Glasgow is a very versatile city that has so many events going on – it truly never sleeps. There are so many things to do in Glasgow that the best thing to do is to find your niche and then discover the vast selection offers for your interest.
No matter if you are a lover of art, history, Scottish culture, music, good food or anything else – likely this city will have something to offer you, and you will quickly fill your Glasgow itinerary.
Day 1 – Explore Glasgow’s City Centre
Glasgow’s city centre is home to plenty of sights and things to do, and on day one of your weekend in Glasgow you should take the time to for a stroll through the centre, the beautiful area of Merchant city as well moving towards the East End to take a glimpse of the century-old Glasgow Cathedral and neighbouring Necropolis – two things not to be missed if spending a weekend in Glasgow.
Free Walking Tour
VisitScotland offers free walking tours, which normally start from Central Station and are a great way to get to know the city. The guides know Glasgow very well and let you know all the small things you otherwise might have missed.
Please, however, do be courteous and tip the guide at the end. While the tours are free, a lot of work goes into them and giving even a small donation will aid that this great way of seeing the city remains an option. If their schedule doesn’t suit, you can book a paid walking tour here.
Not into architecture or history? There is an excellent alternative if this is the case. If street art is more your thing, be sure to include this in your Glasgow itinerary. Glasgow’s murals are absolutely stunning, and it is a great way to see the city centre at the same time. There are also guided street art tours available.
However, if neither of those walking tours are your thing, you can start your day at George Square – the historic central square of the city – and then see where the path leads you first.
Street Art in Glasgow
Visit Glasgow’s museums
Just a hop, skip and jump from beautiful George Square, you have Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art which is free to enter all year round. You can take a free tour when you are there or just go in and marvel at the artwork and amazing architecture at your own pace.
Just outside you will see the infamous statue of the Duke of Wellington on his horse. While the duke himself is not necessarily known by everyone, the statue in question has become an icon for Glasgow’s wits.
The duke carries a traffic cone on his head, and despite the council’s frequent attempts to remove it in the past, it has always somehow found its way back.
Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow
See the Architecture of Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Not far away from George Square and the Gallery of Modern Art, you have The Lighthouse – Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture. The building itself used to be home to a local paper, but in more recent years has become a visitor centre, exhibition space and events venue situated in the heart of Glasgow.
It has six floors and a fantastic viewing platform if you are brave enough to walk the stairs heading up. The steps are worth it once you get a 360-degree view of the city.
If you are looking for a more relaxed way to see Mackintosh’s work, then treat yourself to a ‘wee cuppa’ at the Willow Tea rooms on Buchanan or Sauchiehall Street.
Catch a live show
While dedicated music festivals are running throughout the year, Glasgow’s music scene never stops delivering, and you could easily dedicate a Glasgow weekend trip towards discovering local talent alone.
Walk along busy Buchanan Street to see the local buskers, including Celtic drummers, acoustic singers and Glasgow’s very unique ‘Techno Tin Bin Man’ who is often spotted near St Enoch square with his dancing cat puppets.
Make sure to also pop into one of Glasgow’s many pubs while you are walking around. Many places host open-mic afternoons and nights and if you are looking for something iconic, be sure to go visit King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut – the venue where iconic pop-punk band Oasis first got signed.
Visit Merchant City
Merchant City might be the gateway between Glasgow City Centre and Glasgow’s East End now, but it used to be the centre of town centuries ago. The area still has a vast array of old buildings and when walking along it becomes visible quite how wealthy some of Glasgow’s tobacco lords were back then. Today, it is a popular area for going out and has a great selection of bars and restaurants.
As mentioned the beautiful Glasgow Cathedral should be something not to be missed, and if you cross the bridge over to Necropolis, you will get a fantastic view from atop of the hill. While graveyards might not seem fun, this one is stunning – even just to gain a magnificent view of
If you are feeling brave during your weekend in Glasgow, visit The Cathedral House Hotel. The Victorian building stands on the site of one of the oldest settlements in the city and holds the title of the most haunted hotel in Glasgow. Before its time as a hotel, the building was used as a rehabilitation centre for female inmates from the nearby prison.
Day 2 – Glasgow’s West End
Glasgow’s West End has over the years developed into several up-and-coming areas. While some of these are situated along the University of Glasgow, other areas such as trendy Finnieston have now become part of many Glasgow itineraries.
Just like the city centre, the west end has a great variety of things to do, and you can easily spend a whole day exploring the hidden side streets, quirky bookshops, hip bars and vintage shops.
Visit West End Museums
Just like the Gallery of Modern Art in the city centre, entry to these museums is free unless you are visiting a special exhibit.
It is worth visiting the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum just for the architecture alone. The Science Centre and the Transport Museum are both on opposite sides of the River Clyde but are both only a bridge away from the west end, and it is easy enough to cross over should you wish to visit either of these museums and then continue with your visit of the west end.
Walk along the River Clyde
Especially at night, the Hydro – which is an entertainment venue in Glasgow and hosts a large number of concerts and shows – is very stunning and lights up in an array of colours. The SECC, its older neighbour, is often referred to as ‘The Armadillo’ and when you see its shape, you will understand why.
Stroll through Kelvingrove Park
This park is bustling on a sunny day. It might not often be the case, but when the sun graces Glasgow, this is the place to be.
However, even on a rainy day, this park is beautiful and simultaneously offers a great shortcut when walking between the west end’s neighbourhoods. Just be aware that at night, lighting is not the best, so be sure to plan your visit during the day.
The University of Glasgow
Visit the University of Glasgow
The century-old building of the University of Glasgow on University Avenue stands tall, and you will easily spot the towers when walking across the park and along the west end.
Okay, officially JK Rowling has never said that the University of Glasgow is the inspiration behind Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter series, but it could easily be. Especially at night, when the building is lit up, it does look pretty magical.
Explore the trendy neighbourhoods
I already mentioned Finnieston, as it has been one of the ‘up-and-coming’ areas of Glasgow for the last few years and it is immensely popular among locals and tourists alike. Other great areas include:
Ashton Lane, Glasgow
Byres Road – on the top of which you can sip a dram in an old converted church
Ashton Lane – a cobbled street with funky bars and a boutique cinema
Kelvinbridge – a neighbourhood recently featured in a list of the 50 coolest neighbourhoods in the world in 2019. When in Kelvinbridge, be sure not to miss out on comedy shows at The Stand or some spoken word poetry at Inn Deep.
And for when it all gets too much…have a cup of tea in Tchai Ovna – Glasgow’s own world tea house. With a selection of over 80 teas and tasty cakes, this little gem is something truly special.
Tucked away in a small side street near the University of Glasgow, this is a popular hideaway for students and locals. Be sure to try the masala chai! Also, just beside is an amazing little bookstore that sells second-hand books at very affordable prices.
Day 3 – Glasgow’s Southside or a Day Trip
If you have more time and want to spend 3 days in Glasgow, then there surely is more to do. You could easily spend a day exploring Glasgow’s Southside: Go and take a walk in Queens Park, visit Tramway – an art gallery situated in an old tram station, hang around the trendy area of Shawlands and see some local talent i
Loch Lomond is the perfect day trip from Glasgow
You could easily spend 3 days in Glasgow alone, but it does also offer an excellent gateway if you are fancying an easy day trip. I would highly recommend going to see Loch Lomond. This can easily be done by train.
A return ticket to Balloch from Glasgow’s Queen Street station is affordable and you will be at the shores of the Loch within an hour. From there, there are beautiful walks along the Loch, a bird sanctuary and cosy pubs to visit. You can view train timetables here
It is also possible to visit Loch Lomond as part of a guided tour if you prefer to not do the trip independently.
On a sunny day, make your way to Troon beach or to Largs, which are both two west coast seaside towns easily reached by train from Glasgow’s Central Station. However, be warned: On a sunny day, you will likely be sharing the train and beach space with plenty of locals that had the same idea as you.