Every Wednesday morning in my neighborhood near Fatih Mosque, the traffic disperses, the roads are closed, plastic canopies are strewn from building to building, and thousands of stalls bursting with color and produce are set up across several blocks. It’s my favorite day of the week because not only do I get to rub shoulders with the locals, I can also grab a bargain of fruit and vegetables, cheeses, olives, herbs, spices, kitchen odds and ends, clothes, shoes, bags and haberdashery. Not all the fashions are geared to the western tastes—but wandering through the makeshift open-air markets is highly entertaining as vendors compete over offering the cheapest bargains with the loudest voice.
If you really want to see how the locals live, then grab a taxi to one of the many street markets that are hosted throughout the city almost every day of the week. Here’s a list of locations for the bigger markets around town:
Tuesday Market (Salı Pazarı) - Hasanpaşa neighbourhood, Kadıkoy (on the Asian side)
Wednesday Market (Çarşamba Pazarı) – Nevşehirli İbrahim Paşa Caddesi (Road), Fatih (near Fatih Mosque)
Thursday Market (Perşembe Pazarı) – Çayır Sokak (Street), Ortaköy
Friday Market (Cuma Pazarı) – near Fındıkzade tram station
Saturday Market (Cumartesi Pazarı) – Nüzhetiye Caddesi (Road), Beşiktaş
Do know that the markets in Fatih are set in somewhat conservative neighborhoods, so dress modestly to avoid becoming the main attraction.