In the past fifteen years, Istanbul has watched many of its once-dodgy neighborhoods transform into hip hotspots exploding with clubs, bars, cafes, restaurants, shops, and boutique hotels. Meanwhile, its history is still very much alive, as is apparent in its open-air markets, elegant palaces, towering cathedrals, and hookah hang-outs. We help make sense of the best museums and cultural destinations the city has to offer.
Istanbul Museum of Modern Art
Meclis-i Mebusan Cad. Liman İşletmeleri Sahası Antrepo 4, 34433, Karaköy
Standing as the first private museum in Turkey to organize exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, this must-see institution is spread across two floors of a converted warehouse.
Tepebaşı, Meşrutiyet Caddesi No:67 K:1, 34340 Beyoğlu
Hasköy Yarn Factory, Kırmızı Minare Sokak, No:7-11, 34445 Hasköy
This art gallery, with two different locations in the city, has made a name for itself by spotlighting emerging artists both locally and abroad.
SALT Beyoğlu, İstiklal Caddesi 136, Beyoğlu 34430
SALT Galata, Bankalar Caddesi 11, Karaköy 34420
This non-profit hosts exhibitions, public programs, and conferences related to contemporary visual culture. SALT also houses a library and archive of art, architecture, design, and social history available for public use.
Baltalimanı, Hisar Street Perili Kosk, No:5 34470, Rumelihisari/Sariyer
Borusan Contemporary, one of the top corporate collections of contemporary art in Turkey, is owned by Borusan Holdings (which built an in-house gallery to display all its acquisitions). The “office museum,” as they’ve coined its exhibition space, is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays.
Kemankeş Caddesi, Galata Sarap İskelesi Sokak, Süha Fazlı Han No.8 D.3 Karaköy
Istanbul ‘74 was Istanbul’s first art and cultural platform, and continues to host a variety of events, exhibitions, and collaborations that forge a link between performance, design, architecture, and fashion.
Asmali Mescit Mah, 34430 Beyoğlu
The Pera Museum was created in 2005 by the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation, displaying artifacts from its collection alongside an array of European art focusing on themes inspired by the Ottoman Empire.