Best Things To Do In Glasgow, Scotland: 12 Unique Attractions

by Jen
Best Things To Do In Glasgow, Scotland
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Are you considering a trip to the heart of Scotland? Let me guide you through the vibrant, historic, and endlessly fascinating city of Glasgow. This city is a treasure trove of unique experiences, unforgettable sights, and rich cultural heritage that will leave you yearning for more. Here are some of the most fun, scenic, and interesting things to do in Glasgow.

The best things to do in Glasgow encompass a wide variety of attractions. Known for its stunning architecture, world-class museums, and thriving music scene, Glasgow is a city that seamlessly blends the old with the new. Its Victorian and Art Nouveau buildings stand proudly alongside modern structures, creating a cityscape that is as diverse as it is beautiful. But what truly sets Glasgow apart is its warm, friendly people, who infuse the city with an infectious energy and charm.

From the bustling streets of Buchanan Street to the tranquil beauty of Pollok Country Park, there is no shortage of things to do in Glasgow. There truly is something for everyone. To help you navigate this dynamic city, I’ve compiled a list of the best places to visit in Glasgow, Scotland.

Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, a foodie, or an outdoor enthusiast, Glasgow has something to offer. So, buckle up and get ready to explore the best of Glasgow, one attraction at a time. Here’s everything you need to know about the unique things to do in Glasgow, Scotland.

The top places to visit in Glasgow, Scotland right now
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Best Places To Visit In Glasgow, Scotland

Can’t wait to jump into all the coolest things to do in Glasgow? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this underrated vacation spot. So keep reading to find out all these unique Glasgow places to visit.

Are you looking for historic city attractions, cultural sites, and stunning architecture? Or would you prefer a relaxing escape from the city to be closer to nature? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Glasgow can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Glasgow that you should know about.

1. George Square

No visit to Glasgow would be complete without a trip to George Square. Welcome to the vibrant heart of Glasgow, George Square. Named after King George III, this bustling square is more than just a meeting point—it’s a historical treasure trove. Adorned with statues of notable figures such as Robert Burns, James Watt, and Sir Walter Scott, the square is a testament to Scotland’s rich history.

The centerpiece of the square is the stunning Glasgow City Chambers, a magnificent example of Victorian architecture. Whether you’re sipping a hot cup of coffee at a nearby café, strolling around the square, or simply resting on a bench, you’ll find yourself immersed in the city’s lively atmosphere.

George Square also serves as the main stage for many of the city’s public events, including concerts and Christmas markets. So, no matter when you visit, there’s always something exciting happening here. There’s so much to see at George Square that it’s no wonder this is among the best things to do in Glasgow.

George Square is a historical treasure adorned with iconic statues and rich Scottish history.
George Square is a historical treasure adorned with iconic statues and rich Scottish history.

2. Glasgow Cathedral

History enthusiasts will love this top thing to do in Glasgow. Step back in time with a visit to the Glasgow Cathedral, a stunning example of Gothic architecture. Also known as St Mungo’s Cathedral, this historic landmark is a testament to Glasgow’s rich religious history. The cathedral is named after the city’s patron saint, St Mungo, who is believed to have built a church on this site in the 6th century.

As you walk through the cathedral, you’ll be captivated by the beautiful stained glass windows that cast a kaleidoscope of colors onto the ancient stone floors. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the crypt, where the tomb of St Mungo is located. It’s a serene and sacred space that offers a moment of quiet reflection amidst your city explorations.

The cathedral’s location on a hill also provides a fantastic view of the city. Whether you’re a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or simply a curious traveler, Glasgow Cathedral is a must-visit destination on your Glasgow itinerary. Is this one of the coolest things to do in Glasgow? Absolutely!

Step back in time with a visit to the stunning Gothic Glasgow Cathedral.
Step back in time with a visit to the stunning Gothic Glasgow Cathedral.

3. The Necropolis

Longing for a getaway like no other? This thing to do in Glasgow is sure to meet your needs. For a unique perspective of Glasgow, head to The Necropolis, a Victorian cemetery located on a hill near the Glasgow Cathedral. This “City of the Dead” is home to around 3,500 monumental tombs and mausoleums, each telling a story of the city’s past residents.

Designed in the 19th century, The Necropolis was inspired by Père Lachaise in Paris and is considered one of the most significant cemeteries in Europe due to its collection of funerary monuments and sculptures. As you walk along its winding paths, you’ll encounter a variety of architectural styles, from Egyptian to Greek, reflecting the city’s diverse cultural influences.

But it’s not just about the past. The Necropolis also offers one of the best views over Glasgow, making it a popular spot for photographers. For those who are into history, architecture, or just someone who appreciates a good view, a visit to The Necropolis is one of the unique things to do in Glasgow.

Home to 3,500 monumental tombs and mausoleums, the "City of the Dead" tells the stories of its past residents.
Home to 3,500 monumental tombs and mausoleums, the “City of the Dead” tells the stories of its past residents.

4. Buchanan Street

Looking to visit one of the best places in Glasgow? Add this to your adventure list! If shopping is on your agenda, there’s no better place in Glasgow than Buchanan Street. This bustling pedestrian street, known as the “Style Mile,” is lined with shops for every budget, from high-end designer boutiques to popular high-street brands.

But Buchanan Street is more than just a shopping destination. It’s a charming mix of Victorian and modern architecture, with grand buildings housing contemporary stores. As you stroll along, don’t forget to look up and admire the architectural beauty that surrounds you.

The street is also home to the Gallery of Modern Art and the Royal Concert Hall, making it a cultural hub as well. And when you need a break from shopping, there are plenty of cafés and restaurants where you can rest your feet and enjoy a bite to eat.

Whether you’re a shopaholic, an architecture lover, or a foodie, Buchanan Street has something for everyone. No wonder visiting this is regarded as one of the coolest things to do in Glasgow.

Buchanan Street in Glasgow is a cool destination with something for shopaholics, architecture lovers, and foodies alike.
Buchanan Street in Glasgow is a cool destination with something for shopaholics, architecture lovers, and foodies alike.

Searching for what to do in Glasgow? Look no further than The Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA). Art enthusiasts, prepare to be captivated by The Gallery of Modern Art. Located in the heart of the city on Buchanan Street, GoMA is the main gallery for contemporary and modern art in Glasgow. Housed in a neoclassical building that was once the townhouse of a wealthy tobacco merchant, GoMA is a testament to Glasgow’s cultural evolution.

Inside, you’ll find a diverse collection of works from local and international artists, with exhibits that change regularly to keep the gallery fresh and engaging. From thought-provoking installations to innovative sculptures, GoMA offers a unique insight into the world of contemporary art.

Don’t miss the statue of the Duke of Wellington outside the gallery, which is famously topped with a traffic cone—a quirky symbol of Glasgow’s sense of humor. Whether you’re an art aficionado or a casual observer, GoMA is a must-visit destination in Glasgow. There’s no doubt this is one of the best things to do in Glasgow!

Discover GoMA on Buchanan Street - the captivating hub for contemporary and modern art in Glasgow.
Discover GoMA on Buchanan Street – the captivating hub for contemporary and modern art in Glasgow.

Looking for Glasgow activities that won’t burn a hole in your pocket? Then this is what you’re looking for! Immerse yourself in art, history, and culture at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. One of Scotland’s most popular free attractions, the museum is home to 22 galleries and over 8,000 objects. Whether you’re interested in art, archaeology, natural history, or all of the above, Kelvingrove has something for you.

The museum’s art collection is particularly impressive, featuring works by renowned artists such as Rembrandt, Monet, and Van Gogh. Don’t miss the iconic painting “Christ of Saint John of the Cross” by Salvador Dalí, one of the museum’s most famous pieces.

The building itself is a masterpiece, a stunning example of Spanish Baroque architecture set in the beautiful Kelvingrove Park. After exploring the museum, take a leisurely stroll in the park or enjoy a picnic by the River Kelvin.

For its diverse collections and beautiful setting, a visit to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is one of the unique things to do in Glasgow.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum: Scotland's popular free attraction with 22 galleries and 8,000+ objects.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum: Scotland’s popular free attraction with 22 galleries and 8,000+ objects.

7. Riverside Museum

For an unforgettable experience like no other, you’ll want to check out this top place to visit in Glasgow. For a journey through time, head to the Riverside Museum, Glasgow’s award-winning transport museum. Located on the banks of the River Clyde, the museum is a testament to the city’s rich industrial heritage, particularly its shipbuilding history.

Inside, you’ll find over 3,000 objects that tell the story of transport and travel in Scotland. From vintage cars and bicycles to a reconstructed Glasgow street from the 1900s, the Riverside Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the past. Don’t miss the Tall Ship, the Glenlee, moored outside the museum—it’s one of only five Clyde-built ships still afloat in the world.

The museum’s striking design, created by renowned architect Zaha Hadid, is a sight to behold. With its wave-like roof and glass façade, the Riverside Museum is a modern architectural gem on the Glasgow skyline.

Whether you’re a history buff, a car enthusiast, or simply curious, the Riverside Museum is one of the coolest things to do in Glasgow you don’t want to miss as it offers an engaging and educational experience.

Glasgow's award-winning Riverside Museum, a testament to the city's rich industrial heritage and shipbuilding history
Glasgow’s award-winning Riverside Museum, a testament to the city’s rich industrial heritage and shipbuilding history

8. Pollok Country Park

Attractions in Glasgow come in all shapes and sizes, but this one is among the best! Escape the city’s hustle and bustle and immerse yourself in nature at Pollok Country Park. This sprawling green space, located just a few miles from the city center, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. With its extensive woodlands, vibrant gardens, and meandering trails, Pollok Country Park offers a peaceful retreat from urban life, making a visit to this one of the unique things to do in Glasgow.

The park is also home to the Pollok House, a grand country manor filled with Spanish art and period furniture. Don’t miss the chance to explore this historic house and its beautiful gardens.

For animal lovers, the park has a delightful surprise—the Highland Cattle fold. These iconic Scottish animals, with their long horns and shaggy coats, are a sight to behold.

Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or simply looking for a peaceful place to relax, Pollok Country Park is one of the top places to visit in Glasgow. It’s a breath of fresh air in the heart of this fascinating Scottish destination.

Pollok Country Park is Glasgow's top destination for nature lovers, history buffs, and relaxation.
Pollok Country Park is Glasgow’s top destination for nature lovers, history buffs, and relaxation.

9. The Glasgow Distillery

As far as things to do in Glasgow go, this activity is among the coolest! For whisky lovers, no visit to Glasgow would be complete without a trip to The Glasgow Distillery. As the first independent single malt distillery to open in the city in over 100 years, The Glasgow Distillery is a testament to the city’s rich distilling heritage and its vibrant future.

Here, you can learn about the art of whisky making, from the selection of grains to the distillation process, and of course, the aging in oak casks. The distillery offers guided tours that provide a behind-the-scenes look at the whisky-making process, complete with tastings of their award-winning single malt.

But it’s not just about whisky. The Glasgow Distillery also produces a range of premium gins and rums, offering something for every spirit lover.

Whether you’re a whisky connoisseur or a curious traveler, a visit to The Glasgow Distillery is a must. It’s a taste of Glasgow you won’t forget. As such, I recommend this thing to do in Glasgow to everyone I meet.

The Glasgow Distillery: A must-visit for whisky connoisseurs and curious travelers, offering an unforgettable taste of Glasgow.
The Glasgow Distillery: A must-visit for whisky connoisseurs and curious travelers, offering an unforgettable taste of Glasgow.

10. The National Piping Centre

This is one of the best Glasgow things to do, hands down. Embrace Scotland’s rich musical heritage at The National Piping Centre. Dedicated to the promotion of the Scottish bagpipes, this unique institution is a must-visit for music lovers.

Here, you can learn about the history of the bagpipes in the museum, which houses a collection of instruments from across the world. You can even try your hand at playing this iconic instrument during a taster session. Whether you’re a seasoned musician or a complete beginner, the centre’s expert tutors will guide you through your first notes.

The National Piping Centre also hosts concerts and events throughout the year, showcasing the best of traditional Scottish music. Don’t miss the chance to experience a live bagpipe performance—it’s a truly unforgettable experience.

Whether you’re a music enthusiast or simply curious about Scottish culture, a visit to The National Piping Centre is a must. It’s a unique and engaging way to immerse yourself in Scotland’s musical traditions. As one of the top Glasgow attractions, you’ll definitely want to add this to your travel itinerary.

The National Piping Centre: Immersive Glasgow attraction for Scottish musical traditions.
The National Piping Centre: Immersive Glasgow attraction for Scottish musical traditions.

11. Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park

Looking for the most unique things to do in Glasgow? Don’t miss this one! Just an hour’s drive from Glasgow, you’ll find the breathtaking beauty of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. This natural paradise is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts and anyone seeking a peaceful escape from the city.

Loch Lomond, the largest inland stretch of water in Great Britain by surface area, is a sight to behold. Its sparkling waters, dotted with islands, are framed by rolling hills and lush forests, creating a landscape that’s truly picture-perfect.

The park offers a wealth of activities, from hiking and cycling to boating and wild swimming. For a unique experience, take a cruise on the loch and soak up the stunning scenery from the water.

Don’t miss the charming villages that dot the park, like Luss and Balmaha, where you can enjoy local cuisine and warm Scottish hospitality.

Whether you’re an adventurer, a nature lover, or simply seeking tranquility, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is a must-visit. It’s a slice of Scottish wilderness that’s sure to captivate you. For those seeking rest and relaxation, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is one of the best places in Glasgow you should know about.

Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is a serene natural paradise, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts and city escapists.
Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is a serene natural paradise, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts and city escapists.

12. The Shish Mahal Restaurant

It would be a crime to write an article on the top things to do in Glasgow without mentioning The Shish Mahal Restaurant. While Glasgow has a lot to offer in terms of gastronomic and culinary delights, The Shish Mahal Restaurant is a standout for being the legendary birthplace of the tikka masala curry.

This popular dish, a creamy blend of tomatoes, spices, and marinated chicken, has become a staple of British-Indian cuisine. And at The Shish Mahal, you can taste the original recipe. The restaurant’s warm and welcoming atmosphere, combined with its delicious food, makes it a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

But it’s not just about the tikka masala. The Shish Mahal offers a wide range of Indian dishes, from spicy vindaloos to flavorful biryanis, all prepared with fresh ingredients and traditional cooking methods.

Whether you’re a foodie, a curry enthusiast, or simply hungry, a visit to The Shish Mahal is a must. It’s a culinary journey that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving more. As such, The Shish Mahal is one of the top places to visit in Glasgow.

The Shish Mahal: A must-visit for foodies, curry enthusiasts, and anyone craving a tantalizing culinary journey.
The Shish Mahal: A must-visit for foodies, curry enthusiasts, and anyone craving a tantalizing culinary journey.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Glasgow, Scotland

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Glasgow? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Glasgow, Scotland:

What is Glasgow best known for?

Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, is best known for:

  1. Victorian architecture: The city boasts grand Victorian buildings and an impressive cityscape.
  2. Art and culture: Home to numerous museums and galleries, including the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and the Riverside Museum.
  3. Charles Rennie Mackintosh: The famed architect and designer left his distinctive Art Nouveau mark on many city buildings, like the Glasgow School of Art.
  4. Music scene: Renowned for its vibrant live music, with venues ranging from the intimate King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut to the expansive SSE Hydro.
  5. Shopping: Argyle Street, Buchanan Street, and Sauchiehall Street make up the city’s “Golden Z”, a shopper’s paradise.
  6. Friendly locals: Glaswegians are known for their warmth and humor, which contributes to the city’s welcoming atmosphere.
  7. Universities: The University of Glasgow and others make it a significant educational hub.
  8. River Clyde: Once the heart of shipbuilding in the UK, the river and its history are central to Glasgow’s identity.

Glasgow offers a dynamic mix of history, culture, and contemporary vibrancy. This makes the city a must-visit destination in Scotland.

When is the best time to visit Glasgow?

Glasgow is a city for all seasons, but the most popular times to visit are during the spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November). During these periods, the weather is generally mild, and the city’s parks are either bursting with colorful blooms or showcasing stunning autumnal hues. However, each season brings its own charm, from the festive lights in winter to the lively festivals in summer.

How many days do I need to explore Glasgow?

While it’s possible to get a taste of Glasgow in a day or two, to truly appreciate the city’s rich history, vibrant culture, and diverse attractions, a stay of three to four days is recommended. This allows time to explore the city’s iconic landmarks, discover its hidden gems, and perhaps even venture out to the nearby Loch Lomond.

Is Glasgow expensive to visit?

Compared to other major European cities, Glasgow offers excellent value for money. Many of the city’s top attractions, such as the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, are free to enter. Additionally, Glasgow offers a wide range of dining and accommodation options to suit various budgets.

Kelvingrove Park and Museum, Glasgow: A vibrant blend of colorful flowers and nature's beauty.
Kelvingrove Park and Museum, Glasgow: A vibrant blend of colorful flowers and nature’s beauty.

What is Glasgow famous for?

Glasgow is renowned for its stunning architecture, rich history, vibrant music scene, and friendly locals. It’s also celebrated for its contributions to art and design, particularly the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. And let’s not forget the food—Glasgow is the reputed birthplace of the tikka masala curry!

What food is Glasgow known for?

Glasgow is known for its diverse food scene. Don’t miss trying a tikka masala curry, which was reportedly invented in the city. Other local favorites include haggis, black pudding, and deep-fried Mars bars.

Is it worth visiting Glasgow Scotland?

Absolutely! Glasgow is a vibrant hub of culture, boasting world-class museums, stunning architecture, and a lively music scene, making it a must-visit destination for any traveler. Its unique blend of historical charm and modern dynamism offers an experience that’s truly worth the journey.

Which is better, Glasgow or Edinburgh?

Choosing between Glasgow and Edinburgh is like picking between two exquisite jewels – each city shines in its own unique way. While Edinburgh offers a historic charm with its ancient castles and cobblestone streets, Glasgow boasts a vibrant cultural scene with its world-class museums and dynamic music scene, making both cities equally captivating in their own right.

Closing Thoughts on Exploring Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, is a destination that effortlessly combines history and modernity, culture and fun, relaxation and adventure. From the stunning architecture of Glasgow Cathedral and the bustling shopping haven of Buchanan Street to the tranquil beauty of Pollok Country Park and the cultural treasure trove of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow has something for everyone.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, a foodie, or an outdoor adventurer, Glasgow promises a wealth of experiences that cater to all tastes and interests. So, why wait? Start planning your trip to Glasgow now. Immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant atmosphere, explore its diverse attractions, and create unforgettable memories. Glasgow is waiting to welcome you with open arms and a warm Scottish smile.

The top things to do in Glasgow, Scotland for all types of travelers
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