Top 10 things to do in Taksim, Istanbul

1. Getting there

It is essential that you take a Taksi (taxi) at least one time, while you are in Istanbul. It’s a great way to see the sights, while zipping through traffic at alarming speeds, and experiencing it like a local. What better time to hail a ride than when you’re on your way to Taksim? As with any taxi driver in the world, make sure he knows you mean business, and don’t want to be taken for a ride.

2. See the sights

It is entirely possible to spend a day in Taksim without actually doing anything; you can simply just spend your time walking around looking at the sights. There is so much to look at on this amazing street, that you will spend a lot of time and memory card on things that you would never have expected. Take a seat on a bench, and try people-watching for an hour or so. Venture through the side streets, and give your own critiques on the local graffiti. Check out the numerous embassies in the area, or see if you can spot your own country’s flag waving from one of the windows above. There is never a boring moment in Taksim.

3. Tea at a rooftop Cafe

During my first trip to Taksim, my Turkish friend whisked me away to an amazing rooftop Cafe. I was already slightly disoriented with my surroundings, so when we ended up in a dark stairwell I was a bit confused, to say the least. We trudged up five flights of stairs, which were lined with ornate tiles and flickering candles. It was almost more beautiful than what I was about to see; it felt like I had stepped into some gypsy dream-land. We emerged onto a small, covered patio that was lined with vines and flowers. We took a table near the edge, with a full view of the street below. The view of the Bosphorus was amazing, and I couldn’t believe that such a place existed above all the madness below.

4. Shopping

Apart from the Grand Bazaar, Taksim is probably one of the best paces for shopping and souvenirs in the entire city. The whole street is lined with shops of every kind, including clothing, treats and food, books, jewellery and trinkets, and hand-made crafts. There are speciality stores, everything-stores, and nothing-in-particular-stores. Taksim is a shoppers dream-land and can exhaust even the most hardcore-spenders. It would be recommended to spend at least two days here, in order to take it all in. Those that try to take it all on in one day will be overwhelmed.

5. Turkish Ice Cream

The Turks seem to be proud of all of their foods, and ice cream is no exception. Turkish Ice Cream is unlike regular ice cream, in both texture, taste and presentation. The ice cream itself if thick and almost chewy; it is called Dondurma, literally meaning freezing in Turkish. The biggest difference comes in trying to physically get your hands on the ice cream; it requires strong patience and a good sense of humour. Upon purchasing your small cone, the show begins. The server will scoop one scoop, place it on the cone, and then replace it in the bucket. He will place two scoops on the cone, flip the cone, and pop the scoops in the air, and catch them again only to replace them in the bucket again. He will place his long metal Dondurma stick into the bucket, coming out with the cone already attached to two scoops. He will hold the cone your way, flipping it upside down as you reach for it, and then pull it away. He will offer it again, this time already upside down, and then do three flips. He will pull out a second stick, and almost juggle the scoops between two cones. He will repeat this several time, until you are just about to give up and leave. Finally, he will hand over the cone, while smiling and turning to the next customer. By this time, there will be a huge line-up behind you, with everyone clapping and enjoying the show.

6. Ride the Trolley

The Trolleys that run through Taksim, are like most trolleys in the world. They are old, red, charming, and a staple to the area. When you think of Taksim, you will think of the trolleys. They run on a regular schedule, but only come through every ten minutes or so. They are not so much about transportation, but another tourist opportunity. However, I would still recommend a ride, as it is definitely a fun experience. Be sure to keep an ear open for the ring of the bell when you are walking through the street; I cannot tell you how many times I was inches away from getting hit by a trolley! The crowd flows through the entire width of the street, and everyone seems to disregard the trolley-rail until the very last second. If you’re not paying attention, you will get in the way. So, keep and eye open, and stay safe!

7. Çiçek Pasaji

The Çiçek Pasaji will draw you in, before you even make plans to stop there. The appearance from the outside is so intriguing that you will feel compelled to check it out. A large arched entry way, invites you into an even larger arched glass-roofed building. Çiçek Pasaji means Flower Passage in Turkish, and this makes sense, as the entire ceiling seems to be lined with hangings plants and flowers. It is so lush and beautiful inside, that you will find yourself wanting to stay and shop the indoor shops or sit for a meal.

8. Street Corn

Street corn is just about everywhere in Turkey, not just Taksim. One of the great features of Taksim corn, is the cup of corn. Most street corn vendors simply roast the corn and serve it to you on a stick. Taksim vendors boil corn and serve it in a small cup, complete with a choice of toppings. I would suggest the simple combination of butter and salt; it is amazing!

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9. A Church Among Mosques

Turkey is a Muslim Nation, and the city is full of mosques. Once you become to accostomed to seeing the sight of minarets rising from every opening in the city skyline, it is almost odd to see a Church Steeple. Taksim is home to one of the city’s only Churches, and it is a beautiful one at that. I am not religious myself, but I always enjoy some nice architecture, and a pretty building. The church is worth a look if you have some time to spare, and easy to find.

10. Turkish Delights

Turkish Delights are a must in visiting Turkey; Taksim is overloaded and might well be the delight capital of Istanbul. Make sure to get a selection of different kinds, and take some home for family and friends. Of course, don’t forget to get a bag or box for yourself!

Taksim is full of fun and interesting things to do; once you complete this list, you could probably come up with a list of another ten to do on your own. Enjoy your time in Taksim, and you will find yourself planning another trip back!


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8 Responses to “Top 10 things to do in Taksim, Istanbul”

  1. Link builder
    April 11, 2011 at 6:08 am #

    Keep focusing on your blog. I love how we can all express our feelings. This is an extremely great blog here 🙂

  2. cai
    April 12, 2011 at 12:28 am #

    wonderful life ~I also want want want to travel all around ….do you plan go to China ?“`

    • Seattle
      April 12, 2011 at 12:30 am #

      Of course I plan to go to China! Someday, when I finish school and have a bit of money to get a ticket :]

  3. Evelyn
    June 18, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    Loved your piece on this blog. Where is the rooftop cafe you guys visited?

    It sounds amazingg! 🙂

  4. james
    February 15, 2014 at 6:45 am #

    I live in Istanbul and I am bummed you didn’t show the world the amazing Taksim nightlife!

    • Seattle Dredge
      February 15, 2014 at 10:46 am #

      I didn’t get to see it for myself! I only made it there during the day. Next time for sure ;]

  5. Kim Achkouti
    February 26, 2014 at 5:31 pm #

    hello can i please know the name of the rooftop cafe??

  6. israel girmay
    September 5, 2015 at 11:41 am #

    hey, i loved your blog i went to turkey 3 times and i saw your blog i read it tryed it all and became the best day ever, thanks

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