Once an industrial powerhouse, Glasgow is now a thriving cultural center with world-class art galleries, museums, and theaters wherever you look. The largest city in Scotland, there is a wealth of things to see and do in Glasgow. There are superb shopping and dining to be enjoyed before delving into its pounding live music and nightlife scene.
The city boasts attractive architecture with many stately mansions and impressive public buildings dating to Victorian and Edwardian times. Some marvelous modern additions can also be found along the banks of the River Clyde while picturesque parks and gardens are scattered throughout the city.
A very friendly and welcoming place, with countless cultural events, tourist attractions and festivals on offer, Glasgow is certainly well worth checking out if you have the chance.
15. Glasgow Science Centre
A fun and family-friendly place to visit, the state-of-the-art Glasgow Science Centre lies just a short distance from the center of the city. Set on the south bank of the River Clyde, its modern buildings house interesting and interactive exhibits that focus on the fields of science and technology.
Founded in 2001, the space-age looking center has numerous galleries to explore and you can try out hands-on experiments and activities. In addition, there is also an IMAX cinema and planetarium to check out and phenomenal views to be enjoyed from the top of the 127 meter-high rotating Glasgow Tower.
14. Pollok Country Park
Located a short drive to the south of the center is Pollok Country Park, which boasts some stupendous scenery and nature. Regularly ranked among the best parks in Britain and Europe, it has an abundance of scenic paths, gardens and countryside to enjoy with playgrounds and playing fields also on offer.
Once part of an expansive estate, the park has an idyllic river to stroll along, as well as some lovely woods and meadows to cycle through. Besides its gorgeous grounds and amenities, there is also the refined Pollok House, which contains the Burrell Collection; an exquisite art gallery.
13. Buchanan Street
If you’re looking to do a bit of shopping when in Glasgow then you can’t beat bustling Buchanan Street. One of the busiest shopping streets in the UK, it is lined by high fashion outlets and flagship stores with coffee shops and eateries dotted about.
While most people head to the mile-long pedestrian street to shop for brand-name clothes and shoes, beauty products, and accessories, wonderful Edwardian and Victorian architecture can also be spied along its route.
In addition, Buchanan Street is home to grand galleries and expansive shopping malls and its numerous street performers lend it a very lively atmosphere.
12. People’s Palace and Winter Gardens
Just a short stroll to the southeast of the center you can find the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens, which lie amidst the sprawling and scenic confines of Glasgow Green. Opened in 1898, the museum and conservatory are well worth checking out as they offer the perfect combination of history, culture and nature.
Exhibiting some attractive architecture, the palace’s fine collection looks at how Glaswegians have lived, worked, and played over the centuries. The Winter Gardens are no less alluring as the large greenhouse is full of beautiful tropical plants and the world’s largest terracotta fountain.
11. City Chambers
One of the most impressive buildings in Glasgow, the colossal City Chambers dominate one side of the famous George Square. Built in 1888, the seat of the city’s government showcases Italianate style architecture, with towers and statues alongside an imposing yet attractive facade.
The building’s interior is just as arresting as its chambers, halls and staircases are clad in marble and mahogany. On tours around the City Chambers, visitors can take in all the fine features and ornamental flourishes that highlight the wealth and prosperity of Glasgow in the nineteenth century.
10. Hunterian Museum
Home to an extensive, if an eclectic, collection of artifacts, artworks, and exhibits the superb Hunterian Museum can be found on the University of Glasgow campus in the west of the city. First opened in 1807, it contains everything from paintings and prints to dinosaur skeletons, Egyptian mummies and Roman-era archaeological findings.
The oldest museum in Scotland, its astounding array of objects and specimens are now spread over several buildings, some of which are modern and others centuries-old. In its cavernous galleries, you can find sections dedicated to anatomy, ethnography, and zoology with masterpieces by Rubens and Rembrandt also on display.
9. The Lighthouse
The first building in the city to be designed by the renowned architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, The Lighthouse was erected in 1895 and exhibits some brilliant brickwork.
Formerly the headquarters of the Glasgow Herald newspaper, The Lighthouse now instead fittingly serves as Scotland’s Center for Design and Architecture. Lying just off of the busy Buchanan Street in the center of the city, it has some interesting exhibitions on design and architecture.
It also has a wonderful helical staircase that takes you up to a viewing platform, which offers uninterrupted views over Glasgow’s cityscape.
8. Botanic Gardens
One of the most picturesque places to visit in town, the beautiful Botanic Gardens can be found in the West End of the city, not far from the University of Glasgow. Originally part of the campus, it has lovely grounds and greenhouses for you to wander around.
Since being founded in 1842, its collection has expanded considerably and now includes everything, from roses and orchids to cacti and carnivorous plants. While its main sight is undoubtedly Kibble Palace, an elegant wrought-iron glasshouse, the gardens also have several fabulous Victorian statues to check out.
7. Tennents Brewery
If you’re after a freshly pulled pint then you can’t beat heading to Tennents Brewery and trying one of their award-winning beers. You can also take tours around their facility in the East End to learn about their rich history while seeing how the beers are brewed, bottled and branded.
Remarkably enough, Scotland’s biggest and best-loved brewery first began producing beer back in 1556. The company now has a fantastic visitor center replete with exhibitions and artifacts that highlight its age-old heritage.
After having toured the brewery you can stop off at its bar and try Tennent’s Lager – the nation’s favorite beer.
6. Celtic Park
Even if you’re not interested in football it is still well worth going to watch a match at Celtic Park due to the intoxicating and unforgettable atmosphere. Home to Celtic FC, one of Scotland’s most successful teams, the state-of-the-art stadium can be found just a short drive to the southeast of the center.
Also fittingly known as Paradise to Celtic’s supporters, the huge stadium can house just over 60,000 fans. Its stands make for an impressive sight when decked completely in green and white; the team’s colors.
Besides watching a game, you can also tour around the stadium and see trophies and memorabilia at its visitors’ center.
5. The Necropolis
Sprawling over a large hill to the east of Glasgow Cathedral is The Necropolis; one of the city’s oddest yet most intriguing attractions. Modeled on the famous Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, it has over 50,000 graves, tombs and monuments amidst lush green grounds.
Aptly described as ‘the city of the dead’, the colossal cemetery contains memorials with elaborate tombs and mausoleums, as well as intricately carved sculptures. Visitors can enjoy splendid views out over the city from the cemetery’s hillside.
4. Riverside Museum
To the west of the city center is the excellent Riverside Museum, which lies along the banks of the River Clyde. It houses exhibits and vehicles from the former Glasgow Museum of Transport, such as ambulances, trams, taxis and trains, and has a recreated subway station and city street from 1938.
Opened in 2011, the museum and its large collection of over 3,000 objects occupy a strikingly modern building that was designed by the famous architect Zaha Hadid. It is also well worth exploring the terrific three-masted Tall Ship which is berthed in front of it.
3. Glengoyne Distillery
Nestled just half an hour’s drive to the north of the center is the Glengoyne Distillery, which produces Scotch whiskey in a picture-perfect setting. Visitors can take tours of its distillery to see how the whiskey is produced, learn about its history, and even try a stiff drink or two.
In continuous operation since 1833, the distillery is the only one in Scotland to produce a Highland single malt whisky that is matured in the Lowlands. At its quaint countryside site, you can learn about the unique distilling process and sample some wonderful whiskey at the ‘most beautiful distillery in Scotland’.
2. Glasgow Cathedral
Glasgow Cathedral is located just east of the center, right next to The Necropolis. One of the most important and impressive buildings in the city, the cathedral boasts exquisite Gothic architecture.
Dedicated to Saint Mungo, both the founder and patron saint of Glasgow, it has a very atmospheric interior with charming chapels, countless columns and an incredible stone choir. Most of it dates to the fifteenth century but other parts are even older.
Its exterior is just as spectacular as a lofty spire towers over its imposing facade and there are a staggering number of stained glass windows.
1. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Home to an array of artworks and artifacts is the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. One of the most popular places to visit in Glasgow and Scotland, its colossal collection is housed in a sandstone building in the West End of the city.
Established in 1901, its grand galleries are packed with everything, from arms and armor to Bronze age tools, dinosaur skeletons and a Spitfire plane. Besides extensive exhibits on history and nature, it also has one of the greatest art collections in the UK. With masterpieces by Dali, Rembrandt, and van Gogh on display; it is certainly a must-visit.