Crescents, cobbled streets and grand Victorian architecture dominate much of North Edinburgh. And while at first glance you might think there’s nothing for the humble student here you’d be oh so wrong. Towards the east, at the top of Leith Walk is Broughton Street, an area filled with individual cafés and restaurants, great pubs and bars and the cult video store Alphabet. Head West on the other side of the New Town and you’ll stumble across Stockbridge which has a relaxed bohemian vibe and is famed for its brilliant charity shops. Further North still is Inverleith and home to the Botanic Gardens, a mixture of landscaped gardens and park-like lawns – the perfect place for a (civilised) picnic.
For coffee junkies Artisan Roast (57 Broughton St) is a cosy hideaway with a specialist coffee menu and excellent service. Also on Broughton St is The Basement Bar (10a-12a Broughton St), an underground eatery with decent prices and an eclectic coctail menu. if you're going en route to the Botanics you'd be wise to check out The Circle (1 Brandon Terrace), a chic cafe and restaurant serving a great range of simple and delicious soups and sandwiches as well as offering a small take-away bakery service. In Stockbridge Bell's Diner (7 St Stephen St) is a small, unpretentious place where burgers and milkshakes rule the roost. If you've got some money to burn (or your parents are in town) and you're a fan of freshly produced, locally sourced and organic dishes consider going to 'ethical eaterie' Iglu (2b Jamaica St).
Hidden around a corner in New Town is the Star Bar (1 Northumberland Place), although it's more of a pub than a bar and is known for its ageing collection of board games (tipsy Jenga anyone?). Also in the New Town the Cumberland Bar (1 Cumberland Street), another bar that's more like a pub, is one of the few places with outdoor seating, making it a honeypot in summer. In Stockbridge, the elegantly hip Hectors (47-49 Deanhaugh St), is a great place for a cocktail to start your evening off and the Baillie (2-4 St Stephen St) pub is a popular, down-to-earth old man’s style drinking establishment. And if you're seeking a brilliant juke box (well, for pub standards) The Phoenix (46 Broughton St) on Broughton Street is where you should be heading.