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The ultimate guide to Aberdeen


The best of Aberdeen

The 11 best things to do in Aberdeen

Scotland’s biggest city outside the central belt is a mess of contradictions and contrasts: a former fishing and farming settlement, it’s now both a student-filled university town and a key part of the offshore oil industry; despite its reputation as the "Grey City’ (mainly because of its profusion of granite architecture, though the weather doesn’t help), it’s well served for green spaces and perfectly situated for outdoorsy types heading to the Cairngorms National Park, which means there are a ton of eco-friendly things to do in Aberdeen. Naturally, we also feel it can hold its own when it comes to arts, culture, restaurants and entertainment—here’s an introduction to the best the city has to offer. Done something on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDoList and tag @TimeOutEverywhere. Find out more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world.

The 7 best restaurants in Aberdeen right now

From low-level street scran catering to students to high-end restaurants for oil execs looking to splash their hard-earned, you’ll find a pleasingly diverse mix of eating establishments in Aberdeen. Sure, there are plenty of popular chains here – your Topolabambas, your Wagamamas – and while we’ve nothing against those (sometimes you have a craving that only ginger chicken teppanyaki can satisfy), we’re generally more inclined to shine a light on the independent, locally-minded restaurants going it more-or-less alone in a crowded food scene. So if you’re exhausted (and hungry) after a day out exploring this north-eastern city’s array of marvellous attractions and things to do, we recommend hotfooting it to one of the best restaurants in Aberdeen right now – these are our absolute faves. Eaten somewhere on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutEatList.

How to spend a weekend in Aberdeen

Read any guide to Aberdeen and you’ll soon find it called The Granite City – a reference to the shimmery local stone used to construct many of its buildings. Catch it on a sunny day and it’s an undeniably handsome place. But this city, an hour from Scotland’s dramatic Cairngorms National Park, has more than looks on its side. There’s a lively café scene, ace musuems and a sandy beach, complete with salty sea air and impressive wildlife. RECOMMENDED: Visit Royal Deeside, Edinburgh and the Isle of Skye