Why Istanbul Is the Next

Great Art Destination

In Turkey's Cultural Capital, you'll find world-class museums,

a buzzing nightlife, and Europe's hottest artists.

What to See

Istanbul Modern

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

Santral Istanbul

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

Pera Museum

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 Beyolu 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 Çalar. 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 Aye Erkmen, who represented Turkey at this year's Venice Bienniale. rampaistanbul.com

Where to Stay

Stanbul Edition

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 Kadiky; 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.

You Might Like

Powered by ZergNet