By James Cook
1. Stokes Croft
This is the centre of the arts scene in Bristol. Its close proximity to the music collage means that it is also the centre of the music scene in Bristol with many live bands playing in the various clubs and bars. Stokes Croft is also famous for its street art with whole bars being taken over by elaborately painted murals. It is an amazing place to go for a drink whether that drink be coffee, beer or even something stronger Stokes Croft will have it for you.
Banksy is arguably the most successful street artist of all time. Hitting the scene in the UK in the mid 90s and rising to fame due to his eye catching stencil style of graffiti. His pieces regularly sell for upwards of $500 000, but if you are in Bristol (Banksys home town) you can see much of his artwork for absolutely free.
3. Park Street
Park Street is the best place to shop in Bristol. Its shops range from independent boutiques to camping to department stores. You will also be able to see an original Banksy! If you are tired of all the shopping you can take a rest in the park at the bottom of the hill or one of the many small restaurants. At night Park Streets trendy bars and clubs truly come into their own. There is one bad thing about Park Street though and that is that it is on a hill. A very steep hill…
4. Hot Air Balloons
The first manned hot air balloon flight happened in France in 1783. The first Hot Air Balloon Fiesta (a far more interesting event) was held in 1979 in Bristol and since then it has gotten HUGE. Bristol has had a long standing relationship with balloons, with one of the largest manufacturers based here. Every August hundreds upon hundreds of balloons are launched. The balloons are often strangely shaped and many do not look capable of flight.This draws crowds of over 100 000 and in 2003 the pedestrian traffic on the Clifton Suspension Bridge caused great structural strain. So much so that every year since then, during the Balloon Fiesta the bridge is closed off……to all traffic! If you are in Bristol on one of the other 361 days when there is no Balloon fiesta do not fret. You can still get in on the Ballooning fun as there are many small tour companies that can take you on Balloon rides!
Bristol is a creative mecca for music. Our 2 most famous bands have come in the form of Massive Attack and Portishead. Both of these are trip hop bands, a Genre of music that is deeply entrenched in the cities sub culture. If you are coming to Bristol for the Music be sure to check out our various clubs including Theklas (a club on an old cement barge), The Croft, The Academy, and Lakota. All of these clubs often hold live music for new unsigned bands and you may even catch the next big thing!