Bristol is father to Banksy and Brunel, two upstarts who have certainly left their conceptual tags all around this intimately sized city. Large enough to host a hugely diverse array of districts from the classy cobbled, cafe and boutique lined lanes of Clifton - perched at the top of the city - to the street art blanketed bohemian artist hang out of Stokes Croft, Bristol caters for even the most ardent of tastes.
Bristol is home to many major clubs. One of the best is Motion, which attracts the biggest names from the world of electronic music to its skate park location. Bristol is a force in the world of electronic music and the prodigal home of dubstep, so specialist nights such as Subloaded at the Croft in Stokes Croft are sure to build a sweat on ones brow and get hearts palpitating to unusual beats.
Bars like the Canteen across the street from the Croft also offer a daily array of musical treats. Check out the one off shows at the contemporary Arnolfini gallery, located at the Waterfront.
With independent and high street coexisting happily, the city has a wealth of different shops. The recently opened Cabot Circus shopping centre has all your high street favourites, from American Apparel to Top Shop. It is now easily the best high street-type shopping destination in the South West. Park Street features lots of alternative and small designer clothes shops as well as the Bristol Guild and Fopp. Clifton is home to expensive delis and boutiques while Gloucester Road has vintage clothes and charity shops galore: just don't mention Tesco.
Bristol has a great selection of restaurants. It's brilliant for vegetarians and has eateries that focus on locally sourced and sustainable produce. Circle Books in Southville is the perfect place to relax and have tea and cake whilst perusing the books for sale. The Southville located Tobacco Factory, which features its own theatre and Sunday food market, is the ideal place to wash the tea and cakes away with a local brew.
Pizza Provencale in Clifton is a student favourite - a great place for massive pizzas. The Thali on Picton Lane in Montpellier is a great joint to grab some fresh vegetarian Indian delicacies, while the Lido in Clifton is a high-quality restaurant with a view over an intimate swimming pool hidden away in Clifton's backstreets.
For gigs, there is the Louisiana, Trinity Centre, the Thekla and the newly renovated Colston Hall - hosting larger international names - and the Croft. Bristol has two art house cinemas, the Watershed for international film festival favourites and the more leftfield and idiosyncratic Cube Cinema. Run by volunteers, it also hosts breathtaking, under the radar live musical treats in its theatre. The city has a strong art scene, the main contemporary gallery being the Arnolfini, while the Bristol Old Vic has claimed its place on the international thespian and dance map.
Of areas popular with students, Clifton offers the most expensive student accommodation and Bedminster the least. Hotwells, Clifton and Whiteladies Road are all popular with University of Bristol students. UWE students tend to live in areas like Fishponds or Frenchay. Bower Ashton students and UWE art students opt for Hotwells, Southville or Bedminster.
There is always something new and exciting happening in Bristol. Creativity seems to be bubbling under the surface, so get out there and explore!
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