The south end of Tel Aviv comprises several neighborhoods that are among the city’s most varied and historic. Some parts of the south existed even before Tel Aviv itself was established, while some of its landmarks date back to the city’s very first decade.
This sizeable section includes such incredibly diverse parts as Allenby Street and the beachfront promenade (tayelet), the Florentin and Neve Tzedek neighborhoods, the Yemenite Quarter, several noteworthy synagogues and Tel Aviv’s only active mosque.
There are also a handful of colorful outdoor markets, including the Nachlat Binyamin Pedestrian Mall, Carmel Market, Bezalel Market and Levinsky Market, which are packed with just about everything: fresh food and delicacies, spices, clothing, house wares and assorted gifts and knickknacks.
Allenby Street, one of the main thoroughfares connecting the south end to the heart of the city, was once Tel Aviv’s most elegant street—its “grand boulevard.” You can still see remnants of Allenby’s old-time grandeur if you look behind the treetops at some of the buildings, which have signs in mosaic tile bearing the dates when they were built and names of the architects and owners.
Just west of Allenby on the corner of Ahad Ha’am and Herzl Streets is Shalom Tower, which was built on the site of the original Gymnasium Herzliya—the first high school with an entirely Hebrew curriculum. The mammoth rectangular building was once Israel’s tallest and had also housed Tel Aviv’s first department store.
Continuing west on Ahad Ha’am will bring you to Neve Tzedek—the first Jewish neighborhood to be built in the late 19th century outside the walls of Old Jaffa—which is now one of Tel Aviv’s most charming and sought-after areas. The Suzanne Dellal Centre’s courtyard is undoubtedly one of Tel Aviv’s most beautiful attractions, while Shabazi Street, the neighborhood’s main drag, is a lovely place for a leisurely stroll.
Not far south of Neve Tzedek is the Florentin neighborhood, Tel Aviv’s melting pot of urban cool and solid, ethnic working class. The area is also home to numerous high-end furniture and lighting shops that have cropped up over the last decade (particularly along Frenkel and Wolfson Streets), making Florentin a prime destination for top-end interior designers.
The southern part of the city is a glorious hodgepodge, both in term of its population—which includes hipsters and artists, foreign workers, Arabic-speaking Yemenite Jews and hi-tech millionaires—and its equally eclectic architecture. The overall feeling the area exudes is a mix of ethnic diversity, authenticity, history, urban grit and Levantine charm.