Family Vacation Fun
- Experience a Lavish Turkish Breakfast.
Naga Putrika serves six traditional sermpe kahvalti (breakfast choices) including regional egg dishes, cheeses, vegetables, meats and local honey. Don’t miss the sucuk, which is Turkish style sausage.
- View Preserved Artifacts from a Distant Time.
Along with a crash course on the history of Istanbul, the Archaeological Museum offers a chance to view the tombs of old leaders and works of art from the Anatolian, Mesopotamian and Egyptian cultures. Follow it up with a trip to Istanbul’s dinosaur museum, Jurassic Land, and keep the ancient history lesson going.
- Explore the Colorful Balat Neighborhood.
A favorite of photographers, the trendy area of Balat contains a number of charming red, blue and green buildings and winding streets that are perfect for an afternoon stroll.
- Enjoy a Delicious, Kid-Friendly Tradition.
At the Forno Balat, the house specialty is lahmacun, a thin, crispy baked dough similar to a pizza crust that is topped with ground meat and spices. (They serve pizzas, too.)
- Visit the Stunning Hagia Sofia.
Perhaps the most visited site in the city, the Hagia Sophia, a former mosque and Greek Orthodox basilica that is now a museum, is best visited at 9 a.m., when its doors open.
- Have an Adventure Underground.
The largest of a few cisterns beneath Istanbul, the Basilica Cistern was built in 532 under the west end of the magnificent Hagia Sophia. Walk through the towering columns past Medusa sculptures.
- Indulge in Some Turkish Treats.
A famous candy store near the Hagia Sophia, Haci Bekir is said to have been the first shop that sold Turkish delight. Sample different kinds of the confection, along with hard candies from the region.
- Dine on Freshly Caught Seafood.
While Istanbul has a multitude of grilled meat options, Eleos Fish Restaurant capitalizes on the coastal city’s bounty of fresh seafood. Enjoy calamari with a view of the city from their patio.
- Cruise Along the Beautiful Bosphorus.
Ask the concierge to arrange a boat tour of the Bosphorus to get a closer look at Istanbul’s stunning architecture and bridges.
- Enjoy a Classic Turkish Lunch.
The popular Baskose in the Nisantasi district serves exceptional Turkish doner kebab — meat that is seasoned and cooked on a rotating rotisserie.
- Take a Selfie with Leonardo DiCaprio.
Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum is home to more than 50 wax figures, ranging from international stars like Madonna to Turkish celebrities like Adile Nasit. Guests are encouraged to touch and hug the figurines on display, making for a fun, interactive outing.
- View Fascinating Underwater Creatures.
One of Europe’s largest and most impressive aquariums, SEA Life displays more than 10,000 fish from 1,000 species in its tanks, along with sharks and stingrays.
- See an Iconic Landmark at the Perfect Time.
With its gold dome and six minarets, the Blue Mosque has a spectacular interior with a multitude of blue tiles that, at night, are lit by a soft blue light.
- Explore a Historical Neighborhood.
The heart of the city, Eminonu contains the Golden Horn, a port that was filled with tradesmen and sailors during the Ottoman period. Today it is a busy docking point for ferries.
- Introduce Your Kids to New Flavors.
The Spice Bazaar, which sells innumerable fragrant spices, is a great destination for sampling Turkish products, like Turkish delight, local honeys and dried fruits.
- A Toy Story.
The Istanbul Toy Museum is a delight for kids and adults alike. Housed in a beautiful five-story baroque villa, the museum’s collection includes more than 4,000 unique toys, 1,000 of which have been collected from antique dealers and auctions around the world.
- Walk Around the Grounds of a Palace.
Once the headquarters of sultans, the 15th-century Topkapi Palace is now a museum. After a tour, take a break in Gülhane Park, which was once the palace’s gardens.
- Little Italy.
Cecconi Italian restaurant serves crowd-pleasing Italian fare in an elegant setting near The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul. Enjoy a family-style feast of pizza, pasta and fresh salads.
- Plan a Morning of Arts and Crafts.
The Istanbul Modern, a stellar contemporary art museum, host workshops for creative young minds of all ages through its Art en Famille program. Check their website for workshop themes.
- Explore the Exciting Krakoy Neighborhood.
Heralded by many as the most exciting corner of Istanbul, the multicultural Krakoy is full of charming cafés, diverse buildings and tiny churches.
- Have an Afternoon Treat.
Wildly popular with locals, Dondurmino Gelato sources high-quality milk from Jersey cows for their extensive gelato selection. Don’t overlook the delicious pistachio and basil-lavender flavors.
- Dine on a Farm-to-Table Feast.
Watch the chefs at Atelier Real Food at The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul prepare grilled fish, lamb and steaks from their open kitchen. Get a Turkish desserts plate to introduce your kids to a variety of local sweets.