As the epicentre of Glasgow's extraordinary mercantile wealth, this area housed tobacco lords and cotton kings. Two centuries later, the Merchant City has been brought back to life as a lively cultural quarter.
The streets and lanes closest to the Clyde are packed with studios, workshops and galleries . . . while thoroughfares closer to the Ingram Streetartery have some of Glasgow's best loved bars and restaurants - including Babbity Bowster on Blackfriars Street which is famed for its wholesome fare and idiosyncratically Glaswegian atmosphere.
It's an area of arresting contrasts, from tiny shops in and around King Street selling comics, games and classic collectible models, to the famous thrift store Mr Ben.
You'll also find its home to Merchant Square, which hosts a weekly craft fair each weekend. Browse around 70 stalls and see the work of some of the finest artisans in Glasgow, with handmade products ranging from art to flowers and from jewellery to gifts.
Royal Exchange Square
And Merchant Square isn't the ony square worth a visit in this area. Grouped around the splendid neo-classical building that now houses the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), Royal Exchange Square is one of the city's most gracious urban spaces.
Some of the hottest bars and restaurants are here - notably The Social, 29, One Up, Art Deco treasure Rogano and specialist Italian restaurant, Zizzi. Grouped around the splendid neo-classical building that now houses the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA),
But it's a style destination too, thanks to the presence of such names as Forty Clothing, Reiss and LK Bennett.
A very elegant street running right through the Merchant City is Ingram Street. Lined by elegant blonde sandstone buildings, this street is where the exclusive brands of Armani, Ralph Lauren and Cruise make their home.