For gay tourists Tel Aviv ought to be a bigger draw. Walking these compact streets after dark is sheer joy, in this "city that never sleeps." Most people hang out first with friends, filling the city’s hundreds of restaurants and cafes before heading off to party the night away. Dinner runs quite late, and gay-operated dinning spots, not always easy to find, have flirty waiters. Food choices are internationally diverse, and local chefs typically use fresh, local-source ingredients. Some nightclubs close only "when the last customer leaves" and unlike in Jeruselem, most clubs here stay open on Friday nights, into the Sabbath hours.
Walking around alone or with your partner any hour of the day or night feels perfectly safe. Cruising in Tel Aviv is at least as uncomplicated as in North America, and visitors are generally considered "interesting." Daytime cafes with a gay crowd include the Judah 177 Café Bistro, 5 minutes walk from Hilton Beach and the nearby, Benedict, open 24 hours, serving breakfast all the time, both on Ben Yehuda at Jabotinsky. The cafe at the Gay and Lesbian Center by Gan Meir park is another friendly place to get oriented.
Most nightclubs are mixed and promoters are always changing venues, but there are regular nightly gay bars, clubs and beach parties too. Still more clubs are considered gay-friendly and/or have special gay events on rotation, especially during holiday weekends and for Pride. Some club nights are 18-19-plus, others 21-23+ --but others may sometimes admit only men in their late 20s or older. Tel Aviv has two gay bathhouse now, Sauna Paradise, open 365 days a year for 18+ men (and bi men and women on Wednesdays) and the new Sauna Tel Aviv with full saunas facilities, plus dark room and bar. Tel Aviv Gay Vibe lists over 60 venues with LGBT or friendly events. See our list below, with links to maps and websites of some of the most accessible ones.
The gay beach in front of the Hilton Hotel is the terminus of Tel Aviv’s fabulous annual pride march, and site of the huge beach party that follows. Even if you’ve had enough of big-city pride celebrations, this one in early June is a refreshing change, not to be missed. The Gay Center at Meir Gardens hosts Pride Village to kick off the march with shows, music, and other entertainment. All year the center has services, films screenings, lecture, classes of all kinds, and a daytime cafe in the park - a good place to get your bearings over coffee or a snack. Ga'ash Nude Beach, a bit outside the city, is also popular with gay men. The TLV LGBT Film Festival takes place each June. They also have monthly screenings of gay cinema at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque.
There is no lack of debate here about the government's Arab-Israeli policies, or what the ultra-orthodox think about gay lifestyles, but gay gathering places are among the most integrated in this society. Politics aside, strong bonds between people and rugged determination generate a good deal of get-along tolerance, despite all the security precautions, and occasional warfare, in this most Western of Middle East nations.
Ben Gurion Airport, between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, is the country’s main gateway. From the airport, a 20-minute taxi ride costs $35-40. A train takes about the same amount of time at one tenth of that price. Board at the Airport station on Level S of the Landside Building, after buying a ticket at one of the machines. See Israel Railways for schedules.
Walking is a great way to get the lay of the land. For bus service see the English-language website of Dan Transport. Taxis are abundant and relatively cheap. Bicycle rental stands are all over the city for rides of anywhere from 30 minutes, to day or week-long periods. Israel Railways trains or Egged buses and coaches can, between them, get you around most of the country.
Tel-O-Fun, a bicycle sharing system, has almost 250 stations of bicycles for rent, providing over 1,000 bikes. Daily, weekly and annual subscriptions are available, and as with other such plans in cities around the world, the first 30 minutes of the trip is free. There are over 100 km (62 miles) of bicycle paths in the city.
Every city has its gay thoroughfare, and in Tel Aviv the Dizengoff area of Shenkin Street, and Rothshild Blvd qualifies as the main gay zone. With several gay clubs and bars for spending a raucous night dancing until the sun comes up, it's also a great place for shopping, cafe-sitting, and dining, at any time of day. Gay beaches include the Hilton Hotel beach in the city, and the Ga'ash nude beach a short drive out of town. Plenty of hotel options can be found on Ha'Yarkon Street, along the shore, a short walk or taxi ride to both beach and bars. Old Jaffa is another area for good dining, in nooks among ancient streets.
Currency and Money
The Israeli shekel is the accepted currency. You shouldn’t have trouble finding ATMs downtown.
In daylight or darkness, walk north from Old Jaffa along the idyllic shore of the Mediterranean Sea, detour through Independence Park to the gay beach in front of the Hilton Hotel and you’ll find all kinds of adventure. Check out Squirt.org for more.
Media & resources
Pink House not only offers exclusively gay lodging and accommodations, their website also has a weekly rundown of gay bars and party events around town.
Atraf is a online community site for everyone straight/bi/gay with all the latest party listings.
GayWayTLV is a gay owned/operated travel agency for tourism, within and outside Israel; guided tours in Tel Aviv, flights and hotel reservations, in both English and Hebrew.
Hotels and Guesthouses
Pink House (Raban Gamliel 17; 972-54-233-0932 ), luxury townhouse and private studio apartments in an all-gay building at city center; plus exclusively gay dormitories designed for younger travelers, Inspired by the inexpensive gay dorms of Berlin and Paris.
CLOSED: Eden House (Yishkan 11; 972 3-545-5900), gay-owned/friendly townhouse apartment rentals at city center, gourmet restaurant.
See these and more lodgings options, with locations and contact information, at our Hotel & Guesthouses listings on our Tel Aviv map and listings pages.
Amazona (Lilienblum 23), Thursday night (other nights planned) women's/ lesbian party events, live music gigs, open mic, DJ sets.
Anna Loulou (Ha'pninim 2, Jaffa), queer-friendly community/ cultural/ arts space, bar, mini-club, laboratory and "home for a binational crowd of Palestinians and Jews who believe music can be a medium for radical social change." See BoilerRoom Resident's Hour.
Apolo (Allenby 46), nightly 10pm-4am gay dance club, men and bears nights, male strippers, sex shows, porn movies, theme parties, busy dark room; 18+ / 18+ / 29+ nights.
Beef men-only parties, various venues include Duplex (Ha'shach 10): monthly Beef Jerky fetish nights, sexy men, kinky stage shows, cruising bar and play area; Beefster Tuesdays each week, beefy guys to young hipsters; and Beef Xtreme, several times each year steamy hot. perverted sexual fetish parties. Check website for dates and venues.
Bootleg Club (King George 48), gay-friendly underground club, dance bar, shows and entertainment.
Breakfast Club / Milk Bar (Rothschild 6, Jaffa), big techno dance club, weekly gay-friendly Thursday night dances.
Cat & Dog (Carlebach 23), gay-friendly underground-scene nightclub, dancing, semi-dark zone.
Dreck at Storage (Dizengoff 98), Wednesday night gay parties, electronic beats/ diverse concepts.
Dungeon Fetish Club (Hasharon 21), fetish/BDSM club, men/women, dancing, performances, St Andrew's Crosses, swing chains, coffin, cages, maze, kink corners; leather/vinyl encouraged.
Evita (Yavne 31, off Yehuda Halevi), 18+ gay/ mixed crowd dance club, nightly theme parties, drag shows.
Forever Tel Aviv gay dance parties takes place at Haoman 17, as well as at major circuit festivals around the world.
The Gate Club (Ha'shalechet 4), young 18+ crowd, DJs play a variety of music, dancing, Pride party; gay/straight mix, men/women.
Lima Mondays (Lilienblum 42), mixed gay-friendly hip hop/ funk/ soul music Monday nights; old Notorious GAY site/night.
MiNi CLuB (Nahalat Binyamin 43), gay and gay-friendly events, women's nights, mixed men/women crowd.
Shpagat Bar (Nahalat Binyamin 43), nightly themes, 23+ mixed crowd gay bar, nightly theme parties, 80's, 90's, Electro, and Pop music, women's nights.
Surfer's Beach Party by BoYling (1 Herbert Samuel promenade, at Blue Bird/ Chich Beach Cabina bar, Gordon Beach, below Crown Plaza Hotel), summer Saturdays gay dances, DJ, hot guys, no cover charge, cool sea breezes.
Theater Club | Moadon Ha Teatron (Yerushalayim 10, Jaffa), dance club, occasional 29+ men-only gay dance parties.
Valium Club (Ben Yehuda 1, Migdalor bldg 5th fl), large dance club, outdoor terrace sea views; mostly straight, occasional gay parties.
Zoti (Nachalat Binyamin 43), women's cocktail bar nights at Mini Bar, all welcome.
For occassional PAPA Party World Tour events coming to Tel Aviv, see their website link.
Paradise Sauna (Allenby 75), daily steam and dry saunas, Jacuzzi, bar; Wednesdays mixed night for bisexual men/women, other nights gay-only.gay. No-towel nights, Friday dancers and DJs.
Sauna Tel Aviv (Carlebach 14), new facility, Jacuzzi, steam and dry saunas, relax lounge, play areas, sling, dark room, DJs, full bar, smoking area.
Judah 177 (Ben Yehuda 177), daily café and bistro breakfast, lunch and dinner; gay cocktails crowd.
Benedict (Ben Yehuda 171), open 24 hours, serving classic breakfast and brunch from around the world all the time; fresh-baked bread, fresh-squeezed juices.
Beta & Griga (Levontin 2), Sunday-Friday 24-hour gay-friendly coffeeshop and bar, SE Asian food.
Brasserie M&R (Iben Gvirol 70, Rabin Sq), faded-glory Parisian-style Art Deco 24-hour cafe/bar/restaurant.
CoffeeBar Restaurant (Haruzim 13), American/ Italian bistro, bar, good food served all-day breakfast through late nights; Saturday brunch.
Cordelia (Hazorfim 14, Old Jaffa), high ceilings, big arches, indoor garden; classic French restaurant/bistro and bar, celebrity chef.
Judah 177 (Ben Yehuda 177), daily café and bistro breakfast, lunch and dinner; evening gay cocktails crowd.
Messa (HaArba'a 19), Provencal-French haute cuisine, bar and snacks.
Orna & Ella (Shenkin 33), home-style food to gourmet cuisine, fresh-baked breads and breakfast pastries
See more restaurant suggestions at our Tel Aviv map and listings pages.