Taksim is the heart of Istanbul and is a location of many prominent landmarks of the city, such as Taksim Square, Galata Tower and the nostalgic red tram. Taksim is a fast-paced, lively district of Beyoğlu, located on the European side of Istanbul. You can visit art museums, attend various cultural events, take the most enchanting photos you have ever taken, and witness the contemporary and modern aspects perfectly blended—all just within a walking distance. So, if you start to feel excited about spending a day in Taksim, this article is just for you! Explore what to do in Taksim and how to spend a day in Taksim!
1. Taksim Square
Taksim is mostly, if not always, associated with Taksim Square and strolling around the square should be one of the very first things you should do in Taksim. Getting there is pretty easy as Taksim Square has the central station of the metro.
You can see The Republic Monument (Cumhuriyet Anıtı) in the square, which is the work of Italian sculptor Pietro Canonica. The monument depicts Atatürk- founder of the Republic of Türkiye- and important military characters in Turkish history, along with soldiers and folks. It is definitely worth taking a closer look at the detail by turning around the monument as it has sculptures on each side of it.
When the sun is about to set, Taksim Square offers you a magnificent view. Take boiled or roasted corn from the vendors around, sit down the steps around the square, and watch the last rays of sun through the Republic Monument, Taksim Mosque and buildings around. In short, Taksim Square is a perfect destination both to start a day in Taksim and end it!
Around Taksim Square, are many other attractions, which are Taksim Mosque, Atatürk Cultural Center and Taksim Gezi Parkı.
2. Atatürk Cultural Center
With its fascinating building, Atatürk Cultural Center or AKM (Atatük Kültür Merkezi) is one of the main tourist attractions of Taksim. It is located on the eastern side of Taksim Square. AKM organizes many different events, such as music and art-related workshops for kids, movie screenings, theatres, concerts, and art exhibitions. This cultural center also hosts AKM Music Recording Studio, AKM Library and AKM Kid Art Center.
Make sure beforehand if the workshops or events are held in English, or just in Turkish. Nevertheless, you can still visit the art galleries and exhibitions.
Keep in mind that it is required to get tickets for the events. Check AKM’s official website for more information about the events and dates.
Check off the third to do in Taksim!
3. Taksim Gezi Parkı
The third thing to do in Taksim is this unique place to relax located in the northeast of Taksim Square. Before starting a lively and fast-paced day in Taksim, make sure to catch your breath. This public garden is relatively tiny yet does not miss an opportunity to be in nature! Take strolls around, have a cup of tea and tranquil your mind.
4. İstiklal Avenue (İstiklal Caddesi)
Continue your day in Taksim by taking İstiklal Avenue, which leads you from Taksim Square to Galata Tower. Walking in the avenue surrounded by historic and picturesque buildings, makes you feel the perfect mixture of modern with the past. İstiklal Avenue is associated with the nostalgic red tram just like Taksim is associated with Taksim Square. Witnessing the moment this nostalgic tram runs between the historical buildings is priceless and feels like it just came out from a postcard. One thing already for sure to do in Taksim is to take a lot of mesmerizing photos!
We advise you to slow down your pace while walking on İstiklal Avenue as there are plenty of details around to pay attention to. İstiklal Avenue is full of touristic destinations, which are perfectly in accord with the historic texture of the avenue. So, slow down, pay attention to your surroundings, and do not miss anything.
A fun and also tasty thing to do in İstiklal Avenue is to have Turkish ice cream, experience the illustrious tricks yourself, and watch other tourists being tricked!
To have more Useful Information For Your Visit to Istanbul, check out our blog!
5. Hope Alkazar
Let’s check off another thing to do in Taksim. Hope Alkazar is a cultural center located on İstiklal Avenue. You can attend digital or physical, sports or art-related free events in Hope Alkazar. Yoga, dancing, workshops, theatres are just a few of the events. Do not forget that it is required to make reservations for the sessions beforehand. The main entrance of Hope Alkazar is as captivating and historic as the buildings around it.
6. Sent Antuan Church
One of the reasons why you should slow down your pace is this church located on İstiklal Avenue. Sent Antuan Church is the largest Roman Catholic church in İstanbul, now run by Italian priests. With its red bricks and fabulous architecture, it definitely stands out. Its cross-figured main entrance can be seen from İstiklal Avenue, and inside the church, are well-protected mosaics, stained glass and captivating adornment. Include visiting this church to your ‘what to do in Taksim’ list.
You can visit Sent Antuan Church every day and attend masses in various languages — English, Italian, Polish, and Turkish. English masses are held on weekdays at 8.00 and on Saturdays at 10:00. Italian mass starts at 19:00 on Saturdays. Polish Mass starts at 9:30 on Sundays. Turkish masses are held twice a week, either on Sundays at 17:00 or on Tuesdays at 11:00.
7. Galata Tower
Starting a day in Taksim Square, taking İstiklal Avenue, and being welcomed by the renowned Galata Tower at the end of the avenue… How fabulous is this? The whole world seems to know that this magnificent tower is a landmark of Turkiye. But, have you ever wondered what Turkish people are reminded of when they hear Galata Tower? Speaking of myself, it always reminds me of Hazerfen Ahmed Çelebi, who was the first Turkish to accomplish the dream of ‘flying’. He flew from Galata Tower with the wings he designed on his own to Usküdar, a district on the other side of the Bosphorus. Maybe next time you visit Galata Tower, you can try to feel the enthusiasm of Çelebi coming from the past.
You can climb to Galata Tower and look at Taksim, the heart of Istanbul and the enchanting sight of the Bosphorus. The entrance fee is 175 Turkish Liras, which is around $10 (still better to check the currency). If you want to avoid crowds and also the hot weather in the summertime, we advise you to visit Galata Tower early in your day in Taksim.
8. Dessert Break
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Viyana Kahvesi, a popular pastry around the Galata Tower, offers you delicious San Sebastian cake. Take a moment to enjoy having the dessert of your life while having the view of Galata Tower— something you should definitely experience in Taksim! After you get your energy back, check off what else to do in Taksim.
9. Pera Museum
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A day in Taksim is spent best with cultural activities! Pera Museum is located at a 10-minute walking distance from Galata Tower. The museum is closed on Mondays. It is open to visitors from 10:00 on Tuesday to Saturday, and 12:00 on Sundays.
On the first floor are Pera Café, Artshop and reception, where you can get your tickets. The entrance fee for the full ticket is 50 TL, the discount is 25 TL. If you plan to visit the Pera Museum in a group of at least 10 people, each of you should pay 40 TL, instead of 50 TL. On Wednesdays, it is free for students. Müzekart is not valid.
This five-floor museum host various exhibitions, and famous paintings one of them being the renowned Turkish painting from Osman Hamdi Bey—Tortoise Trainer. The last three floors are for temporary exhibitions. “And Now the Good News” for instance, works from the Nobel Collection, can be seen until the 7th of August 2022. You can get information about the current exhibitions before visiting the museum, or just leave yourself in the flow.
Not only Pera Museum holds exhibitions, but also programmes called Pera Learning and Pera Film to raise awareness about art! Know that unless announced beforehand, no reservations are taken, so, the early bird system applies.
10. Pera Palace Hotel
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Let’s finish our ‘what to do in Taksim’ list with a museum-hotel, which draws more attention thanks to the Turkish TV series called ‘Midnight at the Pera Palace’ adapted from the book. Whether you are familiar with the series or not, you feel the historic, unique and mysterious air even from the splendid entrance. If you are wondering about the famous Turkish tv series on Netflix, check out our blog Best TV Series to Learn Turkish.
Pera Palace was the first hotel in Istanbul to have electricity, hot running water, and a lift. You can still see this impressive lift in the hotel. This historic Pera Palace Hotel hosted many renowned people in the past, including Atatürk (Room 101) and Agatha Christie (Room 411). It is believed that Christe wrote her famous book “Murder in the Orient Express” in this very hotel.
If you wish to visit Pera Palace as a museum, get information about visiting hours beforehand as Room 101 and 411 can only be seen during visiting hours. But, you are still allowed to see the lobby outside of visiting hours.