Things to do in Aberdeen

Thinking of taking a trip to Aberdeen? Great! It’s the ideal place to visit outside of the ‘big two’ in Glasgow and Edinburgh. While the two major cities have arguably become more cosmopolitan in many ways, Aberdeen retains that natural Scottishness that is so easy to love. If you want to come and enjoy your time in Scotland, then Aberdeen makes a wonderful change from the norm.

Johnston Gardens
Balmedie Beach1

Want to make sure you have fun when you are here, though? Then you should research the various things to do in Aberdeen. What, though, is worth your time?

With so much to do in the city, we’ll try and break things down so that you can easily find some great things to do in Aberdeen. We recommend that you look to try and make time to try out each and every one of these ideas – it could just make your time spent in the Granite City even more enjoyable.

So, what are the best things to do in Aberdeen? What are the kind of activities that can give you a chance to get to know the city, its people, and its wider culture better than beforehand?

The best things to do in Aberdeen

1.     Take in the Johnston Gardens

To start off with, why not spend some time out in the gorgeous greenery of Aberdeen? While it might be known as the Granite City, Aberdeen is home to places like the Johnston Gardens. A special place to spend some time surrounded by gorgeous nature and some amazing little manmade touches like wooden bridges.

Ideal for a start to your day, this provides a tranquil and calm setting that can help to settle the mind ahead of taking in many of the other various things to do in Aberdeen that you might happen to find intriguing.

2.     Head to Balmedie Beach

If you like the idea of untouched sand tunes for miles, then be sure to come down to Balmedie Beach. It makes a tremendous place to spend some time, helping you to really get to grips with the charm and the grandeur of the wider area. Come along, take a look, and see for yourself why so many people tend to take a trip to this gorgeous little beach. It’s a special venue, and one that offers a nice way to get in and around the rarely awesome Scottish weather.

If you are looking for things to do in Aberdeen when the sun is splitting the sky, get down here!

3.     Hit up Duthie Park

If you want to spend more time within the city itself, then be sure to make time for Duthie Park. This is a great open play space that is ideal for anyone who wants to have some fun. It’s also a good place for those who love miniature boats, with a little boating pond that you could easily drop your boats into and see them float around.

It’s a good place to spend an afternoon, helping you to take in more of the city and mingle with some of the locals.

4.     Visit Hazelhead Park

A gorgeous place full of varied trees and gorgeous natural colours, this is a tremendous place to spend a day. Bring a cup of coffee and a book, and find a nice place to relax whilst you take in that gorgeous northern Scottish air.

Come and take a look and you can see why there is so much to enjoy. It’s a tremendous place, and be sure to check out the Pet Corner; a location that is loaded with gorgeous small animals that hail from the local area.

Duthie Park
Hazelhead Park
Old Town

5.     Head to Old Town

If you want to see a classic part of Aberdeen, then be sure to head off to Old Aberdeen. This is a great place to walk through that shows off some cobbled streets of classic styling. It’s also a way to reach the University of Aberdeen, a premier learning facility within Scotland that is rated as one of the finest universities in the country.

Be sure to come here and check it out because it offers you a chance to see some classic Scottish architecture that is still standing strong and proud after all these years.

6.     Visit the Whiskey Big Three

We recommend that you look to go and take on a trip around the ‘Whiskey Distillery Trifecta’ – this includes the three major names: Macallan, Glenfiddich, and Glenlivet. All three are major names and can be found within the city, giving you a chance to spend some time sampling the finest of whiskies in the city whilst getting to spend a bit more time understanding life in the city.

As whisky plays such a huge role in the culture and economy of the city, it would be rude not to take a trip to try some famous whisky.

7.     Take the gin tour instead

Some people prefer gin to whiskey, and luckily for you Aberdeen can cater to all tastebuds. They have an amazing gin distillery right in the heart of the city, found at the City of Aberdeen Distillery. You can take a tour, try some of their famous gins, and understand why this amazing drink has become one of the other major sellers within the city.

It’s great for anyone who wants to try out various gins, including the highly famous rhubarb gins which have become such a common seller in supermarkets and cities all across Scotland.

8.     Check out the Brig O’ Balgownie

This particular crossing holds near legendary status within the city. It holds particular reverence today with many as it dates back to a 13th Century. The crossing itself goes over a deep pool that is known as the Black Neuk, which is part of a series of famous poems by Lord Byron. It’s among the oldest bridges in Scotland, and is worth visiting just so you can really take in that moment of history.

If nothing else, the walk to and fron the Brig O’ Balgownie is a wonderful experience that you are sure to enjoy every moment of.

Brig O’ Balgownie
gin tour instead
Tolbooth Museum
Aberdeen Maritime Museum

9.     Take in the Tolbooth Museum

If historical sights and gorgeous granite architecture catch your eye, then be sure to come here. The Tolbooth Museum is a sight located down on Union Street, and is packed with some really intriguing items. You can take a tour or just get a ticket and stroll around to your own leisure. Either way, it should give you a fine chance to just enjoy a simpler little experience.

Definitely one of the best ways to make sure you can enjoy learning about the city and some of its more intriguing quirks as you visit.

10.     Visit the Aberdeen Maritime Museum

For those looking to learn a bit more about the history of sealife and the maritime nature of the city, you should come to the Aberdeen Maritime Museum. It’s a fun place to spend a day or so, giving you the chance to understand the various life forms that can be found in and around the North Sea.

An informative, educational trip that can be just what you are looking for if you wish to learn more about the intriguing history of the city as a whole. Definitely one for learning Aberdonian history.

11.     Check out the Gordon Highlanders Museum

If you want to know more about life in the Highlands and its innate beauty, then you should check out this museum. It’s a specialty museum that allows you to learn more about Highland life in general, and can be just what you might want to focus on learning about for the right reasons.

One thing to note about this particular museum is that it just offers a simpler, easier way for you to have some fun and to relax in general. Definitely a must-visit museum for those keen on Highland history.

12.     The Dark Side of Aberdeen

While not everyone wants to associate with the darker sides of their history, we recommend you look to take a trip to The Dark Side of Aberdeen. This is known otherwise as Crime and Punishment, and provides a walking audio tour that allows for you to see the ‘darker history’ of the city.

It’s a great way to see how things worked in the past, and can give you a great insight into the culture of previous centuries. If nothing else, it will help you to appreciate just how much this wonderful city has changed!

The Dark Side of Aberdeen
Gordon Highlanders Museum
Slains Castle1
Castles Tour

13.     Head to Slains Castle

Another awesome castle to visit would be Slains Castle. This is a highly enjoyable place to come and visit, offering a tremendous experience that should be just what you are looking for. It’s a good choice for various reasons, not least the fact that castle itself offers such an amazing view. While parts of the castle are more or less eroded completely, there is more than enough left to give you a clear example of the imperious nature of this building when it would have stood in its prime.

Definitely a part of Aberdeen that is worth seeing.

14.     Take the Castles Tour

Of course, you can also take tours that take you out of the city itself. For example, some tours include trips to the Aberdeenshire area castles. Other tours will take you across the castles, to go and see the gorgeous cattle and cows, and even go on a little whiskey tasting tour. In essence, these tours give you a chance to see the three most awesome things about Highland Scotland; castles, cows, and classic whisky. It’s a great way to see the region from outside the realms of the city whilst still seeing major Aberdonian architecture.

15.     Take the Silent Disco

Of course, if you are here purely to have fun and to let loose then you might wish to join the hugely enjoyable Silent Disco. This has become a go-to hot spot for anyone looking to try and really have some fun. It’s a disco experience where, for your ticket, you get to enjoy a disco whilst using headphones. It means that everyone is dancing away to the music together without actually hearing the music itself.

A hilarious and enjoyable way to spend your afternoon whilst making sure you can work up a sweat at the same time!

16.     Visit Union Street

Out of all of the streets in the city, a trip to Union Street is an absolute must. In the sunlight, this is a truly mesmeric place to spend time that allows you to find culture, commerce, and opportunity to mingle with locals. Be sure to spend some time here and you can see why the city is so popular; gorgeous, spanning granite buildings surrounded with stunning architecture and amazing monuments to heroes of the past.

Definitely a place to spend an afternoon with the locals as you soak up everything that Aberdeen has to offer.

17.     Take a small day trip

A good way to get out of Aberdeen and see the local nearby features is to take a Loch Ness & Highlands trip. This will give you the chance to head around various parts of the Highlands. You will see some amazing lochs and other landmarks taken around the country by a true Scotsman. It’s a great way to get to understand the local area better than ever, and ensure that you don’t miss out on any of the various amazing sights and scenes which are found just outside of the boundaries of Aberdeen.

Aberdeen City Centre

in conclusion

If you want to really make the most of your time in Aberdeen, then you should definitely take a look at all of the above things to do. This wider part of the city is a great way for you to get the chance to really enjoy things from a new perspective.

The main challenge you might face, though, is choosing from such a great variety. Hopefully this guide above makes it a bit easier for you to go ahead and make a choice that you will be happy with. Happy journeys!  

Aberdeen Nightlife