Edinburgh Travel Guide

In a funky chandeliered lounge known for the Adidas sneaker collection displayed above the bar, sip an Ape Expectations (local Monkey Shoulder Whiskey, maple syrup, and fresh mandarin orange juice).

Catalonian architect Enric Miralles went $767 million over budget on his 2004 architectural masterpiece, which won the U.K.'s most prestigious architectural award, the Stirling Prize, in 2005.

Behind a narrow red storefront on Victoria Street, this self-proclaimed “liquid deli” is a cross between a liquor store and an old-fashioned apothecary shop. Inside, the open wooden shelves are lined with row after row of Italian glass demijohns in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Salty locals haunt this no-frills establishment with long literary traditions; it's favored by writers and is featured in native Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus novels.

Browse bolts of house-woven tartans or pick up one of the leather pouches that adorn traditional men's dress. Downstairs at 21st Century Kilts, the owner's son turns out black leather versions favored by U.K. rockers like Robbie Williams.

For incredible couture hats and contemporary hairpieces, style mavens and royals turn to Jelfs. The milliner's studio—a centuries-old feather-, felt-, and flower-filled beamed farmhouse—fittingly lies on Palace grounds. Hours are quirky, so call ahead.

Since 1670, when it was established for cultivating medicinal plants, the gardens have been an exemplar of botanical conservation. On the immaculate grounds: dwarf rhododendron, 11 glass conservatories, and a heath garden.

Just west of the Princes Street Gardens, the Lyceum is an impressive Victorian theatre dating back to 1883. Over the centuries, the theatre hosted some of Scotland’s most noteworthy theatrical events, including performances by Henry Irving and Ellen Terry.

Rent a Mini Cooper S—a sporty classic that hugs the winding Scottish roads nicely.

Formerly the reception room of the Scotsman, one of the country's national newspapers, this galleried, oak-paneled space is now a civilized hotel bar. Order a French martini with Hendrick's gin beneath the two-story marble pillars.

Tour this warren of recently opened underground alleyways for a fascinating account of the city's past (victims of the 1644 plague died here) and a firsthand look into restored 17th-century town houses.

The glass cases in this boutique are stocked with notable estate pieces like vintage square-cut emerald necklaces and antique gentlemen's pocketknives; the shimmering tourmalines, black opals, and mother-of-pearl items range from astronomical to within reach.