Glasgow on a budget
Glasgow on a budget
Looking to have a full city experience without breaking the bank? From attractions to entertainment, there is much to enjoy in Glasgow for cheaper prices than expected or even for free!
Attractions and museums
Glasgow is unique in that many of the city's top museums and galleries are free-to-visit. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and The Burrell Collection are 2 of Scotland's cultural gems, famed for their world-class cultural collections, as well as their beautiful parkland settings.
Located side-by-side on the River Clyde are The Riverside Museum and The Tall Ship. Explore the city's maritime history and transport museum, both ideal attractions for all the family.
For social history, The People's Palace explores Glaswegian lives over the decades, while St Mungo's Museum of Religious Life and Art delves into the importance of religion across time and place. In the city centre, the Gallery of Modern Art hosts world-class work by leading artists in a stunning building.
For details on each of these free-to-visit attractions visit glasgowlife.org. Here you'll find out more about tours (some free and some £7 per head), as well as about the free daily organ recitals in the stunning grand hall at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.
Glasgow City Chambers is one of the city's most majestic buildings, set in the heart of the city in George Square. Take a free tour of its Instagram-worthy interiors - visit the city council's website for details.
Fairfield Heritage Centre explores when Glasgow was home to the greatest shipyard in the world (book a free tour at Fairfield's website). If sport is more your area of interest, then check out the museum and stadium tour at Scotland's National Football Stadium. Book via Scotland Football Museum's website for 1 tour (£8) or both (£13).
Tours and trails
Expert guided bus tour
A great way to take in many of the attractions is on the City Sightseeing Bus Tour. Once you've got your day ticket (£16), enjoy sights and attractions on the move with 22 stops to choose from. Too much to take in on 1 day? Upgrade your ticket to a 2-day ticket for an extra £1! Book at city sightseeing's website.
Self-guided tours by foot
- City centre mural trail takes in the giant street art that brightens up city buildings. Visit our mural page for details.
- City centre contemporary art trail takes a tour around public art works by national and international artists. Visit our art trail page.
- Get ideas on where to visit to recreate scenes from the big screen by checking out our Film & TV locations page.
- Looking for beauty? Then check out our top Instagrammable spots in Glasgow page for a seasonal list.
Parks and outdoor activities
Glasgow is known as the Dear Green Place due to its large number of green spaces. The southside is home to the city's 2 biggest parks - Pollok Country Park and Linn Park. The west end has some of the prettiest parks - Botanic Gardens and Victoria Park. While the east end is home to the city's oldest park, Glasgow Green, and the north has the newest green space in the award-winning Hamiltonhill Claypits at the canal-side. Visit our parks and gardens page for more inspiration.
Outdoor hidden gems
- Hidden Gardens - the back of Tramway opens out to a green urban space that is great for contemplation or attending events. Visit hiddengardens.org.uk.
- Glasgow Necropolis - a beautiful Victorian cemetery with great views of the city. Visit glasgownecropolis.org.
- Children’s wood - a green space designed to connect children to nature and bring people together. Visit the childrenswood.co.uk.
- Lane wanders - the west end is the place to go for strolls down cute, cobbled lanes full of creative businesses. Check out Ashton Lane, The Hidden Lane and Ruthven Mews.
Active and sporty
For fun outdoors, there are many different kinds of activities to enjoy. At Kelvingrove Park in the west end, you can play lawn bowls and tennis for free (book in advance via glasgowlife.org). The skate park is also free-to-use for all ages.
Ticking all the boxes of healthy, sustainable and affordable, OVO Bikes are a great way to explore the city on 2 wheels. Hire a bike (minimum of £1 for 20 minutes; maximum £10 for 24 hours) and check out some suggested routes on the Smarter Travel Glasgow website.
Popular across the UK, Parkruns are free 5km timed events taking place in various parks. Known for a friendly and open to all atmosphere, visit parkrun.org.uk to find a local event to take part in.
Entertainment for all
Music for all
Music is all around in Glasgow, the UK's first UNESCO City of Music. A not-to-be-missed Scottish experience in Glasgow is an evening in a cosy pub listening to traditional musicians jamming. The best spot for this is in Finnieston, where you can enjoy live music over a whisky at the likes of The Ben Nevis Bar, Islay Inn, Park Bar.
From blues music at The Howlin' Wolf to jazz sessions at Blue Arrow Jazz Bar, from trad nights over sharing plates at Stravaigin to beats from the DJ at Red Sky Bar, there are lots of free live music sessions to enjoy across the city. Visit our bars in Glasgow with free live music for details on each of these and more!
Cinema and theatre
For cinema lovers, the Glasgow Film Theatre does deals throughout the week, such as their £6.50 tickets before 5pm on Fridays and their pay-what-you-decide screening every second Monday. Check out glasgowfilm.org for what's on.
From independent to blockbuster, you can expect luxury recliner seats at the Vue cinema at St. Enoch Centre, which have an £8.99 price for any film at any time. They also run family deals at the weekends. Visit myvue.com for listings.
For theatre, try out A Play, A Pie and A Pint at the beautiful Oran Mor in the west end. Not only will you enjoy an original play but you'll get your lunch included in the ticket price, which is £15 during the week (£12 on Wednesdays). Visit playpiepint.com for what's on.
Culture in the neighbourhoods
Platform arts centre, Glasgow Women's Library and The Glad Cafe are 3 community venues that programme responsibly priced cultural events that have reach beyond their neighbourhoods. Check out what's on at Platform's website, visit womenslibrary.org and visit gladcafe.co.uk.
Also, check out our what's on section and tick free events or search for a certain price range to display what's coming up soon.
Glasgow has a varied food scene that covers all tastes and budgets. From cheap bites on-the-go to deals, there is much to choose from.
Sugo Pasta and Paesano Pizza are 2 sister restaurants that are open for walk-ins only. They serve up yummy and authentic pasta and pizza for all the family at reasonable prices. There are also a number of great spots for sit in or on-the-go, including Korean meals from Kimchi Cult! and award-winning kebabs at Shawarma King. Open weekends only, Dockyard Social and Platform both offer great street food in casual and cool surroundings. Find out details on each of those mentioned plus many by visiting our Tasty Food at Good Prices page.
The Star Bar is a Glasgow institution. Based in a triangular tenement building, the bar has served up 3-courses at unbeatable prices for years. Expect some Scottish classics, such as pie and chips, great banter from locals and change from a fiver!
Article last updated: October 2022