I have literally only been to Israel (and Tel Aviv) twice, but perhaps this actually makes me more eligible than others to judge a guidebook by its cover. Why? Because whether I return in six months or three years, I’m still enough of a newbie to need a guidebook. Preferably one that doesn’t make me look like a tourist who needs a guidebook. Which is exactly why I smiled when Wallpaper*’s City Guide: Tel Aviv landed on my desk. Its solid purple cover reveals almost absolutely nothing of the fact that inside lies a beautifully modern, highly curated, insiders’ guide to Tel Aviv — “the areas you need to know and why.”
Wallpaper*’s Guide would really best serve travelers interested in experiencing a more relaxed tour through Tel Aviv by walking through its neighborhoods, shopping its local farmers’ markets, and leaving with a package of the city’s best coffee. Those who are more used to run-throughs of the “obvious” destinations (major museums, archeological sites) must understand that Tel Aviv is not known for its historical landmarks. As the guidebook’s editors rightly point out, this young, vibrant city must be valued for its energy and status as Israel’s cultural capitol. In this vein, the City Guide directs visitors to the “best” (albeit mostly highbrow) local hotspots for dining, shopping, partying, practicing yoga, and more.
Perfect because it’s not overwhelming, yet imperfect for its clear prejudice toward more moneyed travelers, the Wallpaper* City Guide is ultimately a pretty good choice for tourists of all types. Of course such a small book can’t possibly include every single “where-to” and “how-to,” but its stunning images and easy-to-flip-through category tabs make for an aesthetically pleasing experience, one that makes you feel like you’ve begun to tour the city even before you arrive.