About Shopping in Istanbul
Istanbul, one of the world's great trading hubs, has always been a shopper's paradise. Mirroring its legendary Grand Bazaar, the city itself is almost laid out like a giant, well-organized market: all the plumbing hardware stores are in Karakoy; the wedding dress shops proceed in succession along Fevzipasa Caddesi. Big-box store, this is not. Though mostly overflowing with cheap China goods of late, there are still many treasures to be found, for any budget.
Shopping is an interactive experience in Istanbul, whether you're just buying some fresh produce at the open air market or hunting down that trophy kill of the vacation budget: the Turkish rug. Hone your bartering skills at one of the smaller markets before moving on to the big leagues of haggling in the Grand Bazaar. If you're more comfortable with static price tags but still want an authentic piece of Turkey, there are plenty of homegrown boutiques offering stylish local finds you can show off back home.
Istiklal Caddesi is where Turkish teenagers roam to their hearts content, popping in and out of the dozen small stores that line this legendary avenue. Eager to ape the conspicuous consumption of the West, the city's wealthiest denizens can often be found in the upmarket malls that have sprung up in Sisli and Levent over the past decade. Kanyon Mall is an especially high-end favorite with prices on imported goods that will shock you.
On the other end of the spectrum, the open air stalls around Yeni Camii are a favorite for locals searching for cheap clothes, shoes and scarves. If you're looking for knock-off sneakers (or bizarre children's toys), try the underground market at the foot of the south side of the Galata bridge.
Vintage & Flea Markets
Every Saturday and Sunday, flea market stalls and local craftsmen overtake the alleyways that radiate out from the Ortakoy Mosque. Pick up a locally-made ring or a charming vintage figurine before refueling with one of the local specialty gut-bombs: a baked potato with customized toppings.
For reliable vintage finds, head to the large thrift shop on Yuksek Kaldirim Caddesi, between the Galata Tower and the Tunel station. This eclectic warehouse is carefully curated by the eccentric and friendly owner and is sure to yield at least one unique find.
The small streets around Tunel station, off Istiklal Caddesi is home to a few designer-owned boutiques, offering chic handmade fashion to the hip crowd.
High-end boutiques line Abdi Ipekci Avenue in the upscale Nisantasi neighborhood. Ipekyol and Yargici are local favorites.
There are a handful of brands that have cornered the market on department store-style outposts. Most are located in one of the dozen or so Western-style malls scattered across the city; a few have outlets on Istiklal Caddesi. For men's fashion, look for Beymen and Boyner. Vakko is perhaps the most well-known and specializes in mens and women's fashion.
Receive special offers, VIP invites and exclusive updates for Istanbul.