When to visit İstanbul according to your tastes:
If you’re an art lover
Istanbul has a lively and constantly-growing art scene, with many galleries and museums showcasing exceptional artworks. Although the weather may not be ideal, the best time for an art lover to visit Istanbul is during the fall (September-November) when the Istanbul Biennial (organized by IKSV) and Contemporary Istanbul take place. Keep in mind that many galleries close down during August, so if seeing galleries is a must for you, avoid this hottest month of the year.
If you’re a cinephile
Istanbul is home to many film festivals throughout the year. Organized by IKSV, the International Istanbul Film Festival takes place during spring (around April), while Filmekimi takes place in October. !f Istanbul International Independent Film Festival takes place every February and March, and Istanbul Animation Festival (organized by Pera Museum) takes place around November-December. The Akbank Short Film Festival has been organized in March in the past few years, but it was previously held in September and December, too, so do make sure to check out the upcoming festival dates.
If you’re a music lover
International names and local bands take the stage at many Istanbul venues throughout the year, especially in and around Beyoğlu. But all the exciting music festivals take place during the summer. Organized by IKSV, the Istanbul Music Festival takes place each year in June, while the Istanbul Jazz Festival takes place in July. Rock’n Coke Festival takes place once every two years in August or September. Efes Pilsen One Love Festival, which has brought the likes of Manic Street Preachers and Cake to Istanbul in the past years, takes place each year in July.
Akbank Jazz Festival takes place around September-October. Chill-out Festival Istanbul, dedicated to chill-out and lounge music, and Freshtival, which brings together local and international names from experimental and indie music scenes, take place each year in May. The heavy metal festival Sonisphere is held in June while the Efes Pilsen Blues Festival takes place in November-December. The Istanbul Recitals takes place each year between October and June.
If you’re a cool hunter
The design industry in Istanbul is still growing, with a few design shops spread around the city. If you want to see what Turkish designers are up to, come to Istanbul during September to check out Istanbul Design Week. Organized by IKSV, the first Design Biennial will take place between 13 October – 12 December 2012, so keep an eye out for this in the upcoming years.
If you’re a fashionista
Galata is Istanbul’s fashion incubator, and is home to Galata Moda, a festival that showcases the works of established as well as up-and-coming Turkish designers, which usually takes place in December. Istanbul Fashion Week takes place twice a year, around September and February, with runway shows that dazzle.
If you’re a shopaholic: Istanbul has the Grand Bazaar, so we have shopping pretty much covered. But if you’re into brands and discounts, keep an eye out for Shopping Fest, which takes place during