Music, Beers, and Teammates: A Night Out in Taksim

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Make your way through the call of hawkers, street food carts, and musicians to the heart of the party in Istanbul.

As After Hours Athletes, we know that with the right elements you can have the perfect night out anywhere in the world. We're talking food, drinks, frolicking under the neon lights, late night open-air parties, clubs, pubs, and, of course, our teammates. We think we found the promised land in Istanbul. Taksim Square has it all.

Lucky for us, Taksim's awesome vibe is available night and day. Strolling through Istiklal Caddesi, the main street lined with stores and eateries, we're drawn in by the energy of the place. We all make our way to the wide square at the end of the street to meet up with our teammates.

It's massive, so every time we come we discover something new. It doesn't matter if you're a local or not-we grab our daily morning coffee here and have spent more late nights than we can remember (and yes, that includes nights we can't remember), but it's still an adventure every time.

Pro Tip: Follow your nose. The smells of street food will lead you and you'll find hidden treats just beyond the madness of the main square.

Everyone here speaks the universal language of leisure. This is a crazy city, and loitering through Istanbul's busiest neighborhood is energizing. "It is our favorite hangout place, we spend hours here. The crowd does not tire us," says our teammate Firat Unal, who comes here with us almost every evening after work.

As the night rolls in, the music starts. World music tracks pour out of restaurants and bars draw crowds with live music. Outside, a blanket of string lights brightens the street. It's time to get after it.

Photos courtesy of Bijoyeta Das