Tel Aviv, the cosmopolitan city on the Israeli Mediterranean famed the world over for its creativity, open-mindedness, liberal outlook and acceptance.
A secular bubble in an increasingly conservative Israel – Tel Aviv is where the Shabbat shutdown on Friday might empty the roads and close public transport – but you will still find every club jammed packed with people dancing until the sun comes up. With an estimated 25% of the population being gay, it’s no surprise that Tel Aviv is characterised as one of the gayest cities on Earth.
Super Gay, gayer than Elton Johns pool party GAY!
But the world-class gay nightlife scene in Tel Aviv isn’t the only reason while gay tourism is booming in this very modern city. Incredible white sand beach, with crystal clear water and covered in gorgeous Israeli hunks play a large part – as does the vibrant dining scene, the Bauhaus architecture, the beautiful markets and daring new exhibitions of art, music and design. Of course it also well-known that Israel is by far the most accepting and open Middle East country in terms of gay people, which probably explains the huge number of gay visitors and residents of Tel Aviv. Not only is it legal here, but Tel Aviv public opinion of gay life is pretty positive – uplifting the entire spirit of the city. Of course you can always look for discrimination here, but the most you are likely to experience is a girl threatening to leave the city as she can never find a straight man.
If you visit in June for the annual Tel Aviv Pride, it is entirely possible to feel like you’re in a city only populated with gays – and the passion, vibrance and tolerance on show during this time make it one of the must see gay events in your life-time. Gay Tel Aviv truly has something for everyone – whether you are looking for tawdry nights in dark clubs, endless days tanning amongst golden torso’s or filling yourself with as much baba ganoush, shakshouka and hummus. On the map as a top destination for LGBT travellers rivalling gay cities such as San Francisco, Miami, New York, Vienna, Berlin, Bangkok and more – read on to discover more about this vibrant gay travel destination and why Tel Aviv should be top of your gay travel wish-list!
Gay Tel Aviv City Guide: The Ultimate Guide To LGBT Travel In Tel Aviv Israel
In this article we will cover...
Gay-friendly Attractions in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is often joked to be a ‘straight friendly’ city, such is the size and influence of the gay community here – and as such we could list every attraction in Tel Aviv here. Free free and comfortable to explore as far and wide as you want – especially now ride share apps have come to Tel Aviv and make it so much easier, especially during shabbat. Tel Aviv is very new city with a history really only extending back 100 years, and so expectedly most attractions here are very modern with plenty of delicious restaurants, modern art galleries and hip bars. The 1930s international-Bauhaus architecture here is everywhere you look and you will soon see why UNESCO awarded it world-heritage status as the ‘White City’. You can see plenty of examples on your own but for those who are more curious the Bauhaus Centre offers fabulous walking tours every week on Friday.
Probably the biggest attraction in Tel Aviv is the beaches, and to find your chosen family head to Tel Aviv’s Hilton Beach – a notorious gay beach in Israel where single men, couples and friends relax in speedos, check Grindr and order cocktails between dips in the azul water. Most crowded on the weekends and in the evenings, if you just want to relax without socializing its best to head to any other beach by walking either direction along the Tel Aviv Promenade that runs along the Mediterranean seashore. Ga’ash Beach is a nude gay beach located about 35-minute north of Tel Aviv. A long-stretch of sand and not much else, there are also clothed and straight people here – and plenty of locations where people cannot see you!
For those who can drag themselves away from the miles of beaches and endless dance parties the Tel Aviv Museum of Art offers an international collection of modern & contemporary art and a beautiful sculpture garden. The Jaffa Port and town offer’s beautiful ancient architecture and 3,000 years of history while the Azreilu Center by contrast is throughly modern with a collection of skyscrapers and a world-class shopping mall. If you want excitement and thrills the Superland or Luna Park theme parks are a good options with plenty of locals, water rides and roller-coasters.
The Carmel Markets offer plenty of delicious food and shopping, and if times on the right day has great hand-craft markets. For lovers of international design and contemporary Israeli fashion and furniture there is the Design Museum Holon and the Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot houses exhibits tracing the history of Jewish culture & faith up to the present day. While it is entirely possible to visit Tel Aviv and not see any signs of the Israel-Palestine conflict, for those with an interest in seeing the realities on the ground Breaking the Silence offer’s monthly tours to Hebron guided by former IDF solider’s. A highly recommended experience which allowed for first-hand experience seeing the reality of military occupation in the West Bank and the effects Israeli government policy has on the Palestinian people.
Israel is also a small country, some in a few hours you can make day trips to the Dead Sea, visit the Bahá’í Gardens of Haifa or visit the old town of Jerusalem – just to name a few. Tel Aviv offer’s countless attractions for gay travellers and it’s no wonder people come back time-and-time again Weather you’re jetting in a for a few days of fun in the sun or looking to spend a few weeks in this glorious sun-drenched city, the intoxicating mix of Mediterranean weather, Middle-Eastern roots and European style will make sure you never run out of things to do in Tel Aviv!
Gay-friendly Restaurants in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv’s super gay-friendly vibe extends to its delicious and diverse foodie scene, normally we would try list some LGBT institutions you just are not going to want to miss – but in Tel Aviv it’s hard to find a restaurant without gays. Weather you want oceanfront dining on the freshest seafood, or get bored with the beach and explore Rothschild Boulevard with its many, many cafés you will be in good hands. Indulge in hummus, street the food in the markets, eat 24/7 when you feel like it, let your taste buds do some exploring. Here are a list of our favourite ‘must-visit’ places in Tel Aviv but for more on the ever-changing Tel Aviv food scene however check out the Israeli Food Guide.
- Benedict – A Tel Aviv institution. 24 hours a day Benedict will be crowded and packed with the hip and trendy gorging on delicious brunch meals with a side of Mimosa’s or two. You just have to go!
- Messa – Haute cuisine by esteemed chef Aviv Moshe. This upscale dining experience best described as Israeli fusion paired with striking décor with meticulous planning is redefining the Tel Aviv gourmet food scene. Make reservations in advance to avoid missing out.
- Barbunia – Super chic seafood dining. One of the oldest fish restaurants in the city, so you just know it has to be good? Oh and they have an unlimited champagne / cocktails brunch that is guaranteed to make any weekend!
- Nam – Embracing Asia is this modern Thai restaurant close to the old tel Aviv port. A hidden gem that attracts those in-the-know and is a young and trendy alternative to your classic Thai fit-out.
- Cafe Nimrod – With two locations, the Tel Aviv seaport is the place to head to for delicious (and huge) brunch platters and shared meals. In true Israeli style you can sit here for hours as your feast off middle eastern delicacies, people watch and enjoy the sea-views. Super crowded on weekend (it is the best hang-over cure) but don’t worry the Tel Aviv seaport has plenty of other places to tempt your taste buds if you can’t get in!
Gay friendly and Gay Hotels in Tel Aviv
As a world-leader in LGBT tourism, pretty much every hotel and hostel in Tel Aviv can be considered gay-friendly. After all being a gay friendly it not all about upscale luxury, but about friendly and open service to welcome everyone with open arms! Having said that, everyone likes to be surrounding by people with common interests, and as such a there a few well-known hotels in Tel Aviv that are hot spots for gay travellers to stay – and even one exclusively gay hotel in Tel Aviv. There is no gaybourhood, just a gay city so everywhere is Tel Aviv is great to stay, and while hotels closer to the beach are probably more they do come with a higher price-tag. If planning on exploring a lot you probably want to hire a car in Tel Aviv, but for beach days and a few other hot-spots you can walk from most hotels, catch a ride share or figure out the public transport system.
The following gay-friendly hotels are only the most popular with gay travellers but there are hundreds of other hotels in Tel Aviv if you don’t find quite what you are looking for. Weather you want a fun and social hostel, a cheap place to crash after a night of partying or a chic luxury option with a pool sip cocktails and spend the day lying by – Gay Tel Aviv as something for everyone!
- Hayarkon 48 Hostel ☆☆ – A gay-friendly hostel in Tel Aviv next to Jerusalem beach and close to Carmel markets for a bit of both worlds. Great for those on a budget and wanting to meet other travellers, and with no curfew and a 24/7 reception you can enjoy gay Tel Aviv nightlife without any worries about a lock-out.
- Shenkin Hotel ☆☆☆ – A gay-friendly boutique hotel with only 30 rooms, the Shenkin hotel housed in a Bauhaus-style building is close to Carmel Markets and public transport. Get a real sense of Tel Aviv spirit in a local neighbourhood.
- Leonardo Art Tel Aviv☆☆☆ – The hotel formerly know as the Marina Hotel, with a roof-top pool and cabañas, sea-views and delicious cocktails it’s no wonder gay travellers gather here. A short walk to the gay Hilton beach and with a trendy and pumping bar, there is no need to go anywhere else!
- Melody Hotel ☆☆☆☆ – Another hotel popular with gay travellers thanks to their sun terrace sunset views and location close to the Tel Aviv gay beach. Modern interiors with plenty of small details to enjoy, this hotel with only 55 rooms really understands how to do boutique well and makes every guest feel unique.
- Brown TLV Urban ☆☆☆☆ – A Gay Tel Aviv institution eschewing the beach for the heart of central Tel Aviv downtown only a short-walk to all of Tel Aviv’s best gay clubs. With a fabulous bar, sun terrace and spa – not to mention its designer guest rooms complete with hydromassage showers and black-marble . Perfect for those who prefer the night-life to sun light.
- Prima Tel Aviv Hotel ☆☆☆☆ – Boutique chic, this oh-so-stylish hotel is inspired by the White City’s of Tel Aviv’s art, architecture & design. Close to the gay beach, promenade and cafés – the Prima Tel Aviv offers uber-cool unique, Instagrammable pictures and trendy, young vibes.
- Hilton Tel Aviv ☆☆☆☆☆ – The most popular gay hotel in Tel Aviv thanks to it location next to the gay beach – named after this hotel. The quality and amenities on offer are in line with the Hilton brand and you have access to a large outdoor pool, gym and restaurant. Many rooms also have exquisite sea-rooms and the executive rooms have access to a private lounge with free food and drinks throughout the day. Perfect for beach bums who have no interest in anything besides the beach and room!
Gay Bars and Gay Clubs in Tel Aviv
Although Tel Aviv’s nightlife is generally regarded as among the best in the world, this is particularly the case when it comes to gay establishments. One reason gay nightlife in Tel Aviv is so exciting is that the Tel Aviv gay scene revolves around weekly parties, rather than specific bars or clubs like most cities around the world.With the closure of Tel Aviv institution Evita there are no more specifically gay bars in Tel Aviv – but in this city, gay parties take over straight bars and there are still plenty of events on each night if you know where to look.
Wherever you choose to go out, a gay night out in Tel Aviv is hedonism at it’s finest. Anything can happen. Not only are the parties huge and practically out-of-control, but there is masses of alcohol, plenty of dancing and plenty of action – both on and off the dance floor. After parting until the sun rises you too will start to wonder if the mandatory Israeli military service included training for party endurance. Tel Aviv gay nightlife starts late however and most clubs don’t get going until 2am or later – so be prepared for a few sleepless nights!
- Shpagat Tel Aviv – A happening gay bar in Tel Aviv with relaxed vibes during the day when coffee and food is served. The perfect place to start a night out and find out whats going on. An electric selection of DJ’s take the decks at night, which matches the crowd here…
- Apolo Gay Bar – A popular gay spot spread across two floors and featuring frequent themed nights. Multiple dance floors, large bar, outdoor area and dark room.
- Amazona Bar – The only Tel Aviv lesbian bar. Doors opened Thursday and Friday with live performances, a great atmosphere and pretty cheap drinks!
- Haoman 17 – One of the biggest nightclubs in Tel Aviv, and arguably the best. Look out for their monthly gay dance party Arisa or themed night, or their legendary after-parties – but there will be gays here most nights either way.
- Lima Lima – Every Saturday this club hosts Tinofet, the hottest gay hip hop party in town – and once a month on Thursdays for those who just can’t wait till the week. Great dance vibes and is guaranteed to get packed.
- Jimmy Who? – Host the popular DRECK electronic dance party every Wednesday with a mostly gay crowd and plenty of bizarre themes.
- The Cat & The Dog – A incredible underground nightclub known as a gay-popular sport with multiple bars, great DJ’s and a dark zone. Now go chase some tail.
- Bootleg Tel Aviv – A mixed crowd with up-and-coming DJ talent and artists, as well as a stomping ground for more established players. Expect everything from deep house to disco at this gay-friendly dance bar.
- The Block – Another popular nightclub hosting regular themed and gay dance nights.
- FFF Shirazi – Held every two weeks at various location, these themed parties always draw in a huge crowd of beautiful men. Plenty of go-go dancers, great DJ’s and a strong anything can happen vibe.
- Zoti Lesbian Events – It’s not all about the boys, this weekly lesbian event in Tel Aviv involved deep-house music, different locations and a whole lot of fun.
- PAG – Gay electronic party held every two weeks in Tel Aviv. Self described as ‘nice jewish boys with a vengeance and glamour trash
All a bit hard to keep a track of right? We were not kidding when we said the Tel Aviv gay nightlife scene was wild. Lucky there is this easy list of all the gay club nights in Tel Aviv tonight and into the future. Still too much choice right! Where to go, where to go….
Gay Bathhouses and Saunas in Tel Aviv
Unlike some more Western countries, saunas and bathhouses in Tel Aviv are still in vogue, though apps like Grindr are taking their toll. Mot cruising action takes place discretely in public places – such as independence park at night in front of the gay beach Hilton Tel Aviv – on the dance floors. However if you want more of a sure bet, with a pretty diverse range of customers, then here are the best gay saunas in Tel Aviv, with a reputation for being friendly to foreign travellers.
- Backroom Tel Aviv – Actually the biggest gay erotic shop in Israel, but more famous for its bar and ‘backroom’ which has a large cruising area including video cabins, sling, dark rooms and maze. Thursday nights are most infamous for their Gay Underwear Parties.
- Sauna Tel Aviv – A popular after-party spot as it doesn’t close over the weekend. Huge and with some of the best facilities of any gay sauna in the world with jacuzzi, wet and dry sauna, bar + dance floor, shop and dark room. there are over 20 private rooms and a sling. If you want to start your weekend early the Underwear Party on Thursdays in the place to go.
- Sauna Paradise – Cosy and very popular with a range of men. Facilities include a jacuzzi, Turkish bath, dry sauna, bar and private rooms. Open 7 days a week but better on themed or club nights with foam and DJs.
- Dungeon Club – A mixed venue with a notorious back-room with maze, cages, play zone etc where anything goes. Frequented by many gay men, look our for their various fetish-themed events and shows. Truly inclusive of all shapes, sizes and genders.
Gay Events In Tel Aviv
A few of the biggest event on the Gay Tel Aviv calendar each year – However in this city, the party never stops so whenever you choose to come, you can guarantee there will be some must-attend event going on. Gay Tel Aviv just wont quit!
- Tel Aviv Pride – The only gay pride parade in the Middle East and one of biggest in the world. This is one event to plan your gay Tel Aviv trip around as more than 100,000 people take to the street on the first weekend of June for the wildest party on earth. Sexy, sexy men, drag queens, lesbians and – well everyone in between turn out for one of the biggest gay party weeks on Earth.
- Forever Tel Aviv – A gay circuit party which started in Tel Aviv and now has spread around the world. Wildly popular, Forever Tel Aviv can only be held in the biggest gay clubs and should not be missed.
- PAPA Party – Another travelling circuit party started right here in Tel Aviv (see it might well be the gayest city on Earth!). Insane production values, performances, some of the world’s best DJs and of course – more gorgeous men than you could possible shake your stick at..Not that that stops anyone giving it a try!
- Beef Tel Aviv Events – The hottest Fetish events in Tel Aviv well-known for dance floor cruising and dark rooms. Varying levels ranging from parties for men only to hard-core fetish parties with dress codes strictly enforced. Look out on Facebook for upcoming events.