Edinburgh at night, especially in August, is truly magical.

I know that because I did a lot of running around at night while I was there last summer for the Fringe Festival.

Even if you’re missing out on running between shows and drinks, there’s still plenty of magic to be found in the city.

One of my favorite things to do was stroll to and from my Airbnb into town each night.

My walks would lead me past the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle, and a bunch of lively pubs (naturally).

While you’re in town, you absolutely should take advantage of all of the city’s nightlife, culture, and history.

I can guarantee thanks to all of this, you’ll fall even more in love with Edinburgh at night.

So put on your walking shoes, grab a warm jacket (even in summer), and prepare to discover the magic of Edinburgh at night.

Best Things to Do in Edinburgh at Night

Historic Sites and Attractions

1. Watch the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

23 Things to Do in Edinburgh at Night You Can't Miss!

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is an annual event showcasing the best of Scotland’s military and cultural talents.

It’s held on the esplanade of the Edinburgh Castle, and sells out every August, so buy tickets early!

The show includes military band performances, Scottish dances and Massed Pipes and Drums.

2. Walk the Old Town and Royal Mile

Edinburgh at Night Aug 2022

You absolutely shouldn’t miss taking a stroll along the Royal Mile, stretching from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace.

The historic heart of Edinburgh, the Old Town, is home to some of the city’s most impressive architecture and attractions.

Plus, the town’s charming cobblestone streets and old architecture add to the environment.

3. Visit Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle at night

Edinburgh Castle takes on a life of its own when night falls, illuminated by the city’s lights.

While the castle’s interiors are closed at night, its exteriors offer breathtaking views of the capital below.

I highly recommend detouring your evening stroll to pass by this gorgeous castle.

Want to check out Edinburgh Castle during the day? Book your tickets early to guarantee entry!

4. Sunset from Arthur’s Seat

Arthurs Seat at Sunset

End your day in Edinburgh by watching the sunset from Arthur’s Seat, an ancient volcano in Holyrood Park.

The panoramic views of the city and beyond are truly a sight to behold.

As the sun sets, watch as the city’s lights sparkle in the darkening sky, creating a magical and romantic atmosphere.

Don’t forget a little picnic to enjoy and walk down the hill before it gets too dark to avoid falling.

Night Tours and Walks

5. Join a Ghost Tour

ghost tour in edinburgh1

Learn about the city’s eerie past, by taking a spine-chilling ghost tour around Edinburgh at night.

You might discover terrifying stories of murders, cannibalism, hauntings.

Check out one of these popular Edinburgh ghost tours!

6. Stargaze at the Royal Observatory

For a more cosmic experience, why not visit the Royal Observatory?

Stargaze on Blackford Hill with their powerful telescopes on clear nights.

Their knowledgeable guides will transport you to the far reaches of the universe, allowing you to enjoy a unique perspective of the night sky.

Don’t miss this awe-inspiring opportunity to gaze at the stars and learn about the cosmos during your time in Edinburgh.

7. Edinburgh Zoo

Visit the Edinburgh Zoo for special after-hours events, where you can explore the animal enclosures in a unique nighttime setting.

The best part is that there’s generally live music or performances.

Check the zoo’s schedule for the most up-to-date events!

Entertainment and Performances

8. Hit Up a Piano Bar

Edinburgh’s piano bars offer a charming ambiance, and plenty of fun sing-a-longs.

Plus, they come with a selection of refreshing beverages, making it the perfect spot to unwind after a long day of sightseeing.

Have a shot of whiskey, then get your showtunes on at one of these popular piano bars in Edinburgh.

9. Go to Edinburgh Fringe

Edinburgh Fringe Board

The Edinburgh Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival, taking place every August.

As a total theater nerd, it was a massive treat getting to visit Edinburgh last August during Fringe.

With events happening all over the Old Town, you’ll find plenty of captivating shows to keep you entertained long into the night.

10. Catch a Concert

Edinburgh is renowned for its live music scene, from small venues to big arenas.

Keep an eye out for concerts happening in popular locations such as Princes Street Gardens, Calton Hill, or various pubs throughout the city.

Who knows, you may even stumble upon street performers showcasing their skills.

If you want to check out some live music in Edinburgh at night, hit up one of these spots:

11. Go Dancing

Put on your dancing shoes and hit the nightclubs or traditional Scottish ceilidh dances.

With a variety of venues catering to different genres and styles, you’ll find the perfect place to let loose and dance the night away.

These are some of the hottest dance clubs in Edinburgh:

12. Catch a Movie

Edinburgh’s historic cinemas offer a nostalgic environment with comfortable seating.

Time your visit just right, and you might even catch a film festival.

These are the coolest theaters in Edinburgh:

Alternatively, consider a summer outdoor movie screening in Princes Street Gardens or Calton Hill.

13. Catch a Show at Edinburgh Playhouse

Don’t miss your chance to catch a spectacular show in one of Scotland’s most iconic venues.

This grand theatre offers a fantastic selection of musicals, comedy shows, and dance performances.

Since I was in town during Edinburgh Fringe, I didn’t get the chance to check this place out on my last visit.

But you better bet as a theater lover, Edinburgh Playhouse is at the top of my bucket list for next time.

In fact, now that I know Mark Rylance is in a show there, I’ve already got it at the top of my summer 2023 wish list!

14. Have a Laugh at The Stand Comedy Club

Everyone loves a laugh, especially the Scottish, so have a giggle at The Stand Comedy Club, where local comedians and emerging comedy acts take the stage.

This popular venue hosts a variety of shows throughout the year, providing a fun night for everyone in attendance.

15. Go Bowling at Bowling at Lane 7

bowling alley

For those seeking a bit of friendly competition, head to Lane 7 for a round of bowling.

It’s a stylish venue that combines retro vibes with modern technology.

It’s a solid spot to go in Edinburgh at night with friends or family.

Be sure to grab a bite to eat and take advantage of the well-stocked bar between games.

16. Dance the Scottish Ceilidh

While you’re in Edinburgh, don’t miss checking out a traditional Scottish ceilidh.

Wondering what that is?

It’s a lively and energetic night of folk dancing accompanied by live music.

The whirlwind of jigs, reels, and spirited dancing is an unforgettable Scottish experience.

Even if you’re new to the dance, friendly locals are always happy to guide you through the moves.

Food and Drink

17. Take a Cocktail Class at The Voodoo Rooms

If you’re looking for a fun and interactive way to spend your night in Edinburgh, consider a cocktail masterclass at The Voodoo Rooms for the late afternoon.

You’ll earn how to mix fantastic drinks, plus then you’ll have an in with the bartender when you come back at night.

This place is the perfect spot to sit back, relax, and enjoy a night of cocktails out in Edinburgh.

18. Dine at a Michelin-Starred Restaurant

Treat yourself to an unforgettable culinary experience at one of Edinburgh’s Michelin starred or recommended restaurants.

To taste exceptional dishes crafted by the city’s top chefs, hit up one of these restaurants.

19. Go Whisky Tasting

No trip to Scotland is complete without a whisky tasting.

In fact, it might be a crime to visit and not learn anything about whisky production and sample local expressions.

Luckily, Edinburgh has plenty of whiskey tastings available. I’ve even linked some of the most popular below.

20. Pitt Street Food Market

Craving a diverse range of cuisines?

Head to Pitt Street Food Market, where you’ll find tons of food stalls. They’ve got everything from juicy burgers to delicious, authentic Asian dishes.

Plus, they’ve got live music, which adds to the fun!

21. Go to a Rooftop Bar

Sip on delicious cocktails while gazing at the majestic panoramic views of Edinburgh’s skyline.

These are the spots to check out for a great view:

22. Do Grassmarket Pub Crawl

To fully embrace the Edinburgh nightlife scene, join the Grassmarket Pub Crawl.

This energetic tour takes you to several traditional pubs, where you can enjoy a few pints of craft beer, meet fellow travelers.

If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can even give haggis!

23. Eat at The Witchery by the Castle

This lovely restaurant is perfect for date night in Edinburgh.

Don’t be surprised if you see an engagement or two!

You’ll indulge in fine dining within the atmospheric gothic-styled setting of The Witchery.

Festivals and Special Events


Edinburgh, the vibrant capital of Scotland, comes alive at night with a myriad of festivals and special events.

During summer, you can’t miss the renowned Edinburgh International Festivals. With events spanning from July to August, there’s always something to suit your taste.

You can immerse yourself in jazz at the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, or vibrant art exhibitions during the Edinburgh Art Festival.

My favorite is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which is the largest theater festival in the world!

If you’re an avid reader, don’t miss the literary events at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

As the year draws to a close, Edinburgh’s Christmas markets bring warmth and cheer to the city.

Take a stroll through twinkling Christmas lights while sipping on a warm cup of mulled wine, or indulge in delicious treats from the various food stalls.


Where Can Young Adults Have Fun in Edinburgh at Night?

edinburgh scotland at night

Edinburgh is buzzing with nightlife options for young adults, especially during the Fringe Festival.

From lively pubs to trendy bars and energetic nightclubs, there’s something for everyone.

Don’t forget to explore the bustling George Street area or head to Cowgate for a variety of late-night venues.

Depending on when you’re going out, don’t forget to find out the line-ups for venues with live music or indie club nights.

Are There Any Interesting Night Tours in Edinburgh?

Edinburgh Train Station at night

Yes, Edinburgh has several cool night tours to experience the city’s rich history and folklore.

Popular tours to check out include haunted walking tours and an underground vault visits that delve into the city’s ghostly past.

You can also find tours centered on the famous Royal Mile and its historic surroundings.

What are Some Popular Nighttime Activities for Couples in Edinburgh?

Where can Young Adults Have Fun in Edinburgh at Night

If you and your partner are looking for a romantic night out, Edinburgh has plenty to offer.

Dine at a historic restaurant on the Royal Mile then take an evening stroll to admire the city’s illuminated landmarks.

Or, catch a show at one of the many theaters or enjoy a night of laughter at a comedy club like The Stand Comedy Club.

What Can You Do for Free in Edinburgh at Night?

Edinburgh Castle at night Scotland

You don’t have to break the bank to enjoy a night out in Edinburgh.

There are many free or budget-friendly activities available.

Experiencing Princes Street, the Royal Mile, observing people in pubs, and viewing the lit-up architecture are all free.

Many parks and public spaces are open for a spontaneous picnic or a scenic walk.

What are Some Scenic Night Walks in Edinburgh?

nightlife in edinburgh

The city’s picturesque viewpoints and cobblestone streets make for enchanting night walks.

One option is to explore the Royal Mile and its charming closes (narrow alleys) that wind through Old Town.

Another choice is a stroll along the Water of Leith Walkway for a peaceful nighttime escape. Don’t miss out on climbing the iconic UNESCO World Heritage site, Calton Hill for panoramic vistas of the city skyline.

What Types of Nightlife Does Edinburgh Offer?

Edinburgh skyline atnight

Edinburgh has a range of nightlife options, from traditional lively pubs to theaters.

They also have tons of events going on throughout the year, especially in August when the Military Tattoo and Edinburgh Fringe are happening.

Before Sunrise

sunrise in Edinburgh Scotland

I hope this has you excited to explore Edinburgh at night.

Let me know in the comments below if you find anywhere you think I should check out the next time I’m in town!


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