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Dalston is, inarguably, one of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods

The 13th coolest in fact. And that is official

Joe Mackertich
Written by
Joe Mackertich

Dalston in east London has come 13th on Time Out's annual list of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods. The rankings, topped by Nørrebro in Copenhagen, were put together with a special focus on community, grassroots initiatives and eco-ethical matters. The good stuff.

As per tradition, the the list of 49 vital neighbourhoods was cooked up using the results of our yearly Time Out Index survey. Our delicious matrix of local editors and contributors then picked over the date and vetted the public vote against stuff that we think matters in 2021. In the words of my friend Huw Oliver that means ‘cool stuff, but also kind stuff, forward-looking stuff’. Our panel of experts then put them in a ranked order.

For our part Dalston is still an absolutely fantastic bit of London. No, it’s not the same late-naughties Dalston that was full of art school students and basement clubs. It’s a bit more grown up these days. Rents are high and it’s no longer somewhere most people look to buy their first flat. But a sense of youthful energy remains, and it’s got no shortage of brilliant pubs, restaurants and music venues. And, despite what ageing naysayers mutter, it’s still eminently possible to have a full-on night out there (check out how often it pops up in our weekly nightlife round-up for proof).

Dalston Curve
David TettDalston Curve

Even more importantly, Dalston is a place that’s hung on to its conscience. It has vegan cafés and second-hand shops in abundance, and the highest number of streets covered by Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in London. This year, in particular, it’s shown other parts of London how progressive our neighbourhoods can be: it became the epicentre of the takeaway pint, streets were pedestrianised widely, ‘parklets’ all over the shop.

The ideal neighbourhood doesn’t exist. But anyone that spends time regularly in Dalston will know it’s pretty special. Certainly more special than Ancoats in Manchester that limped in at number 20. A shame!*

* Just kidding, Manchester is good.

Read through the entire Coolest Neighbourhoods list right here

The big one: the 37 best cities in the world this year 

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