10 Things to Do in Glasgow in a Day

What is Glasgow Most Famous For?

Penny Wong | Compulsive Traveller
5 Sep, 2018

Glasgow, with its eclectic mix of trendy shopping malls, gothic architecture, and concert halls, gives you plenty of memorable experiences throughout your holiday. Art lovers can find plenty of museums dedicated to European art, culture, and history, while music enthusiasts can enjoy a wide range of music at the city’s many concert halls, public parks, and live music bars.

Fashion boutiques, vintage shops, and high-street outlets are set along pedestrian-friendly streets in central Glasgow. Take a short walk or train ride to the western end to find quirky nightclubs, cabaret theatres, and rooftop bars that stay busy until late. If you’re a first-time visitor to this cultural city, check out our guide on the best things to do in Glasgow in a day.

1

Start the Day at George Square

See the bronze equestrian statue of Queen Victoria in front of the City Chambers

George Square is arguably the focal point of Glasgow, where you can spend hours exploring its many historical buildings, columns, and statues. It’s also a popular venue for concerts and annual festivities, especially around Christmas and New Year’s Eve. A must-visit here is the City Chambers, a grand civic building located on the east side of the square. Built in 1888, the Chambers are home to the largest Italian Carrara marble staircase in Western Europe. If you want to learn about its history, free guided tours of the Chambers are held on weekdays at 10.30pm and 2.30pm.

Location: George Square, George Street, Glasgow City Centre

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photo by Alf Melin (CC BY-SA 2.0) cropped, calibrated, blurred

2

Must-See: People’s Palace and Winter Gardens

Grab a coffee at the plant-filled Victorian glasshouse

The People’s Palace and Winter Gardens are located in Glasgow Green, about 1 mile southeast of the city centre. Founded in 1898, this museum complex showcases photographs, murals, and film on Glasgow’s social and cultural history from the early 1700s to the present. Notable features here include the Glassgow History Ceiling Mural by artist Ken Currie, Doulton Fountain, and Billy Connolly’s infamous ‘Banana Boots’. The Winter Gardens are set next to the People’s Palace and comprises a Victorian glasshouse café surrounded with blooming flowers and exotic plants.

Location: People’s Palace and Winters Gardens, Glasgow Green, Glasgow

Open: Daily from 11am to 5pm

Phone: +44 (0)141 276 0788

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3

Shop for High-end Brands in the Style Mile

Check out over 90 retail outlets at Buchanan Galleries

Glasgow Style Mile is home to hundreds of designer outlets, local boutiques, and major British flagship stores within a square-mile radius. Located within Glasgow city centre, its 3 main shopping boulevards are Argyle, Buchanan and Sauchiehall Streets. The Style Mile has wide pedestrian walkways, making it convenient to go from one store to the next. Prominent shopping malls here include Argyll Arcade, Buchanan Galleries, and Princess Square Mall. A variety of street performances are also held along the Style Mile, from jazz bands to bagpipers in full costume.

Location: 0.2 miles west of George Square, Glasgow City Centre

Open: Daily from 9am to 8pm (hours vary by store and season)

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4

Follow the Glasgow Mural Trail

Snap photos of vibrant murals by renowned street artists

The Glasgow Mural Trail runs along prominent streets within the city centre and features colourful art installations by some of the city’s most popular street artists. Located in central Glasgow, some of its most impressive murals include a 700-metre-long portrait of students at Strathclyde University, a modern depiction of patron saint St. Mungo, and a gigantic portrait of a young girl with a magnifying glass. If you want to learn about the story behind each piece of street art, you can download the Glassgow Mural Trail app on your phone or grab a brochure from a nearby tourist information centre.

Location: 33 Mitchell Street, Glasgow

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5

Eat A Scotch Pie (or Two)

Drop by Beer Café for some of the best scotch pies in the city

Scotch pie consists of minced meat and gravy encased in a double-crusted pastry. Crisp on the outside and savoury on the inside, it’s also called football pie as it’s commonly sold to spectators at football matches. A popular comfort food in Scotland, the meat is typically minced mutton seasoned with lots of spices, though some bakeries use lamb and beef as fillings. It’s so popular that Scotland hosts an Annual World Championship Scotch Pie Award, where bakers from all over the UK compete for the acclaimed title. If you’re in Merchant City, head to Beer Café for its diverse range of scotch pies, which includes a vegetarian option.

Location: Beer Café, 78 Candleriggs, Merchant City, Glasgow

Open: Monday – Saturday from 11.30 to midnight, Sundays from 12.30pm to midnight

Phone: +44 (0)141 552 9815

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6

See European art at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Check out Salvador Dali’s Christ of St John of the Cross

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, established in 1901, is one of Glasgow’s most popular museums. Occupying a Spanish Baroque building on Argyle Street, the museum has 22 galleries with over 8,000 items on display, including 20th-century furnishings, paintings, sculptures, and weaponry. A popular exhibit here is the French Gallery, which features masterpieces by renowned European artists such as Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, and Pissarro. Kelvingrove also houses a 20th-century organ with daily recitals held from Mondays to Saturdays at 1pm and on Sunday at 3pm. Entrance is free of charge, but you should visit the museum on a weekday if you’re not a fan of crowds.

Location: Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Argyle St, Glasgow

Open: Monday – Thursday & Saturday from 10am to 5pm, Friday & Sunday from 11am to 5pm

Phone: +44 (0)141 276 9599

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7

Must-See: Glasgow Cathedral

Celebrate the Glasgow Cathedral Festival in August

The imposing Glasgow Cathedral is a prime example of Scottish Gothic architecture, with its stained glass windows, carved stone bosses, ribbed vaults, and effigies of holy figures. Located along Castle Street, the church is a 15-minute walk from George Square. Free guided tours are available for those who want to learn more about the cathedral, and last about 1 hour. If you’re travelling to Glasgow in August, the cathedral hosts a week-long festival where you can enjoy live music, poetry, and exhibitions during your visit.

Location: Glasgow Cathedral, Cathedral Precinct, Castle Street, Glasgow

Open: October to March: Monday – Saturday from 10am to 3pm, April to September: Monday – Saturday from 9.30am to 5pm

Phone: +44 (0)141 552 8198

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8

Dinner at Merchant Square

Enjoy live events in the square’s indoor courtyard

Merchant Square is an indoor nightlife and dining hub in central Glasgow. Located in Merchant City, this trendy square is a 5-minute walk from George Square. Here, you can find a wide range of restaurants serving local and international cuisine. There are also plenty of bars and pubs within the square, many of which offer live music and cabaret shows until late. From burgers, steaks and pizzas, to authentic Italian, Mediterranean, and French cuisine, Merchant Square attracts a crowd of hungry patrons with its diverse range of dining options.

Location: 71 Albion Street, Glasgow

Open: Monday – Thursday from 8.30am to midnight, Friday – Saturday 8.30am to 3am, Sunday 8.30am to midnight

Phone: +44 (0)141 552 3038

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9

Join a Whisky Tour in West End Glasgow

Learn about all things whisky while exploring Ashton Lane’s nightlife scen

A whisky tour in Glasgow offers not only a fun evening exploring some of the city’s most popular bars, but also interesting facts about the history of this Scottish tipple. Ashton Lane in West End Glasgow is a charming cobblestoned district with plenty of quirky bars and live venues. The tour lasts about 3 hours and starts at The Ben Nevis, which offers a wide range of whiskies, wines, and beers on taps, plus Scottish folk music until late. Prices start from about £49 and includes 4 premium single malt whiskies and a local guide taking you to 4 of the best whisky bars in West End Glasgow.

Location: The Ben Nevis, 1147 Argyle Street, Glasgow

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10

End the day at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut

Catch a gig at Glasgow’s iconic live music venue

King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, located on Vincent Street, has been Glasgow’s go-to spot for live music since 1990. It’s where British rock band Oasis was discovered and signed by a record label back in 1993. Since then, the venue regularly hosts concerts by world-renowned artists such as The Verve, Artic Monkeys, and Franz Ferdinand. The stairway leading up to the venue is a popular spot for photos as each step is engraved with the names of iconic bands that have played here throughout the years.

Location: King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, 272A St Vincent Street, Glasgow

Open: Monday – Friday from 12pm to 1am, Saturday from 4pm to 1am, Sunday from 3pm to 1am

Phone: +44 (0)141 221 5279

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