Last updated: 10:00 PM ET, Tue July 26 2016

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  • Worldwide Scott | July 26, 2016 10:00 PM ET

    One Fun Day in Istanbul's Cool Cihangir Neighborhood

    One Fun Day in Istanbul's Cool Cihangir Neighborhood

    Photos by Worldwide Scott

    When we decided to spend some quality time in Istanbul a while back, we did what any self-respecting traveling couple would do when looking for a place to stay in a new city: we typed “coolest neighborhoods in Istanbul” into the search bar and hit enter.

    Not that we are cool people or anything like that, but it never hurts to stay among them, just in case something rubs off. One of the top results that came up was Cihangir, and all it took was one stroll up and down its host of hilly streets to tell us that it was the real deal.

    So whether you end up spending a few weeks in Cihangir like we did, or just hang out there for 24 hours, here’s my guide to having one fine — and fun — day.

    Morning: After being gently nudged awake by the sounds of gregarious gentlemen hawking simit — a delicious Turkish version of the bagel — on the street, shuffle down to the Bosphorus Strait for a walk. And you know what, you might as well snag one of those simits on your way; they’re fantastic when they’re fresh.

    It’s only a 10-minute descent to the Bosphorus, where you will definitely have to dodge seagulls and ferry commuters on your stroll, but will be rewarded with views of mosques, palaces and the Asian continent in the distance.

    Noonish: After the exercise on the water and the steep uphill climb back to Cihangir, it’s time for that most quintessential of Turkish culinary experiences: breakfast.

    Turkish breakfasts are as bountiful as they are delicious, featuring a spread that includes decadent cream called kaymak (served with honey for slathering on bread) and menemen (scrambled eggs with peppers, onions, and assorted spices) among many others, and Van Kahvalti Evi does Cihangir’s finest.

    READ MORE: Russian Tourists Are a Welcome Sight in Turkey

    Afternoon: This is the part of most travel pieces on hip ‘hoods where the author tells you that you should slip in some time perusing boutiques and quirky secondhand shops. Normally I wouldn’t go there, but I can’t deny that both Turnacibasi and Cukurcuma Street are overflowing with ridiculously fun finds. In fact, I came away with a sharp secondhand brown jacket, and so what if it turned out to be a ladies one, it kept me warm for a year and I don’t regret a thing.

    If you’re in need of a sit-down after all the shopping, seek some shade near the local mosque — it’s a leafy space to relax and watch life go by, but if you just need a quick pick-me-up, pop into quirky 49 Cukurcuma for a coffee.

    No trip to Turkey would be complete without getting your body battered and then soaped down by a complete stranger in a hamam (Turkish Bath), and you don’t have to leave Cihangir to get it done. Galatasaray Hamam is one of the most historic in town, and will leave you feeling relaxed, pampered and on top of your “authentic travel experiences” game. 

    Night: You could spend the evening on the terrace bars on the main drag, and you’d have a blast, but a city like Istanbul cries out to be viewed from above, so head to 5.Kat. Their fifth-floor vantage point overlooks the ancient rooftops, minarets and waterways that Istanbul is famous for, and there’s no better place to toast to the neighborhood and the city over dinner. 

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Worldwide Scott The Adventures of Worldwide Scott

Worldwide Scott Born in the U.S.A like Springsteen but trying to see the world like Pitbull, Worldwide Scott is the voice behind the hard-hitting travel site of the same name. Employing a groundbreaking strategy of visiting destinations, coming home, and then writing things about them on the internet, Worldwide Scott only tackles the tough questions that other writers wouldn't dare touch: Is travelling fun? Are there pretty places in the world? Do people in other countries wear clothes? Does Europe really exist? And if so, what's the beer like there? Stick around, he's going places.
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