The literal and commercial center of Ankara, Kizılay is where the city's size will be most evident: the crowded grid-work of scattered streets, the trees bursting from the pavement, the steel facades of skyscrapers, the awnings of outdoor markets shading everything from fish to flowers. It's all here. There is a certain industriousness encountered in Kizılay, whether it's the bustle of taxis during rush hour or the clamor of friends sharing a table, that is hard to find anywhere else in the capital.
There's nowhere better to start than Kizılay Square, the most frequented public transportation point in the city and a gathering place for big social events. Head south along Ataturk Boulevard and then into the condensed maze of streets to the east if you want a seemingly limitless array of bars and pubs with no shortage of outdoor seating. Inkilap Caddesi and Konur Sokak are your highest concentration, with live music destinations like Nefes Bar and Acme Cafe and Bar, and the pub vibes of Others, Soul Pub, and Route, to name a few.
Honestly, the biggest draw in the area is the outdoor seating, which is also a perk when you sit down to eat. From American-style burgers (The Bigos) to seafood restaurants (Kumsal), you've got choices. Add to that the dozen or so doner kebob restaurants within a block of the Ataturk and Ziya Gokalp intersection and you've got both selection and Turkish authenticity. Why go anywhere else in Ankara?