Things to do in Aberdeen for students

Students at the beach

Living in Aberdeen provides a lively student community, an atmosphere steeped in history and a blend of urban cityscapes and natural beauty. The city is famous for its historical production of granite, something that is still evident today in the distinct grey buildings which sparkle silver and make Aberdeen such a unique place to live.

Aberdeen boasts a vibrant cafe culture, with numerous cosy coffee shops scattered throughout the city, providing the perfect ambiance for students to study, socialise, or simply unwind with a cup of coffee.

When the sun sets, the city's nightlife comes alive, offering a variety of live music and performance venues that cater to students' diverse tastes and ensure unforgettable nights out.

Student hangouts: cafés and entertainment

Aberdeen’s student scene comes alive with its vibrant cafés and restaurants that are integral to the city’s welcoming nature. Exploring local coffee shops and cafés are the perfect way to connect with others while getting your caffeine fix. Going for a coffee is one of the best things to do in Aberdeen if you are looking for a way to connect with your local community.

When night falls, Aberdeen’s diverse music venues cater to all tastes, from indie to electronic to classic rock. Live music fills the city, creating an electrifying atmosphere to dance the night away and make unforgettable memories. Aberdeen nightlife is vibrant and diverse, offering a fantastic experience.

Festivals and events

Aberdeen's event calendar showcases the city's vibrant culture year-round, with the Spectacular May Festival as a standout celebration of arts, science, and culture. This diverse event offers something for everyone, connecting you with local and international talent, broadening your horizons.

Another beloved event is Burns Night, honouring Scotland's poet, Robert Burns. It's a lively celebration featuring poetry, traditional music, and haggis — a true embodiment of Scottish spirit and camaraderie.

These events are some of the most fun things to do in Aberdeen if you're looking for cultural experiences. They reflect Aberdeen's commitment to culture, making them memorable experiences in this welcoming city.

History and culture

Aberdeen's rich history comes alive through its magnificent granite architecture and medieval streets, offering a tangible link to the past. The city's historic treasures include Scotland's oldest bridge, the Brig O'Balgownie, which transports you back in time with its ancient stone arches.

Beyond architecture, Aberdeen's cultural diversity, and museums create a vibrant tapestry of history. Old Aberdeen, with its cobbled streets and 15th-century cathedral, offers a glimpse into the medieval past, while the quirky fishing quarter of Footdee, or "Fittie," showcases the city's maritime heritage. Wandering its labyrinthine streets reveals charming cottages with weathered pastel hues, each telling a unique story against the backdrop of the North Sea.

Exploring the city's architecture, galleries and museums such as the Aberdeen Maritime Museum, Aberdeen Art Gallery and The Tolbooth Museum are among the top places to visit in Aberdeen.

Go on an outdoor adventure

Aberdeen invites outdoor enthusiasts to explore its thrilling adventures amidst breath-taking natural beauty. From seasoned explorers to those seeking fresh air, Aberdeen has something for all.

Coastal adventures

Coastal walks along cliffs and beaches, like the Donmouth Local Nature Reserve and Balmedie Beach Boardwalk, provide awe-inspiring views of the River Don meeting the North Sea. These outdoor activities are perfect for those looking for things to do in Aberdeen while enjoying nature.

Aberdeen Beach

Awarded the Resort Seaside Award in 2013, Aberdeen Beach isn't just for sunbathing and swimming; it's a wildlife hotspot, with dolphins and basking sharks often spotted. The vibrant promenade and nearby amusement park make it a family-friendly destination.

Tranquil parks

The city's lush green spaces, like Duthie Park with its winter gardens and Seaton Park with picturesque bridges over the River Don, are perfect for leisurely strolls or peaceful picnics.

Aberdeen's great outdoors await adventurers, offering coastal thrills, serene parks and the wonders of Aberdeen Beach. Nature's beauty is yours to discover in this city of outdoor excitement.


Sport enthusiasts in Aberdeen are spoiled for choice when it comes to a wide range of activities that cater to an active and dynamic lifestyle. The city's strategic coastal location and diverse recreational offerings ensure that there's something for everyone to enjoy, whether you're a sports enthusiast or simply looking for an active way to spend your time.


Aberdeen is home to some of the world's renowned golf courses, set amidst breath taking landscapes. Golf enthusiasts can tee off at courses like Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, which has a rich history and offers a challenging yet rewarding experience.

The Northeast of Scotland is often referred to as the "Home of Golf," and you'll find many courses that cater to golfers of all skill levels.


Football fans can immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere of Aberdeen's football scene. The city is home to Aberdeen Football Club and attending a match at Pittodrie Stadium is a thrilling experience. The camaraderie among fans and the passion for the sport make it a memorable outing.

Water sports

Aberdeen's scenic coast is a playground for water sports enthusiasts. Whether you're into sailing, windsurfing, or kayaking, the pristine waters of the North Sea offer an excellent backdrop for aquatic adventures.

The city's coastline is dotted with marinas and sailing clubs, providing opportunities for both beginners and experienced sailors to indulge in their passion.

Your pathway to University of Aberdeen

The University of Aberdeen is located in the heart of Scotland. Founded in 1495, the University has over five centuries of academic excellence and is the fifth oldest university in the UK.

Beyond academics, the University offers a vibrant student experience with 120+ clubs and 50+ sports clubs, fostering personal growth and lasting friendships.

The University of Aberdeen International Study Centre is the first step for international students aspiring to join the University’s respected graduates, providing a supportive pathway to this prestigious institution.

Undergraduate options

The University of Aberdeen International Study Centre offers a wide range of undergraduate pathway options, providing you with a seamless transition into your desired degree. The International Study Centre will also provide support with settling into UK life.

Through expertly designed pathways, you can choose from a variety of academic disciplines. These pathways are designed to equip you with the English language skills and academic knowledge necessary to progress to your chosen undergraduate degree at the University of Aberdeen.

Postgraduate options

The University of Aberdeen International Study Centre offers a diverse range of postgraduate pathway options for students aiming to pursue advanced degrees in various fields.

These pathways are thoughtfully crafted to prepare you for postgraduate study, providing academic and language support as needed. Whether your interests lie in business, engineering, science, or other disciplines, the University of Aberdeen International Study Centre offers tailored programmes to match your aspirations.

Discover the entry requirements and fees for the pathway programmes at the University of Aberdeen International Study Centre.


Is Aberdeen a good place for students?

Yes, Aberdeen offers a vibrant atmosphere for students. With a diverse range of cultural activities, a welcoming community and a mix of urban and natural attractions, it's an ideal setting for a fulfilling student experience. 

It is also the only city in Scotland with a Purple Flag status for the 10th year running, recognising Aberdeen’s safe and vibrant city centre (Association of Town & City Management 2023). This makes Aberdeen a safe environment for international students to live in.

Is Aberdeen a cheap city to live in?

Yes, Aberdeen is considered as one of the most affordable cities in the UK for students, according to the QS Best Student Cities Rankings 2022.

Also, students aged under 22 years old can apply to the Free Bus Travel Scheme and explore this beautiful country whilst studying in Scotland (Transport Scotland).

What is Aberdeen best known for?

Aberdeen is renowned for its distinctive grey-stone architecture, earning it the nickname "Granite City." The city's historical significance, picturesque coastline and active arts and cultural scene are also prominent aspects of its identity.