Activities in Istanbul

Blue Mosque

Address Blue Mosque, Istanbul Map,

The Blue Mosque is one of the hilights of any trip to Istanbul, and kids seem to get a special delight out of taking off their shoes and paddling around on the soft red carpet. Plan to run off some steam in the park outside or the Mosque's open courtyard before entering so that your children are able to be quiet and respectful inside. more

Büyük Saray Mozaikleri Müzesi (Great Palace Mosaic Museum)

Address Sultan Ahmet Mh., 34122 ?stanbul, Türkiye Map, Tel 0212 518 1205 Call,

This small museum, located in the Arasta Bazaar, behind the Blue Mosque is easily manageable with kids (though not stroller friendly). Kids will enjoy the ancient byzantine mosaics of lions and other animals, and it's fun to talk to them about how they were made. If you pick up some colored paper and a gluestick on your travels, you can rip it up and make your own mosaics back at the hotel. more

Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi)

Address Galata Kulesi, Istanbul, Türkei? Map, Tel 0212 293 8180? Call, Website

This beautiful old tower, with its scenic views of Istanbul is easy to visit with kids. You'll ride an elevator up to the top, and then explore the balcony and the views. Enthusiastic employees even treated our kids to cookies during our visit. The nightly shows do not offer a discount for kids, but you may be able to negotiate one if they aren't full. Visit early in the day to avoid the lines. more

Grand Bazaar

Address Yeniçeriler Cad. and Fuatpasa Cad., Istanbul Map,

Despite reports in many guidebooks that the Grand Bazaar would be confusing or overwhelming, we found it spotlessly clean and charming. Perhaps the fact that we were with children made the vendors more welcoming, or perhaps it's because we had no illusion that with three children in tow we would be able to explore every shop. more

Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya)

Address Hagia Sophia, Istanbul Map,

Hagia Sophia was the largest church in the world until the Cathedral in Sevilla was built, and it's dome served as a model for many other buildings, including the Blue Mosque. more

Istanbul Dolphinarium

Address Silahtara?a Caddesi, 2 - Eyüp - Istanbul Map, Tel (212) 581 7878 Call, Website

Located on the shores of the Golden Horn, the Dolphinarium was designed as a place to see and learn about dolphins. There are shows Wed-Friday (check the website for showtimes). With an advance reservation, children can swim with the dolphins, however if you are considering this type of program, you should read the Humane Society's concerns about dolphin swim programs. A restaurant and cafe are available. more

Istiklal Caddesi

Address Istiklal Caddesi, Istanbul Turkey Map,

It seems as if everyone in Istanbul is out walking on this busy street, and you'll see everything from ice cream shops to bakeries to street performers. The street itself is stroller friendly, but the crowds can make it difficult to navigate with kids in tow. For a break from the crowds, duck into one of the churches or mosques that dot Istiklal Caddesi. more

Miniatürk (Miniature Turkey Model Park)

Address Imrahor Caddesi,Sütlüce Map, Tel (212) 222 28 82 Call, Website

This scale model of Turkey's major monuments has a miniature train that kids can ride around the park. more

Play 'n' Learn

Address Havyar Sokak, 46, Cihangir, Beyo?lu, Istanbul Map, Tel 212 244 9151 Call, Hours Mon-Sat Website

This close in playspace near Taksim Square has organized activities for children up to age 6. Activities include playdough, puppet shows, active games, and free play with the toys. You may stay with your child, or drop them off. Call ahead to find out whether the staff on duty speak English. more

Play Barn

Address Kirazl?ba? Sokak 4, Yeniköy, Istanbul Map, Website

This drop in playspace has indoor and outdoor activities. more

Sisli Belediyesi Bilim Merkezi (Science Museum)

Address Hakk? Yeten Cad. Polat Tower Yan? No:18A Fulya Map, Tel 0212 266 00 46 Call, Hours Open every day between 09.00-18.00 Website

Children tour this science center in groups. There are hands on activities, but the explanations of how things work would be in Turkish. more

Spice Bazaar

Address Misir Carsisi 1, Eminonu, Istanbul Map,

Istanbul's Spice Bazaar feels fairly touristy, but it's still a chance to see (and buy) ingredients used in Turkish cooking. Kids may enjoy smelling the various spices and learning a bit about where they come from. While you are here, explore the area outside the Spice Bazaar, where vendors sell pets, pet feed and plants. more

Topkapi Palace and Museum (Topkapi Sarayi)

Address Topkai Palace, Istanbul Map, Website

The chance to see a real palace, especially one as ornately decorated and treasure filled as Topkai palace should be a draw for most kids. The grounds are huge, though, and the food options inside are passable, but not great. Consider bringing a picnic lunch, snacks, and an inflatable ball so that you can take breaks from the collection as needed. more

Yerebatan Sarnici (Basilica Cistern)

Address Alemdar Mh., 34110 ?stanbul, Türkiye Map, Tel 0212 449 4287 Call, Website

Here's a great way to beat the heat and avoid the crowds, if only for a short time. Head underground into the Basilica cistern, part of a system of aqueducts and cisterns built to bring Istanbul fresh water in Byzantine times. The arches, domes and mosaics are interesting, and you can use this to lead into an interesting conversation with your kids about where our water comes from, how it is stored, and how it gets to us. more

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