Like most major international cities, London is a treasure trove of evening activities. Whether you are a culture buff or a foodie, London has some delights waiting for you. Just remember to practice safe night-wandering behavior by staying with a group, studying your route on a map and keeping enough cash on hand for a late night cab fare back to your hotel.
London's theater scene offers something for every taste. There are the mainstream spectacle musicals, similar to those on Broadway, that fill the giant West End theaters. There is ample Shakespeare, thanks to the Royal Shakespeare Company and others. Then there is the fringe theater scene, which often includes experimental, independent or outrageous pieces that cost less than a quarter of a West End show's ticket. These shows are often staged in cafes, pubs, warehouse spaces and church basements. For the lowdown of what's on in London, consult the weekly print magazine "Time Out."
Nothing is more classic than wiling away an evening in a London pub. Unlike bars in the United States, pubs are gathering places for people of all ages and interests. In more remote areas, they even serve as the setting for community meetings and events. You can begin your sample of London pub's by popping into one that is near your hotel or on the way to a place you're visiting. However, to soak up a neighborhood pub atmosphere, it helps to get out of the more touristy areas of town. In Covent Garden, there is the Lamb & Flag, a 300-year-old institution located at 33 Rose Street. The Marylebone district offers the Barley Mow, the Chelsea district has Fox & Hounds, and, near the Barons Court tube stop you will find the Colton Arms.
London Walks (found at Walks.com) offers a surprising array of evening and nighttime tours. Those interested in the supernatural will want to try the Apparitions, Alleyways & Ale tour, while those with more macabre tastes will enjoy the Jack the Ripper tour. Other after hours walks include Ghosts of the Old City, Along the Thames Pub Walk, A West End Village Pub Walk, Haunted London, Blood Curdling London, the Hampstead Pub Walk and the Soho Pub Walk.
Whether you like house or hip hop, London's got a dance floor waiting for you. There is the snazzy jazzy Cafe de Paris (3-4 Coventry Street in the West End), the mix of industrial beats at Herbal (10-14 Kingsland Road in East London), the dressy and hip Ministry of Sound (103 Gaunt Street in South London), the mod Purple Night Club (on Fulham Road in Chelsea) and the hip hop sounds at Scala (275 Pentonville Road at Kings Cross).
Nina Makofsky has been a professional writer for more than 20 years. She specializes in art, pop culture, education, travel and theater. She currently serves as a Mexican correspondent for "Aishti Magazine," covering everything from folk art to urban trends. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mills College.