Allenby Street, named in honor of Field Marshal Viscount Allenby, the British commander who took the then Palestine from the Ottoman Empire during the First World War, is one of Tel Aviv’s longest streets. Allenby runs from the beaches on the west to the south east of the city. Like many of Tel Aviv’s older stress, some parts of the streets have seen better times, but it is still a place that holds attraction both for native ‘Tel Avivians’ and tourists.
In fact, it’s Allenby’s age and ‘lived in look’ that, for many, give it its character. It’s a journey back in time to a Tel Aviv that once was but is rapidly disappearing.
The western section of the street, close to the beach, is traditionally an area with lots of clubs, bars and cheap restaurants. Many have been here for years, even decades, and were once a favorite place for Tel Aviv’s younger crowd to hang out. Today, the area is changing but it’s still worth a visit.
Interesting fact: In the past, Allenby was well known for its many cinemas and strip-clubs. The cinemas have disappeared, some of the strip clubs remain.
At the start of the street in the west is ‘Knesset Square’ named because of two building that are a reconstruction of Israel’s first parliament that wasn’t far from here.
As you walk up the street, you come to Magen David Square and Carmel Market. This is a colorful and fascinating place to visit. It’s not a tourist market but a real live ‘peoples’ market. Vegetables and fruit, fish and meat, spices, sweets, clothing – anything and everything for bargain prices.
Allenby also meets Shenkin Street, an up-beat, trendy street with lots of great shops and coffee shops. You’ll also find another market “Bezalel Market” where you can find really cheap clothing that, surprisingly, can be quite good quality.
Another site not to be missed and that’s for the entire family is Nachlat Binyamin arts and crafts fair. It’s open twice a week, on Tuesday and Friday. The first and biggest of its kind in Israel, the market is a showcase for young artists and craftsmen who come to sell their creations from jewelry to handwoven cloth, from toys to household objects. It’s a real treasure trove and a great place to shop for original souvenirs. There are some great coffee shops here as well and street performances to jeep you entertained between the stalls.