Tel Aviv Markets
Experiencing Tel Aviv's markets (shuk or souk) is a must on any visit to Israel. All of your senses will be stimulated by the cacophony of sounds; delicious and strange aromas; spices and clothing in every color of the rainbow and the diverse mix of people on the streets. Tel Aviv has markets to suit all tastes and preferences; there are elegant and sophisticated markets; rough and dirty market; markets where the focus is on food and others where you'll just want to people-watch and hang-out with local hipsters. At Tel Aviv markets you'll find produce fresh from the farms; gourmet delicacies; clothing; rip-offs of luxury brands; authentic handmade textiles and junk with a few hidden gems to be discovered. Visit any of these Tel Aviv markets for an experience to remember.
One of the Carmel Market stalls, Tel Aviv. Photo credit: © Shutterstock
Carmel Market (Shuk HaCarmel) – For Rough and Ready Day to Day Shopping
Tel Aviv's most famous and central market, Shuk HaCarmel is the market visited by most tourists to Tel Aviv. The Shuk runs along HaCarmel Street from Allenby Street towards the beach, ending at a park near the Intercontinental Hotel. The market is usually very crowded with streams of people going in both directions; it's loud and a little grubby (authentic). Stalls on both sides sell groceries, fruit, and vegetables, clothing, meat, fish, sweets, spices, household goods, toys, rip-off luxury items, jewelry, perfume, gadgets, and more.
Shuk HaCarmel has become a hot spot for foodies who come to sample the food sold at eateries and cafes, each with its own unique dishes. Some of the eateries double as street bars where patrons stand on the sidewalk. The food on offer comes from multiple cultures and is often a fusion of many. Don't hesitate to wander through the side streets that lead off the shuk's main drag. Here you'll find hole-in-the-wall eateries, bars, beautiful crumbling buildings, and some small unique stores and stalls.
Spices at Carmel Market. Photo credit: © Shutterstock
Sarona – For Sophisticated Gourmet Goods and Elegant Surroundings
Sarona is a restored German Templar Colony originally established in 1871. Today the historic buildings house sophisticated stores and up-market restaurants. In the complex is the Sarona Market; an indoor culinary market with stylish décor reminiscent of La Boqueria in Barcelona. With a focus on food and kitchen products Sarona is cleaner; more expensive and less crowded than other Tel Aviv markets.
The specialty goods on sale make it a destination specifically for buying and eating food and not for souvenirs or people watching. If you are a foodie, then Sarona is a must. The products on sale come from across the globe and are diverse in their flavors and cultural origins. Some of the stalls are operated by top Israel chefs and the adjacent restaurants are also gourmet. Unlike most other Tel Aviv markets, Sarona is open seven days a week including Saturdays. There are regular special events such as cooking demonstrations and musical performances.
Levinsky - For Hipster Hang-Outs and Ancient Spice Stores
The Levinsky Market in the Florentin neighborhood was once the "bad" end of town; then it morphed into a bohemian neighborhood and finally into a gentrified haven for hipsters with some of the old neighborhood charm thrown in. In the 1950s the market vendors were mainly Iranian and Iraqi Jews selling spices. Now a new generation has blended old with new and stalls sell a mix of traditional market goods and modern necessities.
You'll find stores selling Middle Eastern spices from large sacks that spill out onto the sidewalk; dried fruits and nuts; household goods and everyday items. Several restaurants and cafes spread out across small tree-covered plazas and some eateries have even gained a faithful following with customers lining up along the street. Enjoy traditional foods from different cultures from Tunisian sandwiches to Polish salted herring.
Jaffa Flea Market. Photo credit: © Shutterstock
Jaffa Flea Market (Shuk HaPishPashim) – For Antiques, Junk, and Hidden Treasures
The Shuk HaPishPeshim is perhaps the most unique market you can find in Tel Aviv. At first glance the market offers heaps and heaps of junk – some stalls look like they have been stacked high with all those bits and pieces everyone has in one of their kitchens draws. On closer inspection some of the market stalls sell genuine antiques; others sell second-hand goods in bad condition and some of the stalls sell a mix of the two – so you have to dig out the good stuff.
Here you'll find vintage items; authentic antiques; classic furniture; souvenirs; home appliances; top designer stores; musical instruments; accessories; car parts; artwork; jewelry; and clothing – new and second-hand. Like most of Tel Aviv's markets, Shuk HaPishPashim has become a popular foodie destination. After nightfall, the market stalls shut down and the place turns into a vibrant nightlife destination with lively bars and chef-style restaurants.
Nahalat Binyamin - For Arts, Crafts, Bauhaus, and Parisian-style Cafes
Running parallel to Carmel Market and connected by several lanes is Nahalat Binyamin, a wide, pedestrian-only street lined with Bauhaus houses and some pretty impressive graffiti art as well. The stores in the buildings along Nahalat Binyamin mainly sell fabric but the real attraction is the market set up along the street each Tuesday and Friday.
The stalls specialize in handmade arts and crafts and you'll often find the artist or designer manning the stall. Some of the items on sale include wind chimes, handmade soap, unique handmade jewelry, paintings, toys, and organic products. This sophisticated market is somewhat reminiscent of European markets.
The outdoor cafes along the street will remind you of a romantic European movie with picturesque bougainvillea dripping over the buildings, umbrellas, and bustling waiters serving brunch. Nahalat Binyamin has a more relaxed atmosphere than Carmel Market; here you can linger, enjoy an ice cream or coffee; watch street performers, and get to know local artists.
More Tel Aviv Markets
Believe it or not, there are even more markets in Tel Aviv! In an addition to the top Tel Aviv markets listed above you can also explore Bezalel Market for budget items on King George Street; Shuk HaNamal, an indoor farmers' market at the old port; Dizengoff Square antique market on Tuesdays and Fridays; the Greek Market in Jaffa; Rothschild Allenby Market for high-end cuisine and the Friday market on Givon Square for vintage everything.