Moving to another country and city is often frightening. But immersing in its culture head on by interviewing local creatives can help ease in a new town. After all, cities seen it through the eyes of a local or someone who has shared many memories on land, is truly what makes an experience worth the while. Anna Kopito moved to Tel Aviv from Stockholm in 2012 and founded Telavivian a few months later, which she has been running ever since. For Kopito, Telavivian has been the ultimate tool to get to know the city, that she proudly calls home today.
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What makes Tel Aviv so special?
Tel Aviv gives you a lot of freedom. The weather allows you to be outdoors most of the year, and the size of the city makes it easy to move freely and to cross the city by foot. It is a fantastic feeling to be so close to the beach and the sea, but also to some of the best restaurants in the world. Tel Aviv feels like a small village, where you always bump into a friend while walking somewhere, but it also offers you everything all of the big cities in the world have to offer; great entertainment, inspiring art, delicious food, colorful people, and interesting opportunities.
Tel Aviv was founded only 113 years ago, which makes you really feel connected to the foundation and history of this place (since everything was all so recently built!). It is fascinating to see how Tel Aviv has grown to become what it is today, so quickly, and how much it is changing all the time.
How did you come up with this project?
I moved to Tel Aviv ten years ago from Stockholm. Telavivian was a way for me to get to know the city, but I also really wanted a way to show people how great this city is.
Telavivian was initially a website consisting of blog posts about different topics such as food, music, fashion and design in Tel Aviv. Today we are a platform that is updating our readers about everything concerning the city; the best restaurants/bars/cafes/hotels, interesting artists/designers/creators, the most exciting events and happenings, but also available jobs in companies where we would like to work ourselves. In our e-shop you can find our digital City Guides for Tel Aviv and cities in Israel. No matter if you live in Tel Aviv or not, we want our readers to feel always updated and connected to the city.
Where to go in Tel Aviv for some culture? What are the places to go to explore the city historically and art wise?
Tel Aviv is also called the White City, which is a nod to its collection of over 4,000 buildings built in a unique form of the International Style (also called Bauhaus-style architecture). I love to simply walk around in the city and look at the beautiful architecture. One of my favorite Bauhaus style-buildings is the Liebling Haus, which occasionally hosts exhibitions and events.
If you are looking for great art, you should head to the Tel Aviv Museum. It is a museum for solo exhibitions of renowned artists like Jeff Koons, Yayoi Kusama and Louise Bourgeois, but where you can also find a great selection of art by local artists such as Eran Nave, Ido Gordon and Noa Yafe.
If you would like to leave the city center for the moment, you should take a bike/cab to Kikar Levana where you can find an impressive sculpture garden by the internationally acclaimed Israeli artist Dani Karavan.
Where to stay near the sea and not?
Luckily Tel Aviv isn’t so big, so you are never really far away from the sea. My favorite hotels in the city are Hotel Montefiore, Hotel Saul, The Norman and The Vera. They are all in the heart of the city, but still very close to the beach.
And if you really want to feel connected with the waves, there is a beautiful apartment hotel called Jaffa Roofhouse where you have a direct view of the sea and the beach line from its generous terrace. It is a really special place.
Tel Aviv is known for its great party scene, where to go for drinks and the best parties?
An amazing thing about Tel Aviv is that the bars here are also some of the most important culinary institutions, which means that when you go out and drink at a bar - you will most likely combine it with some dishes too. I love to go to The Library Bar (at The Norman), Herzl 16 (where they often host great events too), Bar 51, JUS, Bicicletta or Nilus. The best parties and live shows are definitely hosted by the Teder Crew in the Beit Romano, a huge complex where you can also find one of the best restaurants in town (Romano), various artist studios, a record shop, a bar (where they serve delicious pizzas) and a cafe (Mirage).
I also really love to go to Jaffa Cinema, which is a bar paired up with a cinema. They have the most perfect selection of movies, and you can order delicious cocktails and snacks all throughout the screening.
And what about the restaurant scene? Are there any up and coming chefs we should definitely check out and local places for a true tel avivian experience?
There are so many that I don’t even know where to start!
You can’t go wrong in Tel Aviv, even if you just have a quick pita with falafel, it will probably be one of the most delicious things you have eaten. The warm climate here year-round allows the restaurant to have access to seasonal and fresh produce and products, which really makes everything taste great. And many of the chefs here are very much highlighting that, keeping it simple and making the products speak for themselves, such as Eyal Shani. I am also following the creations of Chefs such as Dor Vanger, Danielle Itzchakov, Kenan Basel, Moshiko Gamliel and Avishag Levi.
Where should we go to shop locally?
Meira Sitton is a textile designer that makes timeless, elegant and minimalistic textiles for your home. NowPottery has recently opened a gorgeous shop and studio space in Jaffa that is worth visit, and you won’t be able to leave without one of her ceramics creations. ATA is the best place for shopping local fashion design, if you want to bring some of that cool, nonchalant, laidback Tel Aviv-style back home with you. For jewelry I head to the cute shop of She-Ra in Neve Tzedek.
What about day trips nearby?
Israel is a very small country, so you can almost reach any place in just a few hours.
It is always a good idea to head East to Jerusalem, or North to Haifa and Akko, which are all only an hour away. But if you crave some nature, the desert is not too far away either.
There are so many amazing wineries in Israel, and they are the perfect spots also to visit for a day trip. Some of the best wineries are Pelter and Assaf (a bit far, but easy to reach), Flam, Sphera, Amphorea.
And what about places to unwind and just relax near the sea?
As soon as you walk down to the beach promenade, you can find a great spot, meaning a sun bed and an umbrella, where you can read a book or just do nothing and relax.
There are so many beautiful beaches if you just go a bit south or north of Tel Aviv, which are definitely also more quiet and calmer than the ones in the city. Shefayim/Gaash and Beit Yanai both have beautiful beaches, but there is also a very quiet beach in Jaffa called Givat Aliya.
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