If shopping is really not your thing, another great way to get out of the weather is to stop by the Basilica Cisterns in Sultanahmet. It is a tourist site, but it’s much less visited than other nearby attractions -- you won’t have to deal with the hordes at the Aya Sofya. Once you’re in the cool, dark, subterranean chamber, you can easily pass a decent amount of time wandering along the pathways or lost in thought at the café with a tea.
Lastly, if you can’t beat the heat, celebrate it! There are several waterparks around the outskirts of the city, all of which could make great daytrips, especially midweek when you’re more likely to miss the crowds. Aquamarine is in Büyükçekmece but runs shuttles from around the city. If you have kids or are a kid at heart, it’s a great option.
Bridget: The summer heat has finally hit the ‘Bul. Going outside for only 30 minutes can really tire you, and I know for me I’d rather be somewhere indoors, preferably with air conditioning, during the day. There are lots of things to do indoors that will keep you cool. I’d first suggest checking out the various museums throughout the city. I really enjoy İstanbul Modern, which always has great exhibits. It’s free on Thursday and has a nice café inside. There is also the Body Worlds & The Cycle of Life exhibition next to İstanbul Modern (at the Antrepo 3 in Tophane) which I would suggest checking out. I also really enjoy the Pera Museum, which currently has a great Botero exhibit (which ends on July 18).
The city also has numerous movie theaters. The French Cultural Center often shows films, along with the Pera Museum, and a quick check in a summer guide on İstanbul will let you know what is playing near you.
Finally, even though you prefer staying indoors, I’d suggest going to the beach. It may be hot outside, but there is nothing like a dip in the Black Sea or the Sea of Marmara.
Send questions to [email protected]