Tel Aviv on a Rainy Day: Fantastic Indoor Attractions

By Sarah Mann | Published on 1/23/2024

When you say ‘Tel Aviv’ what often comes to mind is a sun-drenched city in the Mediterranean, full of sandy white beaches on which visitors are sunbathing and swimming from dawn to dusk. And that’s not untrue - after all, the city’s promenade and coastline are a fantastic attraction for anyone visiting Israel.

But what many people don't know is that Tel Aviv is far more than beaches! it’s also home to some fantastic galleries, museums, and markets, in which you can spend many a rainy day. Because this city does have a ‘colder season’ and whilst it’s short and relatively mild, there are still instances where you’ll want to be inside!  

When is winter in Tel Aviv?

Tel Aviv’s winter technically falls between December and February and whilst the weather is still pretty mild, it will still rain periodically. And when it does rain, you will certainly know about it although it’s quite possible that after a couple of hours of a downfall, the sun will come out again.  

What to Do on a Rainy Day in Tel AvivThe sea might get stormy. Tel Aviv during the peak of winter

However, unlike the ‘real’ cold winter in Israel (think the hills of Jerusalem, mountains in the Golan Heights, or the empty Negev desert), temperatures are rarely that cold, and even when it’s raining, you’ll probably need nothing more than a light coat and an umbrella!

What to do in Tel Aviv during Winter?

So if you are visiting Israel in the winter, and find yourself sitting in Tel Aviv watching the raindrops fall outside, whilst you’re eating breakfast, what should you do? Don’t worry - there’s more than enough to keep you occupied and are a few ideas that never fail:

Awesome Culture: Tel Aviv Museums

Rainy days are just meant for museums and Tel Aviv obliges no end on this front. Top of your list is the Tel Aviv Museum of Art which has a wonderful collection of both classical and contemporary art - from international artists like Van Gogh and Chagall to Israeli artists such as Kadishman and Gutman.   

What to Do on a Rainy Day in Tel AvivEven the building itself is an artwork. The Tel Aviv Art Museum

From there, head towards the Carmel Market to Bialik Street, where you’ll find the Rubin Museum.

This accomplished painter, who drew in what came to be known as the ‘Eretz Israel’ style (biblical themes and Holy Land landscapes) and Rubin’s studio from the mid-20th century is still preserved, with plenty of his paintings on display.

What to Do on a Rainy Day in Tel AvivThe local art is original and eye-catching

From Bialik Street, it’s a hop, skip, and jump to Ben Gurion’s House, a tiny building packed full of history.

David Ben Gurion was the first Prime Minister after the establishment of the State of Israel and this is the house in which he lived and worked. A brilliant intellectual and scholar, not only can you see how he lived but there’s a massive book collection there because when he wasn’t running the country, Ben Gurion was a huge reader.  

Move onto Ramat Aviv (just fifteen minutes by bus or cab from the city center) where you’ll find a lot more to explore. Start at ANU - the Museum of the Jewish People - which is essential to visit if you want to understand more about the history, theology, and culture of the Jews from around the world and through thousands of years - you can easily spend several hours here since there are so many exhibits.  

What to Do on a Rainy Day in Tel AvivHow did the Jewish people come to be? the story might surprise you!

Then onto the Palmach Museum, which - using an interactive theme - tells the story of the underground defense organization that fought the British in the lead-up to the War of Independence. Visual and audio tools bring to life the stories of real people as you wander from room to room and this particular set-up means that it’s an excellent place to bring kids and give them a fun history lesson.    

And if you’ve still got the energy, nearby there’s the Rabin Center, set up to commemorate the legendary Yitzhak Rabin, Israel's prime Minister, who was assassinated in November 1995, by a Jewish extremist.

What to Do on a Rainy Day in Tel AvivAn old Radio device used by the Palmach during the Israeli Independence war (Image source: Oshra Dayan CC BY 2.5)

Walk through the exhibit and learn not just about Rabin himself but wider society at the time (both before and after independence) concurrently - on one side, it’s his life, on the other it’s major moments in the history of Mandate Palestine and Israel.  

Visit Some Great Tel Aviv Galleries

Tel Aviv’s art scene is inspiring, no doubt about it - the city is full of studios, galleries, installations, and street art and from fringe to mainstream and contemporary to old-style, there’s plenty to explore when the weather is poor.

What to Do on a Rainy Day in Tel AvivCome and see the latest creations!

Begin in Neve Tzedek on lovely Shabazi Street, where you can pop into the Forte Gallery. They have a beautiful collection of artwork and sculptures in all styles and prices and the staff are extremely friendly and knowledgeable. They try to showcase local artists and their exhibitions rarely disappoint.

Five minutes walk from Forte is the Chelouche Gallery, a sophisticated space that showcases exhibitions from artists both in Israel and around the world. Paintings, sculptures, and audio/visual creations are quite inspiring and the gallery shares its space with a bookstore and a cute cafe on the first floor.

Known as the ‘White City’ because of its enormous number of Bauhaus buildings, no modern architecture fan should miss a visit to the Bauhaus Center. Located on trendy Dizengoff Street in downtown Tel Aviv, it has a permanent exhibition of buildings in this ‘international style’ upstairs and a book and gift store downstairs, where you can pick up posters, jewelry, and design objects.

What to Do on a Rainy Day in Tel AvivBauhaus Archcitecture in Tel Aviv

The Gordon Gallery, established in 1966, is one of the oldest galleries on the scene and even though it’s now moved from Gordon Street to the Sapir Centre, in industrial south Tel Aviv it still has a reputation for innovative and exciting exhibitions which represent a wide range of Israeli artists.  

In the Artist’s Quarter of Jaffa, don’t miss the Adina Plastelina studio, whose owners use an ancient jewelry technique named ‘Millefiori’ (‘one thousand flowers’ in Italian) where colorful glass rods are fused then cooled, and made into flower shapes. Housed in an old Ottoman building, it also boasts a small ‘museum’, in which you’ll see antiquities that were dug up during renovations.

What to Do on a Rainy Day in Tel AvivThe lovely Artist’s Quarter of Jaffa

Just around the corner is Frank Meisler, a world-renowned gallery, full of high-end metal sculptures that are really unique. They also sell candlesticks, mezuzahs, and lots of Judaica, which is perfect if you’re looking for souvenirs from Israel. It’s also in a beautiful location, atop a hill, with fabulous views of the Mediterranean Sea below.

Enjoy Eating and Drinking in Tel Aviv

There’s nothing like a rainy day for finding a good cafe, bar, or restaurant and tucking into a slice of cake, a huge bowl of salad, a tempting pizza, or a full-blown meal.

And - foodie alert - foodie alert - the culinary scene in this city has really taken off in the last few years and whether you’re into street food, local cuisine, gourmet food markets, or looking to visit one of Tel Aviv’s top 10 restaurants, you’re unlikely to leave dissatisfied.

What to Do on a Rainy Day in Tel AvivThe local restaurants have some of the most creative cuisine you'll ever taste

The Sarona Food Market is a must-visit for anyone who loves food - it’s home to endless small stores inside, selling high-quality oils, wines, cheeses, and meats. Inside the market, there are plenty of stalls where you can pick up food to go to - from falafel to ramen and empanadas to hamburgers, the choice and quality are great.

Sarona, historically, was home to German Templars who arrived in Israel in the 19th century and the houses all around the market have been beautifully renovated, many with bars and restaurants you can sit in. If you'd like to get a better feel of the city's awesome food culture, you could take a Carmel Market food tour with included tastings; Don't worry, the market has roofs covering every passageway and food stand. 

Check Out The Tel Aviv Cafes

Tel Aviv has a reputation for its cafe scene - often small, cozy and independently owned, which means they all have their unique style. Try Cafe Xoho for a health-conscious fare - juices, salads, and all kinds of veggie plates. Round the corner on King George is the Little Prince, a local institution, with used books (both in Hebrew and English) and comfy chairs for relaxing in.

What to Do on a Rainy Day in Tel AvivThe city's cafes always have such a great atmosphere!

Close to the Carmel Market, in the Yemenite Quarter, don't miss Cafe Yom Tov, which has great coffee, not to mention granola with acai and fabulous shakshuka, and in hipster Florentin, there’s Tony & Esther, which serves not just beverages and light snacks but full meals (the smashed meatballs and potato come highly recommended!).

And if you’re in Old Jaffa on a rainy day, there are two cafes you really shouldn’t miss. Cafe Pua has been around forever and with the kind of decor that belongs in your granny’s house, and their charming mismatched crockery, jugs of lemonade, and a menu that has a bit of everything, no wonder it’s so loved. Nor should you walk past Vista Coffee, which not only serves great caffeinated beverages but also hand-crafted cocktails, if the rain is falling hard!

What to Do on a Rainy Day in Tel AvivWhen visiting a Cafe in Tel Aviv, one should always check out the deserts!

Finally, whether you’re visiting Israel for the first time, or a return visitor because you love the country so much, consider taking one of day trips around Israel for a busy but worthwhile day out. We also offer Tel Aviv guided tours, where you can explore street food markets, learn about local graffiti artists, and stare at elegant Bauhaus buildings in the historic part of the city.

Don’t hesitate to contact us by email or phone - we’re here to help you get the most out of your stay!