Istiklal is both local and touristic center of Istanbul. It's the heart of the city.
Known as the Cadde-i Kebir (Grand Avenue) during the Ottoman period, when it attracted an intellectual crowd, it later became the place to stroll for the French Levantines, who knew it as the Grand Rue de Pera. It became İstiklal Caddesi (Independence Street) following the creation of the Republic of Turkey.
Aside from the obvious Istiklal Street shopping opportunities, there are many other Istiklal Street attractions. Look out for historic cinemas (like Atlas, Beyoglu), historical passages (like Hazzopulo, Suriye and Çiçek), churches (St Antoine, Santa Maria), consulate buildings, and innovative art galleries (check out SALT Beyoğlu, ARTER and the Mısır Apartments), as well as stunning examples of 19th century Neo Classical and Art Nouveau architecture to admire.
You can reach İstiklal Street by turning right when you exit No11, and then you can start wondering around and getting lost on the streets where you'll come across to basically everything.