The West End (for theater) and the Southbank (for theater, music, the Tate Modern, and the British Film Institute) are the two absolute must-visits. The Tate Britain in Pimlico, and the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery on Trafalgar Square, house some of the greatest collections of art in the world; the Barbican is a fantastic arts center for contemporary music, theater, and film. London boasts a burgeoning, year-round fringe, so keep an eye out for the bars, pubs, warehouses, and other unlikely buildings all over the city that offer alternative creative spaces.

London celebrates every kind of music known to man, from the rock-and-roll weekend of Lovebox to the classical season of the Proms and the alternative strains of Meltdown at the Southbank. London Fashion Week, part of the couture world’s Big Four, takes place in September, as does the Mayor’s Thames Festival, an excuse for a giant street party on the banks and bridges of the river. The Lord Mayor’s Show, in November, is a piece of grand pageantry held every year since 1215 with processions and fireworks. But these are just a few highlights—London guarantees some kind of festival every week.