5 places to discover street art & music in Istanbul
1) Şişhane Metro
A much less crowded (and appreciated) music spot is definitely hidden upstairs at the Şişhane metro stop. Take the ‘İstiklal Caddesi’ exit, and make a small contribution to a very talented jazz saxophonist or a man playing old Anatolian folk songs on his saz instrument.
2) İstiklal Caddesi
Head to the famously overcrowded İstiklal Caddesi (Avenue) early in the morning (when it’s not overcrowded) to really appreciate the beauty of its historic buildings, shopping arcades and the multitude of street art all around from local and international artists. To enjoy the street music, however, you’ll have to come by later and brace the crowds.
3) Osmanbey metro stop
Find the official Istanbul metro music spot (designated with a music-themed wall decal) by following the ‘Rumeli’, exit at the Osmanbey stop. Expect to come across a violin and cello duo, a remarkable solo guitarist with a voice like Elvis or a master of the traditional Turkish kanun instrument.
In 2018, the Mural Istanbul Festival travelled from Kadıköy to Sarıyer to turn another neighbourhood into an open-air exhibition of excellent street art. Explore Çayıbaşı Street to discover the large-scale murals of the local street artists Max on Duty, Leo Lunatic and Esk Reyn.
In 2012, the founders of the Mural Istanbul Festival decided to turn the agonisingly plain apartment building façades in their neighbourhood into giant canvases for street art. Explore the İskele, Uzun Hafız and Misaki Milli Streets to gaze up admiringly at largescale murals that were created by local and international street artists during the annual festival.
The 500 Hidden Secrets of Istanbul reveals off-the-beaten track places and interesting details for anyone who's keen to explore Istanbul's best-kept secrets.
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