I have the opportunity to stay with a friend in the Haymarket area of Edinburgh the second two weeks of August. Is this a bad time to go? Are midges a big problem in Edinburgh? Will the festivals ruin the vibe? How is the Haymarket area to stay in?
Will the festivals ruin the vibe?
The festivals are the vibe. This is the World’s largest arts festival.
Is your accommodation free? If not expect to pay 3 or 4 times the September rate.
If the accommodation is free of charge then I'd say go for it. As long as you enjoy the chaos of the festival and being among big crowds. No midges in Edinburgh! Haymarket is as good as anywhere. Pretty central and public transport is very good.
A lot may depend if you want to enjoy the festival.... Some people love it. Others would avoid like the plague. If you are wanting to just see the tourist attractioins in Edinburgh andd don';t want the razz ma tazz of the festival (and all the crowds noise etc) then it might not be the best time to be there.
If you go at that very busy time, I suspect you'll need dinner reservations (possibly even lunch reservations?) at anything other than order-at-the-counter places. I'm just judging from my July 2019 experience, pre-festival.
Yes, what Acraven said. I was in Edinburgh in late August/early September last year during the Fringe and the Military Tatoo. It was quite crowded and I did have to reserve a table ahead of time at Mussel Inn and at Howies for dinner. Both places, my dinners were somewhat early in the evening (6:00, 6:30) and I reserved a day or two ahead of time. I loved the Fringe and the Tatoo
I am not going for the festivals, but I will stay with a friend who is living in Edinburgh for a few months (I am not paying for accommodations). Edinburgh has been high on my list for a while. Would prefer to avoid the festivals, but I cannot. Looks like I will need to make advance reservations for the castles (Edinburgh Castle and other nearby castles). And dinner reservations too. Thank you!
Would prefer to avoid the festivals,
I am afraid you are not going to avoid them.
Perhaps the out-of-the-center sights won't be terribly mobbed? You have the out at Leith and the very interesting Rosslyn Chapel in the town of Roslin. There's public-bus service to both. You could also pop over to Glasgow more than once.