For many, a trip to any large metropolitan city just isn’t complete without a little shopping. Some may roll their eyes at those who would pass up a sightseeing opportunity for a bit of bargain hunting, but shopaholics know better. Part of experiencing a culture is getting acquainted with their fashion, and you get to take something home afterwards! No matter what your style, Istanbul is bursting with great shopping opportunities. For the guys out there- here are the spots you should make sure to hit!
For the Extreme Bargain Hunter: Beşiktaş Pazarı and the Grand Bazaar.
Actually any neighborhood market will have great deals on clothes. Expect to find tables and tables with literal piles of clothing. Digging around for the perfect find is all part of the fun! And boy is that searching worth it- it’s not uncommon to get a top for 5TL! The Besiktas market is only on Saturdays. Inside the Grand Bazaar, unless you’re an expert negotiator, you’ll probably buy something that is overpriced. However, if you step outside the bazaar and wander around in the small surrounding streets, cheap clothes are abundant. (Disclaimer: Items purchased at these places may not have an extremely long lifespan…)
For the Hipster: Galata Area/Kumbaracı Yokuşu or Moda.
The Istanbul “alternative scene” is huge. If you want original designs, sometimes made of organic fabric and always sold to you by a guy in dreads, don’t miss these two areas. Meander through the streets that lie between the Galata Tower and Tunel on Istiklal Caddesi. One of these streets that is especially well-known for its unique character is Kumbaraci Yokusu. If you’re on the Asian side, Moda is an up-and-coming trendy area where you can refresh at hip cafes after your shopping.
For the Label Lover: Nişantaşı or Istinye Park
Nişantaşı, not too far from Taksim, is the old neighborhood of famed writer Orhan Pamuk. These days, it is home to some of the most affluent Istanbullus and its shopping street has the most expensive leases in Istanbul. You’re sure to find the all the designer labels here after dodging between Mercedes cars on the street. Although a bit of a haul from the city center, Istinye Park is Istanbul’s most impressive high-end mall. It has all the big designer names and is extremely popular, especially the outdoors restaurant section. Istinye Park is not just a place to shop, but also a place to see and be seen.
And if you specifically want to shop for Turkish brands, these are the ones to look out for! Mavi is an extremely popular blue jeans brand with pretty reasonable prices. LC Waikiki and Collezione are two popular cheap chains. Some very well-known but more pricey brands are Vakko and Koton. These stores can be found on two very popular shopping streets: the famous Istiklal Caddesi and on the Asian side, Bagdat Caddesi.