egg salad and an assortment of tomato salads.
Our favorites are the spicy Moroccan, the cold minced chicken liver salad and the roasted eggplant salads that never cease to leave us craving for more.

The refillable salad spread (that you can get as your main course or as an accompaniment to any of their meat dishes) comes with a Laffa – flat bread, fresh and hot out of the stone oven. We wash the meal down with a pitcher of nana (mint) lemonade that they squeeze and prepare daily on the premises.

The menu selection is long and varied, and it usually takes my son several minutes to choose and…come to the same decision each time; he likes their mixed grill skewer platter, which features a combination of chicken, beef and lamb.
I usually order the Romanian kebabs unless I feel adventurous (yes, I know the calories…) and order the grilled goose liver.

Dining at Jaffa's Itzik Hagadol Restaurant lemonade
They do offer ribs and steak as well as cooked fish, but this is a place that most come to for the excellent meat skewers.

If you still have space for dessert, which you probably never will – don’t leave without trying their Malabi, a light and creamy rosewater pudding with a refreshing and delicate flavor.

Over the years, we’ve found the servers to be courteous and friendly; they even remember our son by his name.
Last time we were there and, as usual, couldn’t have any dessert the server packed a malabi to go for us to enjoy in our hotel room later.

The Jaffa restaurant originally opened in 1996 by a father and son duo with a space that accommodated less than 60 people. Since then, it has expanded to two larger dining rooms that can seat many more guests.

Because of its reputation and success, in recent years, the family has opened a second location in Encino California too.

When you visit Itzik Hagadol (Translated as ‘Big Itzik’) it is recommended that you walk to the restaurant or catch a taxi as parking is not easy to come by, particularly in the busiest times since Jaffa is a bustling city and space is a commodity.

Autism Travel Tips

  •  For any sensory issues, this place is best enjoyed off hours when the noise level is reduced.
  • If your child is sensitive to the smell of cooking, ask for a table away from the kitchen, which shouldn’t be a problem.
  •  If your child gets antsy while waiting for their food, you can take them to the front of the restaurant and let them watch how the Laffas  bread area  is freshly baked.

 

Address

3 David Raziel St, Jaffa,Israel

Phone

057-943-8970

Reliving Childhood Memories in Jaffa,Israel

Ever thought of taking your kids to a place you’ve  lived in to revisit it through their eyes?
I did that on our recent trip to the ancient city of Jaffa with my two teen sons.Over the course of a rainy afternoon, we ended up having fun and even learned a few pointers along the way.

Set the Mood

We set off from our Renaissance Hotel on the Tel Aviv promenade on a lazy afternoon to explore the beautiful town of Old Jaffa. My initial plan was to coax the boys to walk there (20-30 minutes leisurely affair) but decided against it, since my autistic son was not having the best of days, and his younger brother was in his usual teenage, solemn mood. So, instead of arguing over that we just hopped into a cab and asked to be dropped off at the clock in the heart of old Jaffa.

 

Old Jaffa 2.0 :Reliving childhood memories with the kids tower

Sweeten the deal with snacks

It was the last day of  Hanukkah, and the local bakery was still offering sufganiyot which are very similar in form and texture to the American donuts— so I treated my kids a quick snack before starting our stroll.Our sensory food tasting experience, however, didn’t stop at the bakery. Soon after, we passed by the famous bakery Abu Lafia (where I used to come every lunch time) and shared my all- time- favorite sesame bagel with za’atar.

Old Jaffa 2.0 :Reliving childhood memories with the kids donuts

 

 

Keep your stories short

As we continued up Yeffet Street, I pointed out my old high school Tabeetha on the left side of the street, right next to the  French high school (and across from the now-defunct French hospital.) Last May, Jeffrey and I walked in and chatted with my old principal and some of my old teachers. He got quite a kick out of hearing my teachers’ stories of my high school years and visiting my old classrooms. This time, unfortunately, we couldn’t  enter the school—it was out of session for Christmas break.

 

Old Jaffa 2.0 :Reliving childhood memories with the kids gate

 

Spice it up with  legends

Turning right, we arrived at the old port. Since its foundation approximately 4000 years ago, the area has seen many changes. While its days as a major port are long over ( it currently serves as a local fishing boat dock ), the area’s restaurants and art galleries are hugely popular with tourists and locals alike.
Every year my classmates And I would brave the narrow stairs and walkways to Simon the Tanner’s house, where according to belief Saint Peter helped Tabitha rise from the dead (which in turn, inspired Jane Walker-Arnott to name the school after her) and visit the lighthouse.
Our class trip would always culminate in the place: the old port to gaze out at the famous Andromeda’s Rock.Since both the tower and the home are undergoing renovations, all we could do this time was to sneak a  peek at the smaller- than-I-remember rock.

 

Old Jaffa's narrow alleys Reliving Childhood Memories in Jaffa,Israel

Add  spectacular views

As a teen, I use to enjoy climbing the small, cobblestone steps and wondering around the different art galleries in the area known as the “Sheath HaGadol.” With its open amphitheater setting and old Ottoman Sarai that currently houses the Jaffa Museum, this is also a superb vantage point to look out at the Mediterranean Sea and Tel Aviv skyline (not to mention also teach your kid some quick photography techniques).

 

Reliving Childhood Memories in Jaffa,Israel coastlne

 

 

Mix a dab of  pixie dust

Voted by both my kids as the favorite stop we had on our one-hour walk of Jaffa was none other than  “Gesher Hamishalot,”  which translates as “The Wishing Bridge.” Legend has it that if you touch your zodiac sign marked on the stone while gazing into the sea, you will get what you wish for. To my surprise, Jeffrey decided to venture up the steep stairs in the blowing wind, twice to maximize his potential of fulfilling more than one wish.

 

Old Jaffa 2.0 :Reliving childhood memories with the kids bridge

 

Conclude with retail therapy

Last but not least, after acting as the impromptu travel guide, I  got my reward which was a short stop at one of my favorite local stores called Mango. Its setting inside of an old Ottoman building provides a fitting backdrop to the boutique, which sells eccentric clothing and leather shoes and belts. After spending my fifteen allocated minutes in “retail therapy”, I walked out with my Jaffa version of Elton John-like clogs souvenir.

 

Old Jaffa 2.0 :Reliving childhood memories with the kids boutique

 

Have you ever thought of taking your kids back to some of the places you’ve lived in?
If you did -would you recommend it?

 

Pin It on Pinterest