Glasgow's Music Must Do's

Take a tour of the great UNESCO City of Music

Glasgow's music scene is legendary and with over 130 music events in the city each week you'll never be far from seeing a great gig. So, whether you're visiting Glasgow for a day, weekend or week make sure you soak up some of the musical magic the city has to offer.

Glasgow was recently voted as having the best music venues in the UK to discover new music, so take time to uncover the city's beat with this list of Music Must Do's, as voted for by 2,000 music fans. You never know, you might be the one to spot the next big thing…

Glasgow Music Must Do's: 

1.   Watch a band in a small, intimate gig


To experience a small gig, King Tut's Wah Wah Hut is about as intimate as it gets. The 300 capacity venue means you'll always be up close and personal with the musicians! Head to the bar for a drink and you're more than likely to spot a famous face - apparently Noel Gallagher likes to stop off for a pint whenever he's in town.

2.   See a stadium tour


Check out your favourite act at the new SSE Hydro - the largest music venue in Scotland. The iconic building is the star of the Glasgow skyline and hosts around 140 events every year in the 12,000 capacity stadium. 2014 saw the Hydro host the MTV EMA, and with so many events on, it's among the busiest arenas in the world.

3.   See a new artist before they 'make it'


It seems like there's a new place to check out every week in Glasgow. Our pick of venues to spot new acts includes; SWG3 and The Admiral. It also goes without saying, that a visit to King Tut's Wah Wah Hut is a must to see new music in Glasgow. King Tut's was the place Oasis was famously signed by Alan McGee in 1993, where big name acts including The Killers, Florence & The Machine, Biffy Clyro and Snow Patrol all played before they hit the big time and where Paolo Nutini still likes to test out his new tracks on his home crowd.

For tips on who to see, we asked some of the key players on the Glasgow music scene for their 'ones to watch'. We've listed a few below, but remember you heard it here first...

4.   Own every single and album by your favourite artist


Glasgow plays host to a fantastic range of vintage music stores.  A visit to these top five should definitely help to grow your music collection…

Love Music - 34 Dundas Street,  G1 2AQ

A near legendary record shop specialising in new and used indie and alternative vinyl and CDs. Specialising in a wide range of genres like indie, classic rock, punk rock and metal, look out for in-store live appearances too: everyone from Moby and Laura Marling to local darling Ross Clark has played there. 

Missing Records - 247 Argyle Street, G2 8DL

Missing Records is a hidden gem tucked underneath the arches below Central Station. The shop also has a sister outlet located in Paisley. It offers a fantastic collection of second-hand musical treats and is the perfect place to track down the vinyl you just can't put your hands on.

Mixed Up Records - 18 Otago Lane, G12 8PB

Situated along the cobbles of Otago Lane and run by a team of music enthusiasts, Mixed Up Records buys, sells and exchanges second hand vinyl, CDs, DVDs and books.

Monorail Music - 97 King St Glasgow, Glasgow City G1 5RB

The in-house independent record store has an extensive range of contemporary independent CDs, an ever expanding section of vinyl records from home and abroad, second-hand stock and re-issues of rare lost classics. Monorail has become a local institution with a growing international reputation!

Rubadub Records - 35 Howard Street, G1 4BA

Rubadub Records stocks a fantastic array of CDs and vinyl and is a real treasure trove for fans of electro, Detroit techno and reggae. The store also has a great range of DJ equipment, much of it set up for the customer to try out. 

5.   Meet your music idol


While we can't promise you'll meet a musical idol, a good place to start the search would be some of the great bars around the city. Try StereoNice N Sleazy or the Oyster Bar at Rogano, where Rod Stewart and Mick Jagger have been spotted!

Famous musicians and bands hailing from the city include; Belle and Sebastian, Deacon Blue, Del Amitri, Franz Ferdinand, Glasvegas, Snow Patrol, Texas, Travis, Teenage Fanclub, The Fratellis as well as more recent newcomers such as Sparrow and The Workshop, Frightened Rabbit and Kassidy so keep an eye out! 

6.   Visit a venue with musical history


Ask any Glaswegian to name the city's most historic venue and they're sure to say 'Barrowlands' - the local term for the The Barrowland Ballroom - one of the most iconic venues in Scotland. The Barrowland Ballroom has played host to some of the biggest names in music including Bob Dylan, David Bowie, The Clash and Primal Scream.  The instantly recognizable neon sign covering the front of the building comes alive at night to entice music lovers from all over the world - a must see.

The Walking Heads Glasgow Music Tour is the quickest way to soak up as much of the city's musical history as possible. Simply download the app to your smartphone and discover three miles, 24 venues and at least 200 years of music history. Narrated by Scottish music guru and radio presenter, Jim Gellatly, the guide will show you four different routes to uncover distinctly different parts of the city.

Don't forget to see what's on at The Art School - a historic, unique, and much loved music and arts venue.

7.   Blag a backstage pass


Take your pick! As well as the Barrowland Ballroom, the SSE Hydro and King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow is also home to Sub ClubO2 Academythe Scottish Exhibition + Conference CentreGlasgow Royal Concert HallCity Halls and The Old Fruitmarket where you might be able to charm your way past backstage security!   

8.   Follow a band on their worldwide tour


Getting a second mention on the list, it has to be the SSE Hydro. The biggest venue in Scotland will be on the 'must play' list of every musician. Check out what's on and coming up at The SSE Hydro!

9.   Own a piece of signed memorabilia


If you want to check out some impressive music memorabilia in Glasgow, head to the Hard Rock Café where some of its iconic collection will adorn the walls including: a green two-piece suit worn by The Who's Pete Townshend in the 1975 film 'Tommy', the burgundy velvet school boy outfit worn by Angus Young of AC/DC, an artist paint palette used by the Scottish-born 'fifth Beatle', Stuart Sutcliffe when at the Liverpool College of Art to name a few. And you never know, if you stick around long enough you may be lucky to spot an icon to sign your very own memorabilia!


If this has got you excited about attending a gig when visiting the city, check out what music events are on while you're here.