Mummy, what shall we do today?

Theoretically, this question shouldn’t be an issue in Istanbul. There are so many places to go and so many things to do.

True. But if you are with the kids the options are fewer.


How about a walk?

If you have a small kid which will want to be carried after a hundred meters, you need a stroller.

I hate to use a stroller in Istanbul, though. The sidewalk is so narrow, often bumpy, there are cars parked on it so you can’t pass, or there is none. To cross the street you need to look ten times right and ten times left and have real guts to enter the street with your small kid (s) with cars going right at you and not intending to stop.

Personally, I avoid walks with a stroller and prefer to carry the little even the whole way up from Bebek to Etiler.

How about a park?

This is an option. In Etiler or nearby you can go to the Bebek Park, Ulus Park or Sanatçılar Parkı.

Bebek Park – it is quite big, located at the coast with a beautiful view at the Bosphorus – which is something the kids appreciate too. The stuff there is quite new and not yet damaged. There are options to ride a scooter or a bike, to have a walk along the coast, to chase the pigeons and look at the many stray dogs. For mummies there are options too. Cafes are abundant, you can chat with other mummies or nannies on the benches in the shade of the trees, and you can admire the Bosphorus.

There are minuses too. It’s difficult to find a parking lot on any day unless you come very early. If you have come by taxi on a weekend you may find it difficult to catch one to take you home!

It’s very crowded on weekends and you need to watch your kids carefully. You can use the toilet in one of the restaurants or cafes or the one near the Bebek Camii.


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Ulus Park – it’s not very crowded but it’s not that good quality either. Some of the equipment is a bit rusty or old. There is a lot of green and it’s a great place to have a picnic. Plenty of bushes in case you kid wants to pee. Haven’t seen a toilet there except for the one in the restaurant at the top. But if you are downstairs you may not make it on time…

The Ulus Park is great for its view. The restaurant is also crowded, though and it’s better to be there early.

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Sanatçılar Parkı
I was not impressed with the playground there. There is a swing and … The fountain is nice and you can have a coffee and a cookie but also breakfast in the café. It is not a considerable advantage to me, though. I don’t want to buy the sweet ecler or buns, I miss some quality snack for the kids. If truth be told, my kids got bored at this playground quite quickly and there wasn’t much else to do. There’s a nice view at the Etiler Camii, though and there’s a lot of green. It’s a nice for an adult actually to run away from the loud Tepecik Yolu or Nisbetiye Caddesi.

Profesör Dr. Aykut Barka Parkı – this is actually one of my favourite places. There is only a piece of The Bophorus visible from the park but it is green and has new equipment at the playground. There are plenty of benches to sit on in the shade, a helicopter landing which can serve as a track for bikes and scooters, a fountain and a café. It’s peaceful too. No crowds, no fashion shows, no paparazzi (as in Bebek) – just families. There’s a café so you can have a coffee or water on a hot day and use the toilet.

Events – I haven’t been to any because I hate crowds. There is the Istanbul race this Sunday but it just scares me too much. My mild paranoia tells me that he kids may get lost or we will not find toilet or we won’t make it on time but you can go!

You can check the upcoming events e.g. on this blog:

Emirgan Park – it is actually one of the largest parks in Istanbul. It’s huge and offers many places of interest to a mummy and her kids. There is playground, there are ponds, various statutes, and there is a hill to admire The Bosphorus from, a restaurant and parking space.  It’s a great place to spend a few hours without getting bored! On weekdays it should be fine to get there and have fun but on the weekends it’s a victim of its own popularity. It’s very crowded! One time it took me about an hour to get there instead of 10 -15 minutes L But don’t get discouraged! It’s a must see and do J

How about a Mall?

It’s certainly a popular way of spending time but … in my opinion only worth considering if all other options fail. If it rains and your kids are destroying the house! They don’t have here an indoor playground here but money draining machines which of course your kids will love. Be prepared to spend some money on this kind of entertainment.

You can always go to the movies if… you and your kids speak Turkish.

Let’s have breakfast!

Polonezköy Leonardo restaurant – a restaurant with a big outdoor playground. An excellent place to have breakfast on a weekend. You can sit at the table while the kids are having fun in the garden. There is also a pool for adults and children. Polonezköy, several kilometres inland from the Bosphorus in the Asian-side neighbourhood of Beykoz. It is relatively far and seems like you are outside of the city but now in the time of Ramazan it is not that crowded and it takes about 20 – 30 minutes to get there from Etiler. Breakfast in the form of an open bufe until 1 pm. It costs 50 TL per adult.

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