things to do in glasgow

Last Updated on: 11th June 2024, 05:26 am

Greetings from Glasgow, Scotland! As a travel journalist and avid adventurer, I’ve had the pleasure of exploring some of the best destinations around the world. Today, I’m excited to share with you the top things to do in Glasgow City, Scotland, perfect for tourists looking to experience the best this beautiful city has to offer.

With its rich history, culture, and buzzing vibe, Glasgow is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Scotland. Whether you’re a history buff, foodie, shopaholic or culture enthusiast, Glasgow has something to offer you.

Things to do in Glasgow City, Scotland

1. Explore Iconic Landmarks in Glasgow

When visiting Glasgow, one cannot miss the chance to explore its iconic landmarks that showcase the city’s rich history and architectural beauty. One of the must-visit landmarks is the Glasgow Cathedral, believed to have been built in the late 12th century. It is the oldest building in Glasgow and boasts stunning Gothic architecture. Another iconic landmark is the Glasgow City Chambers, located in the heart of the city center. This beautiful building is the focal point of George Square and is one of the most impressive examples of Victorian architecture in the United Kingdom.

For art enthusiasts, a visit to the Glasgow School of Art is a must. Designed by the famous Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, this building is considered a masterpiece of Art Nouveau architecture. Unfortunately, a recent fire in the building has made it temporarily closed to the public. However, it remains a significant point of interest for tourists, particularly those interested in design and architecture. Another landmark worth visiting is the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, home to one of Europe’s great art collections.

No visit to Glasgow is complete without experiencing Glasgow’s Riverside Museum, which showcases over 3,000 objects and artifacts from Glasgow’s rich transport history. From the Revolutionary Fatigue Meter, one of the first mechanical fatigue meters produced in the UK, to trams and vintage cars, this museum has something for every transport enthusiast.

iconic landmarks Glasgow

“Glasgow has a rich history and culturally significant landmarks, showcasing the city’s architectural evolution.”

The Iconic Landmarks of Glasgow:

Name Description
Glasgow Cathedral The oldest building in Glasgow with stunning Gothic architecture
Glasgow City Chambers Located in the heart of the city center and one of the most impressive examples of Victorian architecture in the UK
Glasgow School of Art Designed by the famous Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, considered a masterpiece of Art Nouveau architecture
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum Home to one of Europe’s great art collections
Glasgow’s Riverside Museum It showcases over 3,000 objects and artifacts from Glasgow’s rich transport history, from revolutionary fatigue meters to trams and vintage cars

2. Immerse Yourself in Glasgow’s Vibrant Culture

As a lover of culture, Glasgow is the perfect destination to experience the creative buzz of Scotland’s largest city. Glasgow’s vibrant culture is showcased through its art galleries, museums, theaters, and music scene, making it an ideal place for both tourists and locals to explore.

Art Galleries

Glasgow has a thriving art scene, and you can explore it by visiting the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, and the Gallery of Paisley Museum. From post-impressionism and surrealism to contemporary and modern art, Glasgow’s art galleries offer a diverse range of exhibitions that cater to every taste.

Glasgow's Art Galleries

Museums

From ancient history to modern science, Glasgow’s museums provide a wealth of knowledge and exploration. The must-visit museums in Glasgow include the Riverside Museum, the Glasgow Science Centre, and The People’s Palace & Winter Gardens.

Theaters

Glasgow is home to a variety of theaters, offering everything from classical performances to contemporary plays. You can experience the grandeur of the Theatre Royal, the unique Tron Theatre, and the vibrant King’s Theatre Glasgow.

Music Scene

Glasgow’s music scene is legendary, with the city boasting a rich history of producing world-renowned artists. You can soak up the atmosphere at the famous Barrowland Ballroom, visit the O2 Academy Glasgow, or explore the vibrant venues on Sauchiehall Street.

Whether you are an art enthusiast, a history buff, or a music lover, Glasgow’s vibrant culture is sure to captivate and inspire you. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore this iconic city’s creative spirit.

3. Enjoy Nature and Parks in Glasgow City

If you’re looking for a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of Glasgow City, look no further than its beautiful parks and green spaces.

One of my personal favourites is the Glasgow Green park, located on the banks of the River Clyde. The park boasts extensive open spaces, gardens, sculptures, and historic monuments, including the People’s Palace Museum and the Doulton Fountain, making it a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll or a picnic on a sunny day.

parks in Glasgow City

Another gem in Glasgow City is the Kelvingrove Park, situated in the city’s west end. The park offers spectacular views of the Glasgow University and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, as well as a skatepark, tennis courts, and a playground for families.

For an immersive nature experience, visit the Pollok Country Park, the largest park in Glasgow City. This expansive park spans over 360 acres and features lush woodland, stunning gardens, a boating pond, and a working farm. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the famous Highland cattle and Clydesdale horses roaming freely in the fields.

No matter what your preference, Glasgow City’s parks and green spaces offer something for everyone. Take a break, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy the natural beauty of this vibrant city.

4. Indulge in Glasgow’s Culinary Delights

As a food lover, I can say with confidence that Glasgow is a foodie’s paradise. With a wide variety of culinary options, Glasgow is a melting pot of traditional Scottish dishes and international cuisines. From the legendary haggis to mouth-watering steaks, fish and chips, and seafood, there is something to suit every palate and budget.

One of my personal favorite spots is The Ubiquitous Chip, located in the trendy West End. Their menu features fresh, locally sourced ingredients with a modern twist on classic Scottish dishes. For those who crave spicier flavors, Topolabamba is a Mexican restaurant that delivers authentic Mexican street food and cocktails.

For vegans and vegetarians, Glasgow has a plethora of options, such as The Hug and Pint that offers plant-based dishes, live music, and a cozy atmosphere.

Don’t forget to try Glasgow’s national drink, Irn Bru, before leaving. It’s a fizzy, bright orange-colored soda that has a unique sweet taste.

Top 5 Must-Try Glasgow Dishes

Dish Description Restaurant
Haggis A traditional Scottish dish made of sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs cooked with onions, spices, and oatmeal. Ubiquitous Chip
Cullen Skink A rich and creamy soup made of smoked haddock, potatoes, onions, and cream. The Sisters
Scotch Pie A small, handheld pie filled with minced meat, onions, and spices. Aulds
Cranachan A traditional Scottish dessert made of whipped cream, raspberries, honey, and oats. Stravaigin
Fish and Chips Fried fish in a crispy batter served with chunky potato chips. Old Salty’s

These dishes are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Glasgow’s culinary scene. Be adventurous and try something new; who knows, it might become your new favorite dish!

5. Shop ’til You Drop in Glasgow Town Centre

Shopping in Glasgow Town Centre is an exciting experience for anyone who loves fashion, art, and antiques. With a mix of high-end boutiques, independent stores, and vintage markets, the shopping scene in Glasgow Town Centre offers everything you can imagine and more.

For high-street fashion and designer labels, head to Buchanan Street, one of the most fashionable addresses in Glasgow. This pedestrian paradise boasts a variety of shops, including Zara, Topshop, and AllSaints, as well as luxury brands like Mulberry and Ted Baker. You can also find high-end department stores like John Lewis and House of Fraser.

Those looking for unique and independent stores should visit the quirky Ashton Lane in the West End. The street is lined with interesting shops like Space, a designer jewelry store, and Braw Wee Emporium, which sells a range of Scottish-made products and souvenirs.

For antique enthusiasts, the Glasgow Vintage Co in the Merchant City is a must-visit. This family-run shop sells beautiful antique and vintage jewelry, watches, and homeware. For art collectors, the Glasgow Print Studio offers limited edition prints by local artists.

The Best Shopping Destinations in Glasgow Town Centre

Shopping Area Highlights
Buchanan Street High-street fashion, designer labels, luxury brands, department stores
Ashton Lane Unique and independent stores, designer jewelry, Scottish-made products
Merchant City Antique and vintage jewelry, watches, homeware, limited edition prints by local artists

Aside from shopping, Glasgow Town Centre is home to several cafes and restaurants, where you can grab a quick bite or take a break from shopping.

shop in Glasgow Town Centre

So, whether you’re looking to update your wardrobe or find the perfect gift or antique, Glasgow Town Centre is the place to be.

6. Experience Glasgow’s Thriving Nightlife

When the sun sets, Glasgow comes to life with its thriving nightlife scene that caters to all tastes, like Manchester City. From laid-back bars to lively pubs, from thumping clubs to intimate live music venues, the city offers something for everyone who loves to party and have fun. So, whether you’re a student, a professional, or a visitor, the nightlife in Glasgow won’t disappoint.

Dive into the city’s bustling nightlife and discover the vibrant local music scene. Glasgow is known for producing some of the best musicians, such as Franz Ferdinand, Travis, and Paolo Nutini, and continues to surprise visitors with emerging talents. Catch live gigs at popular venues such as King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut or the Barras Art and Design Centre, or head to the legendary Sub Club that has been entertaining revelers for over 30 years.

If you prefer a more laid-back atmosphere, Glasgow has plenty of cozy bars and traditional pubs that offer a diverse range of drinks, from the finest single malt whiskies to the local craft beers. Sip your drinks and relax in the cozy corners and snug booths at the Pot Still or the Bon Accord, or soak up the history at the oldest pub in Glasgow – the Scotia Bar, which has been welcoming guests since the early 18th century.

For those who love clubbing, Glasgow has many options. Feel the energy of the crowd and dance to the eclectic beats at Sub Club, SWG3, or the Garage. These clubs are renowned for hosting some of the best DJs and music events in town. Alternatively, if you are looking for something more low-key, head to Nice N Sleazy or the Flying Duck, where the vibe is relaxed, intimate, and perfect for mingling with new people.

“Glasgow’s nightlife is second to none. With so many great venues and options for a night out, it’s hard to choose which one to go to!”

The mix of traditional and modern nightlife options makes Glasgow unique and exciting for everyone. Moreover, the city’s thriving and safe nightlife culture has earned it the accolade of “Best UK Student City” several times. So, safely enjoy Glasgow’s vibrant nightlife and have an unforgettable time.

7. Explore Hidden Gems in Glasgow City

When you’re exploring Glasgow City, don’t miss out on its hidden gems. These off-the-beaten-path attractions are perfect for those looking for unique experiences that most tourists overlook. From quaint neighborhoods to local markets, there’s something for everyone in Glasgow City.

Quirky Cafes

If you’re looking for a cozy atmosphere and delicious food, head to The Willow Tea Rooms on Sauchiehall Street. The stunning Art Nouveau decor will transport you to a bygone era. For a taste of the East, try Hug and Pint, a vegan-friendly bar and restaurant that hosts live music events.

Street Art

Glasgow is home to some of the best street art in the world. Take a stroll around the city to see Smug’s murals on High Street and the Mural Trail in the city center. For a unique tour, sign up for a street art walking tour with Walking Heads.

Hidden Museums

If you’re interested in history, check out the The Scotland Street School Museum and the Piping Centre. These hidden gems offer a glimpse into Glasgow’s past and culture. Don’t forget to visit The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, which houses an impressive collection of scientific and cultural artifacts.

Quaint Neighborhoods

Explore the charming neighborhoods of Glasgow, such as the bohemian West End and Maryhill. You’ll find independent shops, artisanal bakeries, and friendly locals who are happy to share their stories with you.

Offbeat Markets

If you enjoy browsing unusual markets, Glasgow has plenty to offer. The BAaD Markets (Barras Art and Design) in the East End are housed in a refurbished car garage and feature local vendors selling handmade crafts, vintage clothing, and artisanal food. For a unique shopping experience, visit the Inverkeithing Car Boot Sale, one of Scotland’s largest car boot sales.

Conclusion

As a journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to explore the city of Glasgow, and I can confidently say that there’s no shortage of things to do here. From visiting iconic landmarks to immersing yourself in the city’s vibrant culture, Glasgow has something for everyone.

Take a stroll in its parks and nature reserves or indulge in its culinary delights, and don’t forget to shop for souvenirs in Glasgow Town Centre. At night, Glasgow comes alive with its thriving nightlife featuring live music, pubs, and clubs. And if you want to discover Glasgow’s hidden gems, explore its local markets and quaint neighborhoods. Glasgow City, Scotland, is truly a must-visit city for tourists seeking a unique blend of history, culture, and vibrant experiences.

FAQ

What are the top things to do in Glasgow City, Scotland for tourists?

Glasgow City offers a wide range of activities for tourists. Some of the top things to do include exploring iconic landmarks, immersing yourself in the vibrant culture, enjoying nature and parks, indulging in culinary delights, shopping in the town center, experiencing the thriving nightlife, and uncovering hidden gems.

What are some iconic landmarks to visit in Glasgow?

Glasgow is home to several iconic landmarks, including the Glasgow Cathedral, Glasgow Science Centre, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Riverside Museum, and the Glasgow Necropolis. These landmarks showcase the city’s rich history and architectural beauty.

How can I experience Glasgow’s vibrant culture?

To immerse yourself in Glasgow’s vibrant culture, you can visit art galleries such as the Gallery of Modern Art, explore the city’s museums like the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens, catch a show at one of the theaters, and enjoy live music performances in venues like the Barrowland Ballroom.

Are there any parks or green spaces to enjoy in Glasgow City?

Absolutely! Glasgow City is home to beautiful parks and green spaces where you can relax and enjoy nature. Some popular ones include Glasgow Green, Kelvingrove Park, Botanic Gardens, and Pollok Country Park.

What culinary delights can I try in Glasgow?

In Glasgow, you can indulge in a wide range of culinary offerings. From traditional Scottish dishes like haggis and Scotch pies to international cuisines like Indian, Italian, and Chinese, there’s something to suit every palate.

Where can I go shopping in Glasgow Town Centre?

Glasgow Town Centre is a shopper’s paradise. You’ll find a mix of high-end boutiques on Buchanan Street, antique shops in the West End, and vibrant vintage markets at the Barras. Don’t miss out on the Princes Square shopping center for a unique shopping experience.

What is the nightlife like in Glasgow?

Glasgow boasts a thriving nightlife scene. There are plenty of bars, pubs, clubs, and live music venues where you can enjoy a night out. From trendy cocktail bars to traditional Scottish pubs, Glasgow has something for everyone.

Are there any hidden gems to explore in Glasgow City?

Yes, Glasgow City is full of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Explore the off-the-beaten-path attractions like the Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre, visit local markets like the Barras Market, and wander through charming neighborhoods like the Merchant City to uncover the city’s hidden treasures.