14 Epic Things to Do in Glasgow on Your Visit

Steve Cummings


Glasgow may not be the capital of Scotland, but it is a cultural melting pot that is more than worth a visit if you are heading to the northern part of the United Kingdom. Culture, significant and exciting food, history, art, and an incredible array of green spaces await you in a city known affectionately as “Dear Green Place.”

Although smaller than other cities in the UK, Glasgow is densely packed and populated with people and things to see and do. 

If you are intimidated by your first time in the city, let us help you with our guide to some of the best things to do in Glasgow.

1. Glasgow Tower

While we will go into more detail about the city's impressive interactive science Center to give you an idea of what the city looks like from above, the first of the fun things to do in Glasgow we want to highlight is a trip up Glasgow Tower. This stands at 127 meters high, the same as more than 30 double-decker buses (you will see many of them during your visit to the city). The tower holds two impressive accolades – it is officially Scotland's tallest freestanding building and is the Guinness World Record holder for being the world's tallest fully freestanding building that rotates. 

Located on the south banks of the city's stunning River Clyde, the structure, which can rotate 360 degrees, provides unbelievable views of Glasgow's skyline. 

2. Glasgow Science Centre

Glasgow Science Centre
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Glasgow is very family-friendly, so there are plenty of things to do in Glasgow with kids. Following on nicely from the above, we want to draw your attention to the fabulous Glasgow Science Centre. Glasgow Tower is actually found within the Glasgow Science Centre complex, so you can visit both at the same time. The center offers approximately 300 unique interactive exhibits about science, space, and the human body.

Among the many award-winning hands-on exhibits, there is a cutting-edge planetarium with a full-dome digital projection system, a completely immersive space zone, and a bio wall—a wall that is 100% living and contains a wide variety of exciting and beautiful plant species. 

3. Explore George Square

It may be smaller than other city squares, but one of the things to do in Glasgow City Centre that is an absolute must is explore George Square. Located squarely, pardon the pun, in the city's center, this is home to several impressive sculptures and statues of famous Scottish individuals like Sir Walter Scott, Sir Robert Peel, James Watt, and Robert Burns. 

On the Square's east side, you will find Glasgow City Chambers, the local government's headquarters. This beautiful Victorian-style residence is one of the main symbols of Glasgow's wealth and culture. 

4. Go to a Gig or The Theatre

Glasgow has a thriving nightlife and world-class theatre and music scenes. Therefore, if you are looking for fun things to do in Glasgow for young adults who are music lovers or fans of theatre, you should try to get tickets to a show or gig while you are there. Glasgow Barrowlands, King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, The Garage, Cathouse Rock Club, Oran Mor, and the O2 Academy are iconic venues. OVO Hydro is the city's biggest stadium-style music venue for the most prominent names. 

For classical music, theatre, and opera fans, notable venues include The Royal Concert Hall, King's Theatre, Theatre Royal Glasgow, Pavilion Theatre, Tron Theatre, and the SEC Armadillo.

5. Romantic Dinner for Two in a Fancy Restaurant

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The city is known as a busy place, and often, due to its history and heritage as a shipbuilding and industrial center of note, it is not particularly clean. However, that does not mean you cannot enjoy a romantic evening in the city for two. There are many excellent restaurants where you can enjoy a world-class meal, often using locally sourced ingredients or taking on Scottish cuisine. If you are looking for things to do in Glasgow for couples, consider exploring the foodie scene there. UNALOME by Graeme Cheevers would be one at the top of our list.

6. Stroll Around Glasgow Green and Have a Picnic Lunch

Glasgow Green
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Speaking of romantic things to do for couples, among the many great free things to do in Glasgow, a stroll around the stunning Glasgow Green, the city's central park, is a must. 

The oldest of the many green spaces in the city, it was first established back in the 15th century and is a lush place of trees, shrubs, plants, flowers, and lots of grass where you can stroll, jog, cycle, and stop for picnics if the weather is nice. In addition to the beautiful scenery, there is the People's Palace within the Green, a stunning collection that charts the social history of Glasgow. It is also the biggest terracotta fountain in the world, Doulton Fountain. The fountain, 46 feet high and 70 feet wide, was built to celebrate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. 

7. Retail Therapy in Braehead Shopping Centre

While you may want to spend most of your time in this magical city within its limits, there are many great things to do near Glasgow. For instance, if you want excellent retail therapy, you could take the bus or drive to the sprawling and expansive shopper's paradise, Braehead Shopping Centre. More than 100 stores and outlets in this retail mecca feature big-name brands like Next, Marks and Spencer's, H&M, MAC, and many smaller independents. Whether you want to pick up a new outfit, some interesting trinkets, or a bite to eat, you will find it all and lots more in Braehead. 8. The Hunterian Art Gallery & Museum

If you are looking for curious and cool things to do in Glasgow, the Hunterian Art Gallery & Museum stands out as a unique place to visit. Based within the hallowed halls of the illustrious University of Glasgow, where it has been since 1807, it is the oldest of Scotland's many public museums. 

It consists of several sections – the Anatomy Museum, the Zoology Museum, the Mackintosh House, and the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery. Dr. William Hunter established the collection within this museum and art gallery complex, which features a vast selection of strange and precious items covering various topics like art, zoology, history, and medical history. 

Among the peculiar and beautiful artifacts are a Cleopatra coin, a 330 million-year-old shark, and an astonishingly well-preserved mummy that is 2,5000 years old. 

9. Explore The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse is officially Scotland's center for architecture and design, and exploring this stunning building is one of the cool things to do in Glasgow. Year-round programs of rotating events and exhibitions highlights the importance and impact of architecture and design in the everyday lives of Scottish citizens.

The building, an intriguing museum, was designed by the famous Glasgow son and world-renowned architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The actual building is a work of art in itself. It was the back warehouse of a printing office for the newspaper, the Glasgow Herald. Now, besides a fine museum, it has a tower that stands tall and proudly and offers unique, unobstructed views of Glasgow. 

10. Victoria Park

One of the prettiest parks in the city, Victoria Park is one of the great things to do in Glasgow with toddlers. It is not particularly big, especially compared to Glasgow Green, but it has a lot of lovely settings and is stunning to walk around. There is a pond, Fossil Grove, and many pretty rose gardens. 

At the pond, you can spot ducks and swans, and if you are fortunate and visit at the right time of the year, you may even see cygnets and ducklings. Fossil Grove is a part of the park that is home to the remnants of a forest that was once thriving many millions of years ago. Some tree trunks there are believed to be around 330 million years old. 

11. The Burrel Collection

Another great family thing to do in Glasgow, especially if you have children of any age, is to explore The Burrel Collection. This museum is home to the esteemed and stunning collection of art accumulated by Sir William Burrel, a successful Glasgow-based shipping merchant who gifted the collection to the city upon his death. He spent much of his professional life collecting antiques and other oddities. 

The Burrel Collection has been a longstanding attraction for locals and visitors alike and was recently reopened following an incredible refurbishment that cost around £68.25 million. You can walk around the 9,900 artifacts and exhibits covering 6,000 years of human history. Within the sprawling 24 galleries, you will see many examples of Islamic, Chinese, and late medieval period art, as well as work by famous artists such as Cezanne, Degas, and Rodin. 

12. Glasgow Cathedral 

Glasgow Cathedral
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Glasgow Cathedral, built between 1136 and 1486 AD, is the oldest building in Glasgow and the oldest Cathedral on the Scottish mainland. Its construction was in honor of St. Mungo, otherwise known as St. Kentigern, the city's patron saint. It is one of the best indoor things to do in Glasgow. The tomb of St. Mungo is within the building's lower church. 

It is also one of the most impressive examples of Scottish Gothic architecture on the exterior and interior. There are many highlights, but things you should look for include the carved stone bosses that are part of the ceiling of Blackadder Aisle and the stained glass windows, which are the biggest in the UK. 

13. Go on a Pub Crawl

Like many lively and big cities, Glasgow comes to life at night. While there are some areas it is best to stay clear of after a specific time, if you are looking for things to do in Glasgow at night, you should consider going on a pub crawl of many of the city's best drinking holes. Many guides online will tell you the places you should visit. Even if you are not a big drinker, these places offer many soft drink options, sell great food, and provide entertainment like live music and comedians, and games like pool, snooker, and darts. 

Among the many great places you should stop are The Ben Nevis Bar if you are in the Finnieston area of the city, as well as the Snaffle Bit, Islay Inn, and The Park Bar, as they all have a very Highlands and Islands feel and atmosphere. The Pot Still and The Laurieston are popular, as are The Clutha and The Scotia. Any significant pub will provide you with a great night out, some great chats with the locals, fine whiskeys, tasty beers on tap, and many great craft beers. 

14. Glasgow Necropolis

Glasgow Necropolis
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If you want unique things to do in Glasgow, the Necropolis is worth a visit. This Victorian-era cemetery was first established in 1832 on a prominent but low hill east of the Cathedral. More than 50,000 people have been buried within its grounds, and the many tombstones, gravestones, plaques, and statues are incredible art pieces. You can also search for many famous Glaswegian and Scottish individuals buried there. 

15. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Kelvingrove Art Gallery
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Among the many cheap things to do in Glasgow, one that you should have on your list is Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. This holds the esteemed title of being the most visited attraction with free admission in Scotland. It is not hard to see why. The stunning building has 22 themed galleries, all cutting-edge and displaying around 8,000 exhibits. 

Its collections are famed for their significance, coverage of many subjects and years of history, and expansive and extensive nature.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are visiting the city for a weekend break, staying there for a longer spell, or stopping at many different cities throughout Scotland and possibly even the UK, you will find many things to see and do while in Glasgow. 

Whatever your interests and whatever type of holiday or break you are trying to have, we truly believe that the guide above of the best and coolest things to do in Glasgow, whether you choose to do everything or not, will give you a great starting point for your trip.

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