December is the start of winter in Istanbul, as well as a fantastic month with Christmas and New Year fervor in the city. The average temperature is 10°C. The weather is cold, little snow. I recommend you bring a winter coat and a portable umbrella. Also, take a sweater for some warmer days. The days are still short but started to get longer, the sunset around 18:30.
New year’s eve:
New Year’s Eve is one of the best events that happen around all over the world, in Istanbul however, you can enjoy watching the fireworks with the countdown along the Bosphorus shores, or Bosphorus cruise, celebrate the night at one of the many great Istanbul clubs, or see the magical city light up at midnight with a New Year’s Eve meal in a top Istanbul restaurant with a view. It could be freezing in NYC, which makes Istanbul the best place with its warm weather (around 11C) to walk around comfortably. You can see the New Year Tree almost anywhere you go around Istanbul especially the malls which makes the amazing atmosphere all around. A lot of people tend to spend the New Year’s Eve at their homes watching TV, but at the same time if you are an active person and tend to go for a party or a bar you should check the availability first, the spaces during Istanbul’s New Year’s Eve are often limited. For the ones who want to spend the night outdoors with crowds and street parties, then I recommend Ortaköy, Nisantaşı, Bağdat Avenue in Kadiköy. I recommend Taksim Square and Istiklal Street in the evening because it gets crowded with the locals and you may enjoy walking around in the crowded place as I do.
Mystical night out at hodjapasha:
Hodjapasha is a traditional old hammam (bath) which is located in Sirkeci Eminönü, it is close to Sultan Ahmet Square too. Hodjapasha has been turned into a high ceiling theatre cultural place, where they present three different shows, you can enjoy the Whirling Darvishes show which is a journey through man’s spiritual ascent to “perfection” through mind and love, a truly unmissable and astonishing experience of music and moves. Also, you can book your seat at their Rhythm of The Dance show, which is a brilliant walk into history with joy, they expose the traditional dance and exotic belly dance with fascinating modern 360-degree special visual effects which creates an exclusive and cozy atmosphere in this special historical place.
Catching winter sales in the malls:
Istanbul has 200 modern shopping malls. And due to the beginning of the winter, all the brands start the sales on the new products, so if you are into shopping it is a great opportunity so spend some quality time with the crowd looking for what you need. In the European Side Istiniye Park shopping mall comes on top of the list, it has 300 shops, both indoor and outdoor space, superior stores, cinema, entertainment, food, and activity areas. For the Asian side Viaport Asia in Pendik, it has 250 stores, 4,000 vehicle car-park, and cinemas. Designed in a street concept and offers shopping at affordable prices at the stores are designed in an outlet concept. A fun center for families with children, with the Pony Club, Amusement Centre, bowling and cinema in addition to the food and restaurants court.
Historical turkish bath (hammam) experience:
This is one time of experience during your visit to Istanbul. With a Turkish bath, also called Hammam, you can enjoy an authentic experience, relax your muscles, refresh your body. The traditional bath mostly includes a 15-minute massage. It can be a unique experience for you in these cold days.