Grab Some Grub
Brixton Market in south London houses more than a dozen canteen-style restaurants, ranging from American burgers to Pakistani street food. Make sure to order a banana, butterscotch and cream crepe (£5 [$8]) from live-music venue Brick Box. (Cold Harbour Lane and Brixton Station Road)
Eat Like a Brit
Pies 'n' mash with liquor is so uniquely British it requires translation: beef pies with mashed potatoes and parsley gravy. M. Manze restaurant has been making the Cockney dish (£5 [$8]) since 1902. Its other specialty, jellied eels, needs no translation. (87 Tower Bridge Road)
Have a Historic Pint
The 137-year-old Blackfriar pub feels more like a step back in time than a bar. Slide into one of the red leather booths during off-peak hours for a view of the pub's 100-year-old mosaics and bronze carvings. Snack on the salty-sweet Sticky Toffee and Date Pudding. (£4.25 [$7], 174 Queen Victoria St.)
Take a Freudian Trip
Crowds driving you mad? Get a mental tune-up at Sigmund Freud's house, where he lived from 1938 to 1939. It remains just as he kept it, right down to the perfectly preserved psychoanalysis couch -- a pillowed chaise cloaked in velvet drapery. (£6 [$10], 20 Maresfield Gardens)
Stop at Song Que in Shoreditch for a bowl of the signature, authentic pho that has customers queuing up around the block. The long-simmering, herby broth is rich and full of sliced rare flank steak and springy rice noodles. (£8 [$13], 134 Kingland Road)
The iconic Old Vic theatre is known for producing some of Britain's biggest talents, like Judi Dench and Peter O'Toole. Visit during the day for a 75-minute backstage tour, equal parts ghost story and history lesson, that highlights the building's best secrets. (£10 [$16])
Join the Festivities
Follow the sounds of calypso music to the Notting Hill Carnival, an annual parade full of outlandish costumes, dancing and steel drums, said to be the biggest street fair in Europe. Try a bite of the Afro-Caribbean fare, like curried goat with rice and peas.
You're in London...You have to let yourself splurge at least once! The aristocratic yet sexy Coburg Bar at the Connaught Hotel in Mayfair the-connaught.co.uk offers a taste of luxury. Sitting in the rich burgundy and purple velvet wingback chairs, you may be tempted by the Michelin-starred restaurant's truffle menu (£145 [$235]), but don't miss the cocktails. The drinks span the past three centuries: Pimm's Cup No. 1 (£12 [$19]) -- a blend of Pimm's, lemonade, tonic and fresh fruit -- was created in the 1840s and is quite possibly the first English cocktail. Pair your drink with luxurious tapas like smoked salmon bellinis with caviar (£24 [$39]).