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Glasgow is one of the most vibrant cities in the UK. It’s home to a buzzing arts community, museums, galleries, and one of the country’s best live music scenes. Whether you only have 24 hours in Glasgow, or a few days to explore the city, you’re guaranteed to have tons of things to do. There’s plenty of city sightseeing activities, a lively city center, Medieval history, and much, much more. It’s also one of the cheapest cities in the UK to visit — so what are you waiting for? Here’s what to see and do in Glasgow, Scotland:
1. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is one of Scotland’s most popular free attractions. It’s a gallery and museum housed in a stunning early 20th-century building. The museum is home to 22 galleries, covering topics from Ancient Egypt to modern art. It also features a changing program, temporary exhibits, and fun events. The museum is a great place to visit if you were hoping to see the Burrell Collection Museum, which is temporarily closed until 2020 for refurbishment. While at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, check out the surrounding Kelvingrove Park and relax in its beautiful gardens.
2. Glasgow Botanic Gardens
While Scotland doesn’t have the climate to grow tropical plants, it nonetheless has the Glasgow Botanical Gardens, which are acclimatized to grow rare and impressive plant species. It’s home to several Victorian-era glasshouses, packed with lush green plants and rare flowers. The quaint tearooms are also a great place to have coffee and cake after wandering around the gardens.
3. Explore the University of Glasgow
The University of Glasgow is one of the oldest universities in the UK, dating back to 1451. It is technically the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world and today it’s one of the world’s most impressive public universities and research institutions. You can walk around the campus and marvel at some of its ancient buildings, or visit its onsite museums and galleries.
4. Stroll Around Glasgow Green
Glasgow Green is the oldest park in the city, established in the 16th century. Whatever the weather, it’s a great place for a stroll, and in the summer it’s packed with locals having a picnic or seeking shade beneath its trees.
5. Catch an Event at George Square
George Square is a focal point for music and arts events. The Square dates back to the 18th century and is home to statues and monuments, including those dedicated to Robert Burns, Sir Robert Peel, and Sir Walter Scott. The square hosts fun summer festivals, Christmas festivals, and music concerts.
6. Visit the Gallery of Modern Art
The Gallery of Modern Art, or the GoMa, is the city’s best contemporary art gallery. It showcases work by local and international artists and has temporary exhibits and rotating displays. The gallery has a strong focus on contemporary social issues.
7. Check out Glasgow’s Live Music Scene
Live music in Glasgow is big, and it’s arguably home to one of the best music scenes in the UK. You can find a variety of venues, from small intimate nooks to huge arenas that draw international artists. Check out 13th Note, which is an independent music venue, Argyle Street Arches, which is a crypt-like venue, or stroll down Ashton Lane, which is home to several bars and cafes that often have live music blaring.
8. Glasgow Cathedral
Glasgow Cathedral is one of Scotland’s most impressive Medieval buildings. The cathedral was built in the 14th century and is the only cathedral in Scotland to have survived the Reformation in 1560. It’s home to impressive stained glass windows, Medieval stone carvings, and historic artwork. And if you want to know more about Scotland’s history, why not visit some of the best castles in Scotland?
9. Riverside Museum
Another excellent spot is the Riverside Museum, which is a transport museum that features an ultra-modern design. It’s home to an interesting display of historic vehicles and futuristic interactive exhibits. The museum has over 3,000 objects on display, from the skateboard through to the modern day stroller, a Star Wars Stormtrooper, and vintage cars.
10. Explore Merchant City
Merchant City is one of the oldest quarters in Glasgow. Back in the day, Merchant City was the base of original Glaswegian merchants who made their fortunes trading tobacco that was grown on the other side of the Atlantic. Today, its streets are packed with shops, bars, and cafes.
Visit in the summer months of July and August when the neighborhood comes alive with the annual Merchant City festival, where you can catch music, dance, street theatre, circus, design, and awesome street food. If shopping and eating is your thing, you’ll find a mixture of designer boutiques and vintage shops packed into former warehouses, alongside tons of restaurants and cafes. It’s also a great place to wander and soak in traditional Glaswegian architecture.