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Four Days in Tel Aviv

Four Days in Tel Aviv

Get hot in the Holy Land.

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Originally published in the May 2010 issue ofOut.

DAY ONE
Morning
The city has a glut of big brand-name hotels, but travelers seeking a trusted name should stick with the David InterContinental (Intercontinental.com), located in Neve Tzedek, the Soho of Tel Aviv. Boutique fanciers, though, ought to hit the Alexander (Alexander.co.il), a sleek spot next to the beach and Tel Aviv Port, an outdoor collection of restaurants, bars, and shopping. The downtown Montefiore Hotel (HotelMontefiore.co.il), a renovated 1920s townhouse, also offers 12 chic rooms and a restaurant that?s a favorite of the local cognoscenti.

Afternoon
The weather is always amazing in Tel Aviv, so work your tan at the unofficial gay beach, a small stretch of sand full of local flavor (i.e., tall, dark, and handsome men), beneath the cliff-top Hilton Hotel (corner of HaYarkon and Arlozorov Streets).

Evening
Skip Independence Park, the city?s infamous cruising ground, and try Atraf (Atraf.com), an Israeli gay-friendly online social network, that makes it easy to look for love in all the wrong places. Take your first step into Tel Aviv?s unrivaled gay nightlife with a few cocktails at Evita (972-3-566-9559), the queen of the city?s gay bars and a safe bet for friendly mingling.

DAY TWO
Morning
Explore Rothschild Boulevard, on your own or as part of a gay tour (972-3-5166188; gay-tours@glbt.org.il). The city?s prettiest street is a UNESCO World Heritage site and includes a wealth of Bauhaus architectural gems.

Afternoon
Avoid the crush of evening crowds at Orna & Ella (972-3-620-4753) by snacking early at this Israeli-meets-Italian caf? on Shenkin Street, known all over town for its sweet potato fritters, espresso, and tarte tatin.

Evening
Taste Tel Aviv?s signature bohemian cool at Joz ve Loz (972-3-560-6385), an effortlessly stylish restaurant owned by the eponymous lesbian couple that serves inventive Mediterranean fare. Afterward, join your straight friends at La Champa (972-3-77-2008636), a tiny Cava bar where the party inevitably spills out onto the streets.

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DAY THREE
Morning
Jaffa?s Old City is home to ancient charm, a flea market, art galleries, Middle Eastern eateries, and the Ilana Goor Museum (972-3-683-7676; IlanaGoor.com), where eclectic art is housed in a gorgeous 850-year-old space.

Afternoon
Catch a performance at the Suzanne Dellal Center (972-3-510-5656; SuzanneDellal.org.il), Tel Aviv?s shrine to modern dance, in Neve Tzedek.

Evening
Hit up the PAG party line (MySpace.com/Pagit), a gay fave big on electronic music. The Playground Party at the -1 Club (52 Nahalat Binyamin St.) is a Friday night mess of energetic house music, alcohol, and guys. For a late-night snack or hangover-alleviating all-day brunch, head to Benedict (972-3-686-8657).

DAY FOUR
Morning
Wake up early for a 60-minute drive to Jerusalem?s Old City. Though you could easily spend a week there, a quick survey of the Western Wall, Church of the Holy Sepulchre (the place of Jesus? crucifixion), and the Dome of the Rock (the world?s oldest Islamic building) can all be packed into one day.

Afternoon
Grab some delicious bagel bread sold by numerous vendors outside the Western Wall before taking the #444 bus 40 kilometers to the Ein Bokek entrance to the Dead Sea, where you can float atop the saline-heavy water, and self-administer a dead sea salt skin treatment you?d pay hundreds of dollars for at home.

Night
Celebrate your last evening in town with some cocktails and a great view at Sublet (6 Koifman St.), one of the city?s many trendy rooftop bars.

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