Tel Aviv really is a shopper’s paradise. The pure multitude of retail therapy available might even surprise you at first.
So, where to start? Well, it all depends on your budget and what you’re looking for, of course. What might prove useful to know is that Tel Aviv has streets devoted to one particular item: spices, jewellery, clothing, furniture, gift items, etc. It might seem a little odd, but it certainly makes it easier for shoppers!
For example, if you’re looking for some authentic Israeli furniture you could try Herzl Street, or even the Jaffa Flea Market for some real bargains. If you’re looking for cheap quality jewellery go to the Hatikva neighbourhood in south Tel Aviv. And if you’re on the hunt for some stylish boutique shops and the latest trends, you should probably shoot for Sheinkin Street (Fridays in Sheinkin are usually absolutely steaming, just be warned) or the rejuvenated Gan HaHashmal.
In addition to these special streets, there are some very stylish shopping malls, such as Dizengoff and Azrieli (yes, that complex of 3 skyscrapers in the middle of the city), where you’ll find everything you need. But these are so Westernized I’m not sure you’d really want to travel all the way to Israel to spend your quality shopping time in these…you could also try the upmarket Kikar Medina, Israel’s original upmarket shopping area where international designer labels such as Ralph Lauren and Gucci still hang out, or even the Ramat Aviv mall in north Tel Aviv.
Instead, you might want to try something a little more unique. How about Nahalat Binyamin in the centre of the city, where there are bi-weekly art fairs? Highly recommended, but come on Tuesday, rather than the very busy Friday. You could also shoot for the bazaars with designer clothes and crafts that are often held in the exhibition grounds in the north of Tel Aviv, or the port area where some trendy little shops have sprung up recently.
Don’t forget the legendary Carmel Market in the centre of the city if you want a genuine Israel experience and are looking for cheap clothing/food.
And, just in case you were wondering, Israeli shopkeepers will be happy to take Israeli Shekels, U.S. dollars or Euros.
OPENING HOURS: Most stores open from Sunday to Thursday between 9:00am and 7:00pm, though these hours may get extended during peak holiday times, especially in the malls. Stores usually close at noon on Friday and open again on Sunday morning (don’t forget the working week in Israel starts on Sunday). Shopping malls that do not cater to the religious population may open on Saturdays and others open on Saturday night or holiday nights. Coffee shops and restaurants that do not serve kosher food often remain open on Saturdays.
Note: If you want a VAT refund on your purchases, hold tight to your receipts and when leaving Israel you should be able to get it all refunded, as long as the shop you purchased from is part of the VAT refund program.