The “heart” of Tel Aviv isn’t called that for nothing: It’s the part of the city that keeps ticking, day and night. Bordered on the north by Sderot Ben Zion (Sons of Zion Boulevard) and on the south by Allenby Street, the heart is one of Tel Aviv’s most dynamic and trendy areas. It has something to offer nearly every visitor—amateur historians, fashionistas, art and culture enthusiasts, club-goers and gourmands alike.
The tree-lined stretch of Rothschild Boulevard is the area’s main artery, and is one of the city’s most charming (and popular) places to stroll, go for a bike ride or simply relax at a coffee kiosk or on one of many benches.
The surrounding streets are home to the Tel Aviv stock exchange, art galleries, investment banks, prominent law firms and some of the city’s most stylish dining and nightlife spots. The area’s diverse character drives the 24-hour atmosphere: No matter what time of day, there are almost always people on the street in the heart of the city.
Among the area’s other attractions are hip Sheinkin Street, the avant-garde Gan Hachashmal (Electric Garden) neighborhood and the Habima complex, the residence of Israel’s national theater and philharmonic orchestra, which is undergoing a massive renovation.
The heart of Tel Aviv is one of the city’s oldest areas, dating back to the final years of the Ottoman era. The vicinity is home to dozens of Bauhaus-inspired International style buildings (many of which have been restored) as well as to numerous older structures in the pre-International Eclectic style. The area also contains many monuments and structures that are integral parts of Tel Aviv history, including the old City Hall building, the cemetery where respected Israeli politicians and authors are buried, as well as some of the country’s most famous synagogues—including Ohel Moed on Shadal Street and the Great Synagogue on Allenby Street at the corner of Ahad Ha’am.
Over the past decade, parts of the heart have benefited from repair and, in some cases, even gentrification. Yehuda Halevy, for example, was for a long time just a noisy, unremarkable street that has recently developed into one of Tel Aviv’s coolest, as art galleries and cafes have taken up residence there.
This rejuvenation, however, has not sterilized the heart. It remains a culturally and economically diverse neighborhood, where ultra-Orthodox Jews, high-tech millionaires, rock stars, actors, journalists, same-sex couples and elderly veteran residents live harmoniously on the same streets—and often in the same building.