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What are the best things to do in Istanbul at night?
I spent two months in Turkey’s capital city and found that almost all of the online content written about it was aimed at vacationers. It covers day trips and tourist attractions, but there isn’t much about what to do at night in Istanbul!
However, this is a city of 15 million people, so if you’re a digital nomad like me or live and work in the city, rest assured that there is plenty to see and do after your workday ends, including:
- Sporting events
- Traditional Spas
- Tourist Attractions
- And much more!
Not only with this roundup help you discover 13 of the best things to do in Istanbul at night it also shares their opening hours, prices, locations, and more so you can plan the perfect evening in this vibrant city. There’s even a map at the bottom so you can simply find the nearest spot near you!
Ready to change up your schedule?
It’s time to check out these 13 evening activities in Istanbul!
What are the 13 Best Things to Do in Istanbul at Night?
From museums to open mic nights, free events to ticketed attractions and everything in between, I hope this list of places to visit in Istanbul at night helps you get out and have fun no matter what your budget is!
Exhibit at the Pera Museum
1. Visit the Pera Museum
Cost: 20 lira / 4 usd, but free from 6 – 10 pm on Fridays.
Location: Asmalı Mescit Mahallesi, Meşrutiyet Cd. No:65, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
Open until: 7 pm Tuesday to Saturday, 6 pm on Sunday, and 10 pm on Fridays.
The Pera Museum is located on a little side street near Istiklal. It’s kind of an art museum, but a bit more experimental I guess.
When I went the five floors had exhibits on alternative time-telling, coffee cups, classic paintings, the life of director Sergey Parajanov, and much more. They change the exhibits every few months, so you can return again and again.
The Pera Museum is definitely one of the best things to do in Istanbul at night it’s free after 6 pm on Fridays and even stays open late until 10 pm!
Soccer stadium in Kadikoy
2. Watch a Soccer Game
Catching a soccer match is at the top of my to-do list before I leave Istanbul.
Istanbul’s “Big Three” teams are Beşiktaş JK, Fenerbahçe SK, and Galatasaray Sk but there are like a billion more clubs in the city as well.
Of the three, Beşiktaş is probably the easiest to watch because their stadium is in Beyoglu in central Istanbul. Fenerbahçe is in the Kadikoy neighborhood on the Asian side of the city, which is worth exploring in its own right, and Galatasaray is out in Istanbul’s suburbs.
Of course, prices and times vary a lot by game, with the games between the big three being the most expensive.
Buying a ticket is also a bit complicated and must be done in advance, but this guide can help you get started.
3. Watch a Basketball Game
Just like soccer, there are a lot of basketball teams in Istanbul.
I kind of started researching at random and came across the Turkish Airlines Euro League. Three of the teams are in Istanbul (Anadolu Efes Istanbul, Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul, and Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul) and the website is pretty easy to navigate so I recommend starting here as well.
You can click the picture for each Istanbul team to see their schedule for the season. At the top by their team name you’ll also see a row of social media icons – one is also the link to tickets.
For the next Anadolu Efes Istanbul match, tickets are as low 22.5 lira / 4.30 usd each.
4. Enjoy an Improv Show
Cost: 20 lira / 4 usd
Location: YOTA Komedi Sahnesi
Time: First and third Friday of each month at 8:30 pm
Dan and I went to ‘The Clap” improv show and it was really funny.
The first half was short improv skits and then the second half was a longer improv play and both were great. It’s right off of Istiklal Street and you can simply show up at 8:30 to buy tickets.
The small theater is also BYOB, but if you forget there’s a little shop right down the street to grab some beer before it starts.
View of the Galata Tower in the artsy Galata neighborhood
5. Climb Galata Tower
Cost: 35 lira / 6.65 usd
Location: Buyuk Hendek Cad., Istanbul, Turkey
Open until: Ticket office closes at 8:30 pm
The Galata Tower was built in 1348 and has 360-degree panoramic views of the city.
The best views are at sunset but expect to wait in some pretty long lines if you go at a peak time. I live nearby and see the line snaking around the tower often.
To skip the wait, go later after sunset and it should be shorter.
Galata Tower is a great evening activity in Istanbul because the views are spectacular and the lively neighborhood is a perfect place for some late-night shopping, dinner, and drinks after your climb!
(You can also visit the Galata Tower on a 3-hour walking tour of Istanbul’s Jewish District, but this option only runs in the mornings.)
Whirling Dervish performance
6. Go to a Whirling Dervish Show
Cost: 115 lira / 22 usd
Location: Hodjapasha Cultural Center
Time: 7 pm
I haven’t gone to a Whirling Dervish show yet but I’m planning to before we leave. This is one of the best things to do in Sultanahmet at night because the Whirling Dervish ceremony was named a UNESCO Heritage of Humanity!
The shows are at 7 pm but the days vary – check the current schedule and buy your tickets here. They take place at the Hodjapasha Cultural Center, a renovated 15th-century hamam in the Sultanahmet neighborhood, and run about 60 minutes. The cultural center puts on traditional dances from Turkish folklore as well.
Open mic night (that I was way too afraid to join in)
7. Perform at (or just watch) an Open Mic Night
Location: Arsen Lupen Taksim
Time: Every Tuesday at 8:30
Spoken Word Istanbul is a weekly open mic night with a wide variety of performances covering singing, poetry, comedy, and much more.
When we went it was absolutely packed and a super lively event. If you want to perform yourself, you can sign up on the spot when you arrive.
8. Test Your Skills at Trivia Night
Cost: 20 lira
When: One Tuesday per month
Yabangee is an expat group and website that you should definitely be following if you live in Istanbul.
They throw tons of events, one of which is a monthly trivia night. I may be biased because I love trivia, but if you can catch it this is one of the best things to do in Istanbul at night.
And it’s ok if you don’t have a team, Dan and I showed up alone and they set us up with others to form a group of six – no big deal or anything, but we ended up winning third place 🙂
The trivia questions are in both English and Turkish and there are plenty of prizes for the winners. Check the events on the Yabangee Facebook page to find the time and location of the next trivia night.
Picture-perfect mosaic lamps at the Grand Bazaar
9. Explore the Grand Bazaar
Location: Beyazıt Mh., Kalpakçılar Cd. No:22, 34126 Fatih/İstanbul
Open until: 7 pm Monday through Saturday
The Grand Bazaar is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Istanbul and is full of amazing goods like mosaic lamps, gorgeous carpets, multi-colored scarves, and so, so, so much more.
It’s open until 7 pm, which makes it one of the best things to do in Sultanahmet at night after you wear yourself out visiting all the other tourist sites in the neighborhood.
Even if you’ve already been the Grand Bazaar is worth a second trip – with over 4,000 shops, each visit is like a totally different experience.
10. Go Climbing at Boulderhane
Location: Emniyetevleri Mahallesi, Yamaç Sk. 1/4, 34415 Kağıthane/İstanbul
Open until: 10 pm
I haven’t gone to the Boulderhane climbing gym, but I want to, especially because it’s the biggest rock climbing gym in Turkey!
Rock climbing can be a little intimidating but they have workshops, beginner group lessons, and personal training to help you learn the ropes (get it?).
11. Relax at a Hamam
Turkish people take their hamams pretty seriously and you can find them spread across the city. Prices range from 50 or 60 usd in the most touristy parts of Sultanahmet to 10 or 20 usd at the more casual spas.
Basically, these hamams are Turkish baths where you will sit and sweat for a bit and then get scrubbed down to exfoliate all your dead skin. A lot of them also offer massages and other treatments as well, it all just depends on your budget.
The best thing about hamams is that many of them are open late until 10 or 11 pm so locals can go after work.
The Aga Hamam near my apartment was built in 1454 and offers a full package with a scrub, foam bath, oil massage, and a face mask for 180 lira / 34 usd – that’s a pretty damn good deal!
12. Visit the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art
Cost: 60 lira / 11.40 usd
Open until: 8 pm on Thursdays
Location: Asmalımescit Mahallesi, Meşrutiyet Caddesi No:99, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
The MOMA is a great evening activity in Istanbul because it’s open until 8 pm on Thursdays.
The main location has been undergoing renovations for the past few years, so right now it’s in a temporary space near Istiklal street in the Beyoglu neighborhood.
If you want to enjoy some art on a weeknight, this is the perfect place!
Quiet night trying new beers at the Bosphorus Brewing Co.
13. Try Turkish Craft Beer and Experience Istanbul Nightlife at Bosphorus Brewing Co.
Location: Gayrettepe Mahallesi, Şişli İstanbul TR, Yıldız Posta Cd. No:1 D:1A, 34349 Beşiktaş
Open until: Midnight
I love, love, love, trying new craft beers everywhere I travel, so grabbing one at Bosphorus Brewing Co. is one of my favorite things to do at night in Istanbul.
I drank my way through a few of Istanbul’s breweries and Bosphorus Brewing Co. is my favorite so far. The location is a bit out of the way but the atmosphere and beer are definitely worth the extra effort.
If you want to experience the nightlife in Istanbul but clubbing until sunrise isn’t really up your alley, the Bosphorus Brewing Co. is a great low-key place to dip your toes in.
When we went they had eight of their own beers on tap and they cost between 19 and 26 lira / 3.50 to 5 usd each. If you have any interest in craft beer, this is a great pub and the perfect place to enjoy a few brews any night of the week.
If you’re looking for something a little more exciting, you can also join this Istanbul pub crawl to party a lil’ harder instead!
14. Take a Culinary Tour of Istanbul by Night
There is no shortage of tours and guided activities in Istanbul if that’s what you’re looking for!
The Bosporus dinner cruise is a popular night-time activity in the city, but I was more intrigued by this night-time culinary tour that promises to take you through the heart of Istanbul’s food scene to eat and drink like a local in the city.
Map: Best Places to Go at Night in Istanbul
Whether you want to do some late night shopping in Istanbul, cheer yourself hoarse at a soccer match, discover classic tourist attractions and things to do in Sultanahmet at night like the Grand Bazaar or anything in between, use this map to to build the perfect itinerary for your evening out in the city.
Where to Stay in Istanbul
Choosing a hotel in a city of 15 million people definitely isn’t easy. After nine weeks in Istanbul, I think I can offer some insight on the best places to stay in the city.
If you’re just coming in for a super quick trip (like, a day or two) and want to see the highlights, Sultanahmet is a good neighborhood to be in walking distance of the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, the Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sofia, etc.
But, some people don’t like it because the food isn’t that great in Sultanahmet (because the district is so touristy) and there isn’t much in the way of nightlife.
For accomodation in the Sultanahmet neighborhood, check out:
- The White House Hotel is the top-rated hotel in Sultanahmet (with an insane 9.8 review score)
- Tavra Hotel is one of the most budget-friendly hotels in the neighborhood
- Piya Hostel is great for solo-travelers because dorm beds cost only $7 per night
Personally, my favorite neighborhood in Istanbul is Beyoglu, because it’s so central and has good food, a nice pedestrian street (Istiklal) and pretty good nightlife in Karakoy. In Beyoglu, my favorite district is the cute, artsy Galata area.
For accomodation in the Galata neighborhood, check out:
- Bankerhan Hotel Galata is the top-rated hotel in Galata
- Sweet Home Galata is one of the most budget-friendly hotels in the neighborhood
- World House Hostel is great for solo travelers because dorm beds cost only $12 per night
Finally, a lot of expats and long-term travelers like living in the more upscale / residential area of Besiktas. It also has good food and nightlife but is further from the main tourist sites. For a long-term stay, though, it’s a good place to hunker down.
For accommodation in the Besiktas neighborhood, check out:
- Hotel Raffles Istanbul is the top-rated hotel in Besiktas
- Loren Hotel Suites is one of the most budget-friendly hotels in the neighborhood
- The Hub Hostel is great for solo travelers because dorm beds cost only $10 per night
Explore the Best Places in Istanbul at Night With This Guide
Istanbul is such a massive city that you can always find something fun and exciting to do.
This list combines some of the best evening activities in Istanbul for digital nomads and long term travelers ready to explore after a long workday.
Hopefully, it helps you find something new and see more that this awesome city has to offer!
Ready to go? Use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights to Istanbul and then explore accommodation like furnished apartments and unique stays on Airbnb or the top-rated hotels on Booking.com to plan the perfect night, weekend, or long-term stay in the city.
This article is part of the Instant Istanbul Itinerary series. Read the rest below:
Or, explore all 20 articles in the Turkey Series for more insider tips on what to see, eat, do, and discover in the country!
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