Fourth-largest city in Scotland and home to the University of Dundee, Abertay University and iQ Parker House, historically rich Dundee has undergone something of a renaissance in recent years, with a diverse creative scene encompassing food, music and art making it an appealing place to live and study. The new jewel in the city’s crown, the V&A Dundee opened on the waterfront in summer 2018 – this redeveloped quarter on the banks of the Tay is within easy walking distance of Parker House and the universities.
There’s plenty more waiting for you too. Here are some of our favourite places to be in Dundee.
Dundee Contemporary Arts – 14 min walk
There is no shortage of cultural inspiration to discover in Dundee, and the DCA is one of the best places to find it. Offering plenty of opportunities to both see and create art, the centre features two beautiful gallery spaces, a print studio and hosts regular events and workshops in the Create Space. Look out too for international movies showing at the DCA’s two-screen cinema – the programme is one of the most eclectic you’ll find, and all the more interesting for it.
Reading Rooms – 17 min walk
Housed in the unlikely venue of an old library on Blackscroft, the Reading Rooms (great name) hosts some of Dundee’s coolest club nights, with an emphasis on reggae, drum and bass and jungle. Its stellar reputation has been built over many years (it has been a Dundee fixture for more than 15 of them), and the club’s independence sets it apart from the jager-bomb-fuelled chain-club scene – you’ll find no Love Island ‘celeb’ appearances here. Another admirable characteristic is the Reading Rooms’ commitment to local talent, with many club nights in the hands of dexterous Dundonian DJs.
Clarks on Lindsay Street – 7 min walk
You can catch live music in various bars around the city, and one of the best-known for it, Clarks, is an easy stroll from our front door. A friendly place popular with all ages, it hosts acts from across the musical spectrum, with jazz, funk, blues and ska all represented. At weekends, cover bands and resident DJs keep Friday and Saturday nights going well into Saturday and Sunday morning, and whether you want a cocktail, a craft beer or a coffee, they will make sure you’re taken care of.
V&A Dundee – 19 min walk
This striking new gallery is set to bring plenty of visitors to Dundee, but you’ll be able to drop in any old time. The V&A sits on the water’s edge, and the building itself, designed by renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, is reason enough to visit. The beautiful interiors host ambitious exhibitions showcasing Scottish design in diverse contexts. Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Oak Room stands at the centre – a meticulously reconstructed tribute to the country’s acclaimed designer and architect. Admission is free, and you’ll find a café, bar and restaurant looking out on the magnificent River Tay.
Pacamara – 22 min walk
This popular little place on Perth Road serves up a great range of casual dining dishes, from breakfast and brunch to handmade burgers and grilled sandwiches. Lots of good vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, as well as guest coffee blends and locally brewed beers, add extra interest to the menu, and the chandelier-lit interior is just a little bit fancy. Search for food photos online – we think you’ll be heading there soon.
Jessie’s Kitchen – 30 min bus
If you like cake (and no mistake), a trip to pretty Broughty Ferry, just east of Dundee city centre, could well be in order. While they do lots of other tasty treats too, like waffles and sourdough sandwiches, the cakes are particularly spectacular – even for a city with a celebrated slab named after it. With new additions and returning old favourites added to the mix all the time, you can try something new on every visit. Just off Albert Road, it would be easy to miss, so Google that location first.
Mozza – 14 min walk
Just in case you don’t get enough pizza put your way at iQ, it’s reassuring to know that this wonderful Italian restaurant is just a short walk away. Authentic wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas, tasty desserts and great prices make it a very popular spot – and if you put away a little too much you can follow your visit with a healthy walk on the waterfront, just 5 minutes from Mozza's location on Whitehall Street.
Twin City Café – 22 min walk
If Middle Eastern food is your thing, or you want to try something new, the friendly Twin City Café comes highly recommended. There’s falafel, houmous, kebabs, moussaka, tasty meat platters and much more, and the sweet treats like baklava are not to be missed. If you’re up early, stop by this café on Perth Road for their yummy Arabic Breakfast.
Clark’s 24-Hour Bakery – 19 min walk
This family-run bakery is something of an institution around Dundee – as indeed anywhere you can buy a pie at 3am should be. They go far beyond the standard bakery fare, with soup, chips, baguettes, ice cream and Scottish specialities like bridies among the temptations on offer. The bean and tattie pie (filled with mashed potato and baked beans) seems like the sort of thing everyone should experience at least once, and their legendary Helicopter burger is the perfect end to a night out. Clark's is a bit off the beaten track, but well worth finding.
J A Braithwaite – 11 min walk
A specialist tea and coffee merchants on Castle Street, Braithwaites can lay claim to being Dundee’s oldest shop, first opening in 1868 on City Square. It has the feel of a trip back in time, because it still boasts many of the original fixtures and fittings. Needless to say, their knowledge is top-notch, so this really is the place to go for an unusual blend or perhaps an eye-catching teapot for your kitchen. They roast their own beans too, so it smells amazing.
Groucho’s – 12 min walk
This legendary music store has been a cornerstone of the Dundee music scene since 1976, and its incredible collection of vinyl is definitely worth a rummage. Their reputation is such that the store has attracted international attention and several celebrity fans, including rock icons like Johnny Marr and Lenny Henry, so be sure to head down to the shop on Nethergate to see what they’ve got. But, be quick – ‘Breeks’ Brodie, who has been at the helm for 42 years, is retiring shortly, so it’s fingers crossed that Groucho’s will continue with a new owner.
Quirky Coo – 13 min walk
A cool gift shop tucked away on Union Street down near the V&A, Quirky Coo is a great place to find a present that’s a little bit out of the ordinary. There are plenty of Scottish influences (and cows!) to be found throughout the store, with everything from jewellery and candles to framed prints, books and greeting cards. Their highland cow doorstops are so cute and furry, everyone will be stopping at your door to admire them.
Dundee is quite easy to walk around, but if you do need public transport, Parker House is around 15 minutes from the train station, down by the river, and 12 minutes from the bus station on Seagate. For more details of public transport in the area, have a look at dundeetravelinfo.com
Your iQ team will be happy to help you get to know Dundee better, so please ask at Reception if you need any help. And if you find somewhere in town that you think everyone else should know about, let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using hashtag #MyiQLife
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