If you feel like stepping out of your tourist shoes and shopping like a local in Istanbul, there is no better place to start than a local market or bazaar. You just need to think outside the box, resist the allure of the Grand Bazaar or Spice Bazaar and check out some of these alternatives for a unique shopping experience. Take note of the days, as most of these are only open on certain days of the week.
Wednesday Market, Fatih
Welcome to the oldest and largest historical open-air market in Istanbul. It is held every Wednesday spreading over 17 blocks. You can find anything from clothing to gardening, from fresh vegetables to numerous household materials. You will also encounter products from Anatolia and a huge crowd of locals. It will be definitely worth visiting to experience the local lifestyle and choose products from hundreds of options with very reasonable prices. Close to the area, Fatih Mosque awaits you with its gorgeous architecture and mystically peaceful atmosphere. As Fatih is also home to many historic places and very close to Taksim, it also offers a unique opportunity for all who want to invest in Istanbul. The area is worth exploring if you want to experience Istanbul as a local.
Bomonti Organic Market
If you find yourself around Şişli or Nişantaşı on a Saturday, just stroll down to Bomonti. It is an old neighborhood famous for the historical beer factory by the same name. Today, it has transformed into one of the prime locations for real estate investment in Istanbul. Hidden among the skyscrapers of Bomonti, you can find one of the best-kept secrets of the city. Everything you can find here carries a certificate proving that it’s 100% organic and locally grown. The prices may be somewhat higher than the other markets, but some find it’s worth it. Here you can shop with the peace of mind of knowing that you are getting pesticide-free, fresh produce. They also serve the best hot cakes, made fresh there in front of your eyes and there’s always freshly brewed tea. A small tip: On Sundays, the same location hosts an amazing antiques market. Be sure to check it out for rare finds at good prices.
The giant parking lot just opposite the Ihlamur Palace in Beşiktaş turns into one of Istanbul’s busiest farmer’s markets on Saturdays. Attracting mainly the residents of Şişli and Beşiktaş areas, this one is definitely worth checking out due to its convenient location, fresh produce and reasonable prices. A short walk down the main street of Beşiktaş Çarşı (Market) will also be worth it if you’re looking for clothing, home accessories and even fresh fish. While you’re there, we also recommend ending your shopping tour with a much-deserved tea break at Ihlamur Palace. This was an imperial Ottoman summer palace constructed during the reign of Sultan Abdülmecid. Today, this beautiful piece of history is stuck between the busy residential neighborhoods of Beşiktaş, Nişantaşı and Fulya, where you can find some of the most valuable real estate in Istanbul.
Ulus-Sosyete (High Society) Market
Also known as the High-Society Market, due to its location in Ulus, an elite neighborhood full of celebrities, the market is open on Thursdays. It welcomes many locals and tourists who want to buy name brand clothing, designer fashion and accessories at affordable prices. You may also taste delicious Turkish traditional food, while there. The market was closed and re-opened a few years ago, with its new location on the hill between Ortaköy and Ulus. The market ends close to the famous Dereboyu Street of Ortaköy. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the magnificent Ortaköy Mosque on the Ortaköy shore. As Ortaköy is one of the oldest and cutest districts of Istanbul, you will likely enjoy walking down its historical streets and even spot a few old houses here and there. Of course, most of these houses have been demolished to open areas for new development. This is also a great neighborhood for expats and locals alike and very popular among those looking for Istanbul apartments for sale.