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By Céline Lai
Shoreditch, London has got to be home to some of my favourite spots in the city, and it’s certainly my favourite place in east London. What makes this place so great is that a lot of its most awesome and most quirky spots are tucked away down various alleyways or hidden inside warehouses. Navigating Shoreditch as a traveller is a difficult task, but this is where the exploring begins. Let me take you on the very exciting journey into discovering Shoreditch… Don’t let the rumours put you off; yes it’s a bit of a hipster haven and there are a few overpriced vintage stores and overhyped cocktail bars, but that’s all cancelled out by the unique things to do in Shoreditch, so let’s get going.
In recent years coffee culture has become huge and believe it or nowt, it’s one of Shoreditch's attractions. There are a wide selection of cool and quirky independent coffee shops to choose from. Shoreditch Grind is a great place to sit down for an hour or two, or even for the whole day. You can bring your laptop, log into their wifi and get stuck into work or get blogging, or you can just sit back and relax with a friend over a delicious and frothy cappuccino.
If you are after a café that’s a little quirkier and more entertaining, head to Look Mum No Hands! One of the best coffee places in east London, this shop and bike workshop welcomes bike lovers, dogs, travellers and all other kinds of human beings. You can sit down for a quick coffee or you can take part in one of the many fun-filled events held in this quirky establishment: film screenings, bike-lovers only speed dating, and even knitting SOS workshops.
For those creative minds looking for things to do in Shoreditch, you will be happy to know that, when it comes to music and art, it has some of the best places in east London. If you are looking to see the artistic side of Shoreditch, head to The Brick Lane Gallery. This gallery organizes a wide variety of exhibitions where you can discover the work of both established and exciting up-and-coming artists.
But don’t forget, Shoreditch’s most impressive artwork is usually found outside of the galleries. As you are walking through the city, don’t forget to look out for its colorful and vibrant street art, one of the more unique things to do in Shoreditch. Take in the artwork found on the main streets, but some pieces take a little more of an explorer to find, so get off the beaten track and discover some of the epic street art that adorns brickwork here.
But if you’re looking to listen to the artistic side of Shoreditch head to Rough Trade, a coffee and record shop. You can spend hours here scanning through its many records, listening to suggestions through their on-the-wall headphones, or even watching one of their live music events in the evening.
Most of the people who come to Shoreditch and London for the first time come in search of Brick Lane, famous for its Sunday Market, but more importantly for its numerous vintage clothes shops and warehouses - another big Shoreditch attraction. Every month or two, some of these warehouses hold huge sales (all for £5/£3/£1). So if you’re lucky enough to catch one, you can grab yourself a bargain.
Somewhere you probably won’t be getting a bargain, but a cool place to shop (or just window shop), is the Box Park. These shipping containers house a number of innovative pop-up shops. The box-sided shops have become a recognized feature in Shoreditch since their opening in 2011. The idea behind Boxpark, to bring innovative fashion and creativity to the streets, is something that reflects what Shoreditch is all about.
As you navigate through the city in search of all the things to do Shoreditch, you may notice how spoilt for choice you are when it comes to eating out. If you're tired after a long day of rummaging through vintage clothing, and in need of a sit down at a warm restaurant, then Som Saa is the place to be. Serving up authentic and yummy Thai food, this spot holds on to that warehouse-feel, adhering to the theme and quirky character of the neighbourhood and making it one of the very unique things to do in Shoreditch. Be prepared for a wait when heading here in the evening, it didn't take long for people to catch on to the greatness that is Som Saa, and therefore many of the people that show up here each evening have a wait ahead of them.
numerous food stallsIf you really want to get that Shoreditch-feel for dining, then Dinerama is the place to be. You will find numerous food stalls all around Shoreditch however, Dinerama is your call if you want to street feast like a local. This social spot is open every day and evening to hungry shoppers and locals alike. Here, as expected, you can choose from a wide global and local cuisine, a couple of great bars serving up cocktails and local brews and huge sharing tables.
It’s no secret that Shoreditch is London's go to place for a good night out.There are so many things to do Shoreditch once the sun has set! The nightlife is so diverse and bustling that a night out here will certainly be one to remember. The Book Club is a great place for a more relaxed night out, or even just to have a quick drink and a game of foosball or ping-pong. On the ground floor you will find a living-room style bar where you can lounge for a while on their comfy sofas. When you start to feel warm and fuzzy inside after a few of their original cocktails, you can head downstairs to the club.
If your feet are too tired for dancing, but you still want to listen to some great music, you can check some of the live music. Any local will tell you that the bands and musicians here are another one of Shoreditch's attractions and nobody can deny that hearing an artist live is the best way, or possible the only way to truly appreciate music. Head back to Rough Trade for a live gig, check out the bands at the Blues Kitchen or The Old Blue Last, or stumble into a secret warehouse-party and discover the diverse sounds of Shoreditch.
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