Glasgow is one of the biggest cities in the UK and the largest in Scotland (even larger than the capital, Edinburgh). This makes the city a perfect place for a wee city break to explore the best things to do in Glasgow.
Although Edinburgh gets a lot of attention with its incredible history, castle and stunning sights to see, don’t let it overshadow your opinion of Glasgow. It’s a totally vibrant and buzzing Scottish city that’s so much fun to explore.
After spending a good few years living in Scotland, I had loads of time to pop over to Glasgow. That’s why I wanted to share some of the best things to do in Glasgow on your visit.
From the amazing bars, restaurants and pubs to the beautiful art and museums, there really is a corner of Glasgow that everyone will love.
Take a look at some of the very best things to do in Glasgow below. You’re gonna have the best time.
1.) Visit Glasgow’s Museums
As I mentioned, whilst you’re in Kelvingrove Park, it’s well worth popping over to visit some of the museums that are dotted around this area. It is one of the best things to do in Glasgow, especially as the vast majority are free.
Don’t forget to visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, that is just amazing. Built to resemble a Renaissance-style castle, it looks like something out of a fairytale.
Pretty recently, the museum underwent a huge renovation and is now up there as one of the best museums in all of Scotland. It is open daily and has free entry (that’s something that I always love).
Afterwards, pop over to the Fish People Cafe (on Scotland Street) for some Scottish Oysters and scallops.
Oh, and don’t forget, you can easily book this private West End walking tour of Glasgow that is so informative if you want to learn more about the culture and history of the city.
2.) Stroll through Pollok House and Country Park
Over the last few decades, Pollok Country Park has won quite a few awards as one of the best parks in Europe, it’s lovely. One of the best things to do in Glasgow, especially for a little stroll, the park itself used to belong to the Pollock family (who called this area home).
Eventually, after 700 years, the park and Pollok House were gifted to the city to remain as a public park for us all to enjoy. You might even spot some highland coos!
Whilst here, make sure to walk along the White Cart River or bike the park’s relatively new routes too. Oh and just remember, Pollok Country Park is home to the Burrell Collection but it’s currently under renovation and due for completion in a few years.
Also, book this, family-friendly, historical walking tour of Glasgow that takes in the city’s most iconic spots. Along the way, you’ll get to sneak around George Square, explore Glasgow Cathedral and visit the Gallery of Modern Art. You can also see the full range of GetYourGuide tours, below.
They have heaps of incredible tours in Glasgow and it’s great if you want to make the most of your time in the city.
3.)See the City Chambers
The City Chambers has been the seat of Glasgow governance since the late 1800s and a great place to see if you love history.
Nowadays, you can join one of the City Chambers’s free tours that include the stunning entrance hall and banqueting hall. Tours usually run at 10:30 am and 2:30 pm (Monday – Friday).
Now, you can’t book tickets online so I’d recommend getting here about 20-30 minutes before to grab a spot.
Afterwards, pop over to St Jude’s (on Bath Street) for one of the juiciest burgers in the city!
4.) See the Duke of Wellington Statue
Glasgow has a sense of humour, it does! That’s what makes it so much fun to visit. That being said, if you wanna see proof of this, pop over to the Duke of Wellington Statue at the Royal Exchange Square.
Once here, see if you can spot the Duke with a fetching hat… he’s usually sporting a traffic cone that has now become a tradition in Glasgow! The council always try to remove the cone but it’s nearly always put back on.
A fleeting, but pretty funny thing to see!
If that’s not your thing, book this tour of the Glengoyne Distillery and learn all about (and taste) the whisky and the making process. After all, the distillery is home to Scotland’s slowest stills.
5.) Explore the Glasgow Cathedral
Dedicated to the city’s patron saint, Saint Mungo, seeing the cathedral is one of the best things to do in Glasgow. Especially if you love gorgeous buildings and history.
Consecrated way back in the 12th century (though it took a few hundred years to build), the Cathedral is so iconic and the oldest in mainland Scotland.
Once here, you can walk around the cathedral and explore its incredible history. It’s totally free to enter although it might be closed during services.
If all that exploring works up an appetite, pop over to Picnic (on Ingram Street) for one of the best brunches in town. They make epic waffles!
6.) Escape the rain at the Riverside Museum
If the weather takes a turn for the worst, there are some indoor spots like the Riverside Museum where you can escape the rain.
Now, the Riverside might not be everyone’s cup of tea (it’s a transport museum) but it does show off the history of Glasgow and its ship-building history that was once world-famous.
If you’re into transport and history in the city, you’ll find this to be one of the best things to do in Glasgow. That being said, if it’s not your thing you’ll likely loathe it.
Afterwards, pop over to Wee Lochan (on Crow Road) for a gorgeous dinner. They do the best fish in the city (in my opinion, at least).
7.) Stroll through Kelvingrove Park
Strolling through Kelvingrove Park is one of the best things to do in Glasgow if you want to take a break from the city itself. Even though it’s in the city centre, you’ll still find some gorgeous trails beside the River Kelvin that is lovely on a sunny day.
Oh, and don’t forget to check out the bandstand for local events that happen seasonally and on weekends. Whilst here, it’s a good idea to partner up a visit to the park with a trip to the nearby Hunterian Museum. It’s minutes away from the park.
8.) Have a dram at Glengoyne Distillery
You can’t go all the way to Scotland without at least one little galivant to a distillery! Now, if you’re fancying a little tour of one make sure to pop into the Glengoyne Distillery who will teach you all you need to know about Whisky.
Around a 35-minute drive from the city, it’s one of the best things to do in Glasgow if you want an authentic look at a real distillery. That being said, there are quite a few distilleries to choose from so don’t feel this is your only choice.
Oh, and make sure to have a wee dram of single-malt whisky.
9.) Wander through Kibble Palace
The Botanic Gardens and Kibble Palace are another one of the city’s free attractions that are a great place to visit.
Located alongside the River Kelvin, the garden is a great place to see, especially the greenhouses (like Kibble Palace). Once inside Kibble Palace, you’ll see the huge collection of tropical plants and trees that would be more at home in a rainforest!
If you fancy getting outside, pop along the heritage trail that crisscrosses the park itself on the way to Kelvin’s Walkway and the Gardens Arboretum.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head over to Ox and Finch which serves a heap of sharing plates with a Scottish flair! It’s so good.
10.) Experience a city festival
Glasgow is a city that’s filled with energy.. and I don’t say that lightly! There is always something going on in the city.
One of the best things to do in Glasgow during your visit is to check city schedules for festivals and music events that go on throughout the year. If it’s a whisky you like, pop over to see the Whisky Festival, the Southside Fringe, or even the famous TRNSMT Festival which happens in summer.
That being said, there are also spots like the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall that hosts the city’s Celtic Connections Festival.
There are dozens of smaller venues offering live music daily and I promise you’ll be spoilt for choice. You could be in a crowd of thousands or just a few dozen and that’s what makes Glasgow so special. It’s diversity in places, people and experiences to have.
11.) Find The People’s Palace
Located on the Glasgow Green, The People’s Palace Museum is another one of Glasgow’s incredible museums.
The museum is a reminder of the social history of the people of this city and a place that’s worth exploring. Inside, you’ll see a display about the political activist and resident John MacLean, too.
If that’s not your thing, pop around the Winter Gardens is somewhere that you can go to relax among the tropical plants inside the greenhouse.
12.) Provand’s Lordship
One of only four medieval buildings still surviving in Scotland, the Provand’s Lordship was built way back in the 1400s.
Get a little nosey and take a wander around inside (or in the herb garden, outback). It’s a great place to learn more about Glasgow’s long history.