The city is one of the oldest settlements of the Mediterranean basin. The 2004 discovery of Yeşilova Höyük and the neighboring Yassıtepe, situated in the small delta of Meles River, now the plain of Bornova, reset the starting date of the city's past further back than was previously thought. The findings of the two seasons of excavations carried out in the Yeşilova Höyük indicate three levels, two of which are prehistoric. Level 2 bears traces of early to mid-Chalcolithic, and Level 3 of Neolithic settlements. These two levels would have been inhabited by the indigenous peoples of İzmir, very roughly, between 7th millennium BC to 4th millennium BC. With the seashore drawing away in time, the site was later used as a cemetery. Several graves containing artifacts dating, roughly, from 3000 BC, contemporary with the first city of Troy, were found.
The city faced a plague in 1676, an earthquake in 1688 and a great fire in 1743, but continued to grow. By the end of the 17th century, its population was estimated at around ninety thousand, the Turks forming the majority (about 60,000), while there were also 15,000 Greeks, 8,000 Armenians and 6 to 7,000 Jews, as well as a considerable segment composed of French, English, Dutch and Italian merchants. In the meantime, the Ottomans had allowed İzmir's inner bay dominated by the port castle to silt up progressively (the location of the present-day Kemeraltı bazaar zone) and the port castle ceased to be of use.
The Culture Park in the Alsancak district hosts the annual Izmir International fair, held every year in September. The rest of the year many other fairs and expos take place also. In addition to serving the commercial needs of the city the Culture Park provides a relaxing green area in the middle of the city for the residents to lay back, drink tea play backgammon and smoke a "hubbly bubbly pipe" (Nargile) or even exercise on the running track.
- İzmir Clock Tower is located at the Konak Square in Konak district of İzmir. The clock tower was designed by the Levantine French architect Raymond Charles Père and built in 1901 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Abdülhamid II's (reigned 1876–1909) accession to the throne. The clock itself was a gift of German Emperor Wilhelm II (reigned 1888–1918). It is decorated in an elaborate Ottoman architecture. The tower, at a height of 25 m (82 ft), features four fountains, which are placed around the base in a circular pattern, and the columns are inspired by North African themes. The clock tower was depicted on the reverse of the Turkish 500 lira banknotes of 1983-1989
- Kemeralti. A visit to Izmir can not be complete without spending a few hours wandering round the Market Area of Kemeralti. This is a bustling bazaar where literally anything can be purchased. It is a confusing warren of small allies, dead ends, connecting squares, shopping centers, offices, workshops, cinemas, Mosques and just about anything else you can think of, there is even a renovated Karavan Sarai hidden in there. You are pretty much guaranteed to lose your way, but don't panic you will find your way out eventually.
- Kadifekale (literally "the velvet castle" in Turkish) is the name of the hill located within the urban zone of İzmir, as well as being the name of the ancient castle on top of the same hill. Both the hill and the castle were named Pagos (Pagus under the Roman Empire) in pre-Turkish times. The summit where the castle is found is located at a distance of about 2 km from the shoreline and commands a general view of a large part of the city of İzmir, as well as of the Gulf of İzmir. Administratively, the hill area covers six quarters constituted by slums in their large part, one named Kadifekale like the hill, and others Alireis, Altay, İmariye, Kosova and Yenimahalle. In 2007, the metropolitan municipality of İzmir started renovation and restoration works in Kadifekale.
- Agora Open Air Museum (Old Smyrna) The ancient city is located at two sites within modern İzmir. The first site, probably founded indigenously, rose to prominence during the Archaic Period as one of the principal ancient Greek settlements in western Anatolia. The second, whose foundation is associated with Alexander the Great, reached metropolitan proportions during the period of the Roman Empire. Most of the present-day remains date from the Roman era, the majority from after a 2nd century AD earthquake. In practical terms, a distinction is often made between Old Smyrna, the initial settlement founded around the 11th century BC, first as an Aeolian settlement, and later taken over and developed during the Archaic Period by the Ionians, and Smyrna proper, the new city moved into from the older one as of the 4th century BC and whose foundation was inspired, and perhaps also initiated, by Alexander the Great.
- The İnciraltı Sea Museum is a naval museum in the İnciraltı neighborhood of Izmir's Balçova district. Located near the İnciraltı Ozdilek Shopping Center, it was opened on July 1, 2007. Main attractions of the museum are two decommissioned naval vessels of the Turkish Navy, the submarine TCG Pirireis (S 343) (the former USS Tang (SS-563)) and the frigate TCG Ege (F 256)(the former USS Ainsworth (FF-1090)). There are also other exhibits at the museum.