Being stuck in St Andrews this spring break doesn’t need to keep you from having a good time. To branch out from the routine of St Andrews nightlife, it’s time to take advantage of what Edinburgh has on offer. Unlike our calm backwater, the city is full of popular bars and clubs, as well as gourmet restaurants, live music, theatre, and dance. All of this is well within your reach, but in order to do all of these things without breaking the bank, there is a little bit of planning required.

The main challenge of a night out in Edinburgh is getting there. The bus, as students well know, is cheaper and slower than the train It’s best to keep the mode of transport consistent on the incoming and outgoing legs, as two single tickets for either will be more costly than a round-trip ticket.

A primary limiting factor is the lack of public transportation after eleven-ish, when the last train of the night runs, and, unfortunately, around the time when most urban nightlife is just getting started.

In light of this, there are three options when embarking on a night on the town with the help public transportation: make it an early night and catch the last train home; keep the party going until the first trains and buses start running again early the next morning (later on weekends!); or book a cheap bed in a hostel or an AirBnB and return unrushed and well-rested the following day.

The unmentioned fourth option is sitting on a train station bench through the wee hours of the morning, which is about as much of a buzzkill as you’re going to find, so plan ahead.

Before indulging in a night of dancing and drinking, a spot of dinner is both an enjoyable and advisable part of a night-out. The Bia Bistro, in central Edinburgh, is a local favourite and comes recommended. The French-inspired restaurant adds a Gaelic twist to its creative and inspired dishes. The unique menu offerings are a great start to the night, and surprisingly affordable price point staves off guilt.

Once you’re full of delicious food, it is time for the main event of your evening, the time to work off  some of those prandial calories and hit the dance floor.

To further cut costs, visit night clubs with free entry, allowing you to instead spend money on enjoyable extras like food and drink. Consider, for example, the Hive, one of Edinburgh’s most popular and central nightclubs open seven nights a week, has no entry fee and is situated just off the Royal Mile. The drinks here flow freely and cheaply, starting at as little as a quid. Clubs in Edinburgh, in addition to being cheaper and offering more variety than their St Andrean counterparts, shut their doors later — at three in the morning.

Once you’ve had your fill of dancing for the night, grab a kebab, falafel, or other late-night snack on your way to your crash pad. This, along with a few glasses of water, will keep a fun night out from transforming into a nightmarish morning of regrets and aspirin.

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