16 of the best things to do in Edinburgh at night

You won't find yourself short of things to do after dark in Edinburgh
You won't find yourself short of things to do after dark in Edinburgh

From stargazing to the cinema, Edinburgh has endless options for night owls

Whether you fancy going out for drinks or learning a new skill, there are plenty of things to do in the city at night, writes Gillian McDonald.

Stargazing at the Royal Observatory

The Royal Observatory hold regular public astronomy evenings, giving visitors the chance to view the night sky, use state of the art equipment, and even handle real meteorites.

The sessions are held on Friday evenings throughout the year, but they’re most popular during the winter months when dark skies allow for optimum stargazing visibility.

Visit: Blackford Hill, EH9 3HJ - roe.ac.uk/vc
See a show at the Playhouse

Edinburgh’s iconic Playhouse theatre is the largest venue of its kind in Edinburgh, and hosts a wide variety of touring shows.

From plays and musicals to comedy performances and ballet, the Playhouse offers evening entertainment to suit everyone.

Visit: 18-22 Greenside Lane, EH1 3AA - atgtickets.com/venues/edinburgh-playhouse
Master an escape game

There are several escape games to choose from in Edinburgh, including Can You Escape? which has two themed missions – Operation Odyssey and Operation Deadlock – to complete.

Open every day until 11pm it’s the perfect activity for couples, friends or larger groups, with games suitable for between two and 10 players.

Visit: 5 Holyrood Road, EH8 8AE - canyouescape.co.uk/edinburgh
Join a supper club

Supper clubs are a great way to meet new people and enjoy delicious food in an informal setting.

The Edinburgh Salon supper club takes place once a month, and offers a three course menu (often with a unique seasonal theme) at a secret location in Edinburgh.

Visit: Location varies - theedinburghsalon.co.uk
Go on a ghost tour

Edinburgh is famous for its haunted reputation, and after-dark ghost tours are a fun way to experience part of the city’s history.

Mercat Tours offer underground tours of the chilling Blair Street Bridge Vaults, where numerous paranormal experiences and sightings have been reported.

Visit: 28 Blair Street, EH1 1QR - mercattours.com
Take part in a cocktail masterclass

Rather than just drinking cocktails on a night out, go one step further and learn the art of mixology so you can make your own.

Cocktail masterclasses (for groups of between four and 24 people) are available at The Voodoo Rooms, and include demonstrations, tips and guidance from the bar’s award-winning mixologists.

Visit: 19a West Register Street, EH2 2AA - thevoodoorooms.com
Visit a luxury cinema

Give cinema night a touch of old fashioned luxury with a visit to one of Edinburgh’s best independent picturehouses, the Dominion Cinema.

The screens are kitted out with comfortable sofa seating, there’s a bar serving everything from beer to champagne, and you can even have gourmet snacks and drinks brought directly to you in the cinema.

Visit: 1 Newbattle Terrace, EH10 4RT - dominioncinema.co.uk
Drink in a secret speakeasy

Edinburgh has no shortage of secret speakeasy-style bars if you know where to look, and Bryant & Mack is one of the best.

Disguised as a private detective agency, the bar’s drinks and decor are themed around top secret espionage, with a hint of prohibition glamour thrown in.

Visit: 89 Rose Street North Lane, EH2 3DX - facebook.com/bryantandmack
Go to a comedy club

Comedy club, Monkey Barrel Comedy, offers a different show every night of the week.

From up-and-coming local comedians to some of the biggest rising stars, guests will be treated to top stand-up comedy each and every evening.

Visit: 9-11 Blair Street, EH1 1QR - monkeybarrelcomedy.com
Enjoy a dram of whisky

Whether you live in Edinburgh or are just visiting, enjoying a glass of Scotland’s national drink is always a recipe for a great night out.

There are plenty of whisky bars to choose from, including Usquabae, which has over 400 varities of whisky to try, plus tutored tasting flights and masterclasses.

Visit: 2-4 Hope Street, EH2 4DB - usquabae.co.uk
Learn a new skill at Edinburgh College

Edinburgh College offers a variety of part-time evening courses, perfectly suited to those looking to brush up on skills or take on a new hobby while still working during the day.

Evening courses include subjects such as digital photography, German, marketing, sound engineering, and fashion textile production.

Visit: various locations - edinburghcollege.ac.uk
Compete in a pub quiz

Gather together a group of friends and put your collective knowledge to the test at a pub quiz.

Goose’s Quizzes run free to enter quizzes at various bars in Edinburgh every weeknight, including Akva, The City Café, Beer & Skittles, Lebowskis, Jeramiah’s Taproom and The Queen’s Arms.

Visit: various locations - goosesquizzes.com
Eat at a top restaurant

Regularly voted the top restaurant in Edinburgh on TripAdvisor, The Table is an exclusive dining experience with 10 seats, two chefs and just one table.

The restaurant doesn’t open for lunch, so it’s the perfect place for a special evening meal.

Visit: 3A Dundas Street, EH3 6QG - thetableedinburgh.com
Explore the National Museum of Scotland after-hours

The popular Museum Lates events allow visitors to experience the National Museum of Scotland after dark.

Each Late is themed around the museum’s seasonal exhibition, and the evenings include live music performances, crafts, entertainment and food and drink, all within the unique setting of the Grand Gallery.

Visit: Chambers Street, EH1 1JF - nms.ac.uk/national-museum-of-scotland
Take part in an open mic night

If you’re a budding musician, head along to The Dog House on Friday evenings for the Mad Expression Session open mic night.

Musicians and singers of all styles are invited to join in, and those who prefer to listen rather than perform are very welcome too.

Visit: 18-24 Clerk Street, EH8 9HX - facebook.com/TheDogHouseEdinburgh
Enjoy street food and dancing at Cabaret Voltaire

For a laid-back evening out, opt for some street food from Cabaret Voltaire’s café, before heading downstairs for drinks and dancing.

The menu, created by the resident chefs from Harajuku Kitchen, features Japanese street food dishes, and the club below hosts a variety of DJs, live gigs and club nights.

Visit: 36-38 Blair Street, EH1 1QR - thecabaretvoltaire.com