Istanbul is a city with many faces when it comes to nightlife. There’s the glitzy Istanbul of the Bosphorus nightclubs, where rich young Turks dressed to the nines pull up to valet park their luxury cars or private yachts. The boisterous Istanbul in the small streets off Beyoğlu’s İstiklal Caddesi, full of rooftop bars, sidewalk cafés, live music, and Efes-drinking locals. The Istanbul of art openings, symphony performances, and avant-garde film screenings. The Istanbul of rabid football fans cheering on one of the city’s three local teams at the stadium or the bar. And that’s just for starters.
The English-language Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review newspaper (www.hurriyetdailynews.com) is a good place to start to see what’s going on around town. Biletix (www.biletix.com) has an English-language website listing upcoming events and sells tickets online and at various spots around Istanbul. (The İstiklal Kitabevi at İstiklal Caddesi No. 55A is a convenient location.)
Smaller events, including free outdoor concerts sponsored by various municipalities during the summer months, are unfortunately not always well-promoted to a foreign audience; keep an eye out for intriguing posters bearing the key words sanat (art), muzik (music), tiaytro (theatre), konser (concert), or sergi (exhibition).
For more specific tips, read my guides to Nightlife in Istanbul: bars and clubs and Nightlife in Istanbul: concerts and cultural events.