Shuk Hapishpeshim (literally – The Flea Market) in Jaffa is one of the best markets (Shuk) in Israel. First of all – It’s beautiful. Big enough to walk around, varied enough to keep you interested, and close enough to the beach to make for a perfect day in the sun. The shuk is open Sunday to Thursday from about 9 am to 5 pm. It’s most crowded on Friday (9 am to 3 pm). And on Saturdays, well, you’ve been in Israel for a while, you know how Saturdays are…
What Can I Find Here?
Well, a lot of things. The market is divided into stores and random merchants. Most stores sell antiques (Whether it’s furniture, old signs, typewriters, or jewelry) and souvenirs. We’d recommend you stay away from the tacky gifts and look into the pile of seemingly old assorted items. There are true treasures there. The random merchants sell without permission, and they offer a little of everything. It’s mostly crap, but it may just be the crap you were looking for. Near the center of the market, you’ll find new, more upscale shops for clothes, jewelry, and home decor.
When Should I Come?
In the morning, and never on a Friday (unless you’re eager to meet every other person in Israel at the same place). Also, never come here in a car – There’s no parking. Not for money, not at all. In this particular situation, a bus or a bike is your best friend. Also, if you come early in the morning, you’ll finish your tour at about noon, which is the perfect time to eat something and go to the beach. It’s just 10 minutes away!
What Are the Prices?
You can bargain at the old shops and get pretty good prices for quality items. A rare Vinyl record can go for 50 Shekels, for example. Notice that the vendors will jack up the prices if they’ll see you’re tourists, and even more if you’re better dressed than everyone around you. First, try to blend in. Second, get an Israeli friend to help you out.
What Do I Eat?
The market contains a decent number of good restaurants, old and new, cheap and classy. There’s plenty of hummus, bars, steakhouses, falafels. Take your pick as you walk around; there’s no shortage.
And If I’m Not Looking To Spend?
The outskirts of the market are made of different art galleries. Get yourself to “Hamalabiya” (A cool tiny place that sells the Turkish dessert – Malabi). From there, work your way out of the market to find the galleries close to one another.
What Happens After Closing Time?
The market does close at about 17:00, but in the true spirit of Tel-Aviv, the bars and restaurants are open every day until about 3-4 am. There are many live shows, deals on cheap alcohol, great dishes, and a hoard of young people from all over the area that frequent the bars.