As the sun goes down over the Bosphorus, Istanbul comes to life. Whether you go for a water-side alfresco dinner, visit a local jazz bar or have a late night dip at a traditional Turkish bath, this is a city that's best explored after hours.
In the district of Beyoğlu you'll find İstiklal Caddesi, which translates into English as ‘Independence Avenue’. This pedestrianized boulevard attracts thousands of visitors a day to its traditional Turkish boutiques, boundary-pushing art galleries and bustling bistros. Take an evening stroll through the area, making sure to pass by Balık Pazarı (Fish Market) and the nearby Çiçek Pasajı (Flower Passage), which is lined with Turkish taverns. The bohemian Urban Cafe Beyoğlu's secluded courtyard is the perfect hideaway for a refreshing beer or a reviving coffee. You can also take in the area's magnificent 19th century architecture from the comfort of one of its historic red trams.
Walk further out to experience more of Istanbul’s answer to London's Soho. For dinner, stop off at Ülger Sofrası; this immensely popular eatery serves traditional, healthy dishes from its tiny kitchen. Next visit Nardis Jazz Club, which attracts some of the most talented musicians around from local acts to global stars. Despite its humble appearance and unassuming red brick interior, it's the country's most internationally renowned jazz venue, so book ahead.
This is one of Istanbul’s most charming neighborhoods, situated on the banks of the river Bosphorus. After sunset, Ortaköy's vibrant waterfront cafes give way to trendy alfresco restaurants and music venues. Try Reinas, a sophisticated restaurant and nightlife complex that has spectacular views over the river's indigo waters. Booking is recommended for whichever of its four eateries you choose to dine at. On Sundays, street food vendors and artisan stalls sell Turkish pancakes and handcrafted souvenirs into the evening. Soak up the backdrop of the majestic 19th century Baroque Ortaköy Mosque, as well as the Bosphorus Bridge, which looks incredible lit up against a sunset when you stay at the Radisson Blu Bosphorus Hotel, Istanbul.
The prestigious neighborhood of Etiler, conveniently located a short ten minute drive from our Radisson Blu Hotel Istanbul Sisli, is a firm favorite among Istanbul's elite. It has the most stylish bars and nightlife and the best shopping complex for miles. The 30-year-old Şamdan features an authentic Art Deco interior, and a menu including succulent meat dishes served in hot clay pots and delicately seasoned frogs' legs. Nearby Akmerkez, a fabulous four-storey mall, houses nearly 250 stores including Diesel, Mont Blanc and Lacoste. It has previously been recognized as the best shopping centre in the world.
Formely known as Galata, the old commercial port of Karaköy is one of Istanbul’s most up-and-coming areas. The glittering lights of the fish market shine next to some of the city’s hippest hangouts. Pop into Istanbul ’74 or Elipsis for groundbreaking contemporary art and photography exhibitions, or tuck into an indulgent slice of Sachertorte at vintage-style cafe Karabatak. Walk across the Galata Bridge at sundown to the historic quarter of Sultanahmet, where you can end your evening with a dip in one of Istanbul’s traditional Turkish baths. The Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamamı has been recently restored to its former glory, complete with a marble interior and a jaw-dropping mosaic floor.