What to See
The 86,000-square-foot Modern has become a magnet for art-world titans, including fashion designer Hussein Chalayan, subject of a recent retrospective. istanbulmodern.org
A private museum that opened in an Ottoman-era power plant in 2007, the Santral includes galleries, a 1,000-seat amphi theater, and two restaurants. Think of it as Istanbul's answer to the Tate. santralistanbul.org
Opened just after the Modern, the Pera is dedicated to Orientalist traditions as well as younger artists like up-and-coming painter Burcu Perçin. peramuzesi.org.tr
The Misir Apartments
This Art Nouveau building in the red-hot Beyoğlu district houses five galleries and the rooftop 360 bar. Work your way down for a compact greatest-hits version of Istanbul's artistic avant-garde.
This storefront has a collection of home furnishings by the edgy Turkish design duo Seyhan Öezdemir and Sefer Çağlar. autoban212.com
The country's top artists, such as painter Taner Ceylan, sculptor Elif Urus, and Hussein Chalayan, are represented by this highly respected gallery. galerist.com.tr
One of the city's largest galleries, Rampa shows works by such globally adored artists as Ayşe Erkmen, who represented Turkey at this year's Venice Bienniale. rampaistanbul.com
Where to Stay
Don't let the business-district setting of Ian Schrager's new Edition put you off: The 78 earth-tone rooms (starting at $354) with book-matched-wood walls are worth every lira, as is the Cipriani-branded restaurant. editionhotels.com
This 16-room boutique hotel (starting at $430) is a former pasha's mansion on the more peaceful, Asian side of the Bosporus. To get to the late-night action, guests cross the strait on the hotel's ferry. ajiahotel.com
Seven Hills Hotel
This upscale Ottoman-kitsch hotel (starting at $188) has views of two stunning architectural wonders: Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque. The rooftop bar is a local secret. sevenhillshotel.com
Where to Eat, Drink, and Play
Three restaurants vie for the city's top title: Çiya (ciya.com.tr) serves traditional Anatolian cuisine in the fish-market district of Kadiköy; Balikçi Sabahattin (balikcisabahattin.com) is a medina stalwart where supermodels mingle with Turkish high society; and Nusr-Et (nusr-etsteakhouse.com) is a steak house with a communal serving table and a chef who trained in Argentina. The city's hottest new hangouts are on Sofia Street in Asmalimescit, which is lined with restaurants and bars that stay packed long into the night. For aquiet bite in the nearby seaside town of Bebek, try Lucca (luccastyle.com), a Turkish tapas bar run by a veteran of Michelin-starred restaurants.