İstiklal Caddesi — Istanbul’s Leading Pedestrian Scene

Istanbul’s main street, İstiklal Caddesi, throbs with crowds all day and into the wee hours. I visit it almost every year, and it changes with each visit. As Turkey becomes more affluent and Western, the action here becomes more and more vibrant. This clip is actually a quieter part of the mile-long stroll. And it’s early in the evening. On weekdays the action peaks around 10 p.m., and on weekends it keeps building until about 2 a.m. The side streets are just as vibrant.

If you can’t see the video below, watch it on YouTube.


3 Replies to “İstiklal Caddesi — Istanbul’s Leading Pedestrian Scene”

  1. Rick…..I am with you on making Istanbul a top 4 or 5 best cities in the world list….my other favorites are Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Paris, Berlin and Tel Aviv!

    Have you been to Israel yet? You must go!!! Tel Aviv is like Miami Beach meets Los Angeles and New York City all rolled up into one nice package…..and with their ancient port city of Jaffa it is all the more charming…..come on Rick… need to check it out and find us some good places to stay there. Make sure you also go to Haifa, Nentanya, Akka, Ceasarea, Galilee, Nazareth, Jerusalem, Eilat and the Masada/Dead Sea. It’s a small area…you could do it in no time at all……thanks in advance….looking forward to a Rick Steves “Israel” travel guidebook…no pressure!

  2. Rick, you happened to film right by my church! Union Church of Istanbul is the oldest Protestant Church in Istanbul, meeting continually in the Dutch Chapel connected to the Dutch consulate since 1857. When your readers and viewers come to Istanbul, I invite them to join all of us during services. We welcome tourists from all over the world every Sunday! You’re likely to be sitting next to a visiting Coptic Christian from Egypt, or a Protestant from America, or a visiting Netherlanders who want to see their chapel!

  3. Hey Rick — thanks very much for this. I’d say Istanbul is #1 in Europe, but that’s just me (an expat who’s lived here for over 4 years!) I was trying to identify the stretch of Istiklal where you and your friend were standing, but it was too dark to make out any obvious landmarks.

    Let’s not forget that Istiklal has got more than just food and cafes…it’s also got tons of art galleries (SALT, Arter, etc.) and music venues. A good place to find out about what’s going on every week is The Guide Istanbul ( — unfortunately too many tourists just focus on 500-year old mosques. (Nothing wrong with those of course, but Istanbul is a living city IMHO, not just an open-air museum…)

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