Things to do in Glasgow

Things to do in  Glasgow

Welcome to Glasgow

The edgier cousin of elegant Edinburgh, Glasgow has grown in recent decades to become one of Scotland’s most captivating cities. The grand Victorian architecture stands as testament to the wealth created by manufacturing and trade in the 19th century; and the contemporary bar, live-music, and restaurant scene brings travelers from far and wide. Get to know the city by taking a private walking or minibus tour to famous landmarks such as 12th-century Glasgow Cathedral, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, and Templeton on the Green; or enjoy the freedom to explore at your own pace on a hop-on hop-off bus service. Tours may include a stop at the pedestrian-only Buchanan Street, or a respite in the historic George Square. Using Glasgow as a base, explore Scotland on single or multi-day guided tours. Journey to Edinburgh—home to UNESCO World Heritage–listed treasures including Edinburgh Castle and the famous Royal Mile—and hear its history on a private minibus tour. Or travel deep into the Scottish Highlands, where you can take in the serene Loch Lomond and Loch Ness, ancient fortifications such as Alnwick Castle and Stirling Castle, and the rugged wilderness of Glencoe. Bold adventurers looking to clock up the miles can travel out to the Isle of Skye for a multi-day small-group tour or the remote Orkney Isles, where sweeping green landscapes await. And if you’re looking to wet your whistle with a traditional Scottish whisky, a Highlands distillery tour can satisfy that thirst.

Top 15 attractions in Glasgow

George Square

The cultural center of Glasgow, George Square dates back to 1781. It was named after King George III and today is surrounded by grand buildings including the Glasgow City Chambers. See statues of great Scots, visit the city’s main tourist information office, and go shopping at the annual Christmas market all in this one central square.More

Glasgow Cathedral

Dating back to medieval times, Glasgow Cathedral is the only medieval cathedral on Scotland’s mainland to have survived the Reformation almost fully intact. A magnificent Gothic construction, it features stained-glass windows, a 15th-century stone choir screen, and the tomb of St. Mungo, Glasgow’s patron saint.More

Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park

A vast landscape of hills and mountains, lush valleys, mist-shrouded lochs, and shady woodland trails, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park makes an easy rural retreat from Scotland’s biggest city. Located just north of Glasgow, the park also serves as the gateway to the Scottish Highlands.More

Merchant City

A historic quarter in central Glasgow, Merchant City has a vibrant atmosphere thanks to trendy bars and restaurants, boutique hotels, and designer shopping. Extending from Merchant Square to Royal Exchange Square, this district is popular for a city stroll or people watching at a sidewalk cafe. It’s also home to the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA).More

Cairngorms National Park

Stretching over 1,500 square miles, Cairngorms National Park is a popular destination for mountain bikers, nature lovers, sea kayakers, and hikers. The park has been named one of the world’s Last Great Places by National Geographic and is the perfect place to enjoy Scotland’s renowned wild landscapes of granite mountains and deep lochs.More

Linlithgow Palace

Many of the Stuart royals, among them James I and Mary, Queen of Scots, did stints in this loch-side 15th-century pleasure palace. Gutted by fire in the 18th century, Linlithgow lies in ruin, though evidence of its grandeur—from the great hall to the intricately carved King’s Fountain—is still plentiful.More

Glengoyne Distillery

When in Scotland, you don’t have to head to the Highlands for a taste of good whisky—you don’t even have to leave the Lowlands. The historic Glengoyne Distillery dates back to 1833 and is renowned for its award-winning malt whiskies, distilled at a third of the usual rate and matured in sherry oak casks.More

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Housed inside a striking sandstone Victorian edifice, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is one of Scotland’s most-visited cultural attractions. Works by Dali, Botticelli, and Monet are counted among its collection, alongside more eclectic items such as a taxidermy elephant, a Spitfire airplane, and a magnificent Lewis pipe organ.More

Tenement House

Peek behind the keyhole of the home of Miss Agnes Toward, a Glaswegian shorthand typist who lived in this tenement house flat between 1911 and 1965. The frozen-in-time interiors include a coal-fired stove, functioning gaslights, and Miss Agnes’ personal effects including clothes, photographs, letters, and recipes.More

Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA)

Though the pedimented and pillared Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) building is very much classical, the collection of challenging contemporary artworks contained within it are anything but. The gallery’s art collection spans the 1950s to the present day, with artists including David Hockney, David Shrigley, and Andy Warhol all represented.More

People's Palace & Winter Gardens

Set within the city’s oldest park, historic Glasgow Green, the fascinating People’s Palace documents the social history of Glasgow, recounting tales of city life from 1750 through to the 20th century. Adjoining the red sandstone Victorian museum building is the Winter Gardens, a Victorian-era greenhouse packed with tropical plants.More

Buchanan Street

Go for a stroll in Glasgow city center along Buchanan Street, a pedestrianized half-mile stretch that hosts a range of shopping, bars, restaurants, and cafes. Lined by grand Victorian buildings and frequented by street performers of all stripes, this street is a popular destination for both locals and visitors looking to shop, grab a coffee, or catch some live entertainment.More

Provand's Lordship

Built in 1471 as the home to a hospital chaplain, this grey-stone house is one of just a few surviving medieval buildings—and the only surviving medieval residence—in all of Glasgow. Provand’s Lordship now serves as a museum, with period-accurate rooms filled with antique furnishings and displays relating to the history of the house.More

Culzean Castle and Country Park

Set atop the Ayrshire cliffs, this sprawling neoclassical mansion is one of Scotland’s most famous stately homes—it even appears on the back of the Scottish 5-pound note. Designed by 18th-century architect Robert Adam, Culzean (pronouncedCullane) boasts palatial interiors and grounds that encompass woods, follies, and even beaches.More

The Lighthouse

Formerly the offices of The Glasgow Herald newspaper, The Lighthouse is now home to Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture. The building itself was designed by Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh and today is a popular attraction both for its panoramic city views from a sixth-floor observation deck and for its exhibitions, workshops, and discussions connected to design and architecture.More

Top activities in Glasgow

Loch Ness, Glencoe, and the Highlands Day Trip from Glasgow
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Oban, Glencoe, Highlands Lochs & Castles Small Group Day Tour from Glasgow
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Standing Stones, Inveraray and Kilchurn Castles & Highland Tour starting Glasgow
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Fun Bike Tour in Glasgow

Fun Bike Tour in Glasgow

Oban, Glencoe & West Highland Castles from Glasgow
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GREENOCK (GLASGOW) SHORE EXCURSION: Scotland Adventure Sightseeing Day Trip Tour
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Loch Lomond & Stirling Castle Shore Experience
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Stirling Castle & Loch Day Tour

Stirling Castle & Loch Day Tour

3-Hour Private Glasgow Essentials Tour

3-Hour Private Glasgow Essentials Tour

per group
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All about Glasgow

When to visit

After the long, dark winter, Glasgow is quick to peel off the layers and head outdoors. Springtime is for foodies, with food and drink festivals almost every weekend, while summer brings a busy roster of music festivals and open-air events, along with Scotland's largest LGBT festival. Whenever you visit, pack an umbrella and coat—showers and cold spells are always a possibility.


A local’s pocket guide to Glasgow

Gabriel Lemos

Gabriel is a Brazilian who lived in Scotland for a while and fell in love with its most populous city, Glasgow.

The first thing you should do in Glasgow is...

take a walk through the city centre. There's lots of places to visit but don’t miss George Square. Pay attention to the various murals in the area, too.

A perfect Saturday in Glasgow...

involves heading to the West End. Spend the day at the park, visit Kelvingrove and the University of Glasgow, then have a beer at one of the many pubs.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

the Necropolis. A cemetery may seem like a weird place to visit but it’s a beautiful place with so much history and a wonderful view of Glasgow Cathedral.

To discover the "real" Glasgow...

visit the Barras Market. It’s a bit of an unusual place where you can find antiques and chat with Glaswegians.

For the best view of the city...

go to the Lighthouse. At the top of the building there’s a nice vantage point that looks out over the city (although you have to walk up more than 300 steps to get there).

One thing people get wrong...

is thinking that Glasgow doesn’t cater to tourists. It's less well-known than the capital, Edinburgh, but it really does have a lot to offer.

People Also Ask

What is Glasgow famous for?

Scotland’s biggest city is known for its rich cultural scene—some of Britain’s most renowned artists and musicians are from Glasgow. The city’s earthy character is a striking contrast to the more refined Edinburgh, but its museums rival those of the capital and its food and nightlife scenes are the country's best.

How many days do I need in Glasgow?

Two days should be enough time to see all of Glasgow’s major attractions, but you should try to spend longer to get a feel of the city’s distinctive, down-to-earth character. With more than three days to spare, you could also take a day trip to nearby Loch Lomond or Ayrshire.

What visitor attractions are there in Glasgow?

Glasgow’s top visitor attractions include the striking Zaha Hadid-designed Riverside Museum on the Clyde; the red-brick Victorian Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum; Glasgow Cathedral and the grand Victorian Necropolis; the lush Glasgow Botanic Gardens; and the eclectic collections of the Hunterian Museum and Burrell Collection.

How can I spend a day in Glasgow?

Start your day in the West End, among the shops and cafes of Finnieston. Explore the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and Riverside Museum. Then walk along the Clyde to the center. Wander Merchant City, have a picnic on Glasgow Green, and see some live music—Glasgow is a UNESCO City of Music.

What activities are popular in Glasgow?

Glasgow is filled with creative people, so going to art galleries and watching live music are popular activities. Design lovers visit for the works of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, while foodies enjoy exploring the food scene. Although a big city, Glasgow has green space and easy access to surrounding mountains and lochs.

Is Glasgow worth visiting?

Yes. Visitors to Scotland should not miss Glasgow. The city has a unique, earthy character, and Glaswegians are renowned as a friendly and talkative bunch. The art and music scenes are among the best in Britain, and the city is filled with interesting architecture and free museums and galleries.

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