The redevelopment of Izmir's waterfront truly infuses new life into this city on the sea. The grassy Kordon waterfront park, which runs from Cumhuriyet Meydani to the ferryboat docks of Alsancak and beyond, is rimmed by, at last count, 14 establishments, including restaurants, pubs, and Italian cafes, all with terrace seating, and facing the open park and promenade. According to the locals, they're "all good, all the same, all expensive." Check out the Sakiz Adasi (Atatürk Cad. 332/A; tel. 0232/465-1707), a stylish cafe celebrating the common Greek and Turkish love of mastic gum. Here you'll find drinks, liqueurs, and desserts made from the aromatic resin, infused with flavors like bergamot, quince, pistachio mandarin, and even eggplant. I hate the stuff, but you can't leave Izmir (or Çesme) without trying it. Sera Café (tel. 0232/422-1939), across from Deniz Restaurant (and below Izmir Ticaret Odasi), provides live music nightly.

Alsancak, a neighborhood of cobbled streets and typical wooden houses with cumbas, or balconies, supported by ornate brackets, is also renowned for its nightlife. Head into 1448 Sokak, where cafe tables spill out onto the street and where a beer costs 3.50TL.

The highly regarded Izmir State Opera and Ballet (tel. 0232/484-6445) and the Izmir State Symphony Orchestra (tel. 0232/425-4115) perform from September to May; check with your travel agent or the official website for calendar and ticket information (; Tickets for performances cost from 11TL to 22TL.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.