Edited by Holly Stark
Between its historic landmarks, literary legacy, museums, festivals, and architecture, Edinburgh is a city made for exploring and an epicenter for all things culture. From the iconic to the intriguing, it’s a place where historic architecture merges seamlessly with the new and upcoming. Wondering where to stay in Edinburgh? The bonnie capital city of Scotland is home to some pretty epic neighborhoods. Home to chic and sophisticated areas like Stockbridge and cool artsy neighborhoods like Leith, the city has something for everyone. From must-see historical spots and charming pubs to quirky architecture, explore this Edinburgh neighborhoods guide to the coolest parts of Scotland’s capital city.
To see the city like a local, head to Edinburgh’s modest shore town, Leith. It’s off the beaten track, not full of tourists and home to lots of interesting bits and pieces. It’s laid back vibe means it genuinely feels like a place to live rather than a museum. Leith has cultural diversity, vibrancy and forward-thinking at its heart, and that's what leaves you wanting more. Situated on the Firth of Forth shores, for centuries Leith has been the port of Edinburgh, with the original harbor dating all the way back to the 1300s. An exciting fusion of ancient buildings and contemporary structures stack up to add to Leith’s eclectic vibe, while endless local bars, waterside cafes and restaurants serving up delicious must-eat food offer a world-class culinary appeal. From fresh fish to Michelin-star worthy meals, fulfill your gastronomic and boozy desires after browsing the cool selection of independent and pre-loved shops in Leith. Forward-thinking businesses include the eco-friendly gift shop Flux, McNaughtan’s Bookshop, Elvis Shakespeare and Vinyl Villains for music fans. Undoubtedly one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Edinburgh, be sure not to miss Leith from your Edinburgh area guide.
Like many of Edinburgh’s neighborhoods, the Bruntsfield area has a charming village feel and yet still manages to maintain an air of city buzz. Possessing stunning houses of grandeur, classy bars and plenty of sprawling green space, Bruntsfield is a great neighborhood to check out if you want to see a bit of everything all in one place. From cool second hand shops to fancy boutiques, with its cherry blossom lined streets and coffee stops, Bruntsfield has chilled vibes at its heart. One of the best places to stay in Edinburgh, Bruntsfield is safe and homely, with enough going on to keep you satisfied. The peaceful yet lively little cultural hub is bursting at the brim with exciting things to see and do, making it perfect if you’re seeking where to stay in Edinburgh with family. Edinburgh’s chocolate lovers won’t want to miss Coco Chocolatier, where everything is ethically traded and organic. Satisfy your sweet tooth and revel at the artisanal chocolatier who has been hypnotizing sweet lovers since 2004 with homemade must-eat melt-in-the-mouth treats.
For adventurers looking for a chic and sophisticated vibe, the small, affluent neighborhood of Stockbridge should be just what you’re after. Of many Edinburgh neighborhoods, the former outlying village of Stockbridge joined Edinburgh during the 19th century, and is home to architecture from many eras. Stockbridge has classy boutiques, great retail opportunities, specialty shops selling cheese and charity shops overflowing with fancy finds. A must-visit, the Stockbridge farmers market is well-loved by the city locals, as is the traditional pub The Bailie Bar; a cosy basement pub, with a red ceiling and black walls covered with an eclectic mix of old prints and photos. Try an ale from one of the six real-ale hand pumps, any of the interesting guest beers available, or a whisky from the extensive choice on offer.
Want to stay somewhere full of restaurants, cafes and bars, in the most convenient area of sightseeing and with excellent options for things to do in Edinburgh? Check out the Old Town. A rightful hot spot and maze of curiosities, the Old Town of Edinburgh is brimming with opportunities to provoke wonder and intrigue. With endless fun activities such as Camera Obscura (great for kids), Dunbar’s Close and the Palace, as well as beautiful medieval architecture, the Old Town should not be overlooked when considering the best places to stay in Edinburgh. Wander down the Royal Mile, by day or night, past enticing eateries, ancient drinking hubs and weird and wonderful shops selling tartan, tweed and shortbread. Visit Edinburgh during the iconic Fringe Festival and witness the Royal Mile transform a center for artistic activity with of street performers, musicians and actors gracing the streets.
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