For upcoming events, reviews, and other information about what to do in Istanbul, visit the expat-run website Yabangee ( or pick up a copy of the monthly Time Out Istanbul or the bimonthlyThe Guide, both of which are English-language publications with listings of restaurants, bars, and events, as well as features about Istanbul. The English-language Hürriyet Daily News and Today's Zaman are also good resources for listings and for keeping abreast of what's happening in Istanbul and in Turkish politics.

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  • 1. Akbank Sanat


    Sponsored by one of Turkey's largest private banks, the six-story, multipurpose Akbank Sanat (Akbank Art Center) hosts regular classical music and jazz concerts, including the Akbank Jazz Festival, held over several weeks in the fall. More than 700 other events are held at the center each year, including modern dance performances, theater productions, film screenings, and art exhibitions.

    İstiklal Cad. 8, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

    Arts/Entertainment Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Aug.
  • 2. Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall


    Located near the Lütfi Kırdar Congress Center off Cumhuriyet Caddesi, between Taksim and Nişantaşı, Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall is run by the Istanbul Municipality and hosts a wide variety of performances, from classical music, opera, and the occasional jazz and pop concert to ballet and flamenco.

    Gümüş Sok., Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

    Arts/Entertainment Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Jan. 1–15 and June–Sept.
  • 3. Garajistanbul


    Located in the basement of a parking lot near Galatasaray Square, Garajistanbul is an experimental venue that hosts an eclectic array of concerts, as well as contemporary dance and theater, and literary and artistic events.

    Yeni Çarşı Cad., Kaymakam Reşit Bey Sok. 11/A, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

    Arts/Entertainment Details

    Rate Includes: Closed June–Sept.
  • 4. Hodjapasha Culture Center

    The Bazaar Quarter and Environs

    Housed in a nicely restored, 15th-century hammam, the Hodjapasha Culture Center hosts whirling dervish ceremonies most nights of the week. The hour-long event starts with a performance of classical Turkish music before the dervishes whirl. Though some are captivated by the whirling, others may find it excessively slow and hypnotic, so consider whether this sort of cultural experience is your cup of tea. Note that photography is not allowed during the sema ceremony. Hodjapasha also offers a different dance show called "Rhythm of the Dance" that is considerably more lively.

    Hocapaşa Hamamı Cad. 3/B, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

    Arts/Entertainment Details

    Rate Includes: From US$30
  • 5. Mevlâna Education and Culture Society


    The Mevlâna Education and Culture Society (MEKDER) is one of the local dervish groups and cultural associations that holds sema ceremonies at 5 pm each Sunday at the Galata Mevlevihanesi. The ceremonies last about an hour and include traditional Mevlevi music and ritual whirling.

    Galip Dede Cad. 15, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

    Arts/Entertainment Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon.
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  • 6. UNIQ Istanbul


    This complex in the Maslak business district is home to the Volkswagen Arena, a top-of-the-line concert venue that draws big-name touring acts like Bob Dylan and the Pixies. The bar-restaurant-café-lounge, Tamirane, hosts jazz concerts every Sunday afternoon. There's also an open-air theater, along with various shops, restaurants, and gallery exhibition spaces. The closest metro stop is İTÜ Ayazağa.

    Ayazağa Cad. 4, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
  • 7. Zorlu Performing Arts Center


    Turkey’s largest performing-arts venue, located inside the Zorlu Center shopping mall, has a state-of-the-art, 2,000-seat main theater that hosts everything from Broadway and West End musicals to rock concerts and operas. The complex also contains a small “city stage” for free public shows by up-and-coming local performers, as well as exhibition spaces for contemporary visual art. The center is accessible by metro via the Gayrettepe station.

    Koru Sok. 2, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
  • 8. Atatürk Kültür Merkezi

    Closed Permanently

    Dominating one end of Taksim Square, Atatürk Kültür Merkezi is Istanbul's main performance hall. The Istanbul State Symphony ( has traditionally performed here October through May, and other ballet and dance companies appear year-round, with tickets almost absurdly cheap. Unfortunately, the venue has been languishing closed and unused since at least 2010 due to legal battles over a controversial restoration project. Although the status of the venue remains up in the air, the State Symphony performs at other venues around the city.

    Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
  • 9. The Mekan

    Closed Permanently

    An eclectic mix of rock and world-music concerts keeps things lively at this down-to-earth Beyoğlu venue, which covers two floors of a building just off İstiklal Caddesi near the Demirören shopping mall. The Istanbul Lindy Hoppers host swing nights every Thursday, often with live-band accompaniment.

    Atıf Yılmaz Cad. 17, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

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