With a third of the population aged under 30, a large number of motor manufacturing, publishing, science and technology-based companies, and an exceptional cultural and entertainment scene, Oxford offers life with real cosmopolitan vibe. Here are our best local finds you will want to enjoy while living in Oxford.
A morning jog with a view
Living in Oxford allows for starting your day on one of the many fitness trails of South Park. Have a break at the hilltop to enjoy the absolutely best view of the city, including the famous ‘dreaming spires’. On another day you might want to catch a hot air balloon flight with Adventure Baloons (April and October).
Another good choice for a morning jog is Port Meadow. It’s one of the largest open spaces in the north of city. With the River Thames flowing through the heart of the meadow, it’s also a perfect place for a picnic bbq or weekend fishing.
If you’re still hungry for practicing sports, Oxford University Park offers multiple possibilities, including a game of quidditch!
Urban rooftop yoga
With unique views of Oxford’s dreaming spires, the Rooftop Terrace Westgate center is the ultimate destination in the city. It offers an eclectic mix of places to eat, drink and more. You will find high class world cuisines there, as well as some daytime entertainment such as a cinema or escape rooms. Our favourites are the Sunday rooftop yoga sessions and the amazing Sticks’n’Sushi restaurant.
Coworking and coliving
The quality of your daily life depends on where and who you live with, and how you work. Are you a social animal all about community living and working? Check out the relaxed modern community-centric Dodo Works coworking space and well-being oriented coliving opportunities with B-Hive Living. You will end up spending your days with like-minded professionals from around the world, just as excited about living in Oxford as you are.
Living in Oxford like a local
To experience the fantastic multi-cultural energy East Oxford is known for, Cowley Road is the place to be. It’s a colourful, quirky neighbourhood filled with students, ethnic food and second hand shops. Cowley has also become known for the many stunning murals. They reflect the area’s bold and dynamic spirit through paint.
To quench your thirst for reading, you cannot miss the Blackwell’s book shop. It features three miles of shelving in the shop’s Norrington Room alone. There are now nine branches of Blackwell’s in the city, but the original Broad Street shop is hands down the one to check out.
If you’re a lover of the vintage scene, the Unicorn is Oxford’s quirky staple. It’s an ideal shop for the adventurous and determined rummager, with stacks of frilled petticoats, structured waistcoats, 1950s tea dresses and sequined shirts.
Take advantage of the wonderful atmosphere of the local markets. The oldest Covered Market is compact and colourful, full of aromas of fresh fruit, coffee, and fresh baking. You’ll find everything there, from hats to custom-made cakes, skateboards, tea, shoes and more. The market is the place to discover small, independent businesses.
Bring plenty of shopping bags on your way to the Wolvercote Farmers’ Market. You will be excited to stock up on organic fruit and veg, locally-reared meat, artisan bread and cheese, cakes, chutneys and more.
If you love burritos more than anything, you will see eye to eye with Mission Burrito. It was born our of borderline obsession with the burritos of San Francisco. Mario’s is where you go for a truly genuine Italian experience… and where Italians are reminded of their grandmothers’ kitchens. For the possibly the best authentic Chinese-Malasian in the country, visit Zheng.
Afternoon tea with a theme
Right on top of the world’s oldest museum with terrific views of the picturesque spires of Oxford, afternoon tea is a specialty of the Rooftop Terrace Ashmolean Museum. It’s often themed to tie-in with whatever exhibition is showing. It’s one of the best ways to feel the exceptional atmosphere of living in Oxford.
Excellent dinner venues
The Giggling Squid Thai Restaurant offers staggeringly good Thai food and absolutely beautiful interior design. For a more local traditional treat, The Perch pub is an excellent choice. As an institution as old as the Oxford University, over at least 800 years it’s been a favourite of some of Britain’s best poets and authors, a frequent haunt of Inspector Morse, and even an influential venue on the British Jazz scene.
If it’s entertainment you’re looking for, then Oxford offers everything from student club nights to stand up comedy, classical concerts, plays and musicals, several cinemas and an abundance of live-music venues. Our personal recommendation would be the Raul’s Cocktail Bar. It is named as one of the Top 50 Bars in the World by The Sunday Times. It also offers cocktail classes!
However you’d like to enjoy living in Oxford, the independent Daily Info newsletter lists everything going on in the city and is a great way to find things to do.