A short ways up the Bosphorus from Karaköy is one of Istanbul’s most visited attractions outside the Old City: the stunning neoclassical Dolmabahçe Palace, each room more ornate and over-the-top than the last. Nearby Beşiktaş is home to attractions like Yıldız Parkı and the Naval Museum, which showcases an impressive collection of Ottoman artifacts in a specially designed venue overlooking the water. Most of Istanbul’s luxurious Bosphorus-side hotels, including a couple that are housed in former Ottoman palaces, are likewise found in and around this area. A major transit hub, Beşiktaş is also the gateway to the Bosphorus neighborhoods to the north, and a departure point for ferries to Istanbul’s Asian side.
Up the hill from Beşiktaş is Nişantaşı, the city’s high-fashion district, home to the flagship stores of internationally known luxury brands as well as local talent; numerous contemporary-art galleries are also scattered amid the upscale hotels, restaurants, patisseries, and third-wave coffee shops here, which offer plenty of opportunities to take a break and enjoy some good people-watching. The Military Museum is just a short walk away on Cumhuriyet Caddesi, which then leads back to Taksim Square.