What to do at New Year’s Eve 2022 and Christmas in Istanbul

The arrival of new year’s eve brings a lot of excitement regardless of the current Covid conditions. In 2021, humankind realized that living the moment matters more than anything else. So here we gathered not only the famous New Year’s Eve celebrations and but also some Christmas-themed events taking place in Istanbul!

New Year’s Eve Celebrations in Istanbul

The new year’s arrival is customary in Turkey, which means that it is celebrated by Turkish people themselves, even though some conservative people may assume that celebrating it is no different from celebrating Christmas. Here I compiled every other activity for different tastes and interests, and I hope you can find something interesting to try out and participate in!

1. Special New Year’s Concert at AKM

You might come across the suggestion of taking a stroll in Istiklal Street during New Year’s Eve. However, this is also when it could be so crowded, and you might now feel in the mood. Still, if you can’t give up on enjoying the oldie goldie things, go ahead walking the street and end your stroll in front of the newly launched Atatürk Cultural Center a.k.a. AKM at the heart of Taksim Square. It was closed in 2008 and reopened its doors on 29th October 2021. This Opera House from 1969 is worth seeing with its exquisite design. Istanbul State Opera and Ballet will be performing a concert on new year’s eve. Don’t miss this music feast organized in the same building after 13 years! You can buy your tickets here. If you are new to this neighborhood and you want to spend more time at this side of the city, I warn you it is quite chaotic! Here is a trip plan full of local experiences and designed by our trip designer to wander around the Beyoğlu neighborhood for a full-day. Now you can purchase it for 20% off, check it out!

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2. New Year’s Eve Bosphorus Boat Tour

One of Istanbul’s most characteristic and unique things is riding on a boat between the Asian and European continents. It is such a speechless experience that is never dull to have. Traveling over the Bosphorus waters, you can rethink your new year’s resolutions and the meaning of life! There are many options to pick for having a boat tour for the new year’s eve celebrations. Most of them include fresh appetizers, delicious snacks, and traditional desserts. Apart from food, this long sea journey comprises music and dance performances. The most crucial detail is booking in advance for the new year’s celebration. Here are some of the boat companies that offer Bosphorus cruise parties:


3. Special Deals at Hotels

Spending New Year’s Eve at a fancy hotel could be a fantastic experience if you are interested in planning a romantic night. Many top-quality hotels that mostly have a historical touch offer special packages and host private parties on 31st December. These packages include various services such as staying a few nights, live music, and more. Here are some hotels which offer New Year’s Eve packages.

4. New Year’s Long Parties at Nightclubs

Some of us are more energetic than others. If your inner energy doesn’t let you stay still but jump around, then you might instead prefer to dance in all-night events. In Turkey ’90s, Turkish Pop music is a particular type of music that local youngsters enjoy a lot. If you are interested in being and experiencing the urban youth culture, the New Year’s special 90’s Turkish Pop Music Party at Hayal Kahvesi Aqua Florya might be just for you! The venue is not in the heart of the city. To enjoy it to the fullest, you might need some relaxing moments. So the Florya, by the side of the Marmara Sea, might be a cozy option for the new years celebrations if you are overwhelmed with the uber-crowded areas of Istanbul. If you prefer to be relatively close to the city center, you might like to Dorock XL, which is in the famous district of the Asian side, Kadıköy. Partying at Dorock XL together with DJ performance and fun music is a great way to count down to 2022. There is a lot more to do in the Kadıköy neighborhood. Check this trip plan to experience unique experiences without wasting your time doing travel research!

5. New Year’s Eve Menus at Restaurants

Traditions matter a lot but sometimes going in different directions is more exciting. Reserving your table at a Turkish tavern, ‘meyhane’, and tasting our alcoholic beverage rakı with many kinds of delicious mezzes is just so classy to go for something else. So if you still feel like this might be a fantastic occasion to rethink the past and have good wishes for the future, many taverns are offering new year’s eve packages. If you are interested in different types of entertainment and food combinations, you can try out destination-themed restaurants such as La Bodeguita Istanbul. Here you can feel the Cuban vibes to the fullest, and they organize a New Year’s Eve dinner, which starts at 8 pm on 31st December. It includes Cuban dance shows, live music, cocktails, and delicious food. Here are some suggestions for the taverns, which have menus special for New Year’s Eve.



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Christmas Events in Istanbul

Being a big world city, Istanbul is no exception for international and universal events! It is not surprising to see many Christmas-themed activities in this cosmopolitan city, from special concert series to markets. Here I gathered some circumstances which might take your attention.

6. Christmas Concert Series at Galataport Istanbul

It could be your second or third time in Istanbul. It doesn’t matter. This venue is new for all the locals as well. From Karaköy to Topkapı district, the cruise port and cultural complex project Galataport has finally opened its doors on 29th October 2021. Between 17- 26th December, there will be a Christmas Market which includes souvenir stands, brand stands, DIY workshops, skating, cockhorse, and concerts! You might not want to miss a broad genre of local musicians. From indie sounds of Nilipek, Yüzyüzeyken Konuşuruz to Jazzy İlhan Erşahin and many famous pop singers such as Sertap Erener and Yalın. Don’t forget to book your tickets in advance here.

7. Christmas Festivities at Kanyon


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For those of you who love to be surrounded by Christmas ornaments all around, fancy shopping malls might be the correct address for you. Between 1-14th December, there will be a set ice rink under the name of Roller Disco in Kanyon. It will be a total fun time with music, and it could be an exciting option, especially if you have kids to entertain. Besides that, there will be many other dances, music, entertainment, and surprise events during December. I am sure celebrating Christmas in Istanbul will be more than enough for you to get in the festive spirit!

8. Shopping at Christmas Markets

Those who came to Istanbul at least once know their address for shopping. Beyoğlu, Kadıköy, and Nişantaşı are the central neighborhoods where you will see many shops ornamented in Christmas themes and having some Christmas time campaigns as well. Here I want to mention the markets you can’t hear easily due to the language barrier. Especially those fond of being in nature will be so happy at this news! There will be a Christmas Market on 25-26th December in the venue ‘Üçüncü Mekan’. This venue is actually in the Kemerburgaz City Forest. So whenever you want to calm down, you can always return to the cuddle of nature. Workshops for children, music events, and concerts await you in the forest. For those who love shopping malls, Istinye Park could be an excellent place to go. We all know the European side is way more crowded and has a lot of offers in general. However, if you want to spend more time on the Asian side, look at the TOG New Year Market in Akasya Shopping Mall between 10-26th December. TOG is the short name for the Community Volunteers Foundation. It is one of the most well-known non-governmental organizations. Each time you buy something there, you will be supporting this organization, isn’t it great?

9. New Years Tango Marathon in Istanbul

Hello dancers from all around the world! Would you like to participate in a dance festival full of festive Christmas spirit? Can anyone imagine the vibe in the air in the middle of the dance hall where you can see the Marmara Sea? This festival takes place at the Tango La Vida, a tango school in Kadıköy. Many international DJs will be accompanying you at your last dance through the year 2021 between 30th December and 3rd January. Isn’t it an excellent start to a new year indeed? You can check the ticket prices and event details here. If this is not really your type of event, you might enjoy wandering in the neighborhood with the travel itinerary designed by a local! Check the trip plan of Şevval to learn more about the Kadıköy district.

10. Christmas Parties at Clubs

There are some options to celebrate the arrival of Christmas on various days. Turkey’s international community platform Yabangee organizes a night at Kafe Pi in the Beşiktaş neighborhood. If you want to spend more time socializing around with English speakers, this could be a good option for you. There will be some DJ performances and delicious drinks on 17th December. On the Asian side, the Groundy Club in Kadıköy also organizes a Christmas Party on 24th December. The first drink will be the treat at this party. There is an entrance fee for these events, so make sure you check the information in advance. If you are looking for more activities around Beşiktaş, the trip plan of Efe might fit with your wishes! Are you ready to discover the hidden gems of Beşiktaş with this full-day travel itinerary? Check the plan page here for more information.

Whether you are in Istanbul or not, I hope this blog post gives you the festivity of the New Year to plan your coming travel days in Istanbul!



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