Glasgow is truly Scotland’s urban jungle, where grey concrete meets plenty of green oases. One can find anything and everything from architectural masterpieces that stood the test of time, to trendy bars and colourful events. While there is a myriad of things to do within the UK’s friendliest city, there are simply some must-visit places in Glasgow no one should miss.
This is an obvious one, but the Glasgow Botanics is the epitome of serenity on a nice sunny day, where visitors can visit greenhouses full of exotic plants (just don’t touch them all as I did) or simply relax outdoors within the safety of the well-scraped green space. Plant lovers can also visit the Tearoom At Glasgow Botanic Gardens, where there are plenty of tea, coffee and food options, as well as an afternoon tea available to make for a wholesome day out.
2. Marvel at The University of Glasgow
The University of Glasgow gives out Hogwarts vibes with its majestic tower, round staircases and castle-like towers. What is more, it is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world and was founded in 1451. Just walk around the campus admire the views, and finish off with a stroll around Kelvingrove Park.
3. Discover famous art at Kelvingrove Art Gallery
That’s correct, art lovers can admire the masterpieces of Monet in Glasgow. All they need to do is go to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. The perfect destination after visiting The University of Glasgow, the museum is located just on the side-lines of Kelvingrove Park in the West End of the city. For history lovers, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum boasts the best arms and armour collections in the world, as well as a generous natural history selection. Art lovers will find plenty of works from the Old Masters, such as the aforementioned Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, Pissaro and more. The art collection also delights us with Christ of Saint John of the Cross by Salvador Dali. Plus, the museum itself is an architectural masterpiece, with every corner worthy of admiration.
When it comes to things to do in Glasgow, trying Paesano Pizza is one of the very things we must all do at least once in our lives. It was named one of the best pizza restaurants in Europe in 2022, ranking in the 34th. Paesano Pizza is where Glasgow meets Italy, as all the ingredients are sourced straight from Italy, offering the best produce one can expect. What is more, the service is always quick, so those in a hurry can count on the skilled pizzaioli to get those stone-baked pizzas out on time. There are two Paesano Pizza restaurants in Glasgow, one in Merchant City, and another on Great Western Road.
Pollok Country Park is worth a (frequent) visit by both locals and visitors, as it offers stunning greenery, adorable Highland cows, a huge museum and the famous Pollok House up for exploration. The country park, originally the ancestral home to the Maxwell family for over seven centuries, spans over 360 acres of land, making it Glasgow’s largest park. For those into art and history, spare a couple of extra hours and visit the Burrell Collection that has been recently renovated and has a whopping 225 displays over 24 galleries. For those who can’t get enough of parks and gardens, check out our full guide to Glasgow’s green spaces.
5. Watch an afternoon play with a pie and a pint at this refurbished church
Home to the iconic lunchtime theatre A Play a Pie and a Pint, Òran Mór is a restored church now used for dining, events and weddings. Grab a pie and a pint with a new one-hour lunchtime play every week, where theatre lovers can expect to see unique plays or musicals weekly. There is a show on every day except Sundays, so not much planning in advance is needed. What is more, Òran Mór also hosts gorgeous candlelight concerts that are just that: classical music concerts surrounded by the dimmed hues of candles, usually dedicated to specific artists, such as Adele, Queen or Vivaldi.
6. Get transported back in time at the Riverside Museum
The Riverside Museum is located on the banks of River Clyde and is an award-winning transport museum that hosts an impressive collection of over 3,000 objects ranging from cars, trams, subway trains and all forms of transport used throughout history. Moreover, guests can wander through a time capsule street and visit old shops, as well as see what the old Glasgow subway used to look like. The educational trip is designed for visitors of all ages, where everyone is set to learn something new. While you’re by the river, give The Tall Ship Glenlee a visit: it’s one of five of the only remaining Clydebuilt steel sailing ships that are still afloat, and guests can come aboard the ship to explore its features.
Glasgow is abundant in street art, especially when it comes to its colourful murals. While it’s impossible to find them all in one go, there is a tour that dives deeper into the whole scene. The Glasgow Street Art Tour starts at The Lighthouse, where art lovers will be taken down alleys and explore the city’s bridges and hear all the stories behind the colourful masterpieces. Plus, the guide will walk visitors through local artist’s stories, as well as how the creative industries changed over the years.
Ashton Lane is one of those quaint hidden gem spots tucked away from the busy streets of the big city. Here one can find a cosy atmosphere, filled with an abundance of bars, restaurants and even an old-school cinema. Visitors can hang out in a beer garden indulging in chocolate fondue, try the best of what the Scottish larder has to offer at Ubiquitous Chip, tuck into some tasty ramen at Ramen Dayo or catch all the latest movies at the Grosvenor Cinema, to name a few things to do.
Rooftop bars are filled with good vibes, and scenic vistas and are worth a visit for the views alone. Bask in the urban skyline of Glasgow at these rooftop bars and restaurants around the UK’s friendliest city and just be present. Check out our guide to the very best rooftop bars in Glasgow.
Bookshops just have that unique feel to them: the calming, serene atmosphere soothes the soul with the overwhelmingly intense urge to buy all the books that will later take their rightful place on the bookshelf next to the hundreds of other books waiting to be read first. They say buying and reading books are two different things, and book buying can get addictive if you ask me. However, go explore all the cosy bookshops around town with this bookshop guide perfect for literature lovers.
Those who enjoy a wee beer will be keen to try a free Beer Trail around Glasgow, offered by Experience Glasgow. Visitors can discover and learn more about the local beer community and find the city’s best-kept craft beer secrets. The trail includes some all-time favourite spots, such as Tennent Caledonian Breweries Ltd. and Drygate Brewing Co., as well as Hidden Lane and Simple Things Fermentations. Plus, some of the breweries do beer tours, so don’t miss the chance to go behind the scenes where all the magic happens. And for those not keen on beer, go ahead and try out the free Glasgow Coffee Trail!