Best Things To Do In Istanbul At Night

17 February 2020
 Best Things To Do In Istanbul At Night

By Belmin Pilevneli: Curious artist, fine art enthusiast and Istanbul native Belmin talks top tips and how to appreciate the ancient city’s magic. Edited by Holly Stark

Home to around 15 million people and countless restaurants, markets, late night cafes and bars, Istanbul is a vibrant city that thrives when the sun goes down. With its people often out late; eating, drinking and exploring the city’s nightlife and undiscovered gems, there are plenty of things to see, taste and do. Different areas offer a different vibe; spectacular views of the oriental skyline of domes and quaint cobbled streets pointing to Asia, glistening blue waters of the Sea of Marmara, and magical bazaars, eating, drinking and shopping your way around some of the best neighbourhoods. Maybe you can even continue your night partying in the capital. Or if that’s not your thing, Istanbul nightlife has a late night art gallery, live shows and spoken word performance scene, too. The best things to do in Istanbul at night are often the lesser known, and there are plenty of off the beaten path places to enjoy your evening.

Markets, Bazaars and Shopping

Scattered across the city, Istanbul has many markets and bazaars offering something different; the dizzying and mystifying, the peaceful and vibrant, the sense-awakening and the fresh. A great way to spend an evening, markets present some of the best places to visit in Istanbul at night. Dive into the emporiums of Istanbul and find colourful walkways crammed with clothes, leather handbags and souvenirs. Wander through the stalls of delicious fresh fruit and veg, organic products and glittering spices. Get lost among handwoven scarves, knotted silk jewelry strung with chunky jewels, delicate crochet flowers and secondhand books. Istanbul is renowned for having one of the best shopping scenes in the world and with some of the best markets, you can really feel the local vibe and enjoy a full sensory experience.

Must See

The impressive Grand Bazaar (Kapali Carsi) is a must-see, boasting 5000 shops. Built in 1461 and once a vibrant hub of international and local trade, the Bazaar is a labyrinth of glittering delights and the ultimate Turkish shopping experience. Float your way through one of the largest covered markets in the world and awe over exquisite textiles, hand crafted ceramics, colourful spices, sparkling jewellery, pretty lanterns and souvenirs. The place never ceases to amaze. The Spice Bazaar is a short walk from the Grand Bazaar. The 17th-century Eminonu Egyptian Spice Bazaar is a gastronomic paradise and foodie haven. Since 1664, the Spice Bazaar has been thought to be the best place to select dried fruits, nuts, spices, olives, Turkish delight, oils and essences. Soak up the aromas of coffee, oils and spices and enjoy the decadent, sense-uplifting experience. Istanbul night market’s present the best places to enjoy the unique merchandise of Turkey, from organic produce, to handmade pottery, to clothing, and lanterns. 


The food scene is one of the best in the world and with so much choice, it can be difficult to know where to go. With a unique atmosphere, a vast choice of bars, fusion food restaurants and street food, spend your night in the city trying some of the best local tastes such as baklava, turkish delight, raki, kunefe and Turkish ice cream. Istanbul is brimming with great beer, and even more incredible food. Whether ornate pavilions, pulsing entertainment districts, quirky cafes or hip neighbourhoods are your thing, what unites each neighbourhood is an impeccable culinary world. Try fresh fish at the produce market in the Kadikoy Neighbourhood; also home to Turkish pizza, olives and nibbles. Kadikoy is one of the best places to spend a night in Istanbul. It’s hipster and arty with a chilled vibe. With a maze of art galleries and cultural attractions to discover, Kadikoy makes one of the best Istanbul evening activities. Located on the Asian shores of the city, Kadikoy is a laid-back neighborhood, known for its vibrant entertainment scene, tree-lined streets, quirky cafes, vibrant street art, independent shops, live music venues, aromatic coffee houses and popular eateries. Watching the sunset from Kadikoy is another of the best Istanbul evening activities.


Records, Music and Art

Bina Kadikoy is record event exhibition where you can drink wine, play old records and buy the records you’re listening to. It’s easy going and is the perfect way to spend an evening in the city. Istanbul has a great music scene. Bomonti is a great space for live music. Formerly the factory for Bomonti beers, the huge renovated area has become one of the best places to hang out in the Sisli neighborhood at night. Bomontiada has everything in one area; restaurants, bars, and a live concert venue. Have a few drinks at a bar then head to The Populist which often has live DJ music, or hit up the Babylon concert hall for a night of live performance. Check out the Pilevneli Gallery for exhibitions and contemporary art.

Drink at Lucca

Lucca is a great, fancy spot, loved by locals, in Bebek. The Bebek neighbourhood is located right by the beautiful Bosphorus and is a well loved area for delicious cocktails, like mojitos and satsuma vodka. At 11pm the bistro transforms into a vibrant bar where people can be seen dancing and enjoying quality music. It’s one of the first places that comes to mind for socialising, eating and drinking. Many locals head here after work to feed their stomachs with delicious food and their souls with good music. It’s open til late - around 2am. Squeeze this one into your Istanbul night tour.

Party at Klein

If you are into dancing, decadent and kitsch decor, an adventurous adult playground and suspended dancers, Klein is for you. It’s located within walking distance from Taksim square; a popular local meeting point, full of restaurants, shops and hotels with a modern Istanbul edge. Party your way into the Istanbul evening, as the area has every kind of night entertainment on offer. Klein nightclub has a line-up of international and local DJs playing electronic and techno music. It’s open on Friday and Saturday from 11pm til 4am.