Top Reasons to Visit Glasgow

Glasgow is a vibrant and welcoming city bursting with character, personality and great experiences. No matter when you visit, you’ll find world-class visitor attractions, diverse neighbourhoods, stunning architecture, an ever-evolving food and drink scene and legendary nightlife.  The city also has a year-round calendar bursting at the seams with amazing events and festivals. 

So check out our top reasons to visit the city below to find out why Time Out Magazine named Glasgow as one of the top 10 ‘Best Cities in the World’ for 2019 and why it's time to make your NEXT STOP GLASGOW!  

“The biggest challenge facing visitors is where to start” 

Herald Sun, Australia 

1. The city has world-class attractions with something for everyone

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Housing one of Europe’s largest civic art collections, the city has a fantastic mix of world-class museums, galleries and award-winning visitor attractions including Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (number 1 art museum in the UK on TripAdvisor) and Riverside Museum, with these and many others, FREE to visit.  There are also hidden gems to be discovered like the Glasgow Women's Library (shortlisted for Art Fund - Museum of the Year 2018) and the oldest surviving music hall in the world - Britannia Panopticon.  Family-friendly attractions such as Glasgow Science Centre and a cutting-edge arts scene, evidenced through expertly curated programmes at venues such as Tramway, the Centre for Contemporary Arts and the Gallery of Modern Art.  It’s also the only place in the world that has a concentration of attractions and architecture created by iconic Glaswegian architect and designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh.  

2. According to Wanderlust travel magazine, the city has an "impressive gastronomic scene"

The Western Club

Glasgow has an ever-evolving food and drink scene with Rough Guides naming it "one of the best places to head for culinary experimentation". Finnieston is considered the city’s ‘foodie quarter’ with a brilliant mix of cool, quality and affordable venues, with numerous restaurants receiving plaudits in influential guides including Conde Nast Traveller's The Gold List and the Michelin Guide. Alternatively, discover the future stars of the scene at one of the indoor street food markets, where traders create tantalising options from their quaint trucks. When it comes to bars, Glasgow is firmly part of the craft beer and gin revolution, as well as home to on-trend bars found down quirky lanes. And for hipster hangouts, head to one of the city's cool music bars, many of which offer plant-based menus, helping Glasgow to maintain its place as one of the UK’s most Vegan Friendly cities.

3. Find stunning architecture hidden in plain sight 

Royal Exchange Sq

If you ask a local what to see and do in the city, many will tell you to take a walk and “look up” to really appreciate Glasgow’s rich and varied architectural heritage.  From the medieval Glasgow Cathedral to the Neo-Gothic University of Glasgow – rumoured to be the inspiration for Harry Potter's Hogwarts - to the Art Nouveau wonders of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.   Glasgow’s wealthy past has left a legacy of the finest Victorian architecture in the UK but you only have to take a short stroll along the ever-changing riverside to see innovative, cutting-edge designs.

 “This historic city, known for its Art Nouveau flourishes, also has a blossoming modern side, with daring new buildings, bars, restaurants and galleries.” 

36 Hours in Glasgow, New York Times  

4. Discover the work of Glaswegian architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh 

Salon de Luxe 3 Rachel Keenan PhotographyresizeMackintosh at the Willow

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a pioneering Glaswegian architect and designer and no trip to the city is complete without a visit to one of his magnificent works.  From the Mackintosh House, the reassembled interiors from his original home, to the stunning House for an Art Lover and the newly refurbished Mackintosh at the Willow, Miss Cranston's original Willow Tea Rooms where visitors can now enjoy the new exhibition, visitor centre, tea room and gift shop. The meticulously restored world class cultural and heritage attraction is the only surviving tea room designed in its entirety by Mackintosh.

5. Let the locals take you on a tour - you'll get to know the city really well  

St Mungo resizeSt Mungo, Glasgow City Centre Mural Trail

Tours are a great way of seeing Glasgow and learning fascinating facts about the city from expert locals.  There are a number of walking tours on offer where knowledgeable guides can help you explore the city, themed around everything from food and music to history and architecture.  You can also take guided tours of many of the city’s venues, from breweries to Glasgow Central Railway Station.  Take things at your own pace by following a self-guided trail around the murals or Mackintosh properties. The City Sightseeing Glasgow hop on, hop off bus is also a fantastic way to get yourself acquainted!  

“A successfully urbanized city, Glasgow seems to be the lovechild of Brooklyn and San Francisco” 

Jet Set Times, US 

6. There's plenty to keep you entertained  

Niteworks resizeCeltic Connections.  Credit: Gaelle Beri

Glasgow was the first city in the UK to be designated a UNESCO City of Music. It has a legendary music scene and is home to a top ten global arena, The SSE Hydro, as well as much revered independent and intimate venues. When it comes to music and entertainment, Glasgow has it covered. With an annual calendar of events bursting with world-class cultural highlights such as Celtic Connections, colourful summer festivals and sporting spectacles. A creative and cultural hub, home to all but one of Scotland’s national performing arts organisations including Scottish Ballet and the National Theatre of Scotland. Independent art house films, basement comedy clubs, glitzy casinos or underground club nights, Glasgow has it all. 

"It's the city's unrivalled music scene that really embodies Glasgow's energy and swagger."

National Geographic Traveler  

7. You can discover diverse neighbourhoods

Ashton Lane at nightAshton Lane in the West.  Credit: Nils Hasenau

Explore the distinct neighbourhoods of Glasgow each with their own personality, vibe and hidden gems. With such unique traits it is no wonder that Glasgow recently ranked as the 12th Most Hipster City in Europe (University College of London's urban intelligence agency). As Glasgow is a compact city and easy to get around, you can explore more than one neighbourhood in one day.  So you might want to take a bike ride around Pollok Country Park in the leafy South in the morning, followed by some lunch and shopping in the metropolitan City Centre.  Afterwards, head to the urban playground that is the North for a stroll along the banks of the canal then enjoy a late afternoon brewery tour in the historic and creative East finished off with dinner in the bohemian West!

"I like how North, South, East and West are such diverse neighbourhoods. It feels quite personal and because it’s a small city, you get to know it really well."

Sarah McCrory Gallery Director, Goldsmiths, University of London 

8. It's a "shopaholics paradise" - Lonely Planet 

PORTRAIT LIBBY WALKER JPEGresizeIllustrator Libby Walker at her store

Glasgow is consistently voted as the top place to shop in the UK outside London’s west end. Buchanan Street is the city’s main pedestrianised shopping street where there is no shortage of mega malls, well-known brand names and speciality shopping while Ingram Street in the Merchant City is where to find exclusive fashion brands.  Be sure to check out the lanes and arcades in the West neighbourhood for cool vintage, second-hand and independent boutiques, the South for a series of quirky diminutive stores full of locally created and crafted goods, and the East for some great weekend markets and independent traders. 

9. You can seek out adventure 

Loch Lomond Cruises

You can ignite your sense of adventure in Glasgow with snow sports, wakeboarding and rock climbing or just 30 mins from the city, you can discover the beauty of Loch Lomond.  Explore the National Park by foot, by boat or even on horseback!  Golf fans can also travel easily from Glasgow to championship standard golf courses such as The Carrick and Royal Troon.  And if you’d like to see how Scotland’s national drink, whisky, is produced, a visit to Clydeside, Glengoyne or Auchentoshan Distillery is a must.

"It's easy to forget that sometimes the best adventures are right on your doorstep"

Alec Farmer, Designer, maker and owner of outdoor lifestyle brand, Trakke


Find out more about things to do during your stay.