The New Central Bus Station is definitely one of the weirdest places in Tel Aviv. Most of the locals hate this concrete monster that was planned in the ’60s and only finished in 1993 because they had run out of money. It’s the second-largest bus station in the world and currently, around 50% of the space is empty. It took me a year not to get lost in there anymore and to understand how to get out.
What you might not see as a traveller rushing to take a bus are all the things that are hidden in the Central Bus Station. On the fourth floor, there is a big Asian market where you can buy fresh Asian herbs and vegetables. You can visit the Young Yiddish Library that has a huge collection of Yiddish books and hosts Yiddish events. Some of the vacant stores have been changed into temporary art galleries or kindergartens for migrant workers’ kids – if you are lucky, they’ll be practising a dance in front of you. On the seventh floor, you can find a great street art exhibition with art from Sened and other well-known street artists.
Unfortunately, some places you’re either not allowed to visit on your own or are locked, like the cinema on floor -3 that’s still used for the army and also for theatre group rehearsals, or the bat caves that are behind a parking lot, or an old room that used to be a clinic… I saw those ones with a tour.