Two weekends ago on Saturday, which was perhaps sadly the last nice day of the year, we headed to the Asian side of the city, and ended up taking a late afternoon stroll along Bağdat Street and the Sea of Marmara with Cagatay's sister.
Bağdat Street is the big shopping street on the Asian side, and I think it has every single Turkish and foreign brand available in Turkey - MAC, Marks & Spencer, Mango, Muji, etc - plus a million places to eat and drink. It also seems to be quite the social hub - apparently the ladies dress to impress and everyone is there to stroll and see and be seen. (Cagatay was disappointed that he only ran into two friends.) There's a similar street on the European side called Istiklal where the old buildings tower over you and you feel stuck in the middle of a big city; Bağdat on the other hand feels wide open and leafy.
After we got an ample fill of window shopping, people watching and Starbucks, we headed a couple blocks down to the park that runs along the Sea of Marmara. In the late afternoon light, it was simply gorgeous, and it seemed like half the city was out enjoying the late-summer weather. Families were playing on the playground, dogs were running in the park, teenagers were skateboarding, while everyone else was walking, rollerblading or biking along the path, in addition to the occasional couple lovin' it up on the seawall. It turns out that we may have to move at some unknown point in the future (our landlord is considering selling the apartment) and that day, we felt pretty inspired to consider that area. It's pretty chill over there, and how nice would it be to have easy access to a seaside park?