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Beyond Bedtime: 15 Most Epic Things to Do in Edinburgh at Night

Let me tell you, one night, my only plan was to indulge in a quiet pint, perhaps two. Instead, three hours later, I’m center stage in Edinburgh, giving an impromptu air guitar solo because who says those should be confined to living rooms?

That’s when it clicked—Edinburgh at night is like a game of truth or dare, minus the truth because who wants a reality check? Now, witnessing folks like me crash a ceilidh dance like I’m born for it (well, I’m not, but let’s keep that between us) is just the start.

Stick around, ’cause I’ve got more to tell you about the best things to do in Edinburgh at night (so you won’t end up just staring at your ceiling at 2 AM) because sleep is overrated and Edinburgh after dark has a whole other vibe.

Sip some fine malt at The Scotch Whisky Experience


Address: 354 Castlehill

Contact details: +44 131 220 0441

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 10 AM to 6:20 PM

Cost: ££

The Scotch Whisky Experience is the spot in Edinburgh for all whisky lovers. Here, you get the full spiel—from the wee beginnings of whisky to its global trot as Scotland’s pride and joy.

You’ll roll into the experience on a barrel ride that takes you through the whole whisky-making process. And then, the grand finale: a tasting session under the gleaming lights of the world’s largest Scotch collection.

By the way, you can choose your tour level, but every option treats you to some delightful drams and tales from a clan of experts. And some tours even include food pairings that’ll have you munching on Scottish delights.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to check for after-dark tours where it’s quieter and, dare I say, the whisky tastes even better. And keep an eye on their seasonal offerings; sometimes they pull out the rarest bottles during special times of the year.

Creep it real with The Real Mary King’s Close tour


Address: 2 Warriston’s Cl.

Contact details: +44 131 225 0672

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 9 AM to 10 PM

Cost: £-££

There’s this underground labyrinth called The Real Mary King’s Close, where Edinburgh’s historic tales lurk in the shadows. They’ve peeled back the layers of time so you can stroll through centuries-old streets.

It’s chill-inducing stuff, honestly. The guides are all decked out in period costume, ready to dish out the nitty-gritty of the plague, tales of former residents, and why this place was buried from the world above.

Each room and space has its own story, from merchants’ homes to spooky spaces where myths and reality blur. They throw in some pretty stellar visual and audio effects to make sure you feel every ounce of the Close’s creepy past.

Pro tip: The closing times vary seasonally, so double-check when the last tour is. Also, there’s a spot where they say a little girl’s ghost hangs out.

Maybe bring a toy to leave for her—it’s a tradition that might just keep those ghostly vibes on your good side.

Hunt for ghosts in the eerie Greyfriars Kirkyard


Address: 26A Candlemaker Row

Contact details: +44 131 664 4314

Operating hours: 

  • Open 24 hours

Cost: £-££

Now, for those who dare, Greyfriars Kirkyard after dark is an otherworldly experience. This isn’t your sunny Sunday picnic graveyard.

We’re talking towering ancient tombstones, the odd chill down your spine, and legends of loyal dogs and restless souls. The Greyfriars Bobby tale is a heartwarmer, but the stories of the Mackenzie Poltergeist—that’s next-level spine-tingling.

You can snap photos, soak up the stories, and keep your wits about you. The place is a stone’s throw from the bustling city, but you’ll feel worlds away among the whispers of the past.

Pro tip: The tours here are totally at the mercy of guide availability, so planning ahead isn’t just smart; it’s essential. Otherwise, you might just end up making friends with the resident ghosts instead of soaking up rich Scottish history.

Spook yourself out at the Banshee Labyrinth


Address: 29-35 Niddry St.

Contact details: +441315588209

Operating hours: 

  • Sunday to Thursday – 7 PM to 3 AM
  • Friday and Saturday – 5 PM to 3 AM

Cost: £-££

If you are thirsty for more than spirits, then make sure you head over to the Banshee Labyrinth, a pub that’s woven directly into Edinburgh’s underground history. This place has layers of history and rooms, with parts dating back to the 18th century.

There’s a snug bar, a bigger space for gigs, a pool table room, 50 seater cinema, and nooks that seem straight out of a ghostly tale. You can chat up the bartenders for a story or two about the phantom screams that give the place its name.

Their event lineup is pretty packed too, with bands, comedians, and quiz nights to keep things lively amidst the whispers of the past. And don’t even get me started on their range of drinks—the whisky and beer selection is as extensive as it is excellent.

Pro tip: Remember to ask about the haunted vaults tour—this pub is your gateway to some of Edinburgh’s hidden, spooky underbelly. And if you end up hearing the wail of the banshee, well, just consider it part of the experience.

Stargaze like a pro at the Royal Observatory

Media credit: bookfairies_edinburgh


Address: Blackford Hill

Contact details: +44 131 668 8100 

Operating hours: 

Cost: £-££

Perched high on Blackford Hill, the Royal Observatory is where you get front-row seats to the universe’s grand show. They’ve got telescopes, and astronomers are eager to guide you across the celestial seas.

The observatory opens its doors to the public on certain evenings, letting you catch glimpses of planets, stars, and galaxies millions of light-years away.

Aside from the stargazing events, they have exhibitions and talks that’ll make you feel like you’ve got a PhD in astrophysics lingo. The view of Edinburgh from up there is nothing to scoff at either—city lights and constellations battling for your attention.

Pro tip: Their doors swing to the rhythm of scheduled events, not standard operating hours. To make sure you don’t show up only to cozy up with the closed gates, do a quick cosmic check on their events calendar here before you launch your trip.

Catch a classic play at The King’s Theatre


Address: 2 Leven St.

Contact details: +44 131 529 6000 

Operating hours: 

  • Temporarily closed due to refurbishment

Cost: £-££

The King’s Theatre is practically a rite of passage for anyone looking to soak up some cultural vibes. This place dishes out everything from glittering pantomimes during the Christmas season to grand Shakespearean plays and contemporary performances.

The architecture is simply stunning, with that old-world charm that feels like stepping back in time, but you’re sitting in plush seats, so it’s all good.

And let’s not forget the intermission, a perfect time to grab a tipple and perhaps a nibble to make your theater experience even more memorable.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to keep an eye on their lineup well in advance, because tickets can get snapped up faster than you can say, “Encore! ”And hey, dress to impress or come as you are; the King’s Theatre crowd loves everyone.

Get tricked by tricks at Camera Obscura & Illusions


Address: 549 Castlehill

Contact details: +44 131 226 3709

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 9 AM to 10 PM

Cost: £-££

Camera Obscura & Illusions is a six-floor tower crammed with mind-bending illusions, tricks, and interactive exhibits that’ll have you questioning your own senses. 

From the Vortex Tunnel that’ll have you grasping for the railings to those shrink-and-grow rooms that’ll make your Instagram pop off, it’s a blast. Oh, and the actual Camera Obscura is the cherry on top. 

You get this live, moving image of Edinburgh projected onto a viewing table through a periscope, which will give you a real-time, bird’s-eye view of the city and its goings-on. It’s old-school tech, but man, it’s super cool.

Pro tip: Try to head up in the late afternoon; that way, you’ll catch Edinburgh by daylight and then see it transform as the lights flicker on come dusk—it’s like two experiences in one. 

Plus, it’s less crowded, so you can get really hands-on with the exhibits.

Enjoy some tunes at the Queen’s Hall


Address: 85-89 Clerk St. Newington

Contact details: +44 131 668 2019

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Friday – 10 AM to 2 PM

Cost: £-££

For those nights when you’re just itching for some live music, Queen’s Hall has got you covered. This place is snug, intimate, and has some serious acoustics.

From classical quartets serenading you with timeless pieces to that indie band your friend won’t shut up about, Queen’s Hall’s eclectic lineup has something for everyone.

You can also grab a drink, then settle into your seat and let the music wash over you. It’s the perfect way to unwind or rev up your night, depending on what’s on.

Pro tip: Seats here can fill up pretty fast, especially for the bigger names or unique shows, so snagging tickets early is the way to go.

And hey, why not make a night of it? Some of Edinburgh’s tastiest eateries are just a stone’s throw away.

Crack up at Monkey Barrel Comedy’s night show


Address: 9-12 Blair St.

Contact details: [email protected] 

Operating hours: 

  • Sunday to Friday – 6 PM to 12 AM
  • Saturday – 4 PM to 12 AM

Cost: £-££

If your night isn’t complete without some good laughs, Monkey Barrel Comedy is where you should be heading. This spot is legendary for its stand-up comedy shows, featuring everything from up-and-comers to seasoned pros who know how to work a crowd.

Here’s the deal: they’ve got shows pretty much every night, so you’re never left out in the Edinburgh cold. And it’s not just all comedy here since the venue has a killer selection of drinks to keep your spirits up and your laughter loud.

Pro tip: Monkey Barrel Comedy extends its comedic genius beyond the stage with podcasts and livestream options. If you find yourself smitten with their shows, craving more laughs, or simply can’t make it to a live show, this is your golden ticket.

Explore Edinburgh Castle after dark, so majestic


Address: Castlehill

Contact details: +44 131 225 9846

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 9:30 AM to 6 PM

Cost: £-££

Edinburgh Castle, with its ancient stones and dark crevices, takes on an air of mystery that the daylight just doesn’t reveal. You’ve got the floodlights casting dramatic shadows, making those old walls look all the more imposing and, dare I say, majestic.

During certain times of the year, they host night-time events and tours that can give you goosebumps in the best way. The Crown Jewels, the Stone of Destiny—seeing them without the daytime crowd adds an extra layer of awe.

Pro tip: Remember to keep an eye out for evening events or twilight tours. They’re not a nightly thing, but when they do happen, it’s something you won’t want to miss.

Just remember, the castle can get quite chilly when the sun goes down, so bring something warm to wrap up in.

Watch the sunset at South Queensferry Harbour

Media credit: l.i.n.z.i.m

Website: N/A

Address: Gote Ln.

Contact details: N/A

Operating hours: 

  • Open 24 hours

Cost: £-££

South Queensferry Harbour is the place you go when you want to catch a stunning sunset. With the iconic Forth Bridge as a backdrop, trust me, your camera roll is about to get a serious glow-up.

As the sun dips, the vibe in South Queensferry shifts from that lazy afternoon chill to a more vibrant evening buzz. You’ve got cozy pubs and waterfront restaurants where you can dine with a view, making it the perfect spot to wrap up the day.

And let’s not forget, walking along the pier or the cobblestone streets is an experience in itself.

Pro tip: Time your visit so you’re settling in about an hour before the sun sets. This gives you ample time to find that perfect spot and maybe even grab a drink or an ice cream (yes, even in Scotland) as you wait.

Play retro arcade games at NQ64 Edinburgh


Address: 25 Lothian Rd.

Contact details: +44 131 609 0732

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Friday – 4 PM to 3 AM
  • Saturday and Sunday – 12 PM to 3 AM

Cost: £-££

NQ64 Edinburgh is like a time machine packed with all the old-school arcade games you loved (or missed out on) from your childhood. We’re talking Pac-Man, Street Fighter, and Space Invaders, plus pinball for those of you who like a bit of a challenge.

The neon-lit, graffiti-filled vibes make it feel like you’ve stepped into another world—one where it’s socially acceptable to spend your entire night trying to beat the high score.

The best part is that you get to enjoy this blast from the past with a drink in hand. Yep, NQ64 isn’t just an arcade; it’s a bar, boasting craft beers, cocktails, and even some non-alcoholic options for the sober gamers out there.

Pro tip: Make sure you bring cash for the token machine; it’s how you get your game on. Also, better check their socials for any themed nights or specials; sometimes they’ve got deals that make the gaming even sweeter.

Have a posh evening at the elegant The Dome


Address: 14 George St.

Contact details: +44 131 624 8624

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 10 AM to 12 AM

Cost: ££- £££

If you’re looking to add a dash of sophistication to your Edinburgh night, The Dome is where it’s at. This place is the kind of fancy that makes you want to dress up a bit.

We’re talking stunning Georgian architecture, chandeliers, and that grandiose vibe that makes you feel like royalty just walking in. 

Whether you’re there for a sumptuous meal, a few drinks at the bar, or afternoon tea (because, why not make an entire day of it?) The Dome delivers on that ‘treat yourself’ vibe.

Pro tip: Definitely book in advance, especially if you’re eyeing a spot in the Grill Room or planning a visit during the Christmas season when Edinburgh is all lit up.

Hike up Arthur’s Seat for a night city view

Media credit: habituatedhiking

Website: N/A

Address: Queen’s Drive, Holyrood Park

Contact details: N/A

Operating hours: 

  • Open 24 hours

Cost: £-££

For those of you with a bit of adventure in your soul, hiking up Arthur’s Seat at night is an absolute must-do. Yeah, it’s a bit of a climb, but the payoff is this mind-blowing view of Edinburgh lit up at night that makes every step worth it.

This ancient volcano offers a breathtaking panorama. Just come prepared with comfy shoes and a decent jacket because it can get windy up there. The hike itself isn’t too demanding, so it’s accessible even if you’re not exactly in “Climb Everest” shape.

People are up for this trek at all hours, by the way, so you won’t be alone, but it’s still a tranquil experience.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to bring a flashlight or make sure your phone’s charged—it’s dark up there, and you’ll need to see where you’re stepping. Just remember, the way up can be a bit slippery in parts, so watch your step.

Dive into neon balls at Ballie Ballerson


Address: 14 Forrest Rd.

Contact details: N/A

Operating hours: 

  • Thursday and Friday, Sunday – 6 PM to 1 AM
  • Saturday – 1:30 PM to 1 AM

Cost: ££

Ballie Ballerson is an adult playground that’ll have you feeling like a kid again, but with a cocktail in hand. Picture (or rather, don’t just picture, experience) a room filled with over a million balls, neon lights, and an energy that’s through the roof.

It’s literally a ball pit bar where you can let loose, enjoy a cocktail or two along with some pizza, and jump around to your heart’s content. Also, their music playlist keeps the vibe just right.

Pro tip: Don’t bring too much with you because, well, you’re going to be in a ball pit, and you don’t want to lose your stuff. And maybe skip the miniskirt or kilt for this outing—it’s all fun and games until you’re trying to navigate a ball pit with dignity.

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