Istanbul owes its place as Turkey’s most colorful and lively city to many factors. While its dense and diverse population, countless cultural places, and historical sites largely contribute to this title, the active and large shopping streets in Istanbul also help this city become so much more than just a couple of museums and palaces.
Let’s start with the most popular and obvious one, the Istiklal Avenue. This street is easily the one of the most crowded places in Istanbul. It has so many brands of stores, cafés and restaurants that experiencing everything this street has can easily take a month.
If you are looking to shop for books and enjoy great coffee and desserts, Turkish - German Bookstore & Café is a great place, near the Sishane metro station. Further up the street, you can visit Istiklal Pandora if you are into various jewelries like necklaces, rings and customizable charm bracelets. A highlight of the Istiklal Street Istanbul is the Madame Tussauds Istanbul, which is a must-visit wax museum that has +60 wax models of various important local and international people. To buy some clothes, you have many options: H&M, U.S. Polo, Zara, L.C. Waikiki and more. Another must-see of the Istiklal Avenue is the Pera Museum, which is one of the prominent contemporary art museums in Turkey.
You can easily start your Istiklal street tour by getting off at either the Sishane or the Taksim stop of the M2 Yenikapi – Haciosman metro line.
Abdi Ipekci Street
Located in the Nisantasi neighborhood of the Sisli district, Abdi Ipekci Street in Istanbul is one of the leading Istanbul’s shopping streets when it comes to luxurious brands. When you combine this with the street’s historical and elegant buildings, you get one of the most elite and stylish streets in the city.
One of the restaurants of Nusr-Et, a Turkish internet sensation that’s known for its “salt-bae” persona in the social media, is in the Abdi Ipekci Street if you want to eat delicious, meat-based food. Many luxurious local and international clothing brands also have stores in the street, such as Louis Vuitton, Beymen, Tod’s, Christian Louboutin, Berluti, Vakko, Prada, Punto Leather & Fur, Rolex, Machka and Salvatore Ferragamo. On top of Nusr-Et, there are many more delicious and luxurious restaurants here as well, like Spago, St. Regis Brasserie, Kirinti, Café Wien, Ranchero Restaurante Mexicano, Develi and Nisantasi Brasserie. For cozy bars with great cocktails, you can visit Cocktails by Atiye, Biber Bar, Touchdown or Society Lounge Bar & Night Club.
To go to the Abdi Ipekci Street, you can either use the M2 Yenikapi – Haciosman metro line to go to the Osmanbey stop and walk for 10 minutes or get on 26, 26A, 26B, 30A or 43 numbered IETT buses and get off at the Macka Parki stop.
Serdar-i Ekrem Street
As another famous and elegant shopping street you can find in Beyoglu, Serdar-i Ekrem Street is one of the best places to shop in Istanbul. It is located very close to the Galata Tower, so you can visit it before or after your visit to the tower. This cobblestone street has numerous cool, small boutique shops to explore rather than big brands.
If you need a place to stay, you can choose among the many cozy 3 and 4-star hotels in the Serdar-i Ekrem Street, like Georges Hotel Galata Beytul Galata and Meroddi Galata Mansion. The street is famous for its cozy and friendly cafes such as Cha'ya Galata, Cafe Pisi Pisi and Mavra Cafe Design Workshop. For your clothing and cosmetics shopping, there are Civan, MUGO Galata, Emino Tillo and MY2EGO. One of the most popular best hairdressers and cosmetics shops of Istanbul, Galata No5 Kuafor/Hairdresser, is also in the Serdar-i Ekrem Street. This street also houses a couple of cool art galleries like Cep Gallery and Galeribu. Other highlights of the street are The Market, which is one of the coolest grocery stores in the city and the Lunapark, a great souvenir shop that you must visit with many services like graphic design, collection consultancy and styling. We also highly recommend that you give Galata Mevlevihanesi Museum a visit, which is one of the Sufi Shrines of Istanbulwith a whirling derwishes show every Sunday.
To get there, go to the Sishane metro stop, walk down the Sah Kulu Bostan Street and turn left at the end.
Though one of the smaller and less known shopping streets of Istanbul, Cukurcuma Street is still a gem waiting to be discovered by the antique-hunters. The whole street is covered with small neoclassical buildings, which fits perfectly to its many vintage boutique shops.
This street houses the famous Cukurcuma Hammam, which one of the best Turkish baths in Istanbul. If you want to get amazing gifts to your friends and family or keep some souvenirs from Istanbul to yourself, 3rd Culture is a great gift shop. Museum of Innocence, which is named and created based on the novel of famous Turkish author Orhan Pamuk, is also located in this street. For the art-lovers, 2 amazing art galleries stand side by side in this street, C.A.M. Galeri and PG Art Gallery, on top of REM Art Space and Klip Kuns. If you get tired and hungry during your walk in the Cukurcuma Street, you can visit Cuma or Faik Pasa Café for amazing food and cozy tables. If you need a place to stay, both Faik Pasha Suites Design Hotel and Hammamhane are fantastic choices with stylish, spacious and cozy rooms and great services. Other highlights of the street are The North Fox, a handcrafted leather goods store with lovely staff, and the Karadeniz Antik, an antique shop with various interesting items.
Cukurcuma Street is close to both Taksim Square and Istiklal Street. Your first option is to use the Kabatas – Bagcilar tramway line and get off at the Tophane stop. Then, follow the Bogazkesen Street until its end and turn right after you see Leila Boutique. From the Istiklal Avenue, you can use the T2 Taksim – Tunel tramway and get off at the Galatasaray stop. Walk down the Yeni Carsi Street and turn left just after you enter the Bogazkesen Street.
We only talked about the shopping streets in the European side of Istanbul, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t any in the Asian side. Bagdat Street is one of the longest streets in the city (9 km) and is the main shopping place in the Asian side. It got its name after Sultan Murad IV used this street while leaving Istanbul for the Battle of Baghdad.
Because of this street is 9 kilometers long, it is impossible to talk about the stores individually. You can easily spend an entire day here. If you are looking for some place to eat, Brasserie Noir, BigChef’s, Godiva Belgium and Gunaydin Steakhouse Bostanci are great choices. For clothes shopping, you have unlimited options. From luxurious Turkish brands like Beymen, Vakko and Brandroom to Longchamp, Michael Kors and Tommy Hilfiger, COS and Zara, you won’t run out of options soon. To sit down and enjoy some coffee in a cozy place, you can pay a visit to one of the many cafés in the Bagdat Street, a couple of which are: Nespresso Boutique, Starbucks, Kirpi Café and Zamane Café.
Nispetiye Street is located in the Etiler neighborhood of the Besiktas district is one of the most luxurious and busy shopping streets of the city. One of the reasons for this is the famous Akmerkez Shopping Mall, which houses many local and international stores, restaurants and cafés. It is also known for its great night life and beautiful parks. The Turkish social media star CznBurak’s restaurant is in this street, which is a must-go if you are on a Turkish food tour. Nusr-Et also has a restaurant here. There are many more luxurious cafés and restaurants in the street, like PS Lounge, Beyaz Firin, Adana Yuzevler Kebapcisi and Tacofit. You can also find many clothing stores such as Beymen, Vakko and Mavi Jeans.
Transfer to M6 Levent – Bogazici Universitesi metro line at the Levent stop of the M2 Yenikapi – Haciosman metro line and get off at either the Etiler or the Nispetiye stop to go to the Nispetiye Street.
If you are particularly interested in jewelry or oriental carpets, then come to the Nuruosmaniye Street in the Fatih district. There are many great jewelry stores in this street, like Elijah Jewels, Altinbas, Lizay Pirlanta, KOÇAK and Gulaylar. Orient Handmade Carpets sells great traditional carpets if you are interested. Hakki Zade 1864 is a historical pastry with fantastic Turkish desserts. Armaggan is a unique place that sells various things, ranging from jewelry and clothing to leather items and textiles. It also has an art gallery.