Budget friendly Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv, Israel

10 places
Budget friendly Tel Aviv

Katia Shepeliavaya

Though Tel Aviv is an expensive city, there are options to have lots of fun without spending a fortune. Even local authorities arrange free events for everybody and the recent trend is affordable food which means you can stroll around the city enjoying cheap bites.

Morning coffee is a sacred ritual and it goes better with a croissant or a sandwich. Cofix is opened from 7 am and offers ten-shekel breakfast, which is really nice. The owner cares about providing everyone with a morning coffee and a bun – even if you are a poor student or broke. They have five-shekel menu offering juices, sandwiches, bourekases and pastry. Affordable quality is their motto. The place resembles a wagon and is a chain of 400 cafés across Israel so you can find plenty in Tel Aviv.

The best after-breakfast option is a stroll across Tel Aviv with a local. If you have no friends, make some in Tel Aviv Greeter, part of Global Greeter Network, whose enthusiasts who love their city show tourists around for free. A typical tour lasts for 3-4 hours, costs nothing (you can tip, though) and can feature up to six people (e.g. your gang of friends, family or colleagues). You can also walk in pairs. That's a great chance to get an insider's view not some tour guide banalities. Just for your notice – tours are in English and you should book them in advance, three weeks ahead.

This tiny park by the noisy Shenkin Street is a real gem. People fought for it with the Mayor's office which planned to use the space for another skyscraper. Now it is a park with two children’s playgrounds, fitness gear and green lawns. The major attraction is a goldfish pond, where kids love watching fish and ducks.

Tel Aviv joined the European bike-the-city family about a year ago. Now, you can take a vehicle at one station and leave at another one, riding across the entire city. The price is 14 NIS during the week and 20 for the weekend. They also offer weekly or annual plans (60 or 280 NIS (Tel Aviv residents have a 40-shekel discount). First 30 minutes are free so you can do a trick – give the bike back, wait for 10 minutes, take another and ride along the boardwalk.
One hour ride costs just 5 NIS and keep the receipt – any violation or extra time means money withdrawn from your credit card and fines can reach up to 45,000 NIS. All information about the service is available on https://www.tel-o-fun.co.il/en/HomePage.aspx. This new cheap and convenient service hit the competitors but those who have no credit card or want a lovely cruiser not a copycat green rental bike should go to HaYarkon – they offer cool bikes with baskets for 35-55 NIS and you should bring them back by 7 pm.

The gallery opened in 1951 and immediately became a hot spot for artists and art lovers. In the 1970s, it switched to discovering aspiring young talents and today exhibits various artists, who are talented and attention grabbing. The location is an industrial area, which has recently seen many art studios and artists moving here.

The research institute founded by philanthropist Shalom Shpilman is located in one of Tel Aviv's industrial areas and attracts both photo lovers and professionals. It also exhibits Israeli and overseas photographers and regularly holds themed exhibitions, like surreal photography of the first half of the 20th century. They have lectures, workshops and seminars as well, so if you are a photo enthusiast don't miss their events. Entrance is free.

New places emerge as alternatives to typical Tel Aviv restaurants that charge 12-14 shekels for a coffee and 60-80 for lunch. The concept is simple – low fixed price, quality food and good service. Lunch in Foodix will cost you 20 shekels no matter what you take. Choose a couscous with vegetables, chicken wings, a stew or salads – everything is simply cooked with a home touch. And don't forget an arak shot as an appetizer. It's five shekels only.

The highest observatory in the Middle East on top of the 49th floor of Azrieli Tower offers a stunning 360-degree panorama of the city. Day price is 20 shekels and the night is 15. They often host various feasts so better call in advance to make sure it is opened.

This bar is every student's dream – all drinks for 5 shekels only. The place is the only one in Tel Aviv, that's why it's packed with students. The idea evolved from Cofix cafe as its owners know what people need – good and affordable coffee and alcohol. That's how the bar appeared. However, it's kosher so is closed from late Friday to late Saturday. The menu is quite classical but here the price matters.

This ancient building in the beginning of Rothschild Boulevard hosts a cafe, a bar, a bistro and a live music club. The food is good and cheap and all veranda tables taken, especially if it's nice outside. Every night they have live music concerts. Entrance is free, but reserve seats in advance. Concerts start after 11.30 pm and are frequented by mostly hipsters.

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