Nahalat Binyamin: the ultimate destination for Tel Aviv arts and crafts

Nahalat BinyaminNahalat Binyamin is one of Israel’s biggest arts and crafts markets and a great place to browse for original Tel Aviv souvenirs. And yep, definitely one of Tel Aviv’s must-sees!

Contained within a picturesque pedestrianized walkway in the heart of Tel Aviv, Nahalat Binyamin is home to craft stands selling a wide variety of items from jewelry and painted ceramics to toys, paintings, framed photographs and judaica pieces.

Through the efforts of its artists, old and new, the market continually reinvents itself so that the arts and crafts are perpetually fresh and innovative. All of the products are sold by the artists in person so not only do you get to provide the creator’s with support first hand, you could be exchanging small talk with Israel’s next top artist.

Everything at the market is handmade, guaranteeing a unique piece rather than yet another mass produced slice of tourist tat. Nahalat Binyamin really is the perfect place to treat you or your friends and family back home to a unique gift.

Beyond the stalls, Nahalat Binyamin is set amongst some very interesting architecture and enticing cafes. Regular street performances including fortune tellers, actors and musicians make for an extra special experience.  Even if you are just browsing, the atmosphere is wonderfully entertaining, particularly on a Friday afternoon when the promise of the weekend is palpable.

Make sure you plan your visit if you want to see the market. Although it is open year round it is only held on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10am to 5pm (later in summer). But for those of you that visit outside of market days, you won’t be disappointed. Revel in the relative serenity of Nahalat Binyamin, something that can feel a rarity in the otherwise vibrant city of Tel Aviv. The mix of old school textile shops and cute, trendy restaurants make this area an everyday attraction, especially if you combine it with a visit to the must-see Carmel market (open every day except for Shabbat) in the street parallel to Nahalat Binyamin.

Where there are shoppers there will inevitably be restaurants and those in Nahalat Binyamin are second to none. Here are three restaurants and a pub we’d highly recommend:

If you’re looking for upmarket food then Carmela Banachala can’t be beat. This delightful bistro on the edge of the shopping area (46 HaTabor Street) offers great meat and seafood dishes in a wonderfully welcoming ambiance. Situated in a beautifully restored building you will be able to feast your eyes as well as your stomach.

Agadir Bar Burger, with an excellent location in the center of the pedestrian walkway, means you don’t need to go far to access gourmet burgers. There’s nothing even remotely fast food about this joint but for your convenience, it is open late.

Kermit sings on Nahalat BinyaminFor those wanting something a little more local, you can’t beat the Israeli and North African homemade offerings at Hamitbahon (located at Rabbi Akiva 18, on the other side of Carmel market). Feast on Tahini, beans and couscous to your heart’s delight. A blackboard affair, this restaurant conjures up a rustic, authentic feel and the prices are just as attractive.

At the end of a long day of souvenir shopping, reward your efforts with a chilled beer at the Minzar Bar (the Monastery, located at Hilel Zaken and the corner of Gedera (just off the Allenby entrance to the Carmel market). With the perfect mix of locals and visitors, this bar provides a wonderful atmosphere to relax in. The music is interesting and the hours unorthodox. Sit back and enjoy…and check out the clip below for a taste of Nahalat Binyamin in the flesh!

While you’re in the neighborhood, we’d highly recommend a visit to the amazing Neve Tzedek, one of Tel Aviv’s most charming ‘hoods.

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