With a recent past that saw it labeled as one of Tel Aviv’s most rundown neighborhoods and home to a gay underground scene, Gan HaHashmal (translated it means Electric Garden, due to the fact that it also hosted a power plant back in the 1920s) has over the last few years transformed itself into one of Tel Aviv’s hippest neighborhoods (in fact it has just been named as one of the world’s sexiest ‘hoods – and even the UK’s The Telegraph have been won over!).
This part of town has been the subject of a revival and has become exceptionally popular with the city’s indie-fashionistas who have moved in and claimed this as the city’s coolest place to live, work and party. The presence of the area’s tell-tale boutiques offering unique designer fashion items have fast become the hallmark of this area.
So, what’s to see in Gan HaHashmal?
Today’s popularity of Gan HaHashmal is in no small part attributable to Collective Gan HaHashmal, the collection of designers that led the way in the regeneration of the neighborhood. Starting out with design studios and stores radiating from the small, but perfectly formed park, this inspiring group put the soul back into Gan HaHashmal. With the addition of several cultural events in the area, from live music to group yoga, dance and art exhibitions, the group generated a whole new side to the neighborhood.
One of the most recent additions to the ‘hood is Kuli Alma (kulialma.com), a music and arts-focused institution which looks like bringing even more hipness and sexiness to this area.
But forget the arts for a minute – when you are in Gan HaHashmal make sure you’re in shopping and eating mode! One of the most popular stores is Frau Blau. Founded in 2002 by two designers Helena Blaonstein and Philip Blau with the intention of creating contemporary fashion in a humorous atmosphere, the designers created a great new brand. Using the special technique of digital printing on canvas, the pair was awarded the Ministry of Science, Culture and Sport for their achievements in fashion in 2007 and additional stores can now be found throughout the country.
Nona Elga is another of the area’s great designers who studied and taught fashion design (including a stint in Italy and France) before breaking into success in the Israeli fashion industry. Her vision is to give women beautiful clothing that will allow a more simple life. For other shopping options visit Anjaly for organic yoga inspired cotton clothing and C’Project for men’s fashion and coffee! Great stopovers for the hungry are Abushdid (16 Levontin Street) and the vegetarian vegan pizza at Green Cat (7 Levontin Street).
When night time comes head to Levontin 7 or Kuli Arma, mentioned above. Nestled neatly within Gan HaHashmal, Levontin 7 is also one of Tel Aviv’s coolest, well known and best loved bars. Head there to mix with the city’s trendy crowd whilst taking in the wide selection of music played at this bar from foreign rock to Jazz and Indie. Check online to see what is on, or simply turn up and be surprised. The bar’s name is also its address so should be easy to locate and provides the perfect ending to a day hanging out in super cool Gan HaHashmal. OK, a day in this ‘hood might be pushing it, but you might well fall in love with this little-known area in Tel Aviv!
How do I get to Gan HaHashmal?
The Gan HaHashmal ‘hood is actually a very small space within the expansiveness of Tel Aviv and as such, if you were not looking for it, you’d pretty easily miss it.
To make sure you don’t miss it, head to the south of Tel Aviv, and the junction of Yehuda HaLevi and Allenby streets. From there, head a few meters south along Allenby to Levontin street, and then start window shopping!