17 Cool things to do in Shoreditch by a Local
This post will guide on all the cool things to do in Shoreditch London by a local that spends way too much time in London's home of hipsters!
I love Shoreditch, I spend most of my weekend milling around East London drinking artisan coffee and using the various free co-working space on offer in Shoreditch.
Shoreditch is one of the most eclectic areas in London, filled with artisan coffee shops and burger joint alike, small start-ups fill with London’s youngest and brightest. Vintage shops, pop-ups, markets and speakeasies that serve some of the most devilishly delicious cocktails and the famous street art we know East London for.
There are more cool things to do in Shoreditch than you can shake a stick at.
But most people miss out on all this action as they spend their time exploring the main attractions in central London and forgetting to explore other less famous, less expensive and sometimes even more spectacular areas in London.
So, once you get past central London’s main attractions, why not venture East? East London that is and see what this once run-down area in London offers.
For more from my London travel guide series check out my prettiest Mews streets in London, best things to do in London, bottomless brunch Shoreditch, things to do in Peckham, Neals Yard Covent Garden, best brunch in London, things to do in Brick Lane, things to do in Shoreditch, best food markets in London, best desserts in London, 4 day London itinerary and day in London.
A brief history on Shoreditch
The Shoreditch that people see now is a far cry from the Shoreditch of 20 years ago. This once run-down neighbourhood with its many abandon warehouses and working class residence. Has undergone gentrification into one of the hippest areas in London frequented by Londoners in the know and creative freelancers.
Shoreditch now has a global reputation for its vibrant street art scene, artisan coffee shops, rooftop bars, vintage shops and food markets and being the heart of London’s hub for small tech start-ups.
Shoreditch is now one of the hottest areas to visit in London and with so many people visiting London, mainly sticking to neighbourhoods like Kensington, Notting Hill and Westminster, leaving Shoreditch undiscovered. Which is a shame as the area has so much to offer and gives you an insight into daily London life.
So, if this is your first time visiting Shoreditch London. I’ll list some of the best things to do in Shoreditch including best places to eat in Shoreditch, things to see in Shoreditch, best restaurants and cocktail bars in this guide to Shoreditch.
Now lets get into what to do in Shoreditch!
Check out my Youtube video of cool things to do in Shoreditch
Watch my London instastories for my experience of both the Shoreditch Street Art and East London Food Tour highlights.
Things to do in Shoreditch and East London
Boxpark has become synonymous with Shoreditch. Boxpark is made from disused shipping containers stacked up to two levels with the first level mostly made up of cute home and clothing shops and the upper level comprising mostly of food shops.
Some of the best places to eat in Boxpark are:
Soft Serve Society for all your instgrammable desserts and Eat Chay for some tasty vegan Asian much.
Rudie’s Jerk Shack for a bit of Jamaican flavour (I am Jamaican, so I will always give you the lowdown on the best Jamaican restaurants or food trucks in London), their signature jerk chicken and curry goat and Voodoo Rays for undeniably good New York style sliced pizza.
There are also Boxparks in Croydon and Wembley, but I think Shoreditch Boxpark is the best one.
Boxpark also hosts pop-up shops throughout the years, so keep an eye out for these when you’re visiting.
East End Food Tour
You can’t visit London’s East End without taking a bite from its rich culinary cuisine and learn about it the heritage of the area from one of the many brilliant food tours.
Various food tours run in East London, like the Eating Europe Food tours which I’ve done or any other East London food tour. The tour offers you a chance to sample a wide range of food that reflects the multicultural area.
You’ll get an opportunity to tuck into the chocolate truffles from the West African Cocoa House, sample samosa and curry from Brick Lane famed ‘curry mile’ and try the famous beef bagel. Check East London food tour ticket prices here.
Taking a food tour is one of the most fun things to do in Shoreditch.
Visit Dark Sugars House London
If there is one chocolate shop, to visit in London, it has to be Dark Sugar.
Dark Sugars brings the taste of West Africa to the streets of East London with their Dark Sugars Chocolate Shop and Dark Sugars Cocoa House. Indulge in handmade chocolates, vegan truffles, and luxurious hot chocolate, so rich you won’t be needing any other sugar for months.
Don’t worry if you’re vegan as they also do vegan chocolates and vegan hot chocolates.
Visit Dinerama Shoreditch Yard
Dinerama Shoreditch is where it’s at on the weekends in East London. Dinerama is a food and drinks market from the food genius Street Feast, London’s leading street food market company.
At Dinerama you can tuck into everything from jerk chicken at white man can’t jerk to spicy steamed dumpling at Yum Buns and nitrogen ice cream from the famous Chin Chin Labs.
Dinerama is open from 5 pm until 1 am Thursday to Saturday, this split level 1,000 capacity space has a party atmosphere. Food, drinks and good vibes - What’s not to love?
Shoreditch London things to do visit Queen Hoxton
Catch A movie at the Queen of Hoxton. On a warm summer’s night, there is no other place to be than on the rooftop at the Queen of Hoxton bar.
But you won’t go there just for the panoramic views across the East, it’s also the place for London most famous outdoor cinemas. Sprinkled with comfy deckchairs, the venue hosts nightly movie screenings of old classics and new releases.
Check their website to see what’s showing and book in advance as ticket goes for here, especially for cult classics.
Visit Brick Lane
You can’t visit Shoreditch without exploring every nook and cranny of Brick Lane with its rows of vintage shop, markets and curry houses. There is something for everyone on Brick Lane.
If you want to know more, check out my post on things to do in Brick Lane Shoreditch.
Visit Brick Lane Market
Brick Lane market comprises five different markets collectively known as the Truman Markets which includes the Brick Lane Backyard Market, Boiler House, Sunday UpMarket, Brick Lane Tea Rooms and Vintage Markets. You can read more in my post on the best things to do in Brick Lane.
Brick Lane Vintage Market
Brick Lane vintage market is one of the top things to see in Shoreditch.
Vintage shopping gets no better than in Brick Lane for one-of-a-kind accessories and clothing, Brick Lane’s vintage market and vintage shops are a goldmine for vintage lovers or anyone looking for unique pieces.
There are many vintage shops and independent boutiques in Brick Lane like Atika Shoreditch (previously known as Blitz London) being one.
The Sunday Market on Brick Lane has a vast collection of second-hand vintages while Redchurch Street (which even has a make-your-own-perfume lab) is the go-to place for contemporary designers.
Shoreditch things to do visit the Old Truman Brewery
They have transformed the Old Truman Brewery into a creative space for some of London most exciting events like London first brunch festival, London annual coffee festival, a street food market with everything from Mexican to vegan cakes and much more.
Your visit to Shoreditch and things to do in East London isn’t complete without visiting Old Truman Brewery, Sunday Upmarket and Backyard Market.
Cool things in Shoreditch visit Cereal Killer Cafe
Bring your childhood breakfast dreams to life by visiting Cereal Killer Cafe, the UK’s first cereal themed cafe with over 120 (and growing) branded breakfast cereals.
Get your sugar rush on with my favourite childhood cereal lucky charms, but don’t stop at one cereal, no don’t be basic. Go for a Unicorn poop which has as much E numbers as the UK allows in a packaged food or if you like balls go for the salty balls bowl of cereal.
They also have a vegan menu, so they leave no one out of their sugary goodness.
Visit Old Spitalfields Market
Spitalfields Market is a one-stop shop for fashion, art, food and events in East London.
You’ll be able to find local artists with one-off pieces in Spitalfields Market, along with some of the best street food London offers from Japan to Jamaica. Spitalfields market is a foodie destination in London waiting to be explored.
Brick Lane Beigel Bake
One of the best things in Shoreditch are the Beigels 🥯 if you are into your food and trying foods from cities I'm visiting.
Brick Lane is home to Beigel Bake, the much-loved bagel institution, that’s been serving freshly baked bagels since 1974. This 24 hours bakery is clubbers and late night sneakers looking to carb load.
Beigel Bake focuses on traditional style beigels with hot salt beef, pickles and (English or American mustard - personally thinks it taste better with the English mustard, but you can decide for yourself).
There is usually a queue at this place, but it moves relatively quickly. Beigel Bake excepts cash only, but there is a cash point (ATM) across the street you can withdraw money from.
Central London may be known for its high-end art galleries and museums, but East London is where you’ll find real visual inspiration. Right there in the streets, on the shopfronts and in the tiny always for all to see.
Shoreditch has a breathtaking street art scene, full of amazing ever-changing murals, lining walls, lampposts and buildings.
Take a walk along Brick Lane, Redchurch Street and the Shoreditch Triangle, and you will find some of the best street art you’ll ever see.
There are however a few museums and art galleries, such as the Geffrye Museum which is free, where you can learn about the history of Shoreditch.
I recommend taking the Shoreditch Street Art Tour by Dave to learn more about street art, the artist and how street art has evolved over time. You’ll also learn what’s the difference between street art and graffiti and why many of the local business welcome having a street artist - murals on their buildings.-
This is one of the best street art tour, I’ve done in London and highly recommend. You can even check out my Instagram highlight for this tour. Doing a street art tour is one of the top things to do in East London.
You’ll see art like this one from the street artist Stik that was created in 2010 and was ranked number 17 in the list of top UK artwork ever!! Not just street art.
The art showing an interracial couple holding hands (a Muslim girl wearing a nib and a white guy). Stiks even consulted with the local Muslim community before he did the piece to ensure that the community would not be offended.
The piece has endured amidst Shoreditch’s ever-changing murals, tagging by lesser-known artist and even now when adverts are taking the form of murals in Shoreditch. Check Shoreditch Street Art Tours prices here.
Columbia Road Flower Market
Columbia Road Flower Market is an iconic East End flower market.
Take a trip down Columbia Road Flower Market. This Sunday Market in London is loved by flat (house) proud Londoners that flock to Columbia Road Flower Market, rain or shine to peruse the rows of flowers, houseplants, succulents to even herbs. Carrying these houseplants triumphantly back on their bikes and the overground to their flats.
Columbia Road flower market lines both sides of a narrow streets and gets crowded from around 10 am (the Columbia Road Flower Market opens at 8 am), so it’s best to get there early to avoid the crowds. Also, even though some flower vendors take cards, quite a few vendors only accept cash. So, have cash on you.
Visit Columbia flower market is one of the top things to do in East London.
East End Cinema
Visit some of the finest cinema’s you’ll find on the East End. If there’s one thing that Shoreditch boasts of is its dedicated art spaces and independent cinemas. In Rich Mix, you can get to enjoy a performance from upcoming comedians, musicians and artists besides good cinema.
The Electric Cinema offers an indulgent and a cosy cinema experience that comes with plush armchairs and a deli-bar instead of popcorn and soda.
Historic Houses on Wilkes and Princelet Street
Another one of the top things to do in Shoreditch is to enjoy excellent and historical scenery. There are beautiful and historic houses on Wilkes and Princelet Street that deserve mention too.
You just need to walk along these streets to witness some of the most historic building in Shoreditch. This is most one of the unique things to do in Shoreditch.
Best Rooftop Bars in Shoreditch
There are a lot of fabulous sceneries in Shoreditch that are open to the public. There are excellent rooftops such as The Curtain, Queen of Hoxton, Boundary and Aviary for beautiful rooftop experiences.
You can watch the sun set over the London skyline at Aviary. Eat, drink and swim on the rooftop at the breathtaking venues. You might need to book Boundary ahead though.
Places to eat in Shoreditch and best restaurants in Shoreditch
The name is derived from the Peruvian Named after the Peruvian phrase for a woman from the Andes.
Andina serves healthy traditional food like the ceviche, superfood smoothies and a great brunch breakfast menu from Peru. For more brunch spots in Shoreditch, read my guide to the best Brunch in Shoreditch.
Hawksmoor opened in London in 2006 and has been the go-to steakhouse ever since. The steak at the main restaurant is supplied by The Ginger Pig.
The Spitalfields branch will wow you with their underground bar with gourmet burgers and crazy cocktails menu. If you book the restaurant on a Monday, you can bring your own bottle of wine. This is one restaurant where you are guaranteed to get value for your money.
The Smokestak Shoreditch
The Smokestak started out as a street food joint before moving to be a full-on restaurant. You can enjoy an affordable menu consisting of cured pigs jowl, burnt lemon, monkfish tail and beef brisket among other dishes. Most of the dishes are smoked to perfection.
The Smokestak is your perfect Southern-style barbecue restaurant with a strong touch of British culture.
Dishoom Shoreditch London
The Dishoom brings to Shoreditch hints of old India and faded elegance.
It has created a balance between traditional Bombay dishes and modern cuisines. You will find on the menu tasty small plates of curries, naan rolls, lamb samosas, gunpowder potatoes, kebabs and more.
Check out my guide to the best bottomless brunches Shoreditch which includes a full review of Dishoom Shoreditch.
The Pizza East
The Pizza East housed in a former tea warehouse, offers delicious classic, antipasti pizzas and wood-oven home comforts which includes a moreish mac ‘n’ cheese.
These are just a few of the Shoreditch restaurants, you have to visit while in Shoreditch.
Best bars in Shoreditch
Blues Kitchen Shoreditch
Serving up hearty Texan BBQ and blues music. The Blues Kitchen brings a touch of southern soul to East London. With luxury leather style booths, vintage posters imported from Nashville and a string of the famous artists that has played there including Jim Jones Revue, Norman Jay and Andrew Weatherall.
This makes the Blues Kitchen the ideal spot for blues and music lovers.
The Blues Kitchen’s American style menu is also not to be overlooked with favourites, including lobsters and mac n’ cheese and buffalo wings.
I think Nightjar is one of the most unassuming speakeasy-style bars in Old Street. With just a brown wooden door with a small black bird to mark the spot of this subterranean bar. Step inside this sophisticated speakeasy, if you have a pendant for live blues and jazz music and some wicked cocktails.
With cocktails from pre-prohibition era starting from 1600 to 1918 (top tip for cocktail - Toronto a mix of quaglia fernet coffee and pecan maple syrup with candy floss for those with a sweet tooth).
Prohibition: 1918 -1932 and post-war: 1940 -2000 (top tip for cocktail - Name of the samurai with Nikka whisky from the barrel, lime popcorn tea infusion and Akashi tai sake). NightJar is a most the cool Shoreditch bars to visit.
Ace Hotel Shoreditch
Ace Hotels is one of the coolest hotels in Shoreditch, with its welcoming lobbying for visitors, locals and freelancer. Amazing breakfast to dinner offerings, world sounds from rocks roots reggae, dub, Afro-infusion beats, jazz and everything in-between. Ace hotel is a whole vibe.
That vibe continues on into the evening when young professional Londoners stop by the hotel’s bar to catch up their first with a few cocktails before heading out to enjoy Shoreditch’s clubs.
The Book Club
The Book Club is well known for its excellent brunches, stylish cocktails and creative events.
Mainly popular with Londoners, the Book Club is a pandora box of fun.
Where you can enjoy art workshops, exhibitions, ping pong tournaments, live drawings plus cool club nights with established DJs on a weekly rotation. All in one night! You won’t get bored when you visit The Book Club.
Play Ping-Pong at Bounce
Bounce opened in Shoreditch in 2015 and has since then offered a distinctive and active way for patrons to socialise with each other. It is basically a bar filled with ping pong tables that doubles up as a restaurant and offers endless brunch on Sundays. Whether or not a drinker, Bounce has every need of yours taken care of. Bounce is also a trendy restaurants in Shoreditch.
Best Clubs in Shoreditch
Enjoy the Shoreditch nightlife at some of the best clubs in Shoreditch.
Once known for its theatres and brothels, Shoreditch is now known for nightclubs and bars.
There is never a boring night in Shoreditch. While you may find clubs such as XOYO and Cargo to be a little expensive, they are cheaper than the clubs in central London.
Now you know what to do in Shoreditch. This list of things to do in Shoreditch, highlights just a few of the many places to go in Shoreditch.
How to get to Shoreditch
Getting to Shoreditch should not be that difficult. There are many transport options to the East End of London.
You can use the overground on the Shoreditch High Street, the Northern line on Old Street Station, Liverpool Street Station, or the District and Hammersmith and City lines on Aldgate East if you are using the tube as a means of transport.
You can also use the city mapper app to find a bus to Shoreditch.
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