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Summer Packing Guide: Istanbul

Whenever people make a big deal out of fireworks, the first thing I think is, "We have them every other night in Istanbul!" Weddings, grand openings, reunions…there's always an excuse to celebrate rockets in the sky. (Ironically, there's also a Turkish idiom that calls people who celebrate everyday crazy.)

Crowds that never cease? Shops and restaurants that stay open late into the night, including on Sundays? Istanbul definitely fits into the Frank Sinatra standards of never-sleeping, among many other similarities with New York, including a pretty equal number of Starbucks. As well as plenty of traffic. And there was at least one Topshop in every major neighborhood before New York had its one-and-only in SoHo.

But of course there are ways it's very different, too. Along with significantly less skyscrapers and more sea views, the food is much cheaper (an Istanbul bagel costs only a quarter!).

As I pack my bags for a few weeks in Istanbul, the city where I grew up, I'll make sure to bring the essentials below for each of the places I'll visit. This includes historical sites (there are so many and just as inspiring each time!), art exhibits, cafes and tea houses by the sea. So click through, learn more about Istanbul and see what I will be packing for my short summer trip.

You'll be on your feet 24/7, so make sure to bring comfortable shoes with you. Embroidered low-wedge sandals are perfect for touring the old city around the Sultanahmet neighborhood and visiting the Topkapi Palace, where the Ottoman sultans used to live–in all their embroidered robes and slipper shoes.

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