Being an Edinburgh Local

What does it mean to be an Edinburgh local? What does an Edinburgh local do? Where does an Edinburgh local go?

I must be completely honest from the start, I was not born here nor am I even Scottish. I have though lived in the beautiful Scottish capital for near 30 months and have no plans whatsoever on ever leaving. So am I a total expert on the city? No, but neither have I been brought up with preconceptions on certain places or certain parts of town. Every conclusion I make is solely based on my immediate experiences rather than memories or what I’ve heard. 

I’m going to take the introduction from a previous article as it sums up the city perfectly.


Nestled between the hills and the sea, it has wide appeal for tourists and Edinburgh locals alike. This medieval city may have an ancient castle as its heart, but its beat is dynamic and modern.

Read more: A Speciality Coffee Shop Tour of Edinburgh, Scotland
Read more: Where to eat in Edinburgh

Working in a cafe in Edinburgh’s Old Town, a lady from North American (I shall leave for you to guess which country) asked me the question, “What time does the city close? Is it 5 or 6?” It was almost as if the city itself was a theme park and we were all just actors in her Scottish fantasy - rushing about to get her tourist fix before the gates shut for the night.

Unfortunately for a lot of visitors will leave Edinburgh only seeing the absolute centre of the city, its overpriced pubs and chain tartan shops all owned by the same company. To some Edinburgh may just be that old town.

My brother on the other hand while visiting (getting the Edinburgh locals tour), could not believe how social the city was or the buzz the locals had living life each and every day. Pubs and restaurants full on a Monday, cafes with lines out the door and strangers willing (and wanting) to have a chat. Not only were these places busy and lively, but the quality was amazing too.

So just what does it mean to be an Edinburgh local?

Read more: Where to Drink
Read more: What to do in Edinburgh

It means:

  • Being able to wake up each morning knowing you can walk anywhere.
  • Knowing the weather has a good chance of being rotten but accepting that and living life as best you can - it’s only a bit of rain.
  • If you’re having a bad day you can look up at the amazing Edinburgh castle and remember how lucky you are to live in a city this aesthetically beautiful.
  • Travelling for half an hour in any direction and end up in the hills, the sea, endless greenery or on the outskirts of Glasgow.
  • Doing anything at all that your heart desires.

For me, it means having access to a city that lives well, eats well and drinks well. A food and drink industry with staff who are both passionate and knowledgeable, honest and informative. A city that is incredibly multicultural with its tourist influx, amazing universities and international workforce bringing along with it a multitude of dining options.

Anyone who leaves Edinburgh with the culinary story of ‘I tried a deep fried mars bar’ did not experience the amazing food experiences on offer throughout the city.

None of these things are limited to simply being an ‘Edinburgh Local’.

So walk back a street or two, do some research (or get me to, [email protected]) and experience this city like an Edinburgh local. Explore Stockbridge, Tollcross and Dalry, get down to Leith, Trinity and Portobello and see the entirety of what this city has to offer.

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