After living here for a while now, I want to share some insights on what to visit when you get the chance to do so! These are my favourite places in Edinburgh, I hope you have a good time here! This post and the related Google Maps List will be continuously updated.
What to see
So many things to see here! Take a stroll down Victoria Street and Grassmarket, go shopping in Cockburn Street, discover Vintage finds at Armstrong’s (they have a couple of stores throughout the city) or in one of the many charity shops along Nicolson Street (and further south). Don’t forget the Royal Mile (Hunter Square towards the Castle). For more serenity, check out the hidden garden next to Canongate Kirk (Dunbar’s Close). Make sure you give our good boy Bobby a pat on the head for good luck!
Take the bus (pay contactless), get off at the bus stop “Wakefield Avenue” and head straight ahead to the shore. Once you are at the beach, turn right and walk along the beach! The first bit is quieter, then you will see some cafes at the promenade. My favourite is “The Beach House” with its cakes. You can take the bus back from Portobello High Street (you can also get off here if you wish) featuring cute book shops and lovely cafes (recommendation: go go beets).
A huge park in the middle of the city! The main attraction is the coffee van on the Old Town side, that’s it! Just grab a can of beer and enjoy the sun (ha!), or just have a little wander around.
Leith & Shore
Leith has truly stolen my heart! It’s the edgier/”rougher” side of town undergoing gentrification. I love walking from the top of Leith Walk to the bottom. Check out the little cafes (e.g. 12 Triangles), little shops (e.g. Logan Malloch), or restaurants (e.g. La Favorita, Aurora). I would recommend continuing to walk towards the Shore to be teleported into a quaint little fishing village where you can take a stroll and check out the nice cafes (e.g. Toast).
One of the many hills in this city is Carlton Hill. It is easily accessible, for example taking the steps opposite of St Andrew’s House. The view is breath-taking (you can see the Firth of Forth with its bridges, the sea, Arthur’s Seat). A beautiful, easy walk (with a café and a fabulous restaurant on the top) that is an absolute must-see for every visit.
Other beautiful areas
- Stockbridge and Dean Village: very cute and sweet, great cafes (e.g. Cowan and Sons for breakfast). Make sure you walk next to the canal from Stockbridge — it’s like a hidden world! Bonus: little market in Stockbridge on Sunday!
- New Town George Street: fancy chain shops, beautiful buildings!
- Brunsfield and Morningside: fancy independent shops, lots of restaurants
- Arthur’s Seat: climb our very own city hill. Gets you out of breath, but easily doable in good weather
What to drink
- Black Medicine (Old Town): wooden mystical interior, exceptional coffee
- Cult Coffee (Newington/Meadows): very stylish, great sweets (from 101 Bakery) and good snacks
- Union Brew Lab (Old Town): super stylish, nice snacks, and great place to sit
- Thomas J Walls (Old Town): Viennese feel, exceptional coffee
- Fortitude (New Town): lighter roasts, pretty cool
- Wellington (New Town): great for take away, one of my favourite roasts
- Milkman (Old Town): great for take away
- Pear Tree (Old Town): cozy pub experience
- House of Gods (Old Town): fanciest cocktails, amazing interior
- Heads and Tails (New Town): gin gin gin
- Paradise Palms (Old Town): crazy pub with very good vegetarian pub food
- Spry (Leith): Swanky minimalist wine bar with delicious nibbles
What to eat
All restaurants have stellar vegetarian options!
Bakeries, snacks, and smaller meals:
- Twelve Triangles (Leith): incredible pastries, cakes, and buns
- Wee Boulangerie (Newington): great for proper bread
- La Barantine (Old Town, Morningside, Stockbridge): amazing, delicate cakes and patisserie
- Polentoni (Leith): great sandwiches for lunch
- Bross Bagels (New Town, Leith, Portobello, and a few others): very nice and unusual Bagles
- Snax (Newington/Meadows): cheap and delightful all day breakfast
- Ben’s Cookies (New Town): I don’t know what they do to their cookies, but get them! My recommendations are Oatmeal and Raisin, Cranberry White Chocolate
Casual (around £10-£15):
- Civerinos (Old Town): most incredible pizza, a true Edinburgh classic
- Ting Thai (Old Town, New Town): best value for money when it comes to delicious Thai Food
- Saboteur (Old Town): from the same owners as Ting Thai, but this time they do Vietnamese Food
- Cold Town House (Old Town): multiple floors (great views from the rooftop terrace) with a great atmosphere. Top Tip: get a table in the prosecco bar and enjoy pizza and home brewed beer
- The Outsider (Old Town): even better and cheaper during the day, but also ok and more expensive for dinner. Very laid back proper food with one of my favourite views in the city
A little extra:
- Six by Nico (New Town): enjoy a six course tasting menu without breaking the bank (around £30). They change their dishes quite regularly so make sure to check beforehand what they are serving
- Noto (New Town): small dishes to share so you get to try loads of different things, Asian inspired in a clean Scandi environment. A little on the pricier side (probably around £35 per person for the food), but really worth it.
- Baba (New Town): small dishes to share as well, but this time prime Lebanese food for a good price (around £25 for a lot of delicious food). Really flavoursome food that makes you happy
For special occasions (£50+):
- The Lookout (Carlton Hill): top of Carlton Hill with a 360-degree view and their 8 course tasting menu is really everything you want for special occasions. More reasonable brunch available as well.
- Afternoon Tea at the Signet Library: an old library, incredible afternoon tea, do I need to say more? Book well in advance!
Where to go
Arts and Culture:
- Modern 1 & 2: Great modern art, don’t forget the cool outdoor space
- Botanical Gardens: a beautiful, quaint garden to take a stroll
- Stramash (Old Town): live music every day of the week from a variety of genres, you will always have a good time here, also do Ceilidh once a week
- Mash House (Old Town): solid techno
- Big Cheese (Old Town): sticky student disco on a Saturday
- Cabaret Voltaire (Old Town): another source for good techno
- Three Sisters (Old Town): huge, more pub like venue