Dundee is fast becoming the cool alternative to Glasgow and Edinburgh: it’s not only Scotland’s sunniest city, but it also boasts a culture that has thrived among the down-to-earth, pleasant people who live here. The arts community is second to none, and benefits from the city’s distinct lack of snobbery.
You’ll have a lot of adventures here in Dundee. From dingy drinking holes to sleek and fashionable bars, the nightlife is diverse. Day or night, there’ll always be something for you to do.
With that in mind, we’ve listed the 10 best spots you need to check out in the city.
DUSA The Union
Dundee University’s students’ union is actually one of the best in the whole of the UK. No exaggeration! Each event – and there are lots of them – goes off without a hitch, with excellent security, some cheap drinks, and a lot of top music.
Given that DUSA The Union will likely be your stomping ground for the next few years, we’ll get it out of the way here. Go and take a look!
Clarks’ 24hr Bakery
Yes that’s right, a 24-hour bakery. Because Dundee doesn’t mess about, the good people want their tasty baked goods day and night, and by the power invested in the city they have made it happen. Isn’t this a city that you want to live in?!
Clarks’ has been in Dundee for around 60 years, so it’s a real institution. They’re into traditional baking, and they make some of the best-tasting pies you will ever have in your whole entire life.
What are you waiting for?
The Art Bar
This basement bar has that dimly lit, low-key atmosphere about it, so it’s perfect for dates or just drinks between a few close friends. There are resident DJs, open-mic nights, and live music – all of which contribute to The Art Bar’s intimate vibe.
It even has an excellent beer garden, with some very agreeable prices. Definitely worth a look!
Dundee Contemporary Arts
Dundee Contemporary Arts is a world-class centre for arts and culture, and it spearheads the city’s arts scene with a healthy offering of theatre, art exhibitions, workshops, and films. There’s even a book club!
You can get some great deals on DCA memberships, too, giving you discounted access to everything on offer. Whether your parents are visiting for the weekend or you want to see a film with friends, check out the DCA.
This cafe is almost untouched by the wave of gentrification that has hit other university towns. This is the nearest thing to a ‘greasy spoon’ that you’ll find, and with a modern, minimalist edge, it’s fast becoming a student favourite.
Its servings are substantial and the food is hearty. There is also an excellent meat-free offering, giving you plenty of options even if you’re a vegetarian or vegan – which not many greasy spoons can say they do!
The McManus Gallery
The McManus Gallery is a stunning Gothic structure with artefacts that tell the story of the last 400 million years. You can find it right in the city centre, and the first thing you’ll notice is just how beautiful the building is.
Going inside, there are eight galleries in total, each giving an insight into Dundee’s fascinating history. The McManus Gallery is great for impressing your parents when they visit. Show them how cultured you’ve become!
Agacan Kebab House
A Dundee institution, the Agacan Kebab House has been a student favourite for years. Its menu is fantastic, offering traditional Turkish cuisine. From delicious curries and light salads to humungous kebabs, it’s a taste sensation.
It’s really affordable, too. Go and see what the fuss is all about!
The Reading Rooms
The Reading Rooms is one of the UK’s best club venues, and its reputation precedes it. Years ago, there was nothing like it here in Dundee, so revellers had to travel to Glasgow and further afield to get their kicks.
Nowadays, it’s a mecca for house music, electro, hip-hop, soul, and much more. You’ll catch some of the world’s biggest DJs coming through The Reading Rooms, so keep an eye out.
Originally a military base, Dudhope Park is the place to go to relax. It’s a gorgeous green space, and it even comes complete with its very own castle (which was used as army barracks from 1796 to 1879.
It also has tennis courts, a skateboarding park, and a multi-use area that’s great for football. If you’re with a few mates, or just your parents when they come to see, Dudhope park is an impressive piece of Dundee history that you’d be daft not to check out.
Just down the road from our residence (The Old Mill), Duke’s Corner may be your new local. It’s an all-night bar that serves a wide range of craft beers, ales, and spirits, and it looks fantastic inside. Real olde-worlde vibes.
It’s a unique vibe, modern-looking yet homely with the classic Dundee exterior – all rugged brickwork. It’s one of the most instagrammable spots you’ll find in Dundee, so get snapping!
So, that’s your lot. These are our favourites, and you won’t want to miss out. Of course, there’s way more than just these 10 recommendations, and there’s a lot that you can find off the beaten track.