1. Eat some of the tastiest street food going.

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Once a month, the Boiler Shop Steamer takes over an abandoned factory near Newcastle’s Central Station for an entire weekend. Alongside pop-up bars, music and the occasional wrestling match are a panoply of the region’s best street food stalls.

Or, check out some of Newcastle’s other great eats.

2. Get cultured with public lectures by Newcastle University.

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Zander Photography / Via zndr.co.uk

Newcastle University makes a great deal of its nightlife and competitive medical department for students, but for those who have already graduated, aren’t old enough to go to university, or didn’t want to splash the cash on tuition fees, the university holds regular public lectures that it calls INSIGHTS Public Lectures.

3. Uncover Hidden Newcastle on your smartphone.

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Hidden Newcastle/Chris Stokel-Walker

You could take the very expensive open-top tourist buses that crawl round the city at a snail’s pace, but we’re pretty high up the lines of latitude here in the north east, so you may not want to risk the chance of rain.

Rather whip out your phone and download Hidden Newcastle, an app that will let you create your own tour on foot, with the potential for plenty of coffee stops in between.

4. Put some wildlife into your wild life.

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Chris Stokel-Walker

Nestled in the Ouseburn area of Newcastle is the Ouseburn Farm, a petite playground for goats, cats, pigs, cows, turkeys and tortoises, oh, and chinchillas. Once you’re done enjoying some wildlife in the middle of the city, you can walk up or down river to some of the most beautiful bars in the city.

5. Or pet a pig or goat in tranquil surroundings.

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ribs78 / Via flic.kr

Pets Corner is home to another group of animals, including alpacas, goats, sheep and birds. Situated in Jesmond Dene, nearby a babbling brook, it’s one of the best places in the region to go for a coffee and to surround yourself with nature. Every Geordie child worth their salt has played with the animals here.

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Newcastle City Council

6. Run away with the circus.

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Circus Central

Or at least learn how to enthral the circus master so they may give you a chance. Circus Central is located 10 minutes walk outside the city centre, and offers classes to those looking to learn all aspects of contemporary circus.

7. Watch free films.

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As well as serving some pretty tasty food, including duck fat and rosemary popcorn, the Tyneside Cinema cafe is also host to a number of free film nights.

Cult classics are shown on the cafe’s small screen on Monday nights. Musicals are broadcast on Sunday nights, and all can be taken in with a cup of coffee or something stronger.

8. Or pay to watch foreign films and silent classics.

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Star & Shadow Cinema

The Star & Shadow cinema is another — even smaller — independent cinema in Newcastle, with a number of great films shown that you can’t see elsewhere. From experimental arthouse projects to silent classics that simply won’t get shown on other screens, the Star & Shadow is a volunteer-run organisation that provides a different experience to the classic multiplex and costly popcorn standard.

9. Take in the area’s history on guided walks.

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Ed Young

Much of Newcastle and Gateshead’s history is beneath your feet or above your head, and the amateur historians who volunteer as Newcastle City Guides are some of the best placed to answer any questions you may have about the city.

And at £4 per walk, learning more about your surroundings won’t break the bank, either. A season ticket, allowing you to partake in all the walks, costs just £30.

10. Solve puzzles and cement friendships.

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Escape Newcastle

If you’ve got a knack for puzzles, it’s well worth checking out Escape Newcastle. This Crystal Maze-like live interactive game is a good laugh for a group of friends, or a way for work colleagues to shake out their hierarchies.

11. Learn how to dance at Dance City.

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Dance City Newcastle

Whether you’ve a penchant for the paso doble or spirit for salsa, it’s possible to get some rhythm into your life with regular classes at Dance City, a short walk from Central Station.

12. Paint pretty pictures.

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Chris Stokel-Walker

Newcastle Arts Centre, on Westgate Road, has an artists’ store cupboard for sale, and a small functioning gallery, but also hosts art courses and classes for people of all experience levels. If you have a hankering for still life, or have a blue period renaissance inside you, getting help from trained instructors can help bring out your inner Picasso.

13. Bake bread with strangers.

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Unique Thinking

Blackfriars restaurant regularly holds day-long artisan bread baking courses, giving you tips and tricks from the restaurant’s professional chefs. After the course, you get to take all the bread you baked home for family and friends. The course is costly, but the highly-rated restaurant’s reputation goes before it.

14. Read a book.

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Chris Stokel-Walker

Okay, so this one (on the surface) is something you can do in pretty much any place in any city. But rather than sidling up to a mocha in Starbucks, why not go and read somewhere inspiring?

The Literary & Philosophical Society of Newcastle-upon-Tyne is the largest independent library outside the capital, and has been in its present site on Westgate Road since 1825. It also so happens to be one of the most breathtaking buildings you’ll ever walk inside.

The Lit & Phil is a members-only lending library, but is open to the public for browsing and reading.

What have we missed? Let us know in the comments below.

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