Edinburgh's nightlife comes alive during its many festivals, but outside of these energetic periods a more subdued, trendy bar, pub and nightclub scene can be enjoyed by visitors. There is no central nightlife district in Edinburgh and instead a few different neighbourhoods offer slightly different atmospheres after dark.
Despite the Old Town's name, the district has new and trendy areas such as Cowgate and Grassmarket. Both of these are popular bar-hopping destinations. Great live bands and folk music is best heard in both these areas and the surrounding small alleys and walkways. The Royal Mile is also dotted with atmospheric old pubs.
The seafront area of Leith offers a fashionable, upmarket feel although, like many areas in Edinburgh, the trendy bars and clubs compete with traditional bars and charming old pubs. After-work watering holes dot the Edinburgh streets of most neighbourhoods as they have done for centuries. These popular local haunts are a great place to begin an evening or end a day.
Edinburgh enjoys a relaxed nightlife atmosphere which is complemented by lax rules and drinking hours. Most bars stay open until one to three in the morning, and much later for festivals. The city parties hard during the Edinburgh Festival and the New Year's celebrations of Hogmanay.
Become our Edinburgh Travel Expert
We are looking for contributors for our Edinburgh travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Edinburgh or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.