4 Walkable Avenues for City Walkers in Ankara

1. Tunalı Hilmi Avenue


​Tunalı Hilmi, or simply “Tunalı,” is just a avenue name for most people. But this famous avenue bears the name of Turkish politician, journalist, and member of the Young Turks, Tunalı Hilmi, who spent much of his life in major European cities, notably Paris, before being known for his efforts to modernize Turkey. Located in Çankaya district, the most populous district of Ankara, Tunalı Hilmi Avenue has retained its status as one of the city’s busiest streets for decades, while also serving as a hub for various art forms, including street art and theater. The avenue, with a history spanning over half a century, remains a popular meeting spot for locals, owing in part to its rich cultural heritage and central location within the city. As you wander through the colorful and vibrant lights of the avenue, you’ll find yourself surrounded by cafes, restaurants, and international brand stores on both sides. Additionally, Tunalı is famous for its “passage” culture, which originated in 19th-century Paris and inspired modern shopping centers. Tunalı’s passages also host vintage clothing and vinyl stores, which have become increasingly popular among Ankara’s young population in recent times. Due to the nearby foreign embassies, it’s common to encounter foreigners along the avenue. However, what truly sets Tunalı Hilmi Avenue apart for us is Kuğulu Park, which Ankara residents have designated as their escape from the city’s gloomy grayness. This park, characterized by swans gracefully gliding on a small artificial lake, is rumored to have received its first swans as a gift from the Vienna Municipality. It’s said that the initial pair of swans were named after Ankara and Vienna, emphasizing the special bond between these sister cities and raising awareness of Ankara’s global influences, which we, as writers, find highly valuable.

​Walking Time: Approximately 10-15 minutes, especially if you’re taking your time to explore your surroundings.

Song: “Celui Qui Viendra Lundi” by Tülay German.
Must-try: Rome-style Pizza from Nico La Pizza.
Favorite Avenue of: Beyza!

2. Bahçelievler, 7th Street


Ankara’s most popular meeting point, Büyülü Fener, is the first place that comes to mind when it comes to waffle and 3rd generation coffee shops; We are on Bahçelievler 7th Street. After moving to Ankara, the first place university students choose with their new friendships is Bahçelievler. First, they meet in front of the “Milli Kütüphane” and walk into 7th Street while chatting. When you enter the street, the first smell of chocolate and coffee surrounds you because you can find freshly roasted coffee beans and newly made chocolates on this street at any time of the day. As you progress a little further, you will see that the street does not only proceed in a straight line, but also has completely different surprises in all the side streets on the right and left. Interesting boutiques, small cafes and small restaurants are always hidden in the side streets here, and by entering any street, you can find a place that you have never heard of before and say “this is now my secret place”. If you have the opportunity to chat with the owners of the sweet places in these side streets, you may hear that some of them are not actually Turkish, they immigrated from another country, but they love Turkey and especially Ankara as much as we do. In fact, if you experience many ethnic restaurants on 7th Street, you can both enjoy the taste and witness a different culture. If you want to end your last day with a dessert after drinking your coffee and eating your meal, you can take a romantic walk back to the beginning of the street by buying waffles, which originate from Belgium but are now integrated with 7th Street, or mochi, the most popular dessert of Far Eastern culture.

​​Walking Time: Approximately 15-20 minutes
Song: “Ghost in the Machine” by B.o.B
Must-try: Kanta coffee shop’s delicious Americano
Favorite Avenue of: Melissa!

3. Cinnah Avenue

Our next stop is Cinnah Street in the heart of Çankaya. This street, which connects Atakule and Kuğulu park, starts from Atatürk Boulevard and ends at Simon Bolivar. The hill in Cinnah is steep, there is a slope, and although it is not very nice to climb, it is quite enjoyable to walk down. Because of the slope here, traffic flows in one direction. The buildings on this wide street, named after the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, have a unique architecture in Ankara. Buildings such as the Cinnah 19 building, Leyla apartment, the Swedish, Indian and Canadian embassies, and the Turkish American association are located here. It is a region with a foreign population due to the influence of embassies and each building has its own spirit. Instead of ugly buildings, it is full of original buildings in various styles under international modern architecture. There is a Botanical park at the top of the street and it is ideal for escaping from traffic, getting fresh air and having a picnic with your loved ones. But let us warn you, you have to go back from where you came, otherwise you can reach the main street by climbing approximately 6 floors from Skopje Street next to Jinnah. Atakule next to the park has become one of the symbols of Ankara and functions as a shopping center and thanks to its tall height, you can have a nice dinner at the restaurants on the observation deck to see the whole of Ankara. The streets connecting to the street are full of theater venues such as Farabi Stage, Tatbikat Stage, L’avare Alice, so it is also preferred for cultural activities. When we come to the end of the street, Hotel Cinnah welcomes us, a cool building with beautifully decorated dark tones. You can have something to eat at the cafe downstairs and observe the surroundings.

Walking Time: At least 25-30 minutes as it is a long way.
Song: “July” – Betcha
Must-try: Toast at Hotel Jinnah
Whose Favorite?: Defne!

4. Anafartalar Street

Finally, we decided to return to our old Ankara and came to visit Ulus. Ulus may have fallen out of favor with the popularity of Çankaya, but Ankara’s heart lies there. Although each street has its own history, our stop today was Anafartalar and Denizciler Street. People from all over Ankara come to the markets here for affordable products. Beads, wedding dresses, clothes, candles, pots and pans, all kinds of food are here. Of course, there is always crowd and chaos. Although the buildings here are nostalgic, they sometimes fall into disrepair. The cinema general directorate of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Boğaziçi Restaurant, dating back to the 50s, are also located at the intersection of these two streets. Historical Ulus Market is also located here for affordable food shopping, you can buy all your needs and leave in one go. But our favorite place here was Suluhan Bazaar. It is a historical inn tucked away next to other shops, difficult to find for the first time, but distinguishable by its domes. Once inside, you feel relieved; the hustle and bustle of the rest of the bazaar is absent here. It is a two-storey bazaar, whose historical texture is beautifully preserved, and where all kinds of trinkets and jewelry are sold. It is very enjoyable to visit even without buying anything, the colorful prayer beads and necklaces are eye-catching. There is also a hidden cafe inside, where you can appreciate the beauty of Suluhan while drinking Turkish coffee. After leaving Suluhan Bazaar, you can walk through the old houses of Ulus and encounter the first of everything in Ankara, such as the old PTT building, the old İş Bank, the old Garanti building. After the Parliament, Stamp Museum, banks, we arrive at Opera Square and Ankara Castle waves to us from afar. We also experience the chaos of the Nation while crossing the street in Opera and chasing the bus. Ulus is a nice place to visit for those who think Ankara is just soulless apartment buildings and steppes, and for nostalgia enthusiasts. Being a frequent destination for people from all walks of life, it has an international impact with its historical texture and touristic potential.

​​Walking Time: About 20 minutes.
Song: “Ankara’da aşık olmak” – Zuhal Olcay
To try: Dibek kahvesi in Suluhan Çarşısı
Whose Favorite?: Defne!