The most creative museum or gallery
Established in 2005, Pera Museum (Meşrutiyet Avenue No. 65) is probably not the first museum that comes to the contemporary Istanbuler’s mind when asked about the most creative museum. However, I cannot help but feel that Pera was the one that started the specific museum experience that is a must nowadays: a broad range of representation from all over the world, different genres of art, and of course technology. It offers international film-screenings along with the conventional art exhibits, as well as the stories of some of Turkey’s most important art pieces in VR (not that different from what the Louvre is currently doing with Mona Lisa). I can assure any and all that a couple of hours in Pera Museum will be a wonderful experience.
The café where you go to read, write or be inspired
In Bahçeşehir, where I spent the first 17 years of my life, The North Shield (1. Kısım, Gölet Mevkii) was always the place where the “grown-ups” went for a late breakfast or an evening beer, and I, being rather young, could not muster the courage to walk in there. After being abroad for a couple years, I was now legally allowed to go in and have that evening beer. These kind of stories usually end in a tone of disappointment when the protagonist finds out that the breakfast tasted bad or the beer was warm. That did not happen for me. Whenever I can make time to go to my former neighbourhood, I always stop by The North Shield to either read a book accompanied by an ice-cold pint, write down the thoughts and feelings my childhood nostalgia causes that specific day, or sometimes even run into old friends I have not seen in years, which in itself inspires me.
A restaurant with a difference
I am aware that the name Aida Vino E Cucina (Ressam Seref Akdik Sokak No. 10) does not scream Turkish at all, yet the inside of this restaurant is a perfect combination of the Italian cuisine and Turkish daily living. Built in a renovated, narrow and pink house in Kadıköy, Aida’s interior is filled with rugs, artefacts and rather minimalistic tables and chairs. However, the food portions are the complete opposite. What makes this restaurant different for me is the contrast between the homey feeling it conveys and the authentic Italian tastes it somehow brought right into the middle of Istanbul.
The most creative neighbourhood
Do not let my fellow European-side residents know that I personally feel the most inspired in Kadıköy’s Moda, a neighbourhood situated on the Asian side of Istanbul. Yet one cannot help but feel moved by the constant background music from various cafes, shops and people. I believe the removal of the never ending noise of Istanbul’s traffic jams, since Moda is a mainly pedestrian neighbourhood, allows creativity to flow better. Time disappears when you are in Moda as the neighbourhood offers countless activities as well as some peace of mind, with it being close to the Marmara’s shore.
The store you can’t walk past without going in
Located in the middle of Nişantaşı, one of the most visited neighbourhoods of Istanbul, Nisantaschi (Av. Süreyya Ağaoğlu Sk. No. 5) is a place where you can find anything – and I mean anything – you are looking for; even objects you did not know you wanted or needed. From a simple printed t-shirt to the most flamboyant coffee mug, or even an old typewriter, Nisantaschi definitely pulls you in with its dark exterior yet warm and colourful interior.