Beyoğlu, the neighborhood on the hill above Galata, has traditionally been thought of as the "new town," and this is where you will feel the beating pulse of the modern city: the district is a major destination for eating and drinking, shopping, and arts and culture. "New" is of course a relative term in Istanbul, and many of the grand, European-style buildings you'll see here date from the late 19th century, when Beyoğlu—then known as Pera—was one of the city’s most fashionable areas, home to large numbers of the city's non-Muslim minorities and the foreign diplomatic community. After a period of decline in the latter decades of the 20th century, Beyoğlu was revived around the turn of the millennium, as Istanbullus rediscovered the elegant old buildings and incredible views.

At the southern end of the neighborhood, Tünel Square marks the start of İstiklal Caddesi (Independence Avenue). Istanbul's main pedestrian street, İstiklal is lined with shops, cafés, and nightlife venues; allow some time to stroll along this bustling thoroughfare and simply take in the scene. İstiklal climbs gently uphill through Beyoğlu and across Galatasaray Meydanı (Galatasaray Square) to Taksim Square, the center of modern Istanbul. The Galata Mevlevihanesi (Galata dervish lodge), historic Fish Market, and private art museums and art galleries, including the Pera, are also in this area.