What to do this weekend in Istanbul

What to do this weekend in Istanbul

Caner Kocamaz
June 02, 2017

June 2-4

June is here and it’s making its presence felt already. Saturday sees 28° C and we’ve already heard people making plans to visit the nearest pool. With Suma Beach in Kilyos opening for the fifth season this weekend, it’s safe to say that summer has finally arrived in the city. 

Islamic holy month of Ramadan is here! Check out our list of the best iftars programs in Istanbul.

The 45th Istanbul Music Festival continues until June 21. See our festival highlights.

The Guide Istanbul in Arabic Summer 2017 issue is out! Get it on your smart devices on Magzter or read it via Turkcell Dergilik!

Our May/June issue is out. Grab your copy from D&R, Remzi Kitabevi, and Macro Center branches around the city to get insight into what happening in the following two months. Too lazy to go out? Get a hard copy delivered to your door via The Guide Shop. If you would prefer to read it on your smart devices, here’s the digital edition of the magazine. You can also read the magazine on your mobile devices via Turkcell Dergilik (AppStore, Play Store.)

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get articles on the city, new openings, discounts, upcoming events and ticket sales all packed in one email, sent on Wednesdays. 

Summer is almost here! Pre-order The Guide Bodrum to get the magazine before anyone else with a discounted price.

Where to have breakfast and brunch

Where to have breakfast in Istanbul

Arnavutköy’s stellar restaurant Hudson’s talented chef Kaan Karagöz’s cooking and the eatery’s casual-chic atmosphere make its Sunday brunch a gem. Don’t forget to check out Hudson’s new venture, Martinez, as well.

In the up-and-coming neighborhood of Reşitpaşa, Mikla-alumni Fatma Yıldırım’s restaurant Mittag is a good option for a blend of Turkish classics and international cuisines.

Woke up at 3pm and looking for a breakfast spot? Head to Pattis. Most ingredients the restaurant uses come from co-owner Tuğçe Arslan’s parents’ farm in Thrace in northwestern Turkey. Everything is prepared daily, and the breakfasts glow with natural, fresh ingredients.

If you want to light up your Sunday brunch with a live jazz performance, head to Tamirane. Ideal for families or large groups, the restaurant offers an international menu with Turkish specialities. 

Enjoy gorgeous Aegean produce, freshly-made breads and homemade preserves at Çeşme Bazlama Kahvaltı in Nişantaşı, now serving Thursday to Sunday. Previously only open on the weekends, you can avoid the big crowds by having a sneaky, leisurely weekend breakfast lead-up. Osman Fahir Seden Sokak, No 8/B, Nişantaşı; T: 0532 556 0135

Located on the terrace of a historic Bebek building, Mangerie’s Bosphorus view is so stunning that it can alone satisfy your hunger. However, Mangerie’s great choice of Turkish and western breakfast options is the reason the restaurant is the hotspot of the neighborhood.

Why wait until Sunday for brunch? Four Seasons Istanbul Sultanahmet’s Saturday brunch is our favorite place to dine on gözleme and to choose dainties the lavish open buffet. 

Doesn’t fit the bill? Here’s a roundup of best hotel brunches in the city.

Where to eat and drink

Where to eat and drink in Istanbul

Istanbul is home to terrific restaurants run by marvelous chefs. Here is our best chefs in Istanbul list, if you are looking for a true foodie experience in the city.

The guys behind bars are working wonders when it comes to crafting exceptional cocktails to get you through the night. Check out our list of best mixologists in Istanbul for lighting up weekend nights.

Looking for a historic spot to experience a Turkish meyhane? Here are our favorites.

With mouthwatering dishes, craft cocktails, and a respectable wine menu, Avlu Yeniköy seems to have the formula for a successful restaurant. If you want to be the trendsetter among your friends, kickstart the weekend nights in Yeniköy.

A new opening, Martinez Istanbul is determined to be the talk of the town with its delicious menu and stimulating cocktails. Take a look at our review to find out what you should try from the menu and the bar this weekend. 

The newly hip neighborhood of Reşitpaşa is still evolving, and Mittag is one of the coolest restaurants to emerge so far. In the kitchen, chef Fatma Yıldırım is making wonders with an MSA education and Mikla experience under her belt.

For a light lunch or dinner, all in a single bowl, head to Kase No. 16 this weekend. Select from 12 varieties and match them up with a cup of tea from Melez Tea. 

It was a love at first sight at the Long Bar for us and we are sure you’ll love the craft cocktails each with its own story on the menu. In addition to the talented bar crew, Jazz nights on Fridays and DJ performances on Saturdays are the reasons we keep going back there. 

Melding food you might find at a sports bar with an elevated cocktail concept, Socrates Bistro brings together two worlds and gives them both heft. Start the evening sipping cocktails like a powerful Aqua Vitae, a mingling of infused whiskey, elderflower, and barrel-aged bitters, or a pretty Meine, made of prosecco, aperol and pink fruits. Fuel the night with a delicious artichoke and spinach gratin (served with tortilla chips) and homemade currywurst with slim, crispy fries. Plan on reserving a table or you’ll feel the squeeze. Open daily, 10am-midnight. Fırın Sokak 6, Teşvikiye; T: (0212) 900 26 33

Events this weekend


Suma Beach is ready for its fifth summer in the city. The city’s popular summer venue is throwing a dance-filled party on June 3 at its cozy forest area starting at 10pm. Five DJs as well as Sumagiller will take the booth to make the guests dance until the sun comes up.

The Marul Bayramı (Lettuce Festival) is a celebration of the famous Yedikule lettuce, grown in these urban gardens whose history goes back to the Byzantine era. This breed of lettuce is particularly tall and oily, making a healthy meal in itself. This celebration will be accompanied by the Cümbüş Cemaat band in the Yedikule gardens by the Byzantine city walls. Whether you're a gastronome or a party-goer, this daytime festival shows another side to old Istanbul. Read The Guide Istanbul's article on the famous Yedikule lettuce and follow the Facebook page for more updates.

The Asena Akan Quintet will perform at Akbank Sanat on June 7 at 8pm. Accomplished vocalist Akan, Senova Ülker on trumpet, Tolga Bedir on keyboard, bassist Volkan Hürsever, and drummer Riccardo Marenghi will perform songs from their albums İstanbul’un İzleri (Traces of Istanbul) and Golden Heart as well as favorites from Brazilian jazz.

Kaan Düzarat, Style-ist, Vesvese and Azun will take the DJ booth at MENTHA’s terrace this Sunday as a part of Crib events, which has been taking place at venues around Istanbul and Izmir with various DJs. The event starts at 5pm. 

Discovering the city… 

Discover Istanbul

Whether you’ve been living here for a while or you’re just a holidaymaker visiting for the weekend, here are some suggestions to get started on your Istanbul trip.

The Bosphorus looks amazing under early spring sunshine, get a table at one of these restaurants

A city this culturally-rich has loads of museums. If you don’t know where to start, check out this top 7 museums in Istanbul list to shape an idea.

Examine the Ottoman blanket over the city, and you’ll find Byzantine remnants everywhere. Here are 7 landmarks along the former main street of Constantinople.

Learn more about the Hagia Sophia with this detailed piece and discover its detailed beauty.

If you are in the mood for art…

Exhibitions in Istanbul

A range of Fernando Botero's sculptures, paintings, and drawings is now on display in Istanbul for the first time, brought from a private collection in Switzerland. Called Everyday's Poetry – Scenes from the Fullness of Life continues at Anna Laudel Contemporary until June 25.

No LaB’s new exhibition, Made in Türkiye, brings together local and foreign artists to highlight the distinctive features of life on Istanbul’s streets.

Artist Refik Anadol has turned artificial intelligence tools to the archives at SALT Galata in his installation Archive Dreaming, running until June 11.

Artist Feyhaman Duran, now the subject of a large exhibition at the Sabancı Museum, is one of Turkey’s talented curiosities. Born in the Ottoman Empire, made in the Turkish Republic, master of Arabic calligraphy and Western painting, trained in Istanbul and Paris – Duran’s life combines many opposing aspects of Turkish culture. The exhibition Feyhaman Duran: Between Two Worlds continues at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum until July 30. Learn more about the artist’s life and the exhibition here.

One of the most influential photographers of the 21st century, Roger Ballen’s Retrospective is available for your eyes to see at Istanbul Modern.

Where to shop

Best shopping in Istanbul

Seasons & Stories

That crucial piece to elevate your style is waiting for you at Seasons & Stories. The has surprises such as YSL accessories with Laurent’s own handwriting on them, a Chanel backpack from the ‘90s, and chains that match with almost anything. Seasons & Stories is located on a quiet side street just off Nispetiye Caddesi—feel free to ring the bell and drop by.

Adidas Originals

Adidas Originals opened its first originals concept store in Istanbul in March, based on an aesthetic of street culture. The store is hosting events similar to Adidas’ pop-up store in Karaköy last year. Teşvikiye Caddesi No. 17, Nişantaşı.

Gizia Gate

This 1,500 square meter multi-brand store showcases 28 young Turkish designers, many of whom are making their first debut into a dedicated retail space. Whether you’re searching for accessories or a full outfit, you’re sure to find something unique here. Plus, Tuvanam's fashion week show will be available after March 24 at Gizia Gate! Abdi İpekçi Caddesi No.19/1, Nişantaşı. T: (0212) 234 63 74/75 or shop online www.gizia.com.


Swedish brand COS’ new location on Bağdat Caddesi is the biggest one in Turkey with 650 square meters of space. The brand offers timeless designs, clean silhouettes, and innovative techniques with functional details for the modern souls. Designs are inspired by art, architecture and technology rather than fashion trends. Bağdat Caddesi, No:468/1A, Kadıköy, (0216) 416 57 85 There are COS stores at Zorlu Center and İstinyePark shopping malls as well.


This is the store for the practical urban fashionista, seeking accessories that look good and will stand the test of time. Think water-repelling Kanken backpacks, impossibly chic Komono sunglasses, Stance socks and more. Serdar-ı Ekrem Sokak No. 9, Galata. T: (0212) 270 65 16


A purveyor of simple, modern basics for men, this shop stocks button-down shirts, sweaters, pants, and shoes, plus matching lifestyle accessories. With local brands ranging from Tox Atelier, Müz and Nyks to Happily Ever Paper, Niyo by Niyazi Erdoğan to Shoefill, Bey is not only a destination for shoppers seeking comfortable, affordable basics, but also a hub for emerging Turkish lifestyle and fashion labels that cater to the modern gentlemen of this bustling city. Kemankeş Karamustafapaşa Mahallesi, Mumhane Caddesi No.54/1 Karaköy; T: (0532) 700 59 55

Room + Rumours

The Istanbul fashion Mecca’s new location for the trend-savvy is not only for shopping, it is also an “it” crowd hang out. The showroom features fashion collections and accessories by well-known and up-and-coming creatives, along with home decor pieces, books and artworks. Perfect for finding that one-of-a-kind gift. Valikonağı Caddesi No.6/A, Nişantaşı. T: (0212) 259 88 90

Where to travel for a weekend getaway


If you are in the mood for to travel this weekend, we have a bunch of suggestions.

Planning a wedding? Tie the knot in Bodrum this summer. 

Tea harvesting season is coming up and Turkey’s Black Sea region boasts verdant tea fields, mesmerizing landscapes and authentic food, and Çamlıhemşin is one of its hidden treasures. 

Discover the old Ottoman capital of Bursa’s unique nature and good food — just a couple of hours from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul.

Discover the Thrace region with all the vineyards and greenery and local delicacies. Get to know the grapes of Thrace before you go and make sure to print out this itinerary before you hit the road.

Interested in Mimar Sinan’s work and up for a road trip to a former Ottoman Empire capital? Edirne awaits.

Before you discover another side of Cappadocia with our latest issue, get all the details that a few people know about this magical land.