The Most Fun Things to Do in Tel Aviv with Kids
Our guide to the best activities in Tel Aviv to keep the whole family entertained (yes, even you)
Imagine a city with the ecclesiastical and political intrigue of the Middle East and the climate and layout of the Mediterranean. Initially known for its party lifestyle and world-leading tech industry, Tel Aviv is fast becoming a hotspot for families. Compact and beach-laden, the sun shines almost all year round, while the interactive museums and markets make for a cool and eclectic vibe. And who knows, your child might actually learn something from the art galleries and historic attractions. Just kidding…but there are a couple of theme parks as well as countless ice cream parlours and water sports activities.
Here are some of the best things to do in Tel Aviv with children.
Remember what we were saying about the Mediterranean? The weather is warm and sunny year-round – if a little hot in summer – while the coast is dripping in pure 24 karat gold beachage (not a word). Although the outskirts of the city provide quieter and more secluded spots, the TLV city centre has a few lively and entertaining golden strands for the whole family. Let your kids frolic on the playground of the Metzitzim Beach or get into the water sports activities at one of the luxury private-owned stretches of sand. A beach day is up there as one of the best things to do in Tel Aviv with kids that you'll actually enjoy too.
With all the strange noises and smells, a child should feel in their element in the labyrinths of the souks. Carmel Market is the main bazaar, with its wide range of local delicacies and carpets and everything you might want to find in a Middle Eastern market. It’s a lot of fun, and the food and atmosphere are like a window into the soul of the city. What’s more, your little ones will learn the value of a shekel from watching you pointlessly and somewhat furiously barter with an Israeli vendor over a plug adaptor for half an hour. At least, you’ll be able to charge their Game Boys and Tamagotchis, or whatever kids play with nowadays.
After a sugar rush from the baklava and other Middle Eastern treats,
you the children might start to crash. At that point, it’s time to escape the souks for Tel Aviv’s renowned parks. For a country in the middle of a desert, it’s remarkably green. Add some palm trees and Israeli chutzpah to New York’s Central Park and the result is HaYarkon Park, a vast green oasis with a petting zoo, lakes and an extensive bike lane. See the birds, reptiles and amphibians in the Tel Aviv Botanical Garden and enjoy the sea views from your hilltop picnic spot in the Independence Garden.
Of course, if you’re really looking for the most memorable things to do in Tel Aviv with kids, look no further than its theme parks. Stroppy teens will lighten up (however briefly) on the rousing rides of the Luna Park, while Superland in Rishon LeZion has some great river rapids and rollercoasters for younger kids. But look, you’ve sweated through the souks and hiked along the waterside promenades…isn’t it time to cool down in Israel’s biggest water park, Yamit 2000?
So, there are a couple of days of your vacation remaining, and all you’ve done is sat by the pool, swam in the sea and belly-flopped into the pools of the water park. Water has been pretty key to your desert oasis holiday. But there’s a nagging feeling: ‘Where will I tell my super-cultured friends back home that I took the kids?’ Ok, we hear you. Run out to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. If your children ask what Picasso’s paintings really mean, run. Jokes aside, they can learn about the rich history of Israel in such sites as the Joseph Bau House Museum and the Yitzhak Rabin Center.
The best neighbourhoods in Tel Aviv for children depend on your own family’s vibe. One of the trendiest spots to visit is Neve Tzedek, where you can pick up some gelato ice cream and drop in and out of the boutiques. There’s even a playground here by the Suzanne Dellal Center. If your offspring are well-behaved culture vultures, they might enjoy a trip through the historic vestiges of Jaffa, an undulating historic playground in its own right.
Many of the McDonald’s restaurants are kosher, meaning any meals that combine dairy and meat – such as the almighty cheeseburger – are off the menu. In any case, why go for fast-food, when you can pick up falafel, shakshouka, couscous and other filling Israeli meals that’ll keep you waddling around the markets for hours? As evening falls, dine at an outdoor table in a charming alleyway at the exclusive Onza and try such luxury eateries as the OCD Restaurant and West Side.
Planning a family trip to Tel Aviv when the time is right (and if the kids behave)? Head to our collection of family-friendly homes in TLV.