Whether your interests lie in the fields of art, fashion, architecture, design or dining, one thing is sure, Istanbul has plenty of options.
So much so even, that at times it can get very hard not to get lost...
To make sure you avoid the classic Istanbul tourism clichés and have a great time in the “the city that spans on two continents,” we’ve made another little Istanbul “check” guide to share what inspires us and what we’ve discovered from our daily wandering in the labyrinth city.
See our list of “go to’s” to expand your Istanbul horizon:
A narrow, French-style arcaded street hides this tiny haven of indie Turkish design. You can get cool handmade wooden sunglasses, find T-shirts embossed with cheeky one liners (“I walk, therefore I am ...”) or take home tubular white metal stools with richly colored cushions by the store’s namesake brand.
Fransiz Gecidi C9
Sold all around Turkey and the world, Mavi Jeans makes quality denim products in all shapes and forms: from jackets to jeans, skirts to button-ups. They frequently have collaborations with Turkish designers such as Hüseyin Çağlayan, and the brand Rumisu.
Istiklal Caddesi No.153
Muhit is one of those rare spots where people will know your name, and you'll easily start up a conversation with the owners walking around, trying to get to know their customers. The cafe is the perfect combination of traditional Turkish foods with a warm, retro-modern atmosphere.
Kemankeş street, the mosque Kılıçalipaş Street, No: 9 / A, Karakoy
Showcasing up-and-coming Turkish designers, Building’s mission statement is to always be ‘building something new’. They often unleash experimental pop-up stores and guerilla projects in the further reaches of Istanbul, with past diversions including ‘Fashion Side Out’, which utilised neon blocks to shroud mannequin heads, a method of interior design intended to bring the best out of the clothing. It’s a constant challenge to keep track of their activities, though, as many of their installations are in the ‘blink-and-you’ll-miss-it’ (timeframe: pop-up ‘Room: 226’ lasted just 5 hours.)
Serdar-i Ekrem Caddesi 27/A, Beyoğlu
Artsüm gallery doesn't mess around. Just a few exhibitions old, and housed in a tastefully restored mansion on one of the city's busiest shopping street, it is quickly gaining a reputation as an intelligent platform for Turkish art. Though large, bright and well-lit, Artsüm encourages the production of site-specific exhibitions and performances.
Kemankeş Mah., Mumhane Cad., Laroze Khan, 67, Karaköy.
BurgerLab offers the best burgers that arrive on wooden cutting boards and have toppings like caramelized onions, cheese, or beef bacon. The daily business lunch menu at the casual fast food joint with a modern interior offers a burger, fries, and a drink for a standard price and is a popular option for the neighborhood's residents who are looking for a quick yet filling meal.
Dericiler Sokak No.10, Karaköy
As the age of the office is over, the time of the co-working space has begun. At least, it has for those who can’t afford to rent an office or studio space of their own. Sumahan is able to morph according to the needs of the public, accommodating private parties, film screenings, art exhibitions and projects, and fashion shows as well as being able to serve as a advertising space/studio.
Yanikkapi Sokak No.3, Bankalar Caddesi