Welcome to Glasgow!
Located on the River Clyde, Glasgow, Scotland, is one of the UK’s biggest cities, full of character and life at every turn. Glasgow grew from a small rural settlement, on the banks of the river, to become one of the largest seaports. In addition, it was an important center of intellectualism during the enlightenment. The city is also very old as it was chartered in the 1170s. From the sky, as you fly into Glasgow airport, you can fully appreciate the ancient, winding medieval streets and stunning Gothic architecture.
The local Glaswegians know the ins and outs of the old city and where the best spots are. If you want to be a worldwide local, these tips will help you make the most of your time in Glasgow, and experience the city at its finest.
The Glasgow Center
Start your Glasgow journey at the heart of the city, at George Square in the Retail and Theatre district in City Centre. The aptly named area is home to tons of theatres and galleries and is essentially the heart of Glasgow’s cultural main venues. The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall is here, as well as the Theatre Royal, Gallery of Modern Art, and a myriad of other important places. For those looking to do some high-end shopping, the areas around Argyle Street and Buchanan Street are known as the “style mile.”
Worldwide Local Tip: The city center is based on a grid system, making it fairly easy to get around the neighborhood. George Square is home to many of Glasgow’s public statues. For the traveler on a budget, simply walking around the area and admiring the surroundings is a great way to spend an afternoon enjoying the crisp Glasgow weather.
A Must-Visit Neighborhood for the Arts
If you’re looking for a bohemian experience in your Glasgow adventure, the West End area is where it’s at. Locals know that this part of town mixes Glasgow’s unique charm of old-style architecture with the flair of the modern. Hip cafes and traditional pubs intermingle together to give the West End a vibrant and diverse feel--this is also a good place to look for some of the funkier hotels in Glasgow. There are tons of vintage shops around, so if you’re not into spending the big bucks at style mile, more affordable alternatives can be found here in the West End. While here, check out Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. The massive museum is home to some of Europe’s best art collections, including works from Rembrandt and Van Gogh.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you’re more of the nature-going type, then head to Kelvingrove Park to take a stroll through one of the city’s most beautiful and lush parks. With the University of Glasgow nearby, the atmosphere is fun and lively.
Where and What to Eat
Tourists might not associate Glasgow with foodie culture, but the locals know how to satisfy a craving. Glasgow is home to amazing food and after a few trips to one of the city’s finest eateries, you’ll be a worldwide local in no time. Glasgow is home to some of the best Indian food outside of India. Try out Ranjit’s Kitchen, in the City Center, where they serve some massive portions in a family-style restaurant. Cafe Gandolfi, also in the City Center, serves classic Scottish fare and amazing fish plates, all of which are locally sourced. The Red Onion nearby serves gluten-free options, and The 13th Note is a must go-to for vegans or vegetarians.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you’re pressed for time and don’t know what to eat, check out Paesano’s in either its West End location or City Center. Paesano’s was voted the best pizza in the UK, so you definitely won’t leave disappointed.
Glasgow After Dark
Unfortunately, some stereotypes about Scotland are true. It does rain a lot and it doesn’t see much sun, but that doesn’t stop the Glaswegians from having a party. Locals know the best spots for a drink or a dance, and now you will too. From the hipster dive to the raving clubs, Glasgow has you covered. Ben Nevis in the West End has a huge list of whiskeys and an old Scottish vibe, plus they’re dog-friendly. People looking for a low-key evening should check out Eight Ball Pool Hall. Located above one of Glasgow’s oldest pubs, The Scotia, this spot offers fun by way of billiards and pints. Stop in at a sports pub to cheer for the Glasgow Rangers along with the local fans.
For the ravers and club-going people out there, you’re in luck, as Glasgow has some great spots to party. SWG3 is Glasgow’s biggest venue, bringing in international DJs playing electronica. The Cat House, located in the City Center, plays alternative rock, metal, and punk, and usually has some great drink deals.
Worldwide Local Tip: After a night of partying in Glasgow, pick up a Munchie Box, a box filled with pizza, fries, donner meat, pakora, salad, chicken strips, and sauce. Top it off with a bottle of Irn Bru.
Enjoy Your Visit!
There are so many fun and exciting things to do in Glasgow. Grab a pint, grab some food, and make your way through the neighborhoods with the confidence of a worldwide local.