The cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow are exciting destinations to visit for the architecture, culture and music scene. The capital city draws large crowds each year – some for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, others for the questionable 'summer' weather.
Glasgow, once Edinburgh's seedier little sister, is growing in popularity and has polished up its image a bit since the 1990s. Just like anywhere, though, the streets of both cities can get rough and rowdy after dark. Here are a few things travelers should know.
While the city center of Edinburgh should treat you well, some spots, particularly housing estates, are spooky after dark, such as the Meadows, Grassmarket, Cowgate, Tollcross and Lothian Road.
Areas you'll probably want to avoid completely include Muirhouse and Pilton in the north, Niddrie and Craigmillar in the southeast and Sighthill and Wester Hailes in the west.
If you look on several popular travel forums, many claim Glasgow has problems with drunks and fanatical football fans, who either side with the Celtic or Rangers, but what city doesn't?
Residents downplay this part of the population, whose members may get drunk and loud after a match no matter if their team won or not, though admit there are wandering drug addicts, who won't do much harm other than maybe ask for money, out-of-control youth and those who like to fight with knives.
A resident points to an area between Central Station and St. Enoch Square housing homeless shelters and vagrants. If this population makes you nervous, stay away.
Stay away from housing estates known as Govan and Partick.
None of these people are likely to cross your path and do you harm if you keep your wits about you.
There are some "unsavoury" youths in the form of NEDs, which stands for "Non-Educated Delinquent." You can spot them by their tracksuits, flashy jewelry, immaculate-white sneakers and baseball caps. They're often seen loitering and drinking cheap booze around Scotland. They like to start trouble and may aggressively pester passerby.
In Glasgow, a resident points to Sauchiehall Street as having a tendency to get loud when bars close at 3am.
There is sometimes some grumbling and rumbling in the taxi queue, and if someone bumps into you, just ignore them, and don't try to queue-jump.
Some bars in Glasgow also attract mostly Old Firm football fans, so they'll be packed full of rowdy folks on game days. These pubs are often in one area, like the Celtic stretch of bars in Barrowlands , while the Rangers stake out a few bars near Paisley Road West.
Some pubs and clubs in the city center and West End of Glasgow require very nice attire, and sneakers and any sports gear are normally not allowed. Some even have a "regulars-only" policy. Some establishments also won't let in a group of more than four men at a time. You can usually get around this by going in two at a time and acting like you don't know the other pair until you're deep into the pub's dark corners.
As a patron, never argue with a bouncer in Glasgow. Pick up your pride and move to the next pub. They have their reasons for kicking you out or denying you, and they don't want to tell you them.
If you must use night buses in Glasgow, keep to the lower deck and be mindful of your belongings to avoid thieves.
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