Often overlooked by visitors for Edinburgh, Glasgow is a creative city buzzing with culture. The locals in Scotland's largest city are famously friendly and the nightlife is legendary. Meaning 'dear green place', Glasgow has more than 90 parks and gardens. The weather is also notoriously unpredictable, but there are world-class galleries, museums and music venues to explore on rainy days. Here are the best things to do in Glasgow.
Visit Glasgow Cathedral and Necropolis
Glasgow Cathedral is one of the last remaining medieval cathedrals in Scotland and dates back to 1197. Just 10 minutes from the city centre, the cathedral is known for its impressive collection of postwar stained-glass windows and the stark white ceiling of the Blackadder Aisle. This is considered the spot Glasgow was first built around, there is also a crypt from the mid-1200s.
Adjacent to the cathedral is Glasgow Necropolis, a grand Victorian cemetery modelled on the Père-Lachaise in Paris. More than 50,000 people are interred across 37 acres of land, including some of Glasgow's most notable citizens. Join a free two-hour guided tour through Friends of the Necropolis or climb to the top of the hill for sweeping views across the city.
Hop Aboard the Riverside Museum and Historic Clockwork Orange
The 2013 European Museum of the Year, the Riverside Museum is dedicated to all things transport. With more than 3,000 objects on display, it covers everything from prams and skateboards to ambulances and horse-drawn taxis. Touch screens and interactive exhibits mean there's enough to entertain casual visitors as well as trainspotters. The free museum is on the River Clyde.
You can also jump on the Glasgow Subway, the third-oldest metro system in the world after London and Budapest. Nicknamed the 'Clockwork Orange' for its brightly-painted carriages, it's a single circular line servicing 15 stations, and a ride around the whole line takes 24 minutes. Look for students doing the 'Subcrawl', a day-long pub crawl where participants stop for a drink at each station.
Wander Creative Cobbled Laneways
The vibrant West End of Glasgow has alleyways lined with independent bookshops, fashion boutiques and quaint cafés and restaurants. Close to Glasgow University, this is a popular area with students who head to Ashton Lane for late night drinks. Try upscale dishes like venison haggis at the ironically-named Ubiquitous Chip, then choose your own soundtrack at The Lane Vinyl Bar.
Glasgow also has a burgeoning street art scene that has transformed laneways and other public spaces. Join a two-hour walking Street Art Tour or follow the self-guided City Centre Mural Trail to see the best murals. There are works focusing on animals, dinosaurs and favourite city sons Billy Connolly and Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Wet Your Whistle on a Distillery or Brewery Tour
Clydeside Distillery, opened in 2017, has revived the production of single-malt whiskies in Glasgow. Based at the Queen's Dock, it's housed in the old Pumphouse building with two enormous copper stills that can be seen from the River Clyde. Book a tour, finishing with a tasting of a few drams.
If you're still thirsty, head to Drygate Brewing Co - a joint venture between craft brewers Williams Brothers and macro-brewers Tennents. The on-site beer hall has 26 rotating beers on tap while the brasserie has a menu of pub classics with drink pairing suggestions.
See Stunning Works from Local and International Artists
Glasgow has an impressive selection of galleries and most are free to enter. There are several sites dedicated to the life and works of home-grown architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh, including his original home, Mackintosh House, and tearoom and exhibition space Mackintosh at the Willow.
The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in the West End is more than a century old and has more than 8,000 exhibits across 22 themed galleries. Meet Sir Roger, a stuffed elephant, in the West Court before seeking out Salvador Dali's Christ of St. John of the Cross. The stunning red sandstone gallery building, designed in Spanish baroque style, is worth the trip alone.
Check out the Best Local Bands and DJs
Glasgow's celebrated music scene has produced diverse acts from Lulu in the 60s to Franz Ferdinand, Primal Scream, and Belle and Sebastian. The first city in the UK to be named a UNESCO City of Music, it hosts an average 130 music events each week. King Tut's Wah Wah Hut has been one of the city's staple live-music venues since it opened in the 1990s. Local and emerging acts play most evenings.
Considered one of the best clubs in the UK, Sub Club has the world's longest-running underground house night - Subculture - on Saturday nights. After 30 years, this dance music institution still attracts some of the best DJs to its basement venue on Jamaica Street.
Discover the best of this vibrant city by checking out our hotels in Glasgow.