Rose: İstanbul is a pretty outdoor-oriented city, which is usually great but can be unpleasant when it’s extremely hot or torrentially raining. Still, there are plenty of options for those summer days when you’d prefer not to roast. The first option, of course, is the malls. Pick your favorite and head on over -- the AC will be on high and there’ll be plenty to do. Several malls here have ice skating rinks, including Capacity and Galleria. If you head to Forum, there’s enough to keep you occupied for days -- literally miles of shopping, plus an aquarium and Magic Ice, an ice museum, both of which are bound to be refreshingly cool. Magic Ice is kept at minus five degrees Celsius, which is a perfect way to beat the heat.
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.
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