With summer coming to a close in the States, and definitely winding down here in Israel (here, the chaggim seem to mark the end of summer and the beginning of fall), I thought it would be appropriate to write about the nuances, quirks and interesting aspects of a Tel Aviv summer.
Summer in Tel Aviv is hot, hot, hot. That being said, a huge beach culture can be found here — weekends are popular beach days, with people rushing out in large groups to hit the sand, sun and surf. Beach time in Tel Aviv means watermelon, matkot (Israeli ping-pong, minus the table), books and beer, music and friends. You can always find the runner-walkers and joggers, as well, but in the heat of the day, these brave or crazy souls are more likely to be found passed out on their towels.In addition to the obvious beach culture, Tel Aviv contains numerous other elements that uniquely combine to create a magical summer experience. Bikes are absolutely everywhere — young and old, men and women, Tel Avivis are crazy about riding bicycles, and in the summer, it’s the main mode of transport. To work, to play; at night, in the morning, it doesn’t make a difference . . . these people are crazy about their bikes.
There is also a fabulous café culture in Tel Aviv, and in the summer, cafes are packed in the mornings with people sipping iced coffees and reading the newspaper. On weekends, brunch is the way to go— restaurants are jam-packed on Friday mornings, with insane waits for prime outdoor tables (and indoor air-conditioned seating, as well).
Another fun aspect of a Tel Aviv summer is the plethora of festivals, markets, fairs, concerts and exhibitions. From clothing and jewelry to food and flowers, a Tel Aviv summer is definitely not lacking in markets and sales. Throughout the week and on the weekend, you can always find artistic, culinary and musical activities.
Of course, summer here, like summer anywhere, means that the children are out and about. Because Israelis place such a strong emphasis on families and kids, summer here is like a never-ending trip to Disneyland. The kids are everywhere — at the malls, the movies, the parks ?. . . you name it, they’re there.
And Tel Aviv makes sure to keep the young generations entertained with outdoor shows and performances, special deals and discounts and more.
Last but certainly not least in terms of defining a Tel Aviv summer is the “French Invasion.”
I swear, I have actually heard more French in the past few weeks than I did while I was in Paris. The French absolutely overwhelm this city in the summer, renting “holiday apartments” and hotel rooms for the summer. They are shopping, eating, swimming and strolling — anything but working. The French Jewish community enjoys summer in Israel, and in Tel Aviv, you can actually find yourself confusing “shalom” with “bonjour.”
I would be a liar if I said that I didn’t take pleasure in a Tel Aviv summer; after all, people tend to fall in love with this country because of its summers (think Birthright). That being said, I am anxiously awaiting a drop in temperature and an equally-magical, just as interesting, Tel Aviv fall.