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What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Tons of travel throughout Turkey. The Belgrade Forest, north of the city, has a 6km walking loop and picnic areas. - Sep 27, 2017
Anything you want to do, you can find a way to do. If you can't find something to do in Turkey, shame on you. - Oct 24, 2010
Where to begin?Explore 4000 years of history all around you, visit the many, many amazing museums, often for little or no cost on certain days, take a cruise up the Bosphorus or pack a picnic and go on day trips to nearby islands or thermal spas, sit in a cafe and watch the ships go by, shop in the largest mall in Europe or any of the other glamorous upscale malls around the city or immerse yourself in the weekly bazaars for the freshest fruits and vegetables (which are amazingly good here, wander the 10,000 nighspots of Taksim, take in a rowdy football match at one of the three clubs' stadiums or join the crowd in any pub on game nights, shop Tahtakale's ancient alleys for ANYTHING, climb Galata Tower for unforgettable views, explore some of the most beautiful mosques in the world, go to the beach at Kilyos or the forest preserve nearby, soak and be scrubbed in a hamam (mine has been in continuous operation since 1640) take weekend trips by bus for very little money and visit Troy, Gallipoli, Assos, or hundreds of other specatcular ruins, the list is endless. - Jan 4, 2010
You name it! Incredible historic sites, museums, shopping, restaurants, concerts, theaters, movies, etc. - Dec 21, 2009
There is a lot of history in Istanbul. You could spend a lifetime sight seeing here. There is also plenty to buy, but make sure you bargain the price. - Dec 3, 2009