Taksim Square, Istanbul’s main modern hub, is located at the end of the pedestrian thoroughfare Istiklal Avenue (Istiklal Caddesi). A popular meeting place, Taksim Square is anchored by the Monument of the Republic and buzzes with activity day and night. The area historically hosts public celebrations, parades, and demonstrations.
As a cultural and transportation center of the city, Taksim Square is always vibrating with energy. Abutted by Gezi Park, one of the few remaining green spaces in the center of Istanbul, Taksim Square sits at the head of Istiklal Avenue and serves as a gateway to the shops, restaurants, and bars that dot the area.
Most small-group and private tours explore the food and culture of the area and combine a visit to Taksim Square with a broader exploration of nearby neighborhoods, including Galata and Karakoy.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Taksim Square is a main meeting place and hub in Istanbul and can be crowded.
- The area is a must-visit for people-watching and shopping.
- Wear comfortable shoes, if you are planning on walking down Istiklal Avenue.
How to Get There
While Taksim Square itself is closed to vehicles, it is easily accessible by metro located right in the square. Taxis, buses, and shared cabs, called dolmus, all stop on the road that is adjacent to Taksim Square. There is a funicular from the seaside road that goes directly to Taksim Square.
When to Get There
Taksim Square is always open and active. The area gets very busy in the afternoon and into the evening, as people flock to the area for shopping, dining, and nightlife. In the morning, delivery cars are allowed on the otherwise pedestrian boulevard. Go early in the day to beat the crowds.
As one of Istanbul’s main gathering places, Taksim Square has a wealth of street food. Sample simit, a circular bagel-like pastry covered in sesame seeds. In the evening, men selling mussels stuffed with rice and spritzed with lemon dot the square. Wet burgers soaked and steamed in spicy tomato sauce are popular among Taksim Square’s late-night crowd.