With a wealth of cultural attractions, world class architecture and design, fantastic shopping and a year round programme of exciting events and festivals, which span the worlds of music, film, theatre, art and sport, it is easy to understand why Glasgow has been named as one of the 20 ‘Best of the World’ destinations for 2016 by National Geographic Traveler!
Here we lift the lid on the 16 must-do’s when you visit the city:
Explore World-Class Museums & Galleries
The city is home to more than 20 world-class museums and art galleries and is proud to have one of Europe’s largest civic arts collections with works by Dali, Van Gogh, Degas and Monet all available to view free-of-charge in venues around the city. Highlights include the wonderfully eclectic collection at Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, the vibrant contemporary art offering at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) and Riverside Museum, the city’s museum of transport and a recent European Museum of the Year.
Uncover Glasgow’s Vibrant Neighbourhoods
Glasgow is a city of surprises where each turn can bring a new discovery, be it a new pop-up shop, an exhibition from an up-and-coming Glasgow artist or the next big thing playing live music at a local bar. One of the best ways to experience the city’s vibrancy is through its different neighbourhoods. From the fashionably Bohemian West End to the leafy Southside, from new kid on the block Finnieston to the historic Merchant City, Glasgow’s neighbourhoods are a great way of getting under the skin of the city and discovering your own hidden gems on the way.
Take a Glasgow School of Art Tour
Designed by Glasgow-born architect and artist, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the Glasgow School of Art has become the creative epicentre of Glasgow with alumni including Douglas Gordon, Dr Who’s Peter Capaldi, Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos and iconic designer Pam Hogg.
Glasgow School of Art runs an award-winning tour programme and taking a tour is a must – choose from the Mackintosh at the GSA tour and learn all about the man himself and his position as a founding father of the European Art Nouveau movement, or gain an insight into Glasgow’s vibrant art and architecture scenes with a Creative Glasgow or Mackintosh’s Glasgow Walking Tour.
Go to a Gig
As a UNESCO City of Music, Glasgow hosts an average of 130 music events each week. Glasgow’s legendary music scene stretches across the whole spectrum from rock to RnB, punk to pop, classical to celtic and everything in between. The city’s venues are fantastic and range from small, much revered bars like Nice n Sleazy to huge stadiums such as the SSE Hydro. The iconic King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut and Barrowland Ballroom are consistently voted as top live music venues by musicians and fans alike.
Take a Glasgow Music City Tour
Learn all about the fascinating places, people and performances which have shaped Glasgow’s musical landscape and given the city its place as one of the best music destinations out there! You can choose from the Glasgow Music Mile or Merchant City Music tours and hear tales of legendary gigs ranging from David Bowie’s performance at the Barrowland Ballroom to Stan Laurel’s debut at Britain’s oldest surviving music hall, the Britannia Panopticon.
Explore the Art Scene
Glasgow is globally renowned as a hub of cutting-edge art and is home to award-winning artists, including seven Turner Prize winners, world class art galleries and studios including Tramway, SWG3 and The Modern Institute, and fantastic arts festivals.
Food, Glorious Food
Glasgow’s food & drink scene is going from strength to strength with award-winning restaurants, innovative pop ups and street food festivals satisfying the appetites of foodies from near and far!
Enjoy a Play, a Pie and a Pint
Liven up your lunch time and take in a performance at A Play, A Pie and A Pint! The team have been delivering an innovative and creative programme of lunchtime theatre, with the obligatory pie and pint, since 2004 at Glasgow’s Oran Mor, one of the city’s favourite multi-entertainment venues, located in a beautiful refurbished church.
Take Afternoon Tea
This quintessentially British pastime has found a welcome home in Glasgow, with an abundance of places in the city, including the Hidden Lane Tearooms, Cup Tea Lounge, and Blythswood Square, available to enjoy delectable sandwiches, freshly-baked scones, sumptuous sweet treats and warming teas.
Dine out on Daal
Glasgow has been awarded the title of Curry Capital of Britain on a number of occasions and taking a trip to one of the many great Indian restaurants in the city is a must when visiting Glasgow. Why not try Indian tapas at Mother India’s Café or pay a visit to Mister Singh’s India where you can learn how to make your own Haggis Pakora.
Be Inspired by Architecture & Design
Glasgow will be celebrating Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design with a year-round programme of exciting activities and events. Glasgow has an extraordinary architectural landscape, from the Victorian splendour of Glasgow City Chambers and the Art Nouveau magic of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art to Zaha Hadid’s ultra-modern design for Riverside Museum. The city’s skyline is truly iconic!
From a design perspective the city is bursting at the seams with creativity – Glasgow based designers include the likes of Timorous Beasties, Trakke, bluebellgray, William Chambers, Iona Crawford and Brazen Jewellery.
Have a Drink at Drygate
Collaboration, creativity, and fearless brewing… Drygate is the UK’s first experiential craft brewery! Learn all about the process behind their delicious craft beers on a brewery tour and put your new knowledge to the test by enjoying a taste of their favourite beers afterwards.
Immerse yourself in Scotland’s Traditions
As Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow has a rich cultural history and there are plenty of ways to experience it:
- Blend your own whisky at Glengoyne Distillery
- Take a bagpipe lesson at the National Piping Centre
- Get your dancing shoes on for a Sloan’s Ceilidh
- Take a tour of Tennent’s Brewery and learn all about the rich heritage of one of Scotland’s favourite brands
- Research your ancestral ties at the Mitchell Library
Taste Treats from Glasgow’s Larder
From Dear Green Coffee Roasters, Delizique, Cottonrake, Tapa, Plan Bee Honey and Makar Gin, Glasgow is home to a range of local producers and specialist delicatessens that offer a delicious taste of Glasgow.
Explore ‘The Dear Green Place’
The Gaelic translation of Glasgow, Glaschu, literally means Dear Green Place – a very appropriate name for a city which boasts over 90 parks and gardens within its city boundaries. Why not take a walk around Kibble Palace in the Botanic Gardens, visit the Highland Cattle at Pollok Country Park, take a cycle around the city or enjoy a leisurely round of golf at one of the world class courses Glasgow has on its doorstep, including Turnberry and The Carrick.