I have been wanting to visit Tel Aviv's Azrieli Center for awhile now. After all, this trio of skyscrapers is famous not only for being a central component of Tel Aviv's skyline, but also, the iconic buildings are home to one of Israel's best malls, one of the country's most stunning lookouts and arguably one of the most sought after restaurants destinations in the state. Luckily I had the chance to visit the Azrieli Center recently. The towering architectural masterpieces are impossible to miss:
The three adjacent towers are circular, square and triangular in shape, each with their own functions and personalities. The circular tower is the tallest of the three and on the top floor (49th floor) you will find both an indoor observation deck which showcases panoramic views of the city as well as a high-end restaurant which is well worth the visit. Just one floor below is Mr. Azrieli's personal office. The triangular tower is the second in height with 46 floors. The building's largest occupant is Bezeq, Israel's largest telecommunications company which occupies 13 floors of the tower. The square tower, the shortest of the three with 42 floors, is predominantly used for office space (top 30 floors) and a bustling business hotel, The Crowne Plaza (lower 13 floors).
Of course, most people come to the Azrieli Center for the shopping center amidst the three towers. Beautiful shopping malls are somewhat of a rare commodity here in Israel and so when there is a modern, beautifully landscaped mall somewhere, people tend to get a little crazy about it (hence Jerusalem's Mamilla Mall and Herzliya's Seven Star Mall and Arena Mall being so popular). Once in awhile it's nice to delve into a western style mall in order to accomplish that feeling of home away from home. You will find here a circular center with a glass roof and four lanes of shopping spiking out from the center on each floor.
Express manicure? You can get one here (see below) and then of course, stroll the mall to browse through their cute shoe shops (you can actually find places that aren't chains here which is different than in other malls).
Here's a good look at the mall from inside where you can see everything going on in the floor below from up above:
These stores may not be the best representations of popular American shops, but, hey it's still a little bit of comfort in a place far, far away from home.
We're even getting a Forever 21 of all stores! Pretty exciting if you ask me. The clothes may not be lasting but they are cute options for a great price:
Of course, the other main draw to the Azrieli Center is to visit the Azrieli Observatory (inside the Circular Tower) where you will find the best 380 degree panoramic views of Tel Aviv. On a clear day you can see south to the coastal cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon and north up towards Haifa. You can reach the entrance to the Azrieli Observatory via the third floor of the mall. Admission is paid at the reception desk (22 shekels or US $6.40), from where visitors are taken up in a fast-speed elevator to the 49th floor. In the Azrieli Observatory you can rent telescopes and audio equipment to intensify your experience. Up there, you will also find a 3D film about Tel Aviv, an audio guide describing major landmarks, temporary art exhibitions and a one of kind restaurant – “2C” - to be highlighted below.
|View from Azrieli Observatory (facing the coastline)|
|View from Azrieli Observatory (coast is to the left)|
|View from Azrieli Center|
After all that shopping, you might be hungry! You can either head to the upscale food court inside the mall....or...you can head upstairs to the reputed restaurant "2C" (gotta love the Israeli attempt to be cutesy with American English lingo, i.e. "2C" = "to see"). The views from each window of Restaurant 2C (Tel: 03-6081990) are reportedly amazing. The restaurant is not cheap at all, yet the location makes it all worthwhile. Perhaps you might opt to just take a drink and appetizer; or, in addition, there’s a good value business lunch on weekdays. The restaurant is kosher (like most in Israel...you really can't taste the difference) and the food is considered to be Mediterranean gourmet and usually gets great reviews. Surely sitting there is not like dining in any other restaurant in town. I would compare the views from "2C" to be on par with my visit to Jerusalem's Mamilla Hotel Rooftop Restaurant (see post here). Just make sure you remember to ask for a window sit.
I know I'm ready to sample this menu and check out the views. I think I might just take my husband here for his birthday meal next weekend! Don't worry guys, there's no way he'll find out, he's too busy having a nervous breakdown over finals right now to read this post!! (my American friends here like to make fun of the Israeli finals system...did you know that in Israel they have their finals spread out over an entire month as opposed to our 1 week back in the states? wait...it gets better...they even have "second chance exams" the following month....and if all goes south, there's "third chance exams" too....so, really they have no reason to go stir-crazy, yet I've never seen people so stressed out over exams...! I'd love for them to experience the American finals system just once...)
* images from 2C's website, see here