Istanbul Modern with it's stunning views of the Bosphoros and the old town. Photo: Shutterstock
Istanbul Modern with it's stunning views of the Bosphoros and the old town. Photo: Shutterstock


Enjoy a hip and arty weekend in Istanbul

Often painted as the interface between East and West, old and new, Istanbul’s art scene is no exception. Here’s where you’ll find the best shows in town

Istanbul Modern

Istanbul’s most prominent gallery has a restaurant with stunning views of the Bosphoros and the old town, which certainly contributes to its popularity. The permanent exhibition is a master class in modern Turkish art and complemented increasingly by major international exhibitions.

Meclis-i Mebusan Caddesi. Liman Isletmeleri, Sahasi Antrepo 4, Karakoy.

Istanbul Archaeological Museums

The Alexander Sarcophagus from 300BC is a must for visitors to the museum as is the world’s oldest peace treaty from 1256BC (signed by the Hittite and Egyptian empires). Opened in 1891, the Archaeological Museum, Museum of the Ancient Orient and the Tiled Kiosk Museum, aka the Museum of Islamic Art, house a million-strong collection of Turkish, Hellenistic and Roman artifacts.

Alemdar Cad. Osman Hamdi Bey Yokusu, Sultanahmet/Fatih.


When fashion designer Hussein Chalayan showed his work at Galerist its hip factor went through the roof. A chic rooftop restaurant/club hasn’t harmed it either.

Misir Apar Mani 163/4, Istiklal Caddesi, Beyoğlu


The performance art and clubbing scenes come together in a back street in Beyoglu at the nonprofit gallery Garaj. Here political performances take place alongside indie bands in a stripped-down, hard-lit setting.

Kaymakam Resat Bey Sokak 11.

Museum of Innocence

Nobel Prize-winning writer Orhan Pamuk is behind this enigmatic miniature museum-cum-installation named for one of his novels. The collection is built around objects from the fictional love story of Kemal and Fusun, and reveals what life was like in Istanbul in the second half of the 20th century.

Cukurcuma Caddesi, Dalgıç Cikmazi 2.

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