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Greyfriar's Church and Marischal College | © Tom Bastin/Flickr
Greyfriar's Church and Marischal College | © Tom Bastin/Flickr
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How to Spend 24 Hours in Aberdeen

Picture of Alexander Crow
Updated: 6 June 2017
Aberdeen is Scotland’s third largest city, behind Edinburgh and Glasgow and, as such, has a wealth of options of things to see and do. There is something for everyone in the Granite City, whatever your age, whether you love visiting museums, taking a walk to catch the sights, or simply spending time eating and drinking the tasty things the city can offer — it’s all here in our guide to how to spend a day in Aberdeen!

Morning

It is always a good idea to fuel up before any big day, and 24 hours in Aberdeen will certainly need fuelling! Breakfast options include the super-tasty offerings at Foodstory Café, or the wonderful coffee at Kilau (including options for those with a lactose intolerance) or perhaps ease into your day by visiting Books and Beans, where you can buy a second hand book AND get breakfast.

Books and Beans
Books and Beans | © Jarle Refsnes/Flickr

After you feel sufficiently full, maybe take a stroll around the city to view the renowned architecture, or the wealth of public art on view, before walking to the photogenic former fishing village of Footdee and, depending on the weather, maybe a brisk walk along Aberdeen’s golden sands. Many of Aberdeen’s iconic sites can be reached on foot, with the city centre remaining relatively compact.

Marischal College
Marischal College | © John Lord / Flickr

Afternoon

All the morning’s walking will undoubtedly have raised an appetite, so start the afternoon with a hearty lunch. Good options can be found along Union Street, including the Italian, Amarone, or traditional pub grub in The Howff. If you’d rather grab a sandwich and keep moving, then look no further than So… – also based on Union Street.

Aberdeen is blessed with several excellent museums and galleries, and spending your afternoon exploring one or two of these is a good use of time. If it is a lovely day (despite what you may have heard about Scotland’s weather, these do occur!), then maybe visit one of the cities green spaces, or even play a round of golf at one of the local clubs. If you would rather take the afternoon off to relax completely, the city has a number of excellent spas at which you can pamper yourself.

River Don at Seaton Park
River Don at Seaton Park | © Lucy Chapman/Flickr

Another option is to visit Old Aberdeen, which has a character entirely different to that of the city centre; full of fascinating history, interesting buildings, and the odd pub or two to grab a drink. If you do visit this area, it is definitely worth looking at St. Machar’s Cathedral, both inside and out.

King’s College, Old Aberdeen
King’s College, Old Aberdeen | © Verino77/Flickr

Evening

The Granite City has many restaurants to sample, so the problem if you are only staying for a day is not in finding somewhere to eat, but choosing which restaurant to dine at. All manner of cuisine is represented in the city, including those you’d expect, and perhaps a few you might not, such as Nepalese at 8848. If you want to eat and have a cocktail at the same time, look no further than Soul Bar, housed in a beautiful old church, or maybe visit Ninety-Nine Bar and Kitchen and sample one of their quirky cocktails.

As you’d expect for a city the size of Aberdeen, the nightlife and evening entertainment options are varied. There are comedy shows, theatre productions, cinemas, live music, and often ceilidhs to dance at. Or maybe you would like to sample some of Scotland’s very best single malt whiskies? In which case look no further than C.A.S.C. which has over 500 bottles to choose from or; for the ultimate whisky experience in the city, the world-renowned and beautiful whisky bar, The Grill. If you are still not ready for bed, then Aberdeen has a number of clubs that operate until the early hours of the morning, including Shack, Unit 51, or The Tunnels.

Twenty-four hours in the Granite City is barely enough to scratch the surface of what is on offer here, but it is certainly enough to exhaust you.