Best Things to Do in Edinburgh for Young Adults


Edinburgh is a playground for the young and the restless, a place where every cobblestone and alley has a story to tell.

From the haunting echoes of its underground vaults to the bustling energy of its contemporary nightlife, Edinburgh beckons young adults to embark on an urban odyssey like no other.

This guide to things to do in Edinburgh for young adults, unveils the city’s treasures that are tailored just for the millennial traveller.

We begin with an iconic landmark.

Explore Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is not just a historic monument; it’s a testament to Scotland’s rich tapestry of history and culture.

Perched atop Castle Rock, this iconic fortress offers breathtaking views of the city and has been a pivotal centre of military activity for centuries.

As you wander through its ancient halls and chambers, you’ll uncover tales of battles, royalty, and intrigue.

For young adults seeking cultural experiences in Edinburgh, the castle provides a deep dive into the nation’s past, all while offering panoramic vistas of the city below.

Address – Castlehill, EH1 2NG

Climb Arthur’s Seat

Second on our list of things to do in Edinburgh for young adults is Arthur’s Seat – an ancient volcano and the main peak in the hills of Holyrood Park that’s a must-visit.

Offering a blend of natural beauty and adventure activities, this attraction promises a rewarding hike culminating in unparalleled views of the city.

It’s not just a physical journey but also a trip back in time, as the area is steeped in folklore and legends.

For those seeking both outdoor activities and a touch of Edinburgh’s mystical side, Arthur’s Seat is the perfect destination.

Address – Holyrood Park, EH8 8AZ

Experience Grassmarket Nightlife

Located in the historic heart of Edinburgh, Grassmarket is a vibrant area known for its lively nightlife and eclectic mix of bars, pubs, and clubs.

It’s a hub for young adults and offers a taste of Edinburgh nightlife at its best.

From traditional Scottish pubs where you can enjoy local ales and whiskies to trendy bars playing the latest hits, Grassmarket caters to all tastes.

The area also hosts various events and festivals for young people, making it a dynamic spot to experience the city’s nocturnal pulse.

Address – Grassmarket, EH1 2HJ

Discover Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

Situated near Edinburgh Castle, Camera Obscura and World of Illusions is a unique attraction that blends science, art, and fun.

It’s an interactive experience that offers young adults a chance to see Edinburgh in a whole new light.

With its range of optical illusions, mesmerising exhibits, and the iconic camera obscura itself, visitors can explore the fascinating world of visual perception.

For those looking for quirky and educational Edinburgh attractions for millennials, this place is a delightful blend of wonder and knowledge.

Address – Castlehill, Royal Mile, EH1 2ND

Stroll The Royal Mile

The Royal Mile, stretching from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace, is the beating heart of the city’s historic Old Town.

It’s a bustling street lined with shops, restaurants, pubs, and historic buildings.

As you stroll down this iconic avenue, you’ll encounter street performers, local artisans, and a plethora of cultural experiences.

The Royal Mile is also home to various festivals for young people, especially during the summer months.

For young adults seeking a blend of history, culture, and entertainment, The Royal Mile is an essential Edinburgh experience.

Address – The Royal Mile, EH1 2PB

Embark on The Scotch Whisky Experience

The Scotch Whisky Experience offers a spirited journey into Scotland’s most famous export.

Located near Edinburgh Castle, this attraction provides young adults with an immersive dive into the world of whisky.

From understanding the intricate processes of distillation to tasting different whisky varieties, visitors get a comprehensive look into this celebrated beverage.

For those keen on Edinburgh cultural experiences, this attraction not only educates but also tantalises the taste buds, making it a must-visit for both connoisseurs and novices.

Address – 354 Castlehill, EH1 2NE

Visit Holyrood Palace

Officially known as the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Holyrood Palace is the Queen’s official residence in Scotland.

This grand palace, located at the end of the Royal Mile, boasts a rich history intertwined with royalty and politics.

As you explore its stately rooms, galleries, and gardens, you’ll uncover tales of monarchs, famous historical figures, and significant events.

For young adults interested in the UK’s royal heritage and Edinburgh attractions for millennials, Holyrood Palace offers a blend of opulence and history.

Address – Canongate, EH8 8DX

Dive into Edinburgh Dungeon

Edinburgh Dungeon offers a thrilling journey into Scotland’s dark past.

Through a combination of live actors, special effects, and gripping storytelling, visitors are transported to various eras, encountering tales of witches, plague doctors, and notorious criminals.

It’s not just a historical tour but a multi-sensory experience designed to both educate and entertain.

For young adults seeking adventure activities in Edinburgh with a touch of the macabre, the Dungeon promises chills and thrills.

Address – 31 Market St, EH1 1QB

Watch a Movie at The Cameo Cinema

The Cameo Cinema, established in 1914, holds the distinction of being one of the oldest cinemas in Scotland.

This iconic venue offers a mix of mainstream, independent, and foreign films, providing a diverse cinematic experience.

With its vintage charm and modern amenities, The Cameo is a favourite spot for young adults and film enthusiasts.

For those looking to delve into Edinburgh’s cultural experiences, a film at The Cameo is a delightful blend of nostalgia and contemporary entertainment.

Address – 38 Home St, EH3 9LZ

Wander Leith Walk and The Shore

Leith Walk, leading to The Shore in Leith, is a vibrant area known for its eclectic mix of shops, cafes, and bars.

The Shore, with its waterfront setting, offers a picturesque backdrop for a leisurely stroll, dining, or simply soaking in the views.

The area is a blend of the old and new, with historic buildings juxtaposed against modern establishments.

For young adults seeking trendy spots in Edinburgh away from the typical tourist trails, Leith offers a unique blend of history, culture, and modern-day vibrancy.

Address – Leith Walk to The Shore, Leith, EH6

Participate in The Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, held every August, is the world’s largest arts festival and a magnet for young adults from around the globe.

With thousands of shows spanning theatre, comedy, dance, and more, the Fringe transforms Edinburgh into a cultural epicentre.

Whether you’re an artist, a spectator, or just someone looking for Edinburgh festivals for young people, the Fringe offers a smorgasbord of experiences, ensuring every visitor finds something to their taste.

Address – 180 High St, EH1 1QS

Explore The National Museum of Scotland

The National Museum of Scotland, located in the heart of the city, offers a vast collection spanning natural history, world cultures, science, and Scottish history.

With its interactive exhibits, stunning architecture, and diverse artefacts, it’s a hub for learning and exploration.

For young adults keen on delving into Edinburgh’s cultural experiences and broadening their horizons, this museum promises a day of discovery and wonder.

Address – Chambers St, EH1 1JF

Relax at The Meadows Park

The Meadows is one of Edinburgh’s most beloved green spaces, offering a sprawling expanse of grassy fields, tree-lined pathways, and recreational facilities.

Located just south of the city centre, it’s a popular spot for both locals and visitors.

Young adults can indulge in a range of activities, from picnicking and sunbathing to playing tennis at the park’s courts.

The Meadows also hosts various events and festivals for young people, especially during the summer months.

With its vibrant atmosphere and the backdrop of Edinburgh’s historic buildings, it’s a perfect place for relaxation, socialising, and soaking in the city’s vibe.

Address – Melville Dr, EH9 1ND

Dance at The Bongo Club

The Bongo Club is a staple in Edinburgh’s nightlife and cultural scene. Nestled in the heart of the city, this venue is renowned for its eclectic mix of live music, club nights, and arts events.

From indie rock and jazz to electronic beats, The Bongo Club offers a diverse musical palette, catering to varied tastes.

It’s not just a place to dance the night away but also a hub for Edinburgh’s artistic community, often hosting exhibitions, theatre performances, and workshops.

For young adults seeking trendy spots in Edinburgh to experience the city’s nocturnal pulse, The Bongo Club promises a night of rhythm, creativity, and camaraderie.

Address –
66 Cowgate, EH1 1JX

Engage at Summerhall Arts Venue

Summerhall, located near The Meadows, stands as a testament to Edinburgh’s commitment to the arts.

Once a veterinary school, this venue has been transformed into a dynamic space for exhibitions, performances, and workshops.

With its diverse range of events, from theatre and cinema to visual arts and literature, Summerhall offers a cultural feast for young adults.

The venue also houses bars, a distillery, and a café, making it a holistic destination for both art appreciation and socialising.

For those keen on delving into Edinburgh’s cultural experiences, Summerhall is a nexus of creativity and innovation.

Address – 1 Summerhall, EH9 1PL

Venture into Ghost Tours and Underground Vaults

Edinburgh, with its rich history and ancient buildings, is often dubbed one of the most haunted cities in the world.

For young adults seeking adventure activities in Edinburgh with a touch of the eerie, the city’s ghost tours are a must.

These tours delve into the city’s dark past, exploring tales of ghosts, witches, and unsolved mysteries.

The underground vaults, hidden beneath the city’s streets, offer a particularly chilling experience, with stories of their former inhabitants and paranormal occurrences.

Whether you’re a believer in the supernatural or just seeking a thrilling historical tour, Edinburgh’s ghost tours promise chills and insights.

Address – Various locations, depending on the specific tour chosen.

Admire The Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Parliament, located at the foot of the Royal Mile near Holyrood Palace, is a symbol of Scotland’s autonomy and rich political history.

Designed by the Spanish architect Enric Miralles, the building itself is a marvel of modern architecture, with its unique shapes and use of natural materials reflecting Scotland’s landscape.

Young adults can take guided tours, witnessing the debating chamber in action, exploring the building’s design, and understanding the workings of Scottish politics.

For those interested in the interplay of architecture, history, and politics, The Scottish Parliament offers an enriching Edinburgh cultural experience.

Address – Edinburgh EH99 1SP

Ascend Calton Hill and the National Monument

Calton Hill, located at the eastern end of Princes Street, offers a blend of natural beauty, history, and panoramic views of Edinburgh.

As you ascend the hill, you’re greeted by iconic landmarks, including the National Monument.

Often referred to as “Edinburgh’s Disgrace” due to its unfinished state, the National Monument is reminiscent of the Parthenon in Athens and stands as a memorial to those who died in the Napoleonic Wars.

The hill itself is a popular spot for both locals and visitors, especially during sunset, offering a serene vantage point to soak in the city’s skyline.

For young adults seeking picturesque spots in Edinburgh, Calton Hill provides a mix of history, architecture, and natural beauty.

Address – Calton Hill, EH7 5AA

Savour at BrewDog Edinburgh

BrewDog Edinburgh is a haven for craft beer enthusiasts. Part of the renowned BrewDog chain, this venue, located in the Cowgate area, offers a vast selection of craft beers, both from their own brand and other global breweries.

The interior, with its industrial chic vibe, provides a relaxed atmosphere for young adults to socialise, while the knowledgeable staff are always on hand to recommend brews based on individual preferences.

Beyond just beer, BrewDog Edinburgh often hosts events and tastings, making it a trendy spot in Edinburgh for those keen to delve into the world of craft beverages.

Address – 143 Cowgate, EH1 1JS

Relive Stories at The Elephant House

The Elephant House, often dubbed as the “birthplace of Harry Potter”, is a must-visit for fans of the wizarding world.

J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, frequented this café during the early days of writing the novels.

The cosy ambiance, combined with views of Edinburgh Castle, provides a perfect setting for inspiration.

While the café offers a range of delicious meals and beverages, its claim to fame remains the connection to Rowling.

For young adults and literary enthusiasts seeking unique Edinburgh attractions for millennials, The Elephant House offers a blend of literary history and contemporary café culture.

Address – 21 George IV Bridge, EH1 1EN

If you want further ideas about things to do in Edinburgh for you adults, read the official guide to the city.

Highly-Rated Experiences in Edinburgh

Dale Shelabarger

Dale is the owner and founder of Cottages to Rent which he launched back in 2005. As well as promoting holiday cottages, Dale blogs regularly about top UK holiday destinations, visitor attractions and places of historical interest.