Glasgow city centre
Glasgow city centre
Vibrant and historic, Glasgow city centre is a culture-rich neighbourhood that is home to stunning Victorian architecture, as well as amazing shopping, dining and nightlife.
New York style streets
Dining out options
Mackintosh at the Willow
Things to see and do
Where to start but right in the heart of it all! The city's civic square, George Square attracts everything from global events to people watchers. The square is lined with beautiful buildings, including the City Chambers. Join one of their free daily tours to see their impressive interiors - visit glasgow.gov.uk for tour times.
The streets of the city centre are an attraction due to the grand architecture. Head in any direction from George Square and discover some of the UK's best-preserved Victorian architecture.
It is the city centre's range of architecture combined with the US-style grid street system that has attracted Hollywood filmmakers. Check out our top film and TV locations page to find out which locations and buildings have appeared on the big screen.
Around the corner from George Square is the Royal Exchange Square - a great space for enjoying outdoor dining. In the centre of the square is a neo-classical building that houses the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA). GoMA hosts exhibitions from the best national and international contemporary artists. It is also the main venue for the biennial Glasgow International festival of contemporary visual art. To find out what free attractions are on, visit Glasgow Life's website.
GoMA is just one of many city centre historic buildings that has been restored to feature a restaurant, hotel or gallery space. The Corinthian Club, voco Grand Central Hotel and The Anchor Line are just some examples of modern places inspired by the 1800s.
Another building worth the visit for the exterior alone is The Mitchell Library. As Europe's largest public library, The Mitchell Library has one of the world’s largest collections of work by Robert Burns. It also has a family history centre to discover ancestry. Find out more at Glasgow Life's library pages online.
When walking around the city centre you can't help but spot huge pieces of street art at the sides of buildings. The City Centre Mural Trail is a great day out, whether you take a self-guided tour or an expert-led tour. Find out more at our mural trail page. The ‘hop on and off’ City Sightseeing Bus Tour is a fun way to see the city's must-see sights. Check out our tours page for more.
The city centre is also a great place to discover the work of Glaswegian architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. A must-visit is the world-class attraction Mackintosh at the Willow. Designed by Mackintosh in 1903, Miss Cranston’s original Willow Tea Rooms was restored in 2018 into a tearoom, visitor centre, exhibition space and gift shop.
Find out more about Glasgow's most famous son by visiting our Charles Rennie Mackintosh page.
- Spot art all around on the City Centre Contemporary Art Trail, a walkable route of 14 outdoor artworks. Visit our art trail page for details.
- Step back in time and discover tenement life as it was in the early 20th century at Tenement House. Visit the National Trust Scotland website for opening times.
- A lesser-known Mackintosh designed building is the Daily Record building on Renfield Lane. It is home to music and vegan venue, Stereo Cafe Bar.
- Head to The National Piping Centre and try out the bagpipes. Visit pipingcentre.co.uk for info.
- Many of the city centre's best hidden gems are found in the Merchant City. The Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre, Britannia Panoptican and Glasgow Police Museum, are a few. Find out more about these unique attractions by visiting our Merchant City neighbourhood page.
Top places for food and drink
From cool and casual to fine dining, brunch to night-caps, Glasgow city centre has got you covered. There are lots of family-friendly dining options, such as Platform. Try their street food-inspired menu or sister restaurants, Sugo and Paesano for yummy pasta and pizza in relaxed surroundings. Check out our tasty food at good prices page for ideas.
Singl-end and Café Gandolfi are just some of the many city centre options of places to begin the day well. From Thursday to Sunday, award-winning Flight Club has introduced Brunch Social. With a group of friends, enjoy prosecco, bottomless pizza and a game of darts. Visit our best places for brunch in Glasgow page for inspiration.
The city centre is home to some of the most glamorous dining options. The Anchor Line and The Ivy offer brilliant food and cocktail menus inside stunning interiors. Book a table at the anchorline.co.uk or book at theivyglasgow.com.
For authentic Italian, head to La Lanterna which has been run by the same Italian family for over 50 years. For Indian cuisine, head to 'hot' spot Swadish. Visit La Lanterna's website and visit swadish.co.uk to make a booking. Enjoy Iranian-inspired food at Chaakoo Bombay Cafe, Vietnamese meals at Non-Viet or exceptional Chinese food at Lychee Oriental. Visit Chaako.co.uk, nonviet.co.uk and lycheeoriental.co.uk to make bookings.
Merchant city: the city's most stylish quarter
The Merchant City is steeped in history and is home to some of the city's oldest sites. It is also one of the trendiest areas of the city, with boutiques, arts hubs and bars. Since the Merchant City has so much to see and do, we've created a whole neighbourhood page dedicated to this district. Visit our Merchant City neighbourhood page for details on shopping, eating, culture and more.
One of the best shopping areas in the UK
Glasgow is known for its shopping scene. Buchanan Street, and surrounding streets, make up a square mile of fantastic shopping!
St. Enoch Centre and Buchanan Galleries have large malls with the best high street brands. St. Enoch Centre is a family-friendly shopping and entertainment destination, whereas Buchanan Galleries is home to a range of shops from The Lego Store to the independent Scottish Design Exchange.
On Buchanan Street you’ll also find:
- Princes Square, a speciality shopping mall that houses designer shops, restaurants, bars and a boutique cinema.
- The original House of Frasers store that has a history dating back to 1849.
- Argyll Arcade, regarded as the finest jewellery centre in Scotland.
- Many independent shops and markets, including the likes of Merchant Square Craft Market.
Visit our shopping pages for more information on Glasgow's amazing shopping scene.
Parks and green spaces
Glasgow Green is the city’s oldest park. You'll find the Doulton Fountain, the McLennan Arch, Nelson's monument and the People’s Palace (a museum dedicated to the social history of Glasgow). The historic park is also home to one of the city's most unusual buildings, Templeton on the Green. There is plenty to keep the whole family entertained with adventure play parks and walks along the River Clyde. Visit our parks and gardens page for more info on green spaces in the city.
Music and arts in the heart of the city
There are also many iconic venues in the city centre, such as The Theatre Royal, The King’s Theatre and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Each with programmes offering everything from ballet to theatre and comedy to orchestras.
If cutting-edge art, performance, events and film interests you, then head to the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA). Around the corner is Scotland's original independent cinema, the Glasgow Film Theatre. It is a great place for film lovers all year round and host to the annual Glasgow Film Festival each February. Visit our what's on section for details on major and unique events in the city.
As a UNESCO City of Music, Glasgow is known for its legendary music scene. King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, you'll discover local bands and catch the next big thing in an intimate venue.
Meanwhile, there are a range of concerts, film screenings with live orchestra and much more at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, City Halls and Old Fruitmarket. Visit glasgowconcerthalls.com to see what's on.
If you want to experience the legendary Glasgow crowd, then check out a city centre music festival. People travel from across the globe for the winter festival Celtic Connections and the World Pipe Band Championships. Meanwhile some of the biggest rock and pop stars in the world perform at TRNSMT each summer in Glasgow Green. Visit our music venues page for more information on Glasgow's iconic scene.
Article last updated: October 2023
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