Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, and thus there is a lot to do in Glasgow. The best thing about Glasgow and an attraction for every tourist is the friendly atmosphere and welcoming residents. The residents of Glasgow are mainly known for their relaxed and pleasant way of approaching people. On the streets of Glasgow, you will see people making eye contact and smiling at you. You will be in conversation with a local or a tourist within no time, and this is the contagious beauty of people of Glasgow. ‘People make Glasgow’ is true to its core.
Glasgow is home to museums, tasteful art galleries, cathedrals, fantastic music, and club scene, and spellbinding street art. Though the city is the largest in Scotland, yet it is small compared to other metropolitan cities like London or Newyork. You can easily commute to any place in Glasgow within minutes, and even the green suburbs are within a distance of less than an hour. This makes every home in Glasgow accessible without extra hassle.
Glasgow has several attractions for tourists. The best things to do in Glasgow include great historical architectures, cathedrals, museums, great food, public parks, and gardens.
Let us explore Glasgow through its best attractions.
1. Glasgow Cathedral
Glasgow Cathedral is a masterpiece of Scottish Gothic architecture. The cathedral dates back to the 12th till 15th centuries and has survived all the best and the worst of the times rather well. Glasgow cathedral is one of the best things to do in Glasgow for many reasons. The historical references are fascinating, the stories of Saint Mungo, the effects of war, and how reformations worked for Glasgow cathedral are a few angles of history.
Glasgow cathedral is full of intriguing attractions. You can take an audio tour of the temple and travel back in time with music pieces and glimpses of the cathedral’s history.
The best things to do around Glasgow cathedral include a visit to Glasgow Necropolis, a cemetery on a hill beside Glasgow cathedral. The essential memorials in the cemetery are the memorial to the recipients of Victoria Cross, a monument to the still-born children, and memorial to the Korean war. St Mungo Museum of Religious Life & Art is another attraction for tourists around the Glasgow cathedral. The museum is a multi-religion interfaith museum with exhibits from all the religions. Across the road, take a trip to The Provand’s Lordship. This is the oldest remaining house in Glasgow, and you can see the lifestyle of clergy and church staff of earlier times here.
2. The Riverside Museum
The Riverside Museum is a unique and fantastic museum made around the theme of transport. Riverside Museum is an authentic tribute to Glasgow’s shipbuilding industry. More than 3000 exhibits express glory from the past of Glasgow. The displays range from the boats, steam engines, skateboards, horse-drawn carriages, buses, cars to vintage cars and lorries. The Riverside Museum has embraced technology well. There are around 90 touchscreens installed in the museum to explore the background of the exhibits. The touch screens show several films, images, and memories of the objects in the museum.
The tall ship standing outside The Riverside Museum, Glenlee, is the best thing to do in Glasgow for kids. The vessel is free to enter and has special kids play area. The kids also enjoy the mouse hunt on the ship, and there is a mini cinema in there too. The boat is open through and through for visitors to explore, and the audio tours are a great way to learn about the magnificent past of a marvelous ship.
3. Clydeside Distillery
Clydeside is Glasgow’s first dedicated single malt distillery in Scotland for the past 100 years or so. It offers different packages for the tours. They have two hours, 90 minutes, and 60 minutes tours depending on the depth of information. You can visit the cafe for snakes and a shop.
The Clydeside Distillery is housed in a historical building. The building was once a pump house built in the 1800s. The pumphouse was meant to control the access to the Queen’s dock.
4. Glasgow Tigers Speedway
Glasgow Tigers Speedway is one exciting thing to do in Glasgow. This is one of the best motorsport venues, fully accessible through a wheelchair. The racetrack is fully equipped with the food and bar and full-time excitement and entertainment for the whole family. The season is from March till October, choose the best viewing area, and book your ticket for this electric race venue.
5. City Chambers
City Chambers Glasgow is an iconic building standing with all the grandeur and prestige. This has been serving as the headquarters of municipal governments for long and is one of the most beautiful civic buildings in the UK. No list featuring the best things to do in Glasgow is complete without the mention of this iconic marvel of architecture from the 1800s.
The architecture of City Chambers is inclined towards the Beaux-arts style, showing all the grandeur and wealth and prosperity. Interestingly enough, this building has Glasgow’s very own statue of liberty. Yes, this is how the locals love to refer to the central apex statue of Truth with Queen Victoria featured in it.
6. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is a goldmine for art lovers. It has 22 themed galleries and has about 8000 exhibits housed. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is one of the best things to do in Glasgow for art lovers. The astounding and vast collection means you can spend the whole day here and even more. The themes of the galleries include the natural history, artworks by various master artists from Europe and the most beautiful collection of arms and armor objects.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is a family place, and kids are welcome here. The museum and galleries have many interactive displays, especially liked by the kids.
One of the most famous exhibits from the Kelvingrove Art Gallery is Salvador Dali’s iconic Christ of St John of the Cross.
7. George Square and the Merchant District
Glasgow Square is one of the six squares in Glasgow. The city center is filled with statues and grand civic buildings. The sculptures placed in George Square are of the most prominent people in Scottish history like James Watt, Queen Victoria, Sir Robert Peel, and Sir Walter Scott, to name a few.
There are plenty of restaurants and bars in this area to enjoy good food and drink after a walk in the historic George Square. You will be able to see the beauty and attention to detail in the architecture around the square. One of the most critical pieces of architecture around George Square is City Chambers. The majority of buildings are among the things to do in Glasgow for free.
8. Glasgow Film Theatre
Glasgow Film Theatre brings back the romance of old cinema. This Film Theatre is the best thing to do in Glasgow for every cinema lover because it has a variety of shows going on. From the documentaries, classics, late-night cult screenings to the contemporary art cinema, Glasgow Film Theatre has something for everyone.
The theatre is housed in a purpose-built building and is aimed towards independent cinema.
9. Pollok Country Park
Pollok Country Park is the best thing to do in Glasgow for kids and families. The vast green fields, gardens, and woodlands in Glasgow’s only country park are serene enough to forget all the worries and tensions of worldly life and to fell the bliss of nature. The opportunities for runners and dog walkers and people looking for a relaxing quiet walk are excellent and provide a much-needed escape from the hustle and bustle of the city without even leaving for too far.
Kids enjoy the bike riding, play park, and picnic places within the Pollok country park. Other attractions include the mighty Pollok house, the working Clydesdale Horses, magnificent Burrell Collection and, an award-winning fold of Highland Cattle.
The Burrell Collection is an art museum currently closed till 2021 for renovations. The collection is known for the 9000 objects collected by Sir William Burrell. It includes sculptures as well as the most beautiful pieces of Spanish and Scottish paintings.
10. Glasgow Science Centre
You must be wondering by now that this list of best things to do in Glasgow has ignored the contribution of a city in terms of science and technology. However, this is not the case at all. Glasgow is primarily an industrial city, and thus the importance of innovation and invention is very well known to the town and its residents. Glasgow science center combines three iconic buildings of Science Mall, Glasgow Tower, and an IMAX cinema in one purpose-built building complex.
It is a great attraction for people of all ages because of the variety of stuff available here. The interactive displays in the Science Mall explain many scientific phenomena while the Zeiss optical-mechanical projector in the planetarium projects the view of night-sky on the dome. The picture is a spellbinding yet excellent learning experience. The Body Works is an interactive exhibition of over 115 interactive exhibits showing the importance and challenges to human health and well-being.
After exploring the science center, have some snacks at the cafes on the ground floor.
11. Glasgow Botanic Gardens
One of the best things to do in Glasgow for free is a visit to Glasgow Botanic Gardens. The gardens are very well known for the fantastic architecture of glasshouses and the greenhouse that looks like a palace.
The botanic gardens are the place to relax and have a mindful experience while exploring hundreds of trees, herbs, flower beds, and tropical plant collections.
After a good dose of nature and greens, head to the teahouse in the garden They have both inside and open-air seating and serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
12. Hunterian Museum & Art Gallery
The oldest museum in Scotland, the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery are located on the campus of the University of Glasgow. The collection in the museum has been recognized as the Collection of National Significance. The museum has a very vast array of objects, from dinosaurs and mummies to fossils and minerals. Hunterian Museum tells the story of evolution through its exhibits.
Hunterian Art Gallery is most famous for its Whistler and Mackintosh collections; however, this is not the only significant collection housed here. Scottish Colourist collection and the outdoor sculpture garden are worth visiting too.
13. Gallery of Modern Art
The center of modern and contemporary art in Glasgow and also the most visited gallery of the city is the Gallery of Modern Art. The gallery exhibits work by international artists as well as from locals to show the views from the different parts of the world on the issues, interests, and influences globally.
A masterpiece of art and a distinguishing feature of the Gallery of Modern Art is the Statue of the Duke of Wellington with a traffic cone placed outside the building.
Gallery of Modern Art is one of the best things to do in Glasgow for all the art lovers and critiques to see the best contemporary art collected and borrowed from all around the world.
14. Citizens Theatre
The best things to do in Glasgow for the theatre and drama enthusiasts is CItizens theatre. Known for being a self-producing theatre, The Citizens Theatre is committed to bringing people from all walks of life together and encourage them to work for the theatre.
Citizens Theatre has a main auditorium with a seating capacity of 500 and two studio theatres; the Circle Studios and the Stalls Studio.
15. The Glasgow School of Art
The Glasgow School of Art is the university level art school of architecture, fine art, and design. The school is a highly prestigious and very renowned institution for art and architecture.
Visitors can book a tour of Glasgow School of Art and see the architecture of buildings and art collection of the school collected over time as well as the work of students from the school. The guided tour is the best way to explore the school premises.
Glasgow has a rich legacy of arts, architecture, culture, performing arts, and industry. Scotland’s biggest city Glasgow has evolved a lot to become a center of arts and culture. Glasgow is unique from other big cities. It is big yet humble, and the people are amicable and welcoming. In a little time, you will start to have a feeling of belonging to the city.
Glasgow has everything you can probably ask for. It has the best and the most significant gardens, classic and modern architecture, love for arts and theatre, as well as the opportunities for a leisure walk and exploration trips. You are bound to have fun here!