10 of the Best Things to do in Istanbul at Night

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Wondering what to do in Istanbul at night? Istanbul has an amazing nightlife scene, and you are able to find plenty of best things to do in Istanbul at night, from evening strolls to cultural experiences, upmarket clubs and traditional Turkish nights, and cocktails at some of the best bars!

Istanbul at Night: Key Insights

  • See the Galata Tower and Sultanahmet Square illuminated at night and dine on a Bosphorus cruise while taking in the sights.
  • Istanbul comes alive at night in the lively neighborhoods of Ortakoy and Taksim, where you can find a good range of pubs, clubs, and rooftop lounges.
  • Try some authentic Turkish fare and souvenirs at one of Istanbul’s many night markets or bazaars.
  • Explore Istanbul’s historic shops, glittering malls, and nocturnal bazaars for traditional Turkish items.
  • Stay alert for pickpockets in tourist hotspots, drink alcohol in moderation, and follow the rules of public behavior in crowded areas.

Safety Notes in Istanbul at Nighttime

While Istanbul is widely regarded as a safe city, you should be aware when exploring its vibrant streets after dark, especially for those traveling alone. Here are some of our advice:

  • If you’re going to be exploring Istanbul at night, it’s best to stay in locations that are both populated and well-lit. It is wise to remain vigilant in lively and normally safe neighborhoods like as Ortakoy, Kadikoy, and Taksim.
  • Istanbul, like any big city, has its fair share of pickpockets. This is especially true in tourist attractions like Sultanahmet and Istiklal Street, where there are a lot of people. Always be careful with your possessions and make sure they are secure.
  • While you’re out enjoying Istanbul’s exciting nightlife, be sure to drink in moderation. Indulging too much leaves you open to theft and may even get you in trouble with the law. You should preserve your composure because intoxication in public is considered rude.
  • Be well-versed on the public conduct laws that apply in your area. You might end up in jail and fined if you pee in public. Tourists and locals alike can be seen drinking on Istanbul streets, yet it’s technically against the law and can get you fined big time. Please be quiet and considerate if you decide to drink outside.

TOP Things to do in Istanbul at Night

Istanbul at night is a city that truly comes to life, offering a multitude of experiences for every kind of traveler. As night falls, the city lights up, revealing a world of experiences that range from the traditional to the modern. Here are some top things to do in Istanbul at night:

1. Bosphorus Dinner Cruise

It’s magical to take a Bosphorus dinner cruise at night. When the city’s silhouette is lit up at night, the view of its historical buildings against the sky is breathtaking. So you can eat and watch the European and Asian sides of the city go by, many ships offer dinner and entertainment.

Below is our recommended and top selling Bosphorus Dinner Cruises with Entertainment offered by Viator and Getyourguide. You can check the programs, read the comments and decide which to choose as all of them are quality and trusted ones.

  1. Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Show with Private Table
  2. Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Private Table
  3. Bosphorus Dinner Cruise w/ Drinks & Entertainment
  4. Bosphorus Dinner Cruise and Turkish Night Show with Private Table
  5. Bosphorus Dinner Cruise and Turkish Night Show
  6. All Inclusive Bosphorus Dinner Cruise w/ Turkish Night Show
  7. Bosphorus Boat Cruise with Dinner & Entertainment
  8. Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Folklore Show & Belly Dancers

2. Explore the Vibrant Streets of Taksim and Istiklal

Nightlife in Istanbul is centered on Taksim Square and Istiklal Street, which are the two most important areas. Stroll along Istiklal, a lively pedestrian thoroughfare that is lined with stores, cafes, bars, and nightclubs among other establishments.

istiklal street at night

A trip through this area in the evening is sure to be a memorable experience thanks to the bustling spirit, the presence of street entertainers, and the smells of local street food.

3. Attend a Traditional Turkish Show

Spend an evening in a traditional Turkish restaurant for a real experience of Turkish culture with Ottoman cuisine.

Folk dances, whirling dervishes, and live traditional music take audiences on a cultural trip at venues like Sirkeci Gar Music Hall and Hodjapasha Art and Culture Center. One can get a feel for Turkey’s rich history and culture through these activities.

No Regrets Booking Advice

Whirling Dervishes Show

There are several places to watch Whirling Dervishes Show in Istanbul. Some of them are living places that continue the Mevlevi culture, and some of them are touristic ones.

whirling dervishes show

For touristic shows, there are 2 top venues: Hodjapasha Culture Center and Sirkeci Orient Express Hall. Both located at Sirkeci. Feel free to book online in advance (as you’ll get discounts), by choosing the eco-friendly option of online tickets below.

Buy Whirling Dervishes Tickets at Hodjapasha Culture Center

Buy Whirling Dervishes Tickets at Orient Express Hall

Turkish Folk Dance Show

The Rhythm of the Dance Show, also called as Turkish Folk Dance Show Istanbul, is one of the one time experiences in Istanbul for the tourists in an exclusive and cozy show atmosphere. This is a unique event that visitors may experience and enjoy the traditional dances from Turkish folklore with unique costumes and live music.

Feel free to book online in advance (as you’ll get discounts), by choosing the eco-friendly option of online ticket below.

Buy Rhythm of the Dance Show Ticket Online

4. Rooftop Bars and Lounges

balkon istanbul rooftop bar restaurant

There’s nothing better than to enjoy your evening dine & wine in one of the best terrace or rooftop restaurant or bar, in the company of panoramic views of the city. You can both appreciate the excellent cuisine and the great views in these places.

One of the best ways to take in the breathtaking city skyline is from a rooftop bar or lounge. At Mikla, for example, you may enjoy a breathtaking panorama over Istanbul while sipping on one of several delicious cocktails in a laid-back setting. Those in search of a peaceful night among the sky, with the twinkling lights of the city below, will find it here.

See Best Istanbul Rooftop Restaurants & Bars

5. Night Markets and Bazaars

Those who love to eat and aren’t afraid of the dark will love Istanbul’s night bazaars and markets. You can get a range of street food and local specialties at the Karaköy Fish Market and Çarsi in Kadıkoy or Besiktas.

6. Visit the Galata Tower and around

The Galata Tower, one of Istanbul’s most popular monuments, provides a great nighttime views of the city. The surrounding region, with its small cobblestone alleys and antique buildings, is full of chic cafes, art galleries, and boutiques that are very ideal for a midnight stroll.

rooftop cafe with galata tower view

Karakoy, a short walk from the tower, offers a trendier moments, with fashionable cafes, chic eateries, and art venues.

7. Enjoy Live Music at a Meyhane

A visit to a meyhane, or Turkish tavern, is a must for anyone interested in Istanbul’s nightlife. These spots let you enjoy life one sip at a time as time slows down.

asmali cavit meyhane istanbul

In areas like Kumkapi and Beyoglu, meyhanes serve a variety of mezes, fresh fish, and rakı, which is the most famous drink in Turkey. These taverns have a friendly, warm atmosphere with lots of lively talk and live music most of the time.

8. Stroll Along the Bosphorus Shore

Just picture yourself strolling along the moonlit Bosphorus as the reflections of Istanbul’s city lights dance on the night seas. Walking along the shore of the Bosphorus provides this. Ortakoy is a great site to start your journey because it is full of life and welcoming. The view of the magnificently lit Bosphorus Bridge is really mesmerizing as you stroll down the coastline, accompanied by the refreshing night air.

Cafés lining the waterfront offer inviting spaces to unwind and take in the breathtaking views of the city, ideal for intimate evenings for two or tranquil solo explorations. Keep on towards Karakoy and then Galataport, where modern Istanbul meets the old with an air of effortless elegance. Along this stretch of the walk, you’ll see interesting art spaces and quaint cafes that will transport you through time.

9. Night Shopping at the Shopping Malls

Nighttime in Istanbul is when you’ll really see the city’s famed malls and bazaars come to life. Top shopping malls of Istanbul transforms them into lively social hubs, not to mention places to shop.

istinye park
Istinye Park

Shopping and dining at Istinye Park, Cevahir, and Zorlu Center are just a few of the many options available at these malls. Night shopping at these malls is made more interesting and varied by the many activities, concerts, and exhibitions that take place throughout the day.

10. Club Hopping (Pub Crawl) in Beyoglu

Those who are passionate about partying should definitely go club hopping in Beyoglu. The neighborhood is home to a number of the most well-known nightclubs and pubs in Istanbul, each of which features a distinctive atmosphere and a distinct musical style.

istanbul pub crawl

If you’re in Istanbul on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, and looking to enjoy Istanbul’s lively nights like a local, without paying so much in typical bars and clubs, and avoiding tourist traps and scams for the best night out ever, than we highly recommend you to join this pub crawl and head to 3 of the top bars, pubs and clubs in the city and enjoy free welcome beer and shots, and free admission.

See Best Istanbul Pub Crawl

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As being locals with over 40 years of experience living in Istanbul, we are here to help you plan your tourist, business or medical Istanbul visit and days with ease.

You will find inspiration, key traveler information, tips and resources to help you make the most of your trip whether you are a first-time (maybe 10th) visitor to Istanbul or an expat, resident here wanting to see more of our beautiful city.

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