Glasgow Music Nonstop
Glasgow Music Nonstop
Enjoy a music-themed city break in the UK’s first UNESCO City of Music. From lively trad sessions to captivating tours, check out our guide to 48 hours in Glasgow for music lovers.
Day 1 - arrive on your Glasgow city break
Check into a music-themed hotel
Get checked into your base for the weekend and start as you mean to go on by choosing a hotel with music vibes.
For cool and central, try Radisson Blu, with its music-themed illustrations and photography. Or Radisson Red, with its stunning views of the OVO Hydro and their line-up of live music and DJ sets in their bars. Visit Radisson Hotels website to book.
Take in traditional Scottish music and culture
Start your city break with an evening full of Scottish music, food and culture. Book a Trad Trail Experience and enjoy a walk, music and dinner at Scottish restaurant Mharsanta (runs May - September). Try out the bagpipes and learn about their history at The National Piping Centre (visit thepipingcentre.co.uk). Or take a whirl at a famous weekly ceilidh held in Sloans in the city centre (visit sloansglasgow.com).
Lively Scottish trad sessions in the city
Stumble upon trad and folk musicians jamming in Scottish bars. In Finnieston, there are a quartet of Scottish bars that you can easily walk between, including The Ben Nevis Bar. While in the city centre there is the likes of The Clutha and Babbity Bowster, known for their jamming sessions and friendly locals. Visit our bars in Glasgow with free live music page for details on when sessions take place.
Discover new talent in intimate venues
Looking to seek out up-and-coming grassroots talent from Glasgow and beyond? The city is home to many brilliant small venues. Head to St Luke's in the east end, The Glad Cafe in the southside, The Hug & Pint in the west end or Nice N Sleazy in the city centre and be one of the first to witness the next-big-thing. Visit our music venues in Glasgow page for an idea of the range of venues in the city.
Day 2 - city break in Glasgow full day
Take a tour through Glasgow's music history
Discover decades of music history on the City Sightseeing Bus Music Tour, narrated by the singer-songwriter, Eddi Reader. Expect interesting stories, facts and some insider knowledge from Eddi herself. Book a tour at City Sightseeing's website.
If you prefer to walk, then try the Glasgow Music City Tours whose expert guides bring alive the stories of Glasgow’s legendary music scene. Visit Glasgow Music City Tours website to book. Can't decide which to go for? Remember you've still got another day in the city!
Also, there are some self-guided music tours which can be enjoyed at any time and any pace. Visit guidigo.com and download the Walking Heads' Glasgow Music Celebrated audio tour or search for Glasgow City Pass Walking Tours on the App Store and Google Play Store and check out their music specific tour.
Grab some street food
Time for a lunch pitstop. Glasgow’s indoor street food markets are great for casual dining. Head to Dockyard Social at SWG3, which has street food vendors, specialist bars, live bands and DJs each weekend (visit dockyardsocial.com). Meanwhile, Platform in the city centre serves up quick and tasty grub in the atmospheric setting beneath the railway arches (visit Platform's website for info).
Famous must-visit music locations in Glasgow
- Barrowlands Ballroom - The legendary venue with the neon sign is on many a bands bucket list. Visit barrowland-ballroom.co.uk.
- City Halls and Old Fruitmarket - 2 stunning and historic venues with original features. Visit glasgowconcerthalls.com.
- King Tuts Wah Wah Hut - Continually named the best small venue in the UK, King Tuts does not disappoint. Visit kingtuts.co.uk.
The staircase at King Tuts Wah Wah Hut
Unique must-visit music locations in Glasgow
Credit: Untitled, (2014), Jim Lambie. Courtesy of the artist and The Modern Institute / Toby Webster Ltd., Glasgow. Photo: Stephen Hosey.
- Album Pathway at Barrowland Park - Revisit music memories at this grand outdoor piece of art - find out more on our city centre contemporary art trail page.
- Britannia Panopticon - Find out incredible stories from the oldest surviving music hall in the world. Visit the Britannia Panopticon website.
- The Musician mural - Music is all around! The Musician mural can be found on Sauchiehall Lane - find out more on our city centre mural trail page.
Did you know that Glasgow's status as a UNESCO City of Music makes it one of 13 UNESCO sites in Scotland? In a world first Scotland's UNESCO sites have been brought together to form a trail - discover more about each of these 13 wonders and the UNESCO trail at visitscotland.com.
Day 2 of your city break in Glasgow - evening
Enjoy dinner in a cool music venue
In Glasgow, vegan bars go hand-in-hand with music. And not only is Glasgow one of the UK's top music cities, but it happens to be one of the UK's most vegan-friendly cities too. Visit sister venues Mono (visit monocafebar.com), The Flying Duck (visit www.theflyingduck.org) or Stereo (visit stereocafebar.com) and enjoy a hearty meal, while surrounded by music scenesters. And check out Mono's record store Monorail while you're there!
The headline event of your city break
You may have based your entire city break around one special event, such as seeing a global megastar at the OVO Hydro or taking in an old favourite at the iconic Barrowland Ballroom? No matter what genre of music you love, the perfect gig is waiting for you. Still to choose? Check out our what's on pages for event listings.
Music festivals of all genres
Image: Gaelle Beri
Glasgow is home to a spectacular range of annual music festivals. Find out details about each of the following plus many more by visiting our top events and festivals page
- Celtic Connections - 18 days of roots, folk and world music each winter.
- Counterflows - Underground and experimental acts.
- TRNSMT - Big names perform at Scotland's biggest music festival.
Be part of the most passionate music audience
Wherever your main event is taking place, one thing will remain the same, the passionate audiences. It is not only Glasgow's music scene that stands out from the crowd. It is the crowd itself.
"There is a vibe in Glasgow that I am drawn to."
Keep the party going at late night bars and clubs
If you've got the post-gig buzz and want to keep the party going, then you're in the right city. Stylish warehouse SWG3 and the longest-running underground dance club in the world Sub Club, are just 2 of the brilliant late night options. For details on both of these plus many more, including everything from hotel bars to LGBTQ+ spots, visit our clubs and late night bars page.
Day 3 - the last day of your city break
Relax with live classical music
What better way to wind down your trip than with some classical music by some of Scotland's most talented musicians. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, one of the top 3 places to study performing arts in the world, and University of Glasgow are just 2 of the city's venues to host lunchtime concerts. Visit our classical music in the city page for more details.
Music displays in museums
Enjoy a free daily organ recital at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum enjoy a free organ recital. Taking place at 1pm (3pm on Sundays), this happens to be the longest-running free daily organ recital in the world!
Check out Spinning Around: Glasgow’s Remarkable Record Shops at the Riverside Museum. The exhibition celebrates the city's record shops from the 1980s to the mid-1990s (running until October 2023).
Visit a Glasgow record store
Finish up your city break with a visit to a record store and choose some vinyl to take home as a holiday keepsake. Strip Joint in Finnieston, Some Great Reward in the southside and Monorail in the city centre all have a great selection of records and also sell yummy food. Visit stripjointglasgow.co.uk, somegreatreward.scot and monorailmusic.com for details.
Article last updated: March 2023