10 Best Things to do in Glasgow (Scotland)

Are you wondering what are the best things to do in Glasgow? I’ve visited Glasgow a number of times when I visited Scotland with my friends and stayed in Millenium Hotel near George Square and once again when I joined the British Isles Cruise. I absolutely had a great time visiting the city due to its great attractions and landmarks. Most of all its winding roads of shops are great for retail therapy. Glasgow’s location is also a short train ride away from Edinburgh.

Glasgow is a city of many personalities, each of which is just as interesting as the next. It is known for its impressive Victorian architecture as well as its bustling retail shopping spots and incredibly hip music and club scenes. The residents of the city are known for their warm demeanor and friendly conversation, which contributes to the city’s reputation as a destination that is well worth your time.

In case you would also like to venture outside of Glasgow, I wrote another article here about Best Day Trips From Glasgow, Scotland, I encourage you to read it. Now, Let’s go back to Glasgow, I would like to share with you my top picks of the best things to do in Glasgow, Scotland.

Read more: 33 Best Places to Visit in the UK

Best things to do in Glasgow, Scotland

1. Shopping on Buchanan Street

Are you the kind of traveler who, no matter where in the world you go, just has to indulge in a little retail therapy? If this is the case, then Buchanan Street will feel as familiar to you as your own street does. You can access a wide variety of stores in any direction you go thanks to the fact that it is located in the middle of the city’s main shopping district. The majority of customers spend a significant amount of time inside Buchanan Galleries because of its wide selection, which is available to visitors as well as residents of the area.

Buchanan Street in Glasgow Scotland
Best Things to Do in Glasgow: Visit Buchanan Street

This famous street in Glasgow was named after Andrew Buchanan, one of the wealthiest Tobacco merchants in the 18th century. After London’s Oxford Street, Glasgow’s Buchanan Street is now the busiest shopping thoroughfare street in the country. The most opulent stretch of promenade in Glasgow is home to a wide range of retail establishments, including two arcades, a library and museum, a design center, and a number of buildings decorated in Victorian and Edwardian styles.

Buchanan Shopping Street in Glasgow
Best Things to Do in Glasgow: Go shopping on Buchanan Street

You can find anything in there, from Hollister and Pandora to Millie’s Cookies and The Whisky Shop and everything in between. Given that the climate in Scotland isn’t exactly renowned for being the most pleasant, this could be an excellent opportunity for you to avoid the wet weather.

It is essential to take into account the fact that Buchanan Street was the recipient of multiple awards, such as the award for Scotland’s favorite street in 2003 and the new Urbanism award for excellence in 2004. Therefore, going there is absolutely essential. Each year, more than 30 million people make their way to Buchanan Street, and some claim that the fashionable heart of Glasgow is superior to London’s West End in terms of the quality of the offerings it has to offer.

2. People’s Palace

Peoples Palace in Glasgow Green
Best Things to Do in Glasgow: Visit the People’s Palace in Glasgow Green

People’s Palace is located within the beautiful Glasgow Green and is by far the oldest of the city’s parks and can be reached within a short walk from the heart of the city. Its layout dates back to 1662. The People’s Palace is a museum that was established in 1898 and recounts the history of Glasgow from the years 1750 through the 20th century. It is one of the most popular destinations within the park.

This museum is a place that should be explored because it serves as a reminder of the social history of the people who live in this city. Inside, there is also a display about John MacLean, a political activist who lived in the area and was a resident there.

The museum’s third floor is now open to the public. Paintings by Ken Currie and banners from various labor unions will not be among the items on display at this time, despite the fact that you might have anticipated seeing them. They have been on display for more than 20 years, and our conservators are currently cleaning them in a secure environment.

In addition, it features exhibits such as a reproduction of a home from the 1930s located in the “Single End,” an examination of bathhouses known as “the steamie,” and a display that is devoted to remembering the dance hall at the Glasgow Barrowlands Ballroom.

The museum has a café right next to the gift shop where you can get hot and cold beverages, light lunches, and a variety of different types of desserts.

3. Glasgow Cathedral

One of the most rewarding experiences that can be had in Glasgow is going to the cathedral, which is named after Saint Mungo, the city’s patron saint. Especially if you have a passion for beautiful architecture and interesting pasts.

Glasgow Cathedral
Best Things to Do in Glasgow: Visit the Glasgow Cathedral

Because the majority of the medieval cathedrals that once stood across the United Kingdom are now in ruins, you should make the most of the opportunity you have in Glasgow to visit one of the few truly impressive cathedrals that are still standing. It has been used for religious services for over 800 years, and its collection of stained-glass windows after the war is one of the largest in the world.

The Cathedral is such a well-known landmark, and it is also the oldest building on mainland Scotland, despite the fact that it was consecrated in the 12th century and took a few hundred years to build. When you arrive at this location, you will have the opportunity to explore the incredible history of the cathedral by walking around it. The entrance is completely free, but it might be locked up during certain times of the day.

If you only have a short amount of time, it is best to move at your own pace rather than rushing through the process. You can make out the magnificent arches, the hand-carved pews, and the memorial pieces that are scattered across each wall. The Glasgow Cathedral is the kind of structure that you should go check out if you have any interest in buildings, history, or even photography.

4. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow Scotland
Best Things to Do in Glasgow: Visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is located in the city of Glasgow’s renowned West End. One of the most popular museums in the UK, Kelvingrove’s enormous collection of artifacts is open to the public and includes everything from civic art to natural history.

Organ inside the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow Scotland
Best Things to Do in Glasgow: See the organ inside the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow’s most visited tourist destination, opened in 1901 and is a striking example of Spanish baroque architecture made of red sandstone, so you should definitely go there.

Floating Heads Installation by Sophie Cave in Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow Scotland
Best Things to Do in Glasgow: See the Floating Heads Installation by Sophie Cave at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow Scotland

There is some incredibly beautiful art in these galleries, including French impressionism and Scottish colourists. As you walk in, look up to see Sophie Cave’s eerie Floating Heads Installation, which all have sinister human expressions. In the nearby museum, a Spitfire fighter jet is suspended from the ceiling above plush animals, including Sir Roger the elephant, a perennial favourite.

The Glasgow School of Art and its most well-known graduate, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, are featured in a remarkable collection of galleries along with fully furnished rooms, pottery, metalwork, furniture, and other works of art. Bronze Age tools and jewellery have been discovered in Scotland’s archaeological sites from Arran, Kintyre, and Glenluce.

Other interesting exhibits include Flemish tapestries, jewelry made in Glasgow, silverware, glassware, and pottery from various eras, as well as weapons and armor from the 15th and 16th centuries, including helmets, crossbows, and swords.

5. Glasgow Science Centre

The Glasgow Science Centre is a must-visit tourist attraction for families and a wonderful place to spend quality time together. This well-liked attraction is housed in a suitably striking titanium-clad building shaped like a ship’s hull and is close to the Riverside Museum. It provides endless opportunities for exploration and hands-on fun.

Glasgow Science Centre
Best Things to do in Glasgow: Visit the Glasgow Science Centre
Stephencdickson, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Glasgow Science Centre was created with the express purpose of educating and entertaining kids while exposing them to the world of science and technology. The Big Explorer area allows kids under the age of seven to use water and a crane to balance a mock cargo ship. Alternately, they can entertain themselves by performing their own little puppet show underwater while having fun with a musical shark and a huge walk-on piano.

There are notable exhibits on human health, technology, and general scientific concepts, as well as a variety of lab-style stations where kids can try out some real-world experiments using their newly learned information. The planetarium, an Imax theatre, and a science theatre are additional noteworthy attractions in this area. These venues frequently host lectures and talks.

The soft play area on the ground floor will probably be a lot of fun for your young children. However, the planetarium will captivate both adults and children, allowing your imaginations to soar through the stars.

6. Glasgow Botanic Gardens

The Glasgow Botanic Gardens is not only one of the most beautiful green spaces you will find in Glasgow, but it is also packed to the brim with historical artifacts, botanical specimens, and beautiful architectural features.

Glasgow Botanic Gardens
Best Things to Do in Glasgow: Visit the Glasgow Botanic Gardens
StaraBlazkova, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

It was originally part of the University of Glasgow and was laid out in 1841, but in 1891 the city of Glasgow purchased the gardens and made them available to the public. The most notable structure, known as the eccentric domed glasshouse Kibble Palace, was built in 1873. A few years later, the Main Range teak glasshouse was constructed. Both have been meticulously preserved and are teeming with rare flora, ranging from arid lands to tropical rainforests in their composition.

On warm days, the long east-west-facing green in front of the glasshouses is bustling with activity, whether it be families, groups of students, or yoga classes. Do not miss it once you have arrived at this location.

7. George Square

George Square, which is adorned with flowers and features 12 statues of famous people with ties to Glasgow, such as Robbie Burns, Walter Scott, and Queen Victoria, is located in the center of Glasgow’s historic Victorian city center.

George Square in Glasgow Scotland
Best Things to Do in Glasgow: Visit George Square

The Town Hall, with its 230-foot tower that was finished in 1890, dominates the east end of the square, while the Merchants’ House, which was founded in 1605, serves as the headquarters of Britain’s oldest Chamber of Commerce.

Take some time to appreciate the magnificent architecture of the buildings that surround the square, and keep an eye out for the statue of Robert Burns, the poet who was responsible for writing “Auld Lang Syne”.

Located to the south of George Square, the trendy Merchant City district of the city is comprised of a collection of warehouses built in the middle of the 19th century. This district, along with The Italian Centre, is home to a variety of one-of-a-kind cafes, restaurants, and designer boutiques. In the winter, when an impressive display of Christmas lights illuminates the neighbourhood, it is a particularly lovely place to visit, especially for families and individuals who are in Glasgow to take in some of the city’s sights.

8. SEC Centre (OVO Hydro and SEC Armadillo)

If you enjoy seeing performances while you’re travelling, it would be well worth your while to check out who is scheduled to perform at The OVO Hydro during your trip. They have hosted a number of well-known figures in their purpose-built entertainment venue, and the area is full of bars and restaurants, so you can keep yourself occupied before and after.

SEC Centre OVO Hydro and SEC Armadillo
Best Things to do in Glasgow: Visit the SEC Centre (OVO Hydro and SEC Armadillo)
Office of U.S. Ambassador to the U.K., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The venue itself is impressive and has space for a large crowd to watch the performance, but it frequently hosts comedy shows in addition to music performances. It can get quite busy, which you should be aware of, but for the majority of people, this just adds to the atmosphere.

The SEC Armadillo is a landmark structure in Glasgow and has been dubbed the city’s most iconic structure in addition to being a fantastic, purpose-built venue.

The needs of conference attendees and speakers were given top priority during the design of the SEC Armadillo, which was built by renowned architects Foster and Partners. Although it has 3,000 seats spread across three levels, it can also be the perfect location for much smaller gatherings. A sizable stage, breakout rooms, a registration area, and organizer offices support it. It’s not surprising that it has grown to be one of Europe’s top conference locations.

9. Provand’s Lordship

Provand's Lordship House in Glasgow Scotland
Best Things to Do in Glasgow: Visit the Provand’s Lordship House

Visit The Provand’s Lordship, Glasgow’s oldest house, to travel back in time and learn more about the city’s distinctive history. The Provand’s Lordship was built in the 1400s and is one of only four remaining medieval structures in Scotland.

Provand's Lordship in Glasgow Scotland 1471 AD
Best Things to Do in Glasgow: Visit the Provand’s Lordship in Glasgow Scotland (1471 AD)

There are only four remaining medieval structures in Glasgow, and The Provand’s Lordship is one of them. It was constructed in 1471 as a part of a hospital in the vicinity of the cathedral. The “auld hoose,” which has been beautifully preserved, is furnished with a fine collection of 17th-century Scottish furniture given by Sir William Burrell, along with several old royal portraits. Visit this fascinating structure to immerse yourself in medieval Glasgow. Room settings provide a taste of interiors from the 1500s and 1700s.

Take a stroll around and be a little nosy (or in the herb garden, out back). It’s a fantastic location to discover more about Glasgow’s extensive past.

10. Pollok House and Country Park

The 355-acre Pollok House grounds are located about four miles southwest of Glasgow’s downtown. This Edwardian mansion, which now belongs to the Maxwell family, was constructed in 1752 by William Adam and his sons.

Pollok House Glasgow
Best Things to Do in Glasgow: Visit the Pollock House and Country Park

Pollok Country Park is a beautiful park that has garnered numerous accolades over the past few decades as one of the best in Europe. It has a unique reputation because it is Glasgow’s only country park.

Visitors can now explore the vast majority of the structure, from the impressive entrance hall to the sizeable servants’ quarters. Spanish paintings by El Greco, Goya, Murillo, and Velázquez, as well as several important pieces by William Blake, are on display in the collection of Sir William Stirling Maxwell. There are both guided and unguided tours available.

The park itself was once owned by the Pollock family and is one of the best places to visit in Glasgow, especially for a short stroll. After 700 years, the park and Pollok House were eventually given to the city to continue being a public park for all of us to enjoy. Perhaps you’ll even see some highland coos!

While you’re here, be sure to bike the park’s more recent routes or take a stroll along the White Cart River. Oh, and don’t forget that the Burrell Collection is housed in Pollok Country Park; renovations are currently being done there, and they should be finished in a few years.

Also, reserve a spot on this Glasgow historical walking tour, which visits some of the city’s most well-known locations. You’ll get to sneak around George Square, check out Glasgow Cathedral, and stop by the Gallery of Modern Art while travelling. The complete list of GetYourGuide tours is also available below. Glasgow offers many amazing tours, which is great if you want to maximize your time there.

I hope that these suggestions of mine for the best things to do in Glasgow would be helpful when you plan to visit this bustling Scottish city. I wrote another article here on Ways How to Get from London to Glasgow, Scotland or Edinburgh to Glasgow, I encourage you to read it to help you plan your trip ahead of time.

Best Things to Do in Glasgow Scotland pin
Best Things to Do in Glasgow, Scotland

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Everything Zany

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