Glasgow scene
Photograph: Laura Menéndez for Time Out

The 30 best things to do in Glasgow right now

From live music to street art and museums to escape rooms, you'll never run out of things to do in this vibrant city


Glasgow is a perfect blanace of a city. Cracking live music venues and nightclubs. Bars full of character. An ever-growing young creative community keeping the party going. But then it’s stuffed full of Victorian architecture, museums and history. 

Here you’ll find fantastic restaurants, great attractions and scenic strolls for days. In fact, you might just find yourself wanting to move here full time (everyone else is doing it). From green space to vintage shops, here are the best things to do in Glasgow right now. 

🍔 The best restaurants in Glasgow
🍸 The best pubs in Glasgow
🏨 The best hotels in Glasgow
🏩 The best Airbnbs in Glasgow

This guide was recently updated by Glasgow-based writer Laura MenéndezAt Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelinesThis guide includes affiliate links, which have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, see our affiliate guidelines

What to do in Glasgow

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens

What is it? A lush green space with the grand old Pollok House at the centre of the grounds. 

Why go? This slice of gorgeous countryside is just a rather scenic ten minutes away from Glasgow Central on the train. Once there, get the blood pumping with a stroll through serene surroundings, followed by some cooing over the Highland cows and Clydesdale horses.

Don’t miss: Stop inside Pollok House to see its collections of antique furniture, silverware, ceramics and fine art. Its collection of Spanish paintings is one of the finest in Britain. 

  • Attractions
  • Religious buildings and sites

What is it? Glasgow’s big gothic attractions, with signature spires in tow. 

Why go? Glasgow Cathedral was consecrated in 1197 and remains a sturdy and impressive example of Scottish gothic architecture both inside and out. The other big attraction nearby is the Necropolis, Glasgow’s gloriously atmospheric cemetery inspired by Père Lachaise in Paris and dating back to 1833. Amble among the monuments, look out over the city and wonder just how green and bucolic the view was more than two centuries ago. Ankle-length black leather coat and Demonia boots optional. If you’ve seen the latest Batman movie you might recognise the bridge you’ll need to cross to walk from the cathedral to the necropolis.

Don’t miss: Glasgow Cathedral has one of the most impressive post-war collections of stained glass windows in Britain, including John K Clark’s Millennium Window.

  • Breweries

What is it? An ‘experiential’ micro-brewery, beer hall, and restaurant. 

Why go? A joint venture between craft brewers Williams Brothers and macro-brewers Tennent’s located partly in a 1930s former box factory beside the Tennent’s brewery on Duke Street in the East End, Drygate has a beer hall with big screens for sports and space for music and comedy events, and a terrace for those rare Glasgow days when the rain isn’t pouring down. You can sample 26 rotating beers on tap and countless more bottled varieties. If you’re looking to go behind the scenes, that’s easily sorted: just go along to one of the brewery tours and you’ll discover exactly how Drygate’s fantastic beers come to be.

Don’t miss: Feeling peckish? Grab some of the delectables on offer at Drygate’s kitchen, and don’t forget to look at the Tenants factory, right beside it.

  • Art
  • Galleries

What is it? Glasgow’s foremost centre for contemporary art, showcasing some of the city's greatest talents.

Why go? You'll find Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) in the stately neoclassical building in Royal Exchange Square in the heart of the city, just off Buchanan Street. With its thriving contemporary art scene surrounding the world-renowned Glasgow School of Art, which has produced many a Turner Prize success story over the years, GoMA exists to showcase not just the work of the city’s most talented artists but also to highlight what those artists share in common with others in terms of influences and practices. It has recently been the only place to showcase world-renowned Bansky’s latest exhibition ‘Cut and Run’.

Don’t miss: The grand carving of the Duke of Wellington that sits outside the front door of the gallery. It's probably even more famous than GoMA itself among ordinary Glaswegians – mainly because he wears a plastic traffic cone on his head, and allegedly the reason why Bansky chose Glasgow for his exhibition.


5. See historic forms of transport at The Riverside Museum

What is it? This award-winning structure houses the contents of the former Museum of Transport, including trams, prams and rockets.

Why go? This Zaha Hadid-designed waterside museum carries an extensive collection of vehicles including ambulances, buses, police cars, horse-drawn taxis and motor cars that look like they drove to Glasgow from the set of a 1930s action movie. Formerly housed in the old Museum of Transport at Kelvin Hall, they’ve been cherished by Glaswegians for generations.

Don’t miss: The impressive late Victorian, three-masted Tall Ship that’s berthed outside the museum in the River Clyde – a stunning monument to Glasgow’s rich maritime heritage.

6. Explore Glasgow Botanic Gardens

What is it? One of the prettiest green spaces you'll spy in Glasgow, filled to the brim with history, botany and fine architecture.

Why go? Originally laid out in 1841 as part of the University of Glasgow, the Botanic Gardens were acquired by the city and made public in 1891. In 1873 the most distinctive building – the eccentric domed glasshouse Kibble Palace – was erected, followed a few years later by the Main Range teak glasshouse. Both have been beautifully preserved and brim with exotic plant life, from arid lands to tropical rainforests.

Don’t miss: The long east-west facing green in front of the glasshouses teems with life on warm days, be it families, groups of students or yoga classes. 

  • Attractions

What is it? Two of the city’s most iconic shipbuilding cranes which have turned into rather popular visitor attractions. The Finnieston crane stands for Glasgow’s shipbuilding past and has become one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. It erects ominously over the river Clyde, proudly bearing the city’s industrial heritage.

Why go?  A relic of the age when Glasgow’s shipyards made this one of the most powerful and important industrial cities in the world, the giant grey Finnieston crane – still emblazoned with the title of its former owners Clydeport, and one of just four remaining such cranes on the Clyde – is no longer in working order. But it has been wisely retained and recontextualised in new proximity to such shiny modern buildings as the Armadillo, The Hydro, the Glasgow Science Centre and the BBC Scotland headquarters, as a potent and emotive 174-feet-tall symbol of proud engineering heritage. The Finnieston Crane is just one among several landmarks on the Clyde which can be experienced along a relatively short walk from Glasgow Green east of the city centre upriver to Govan. From the St Andrews footbridge to The Clyde Arc (or the Squinty Bridge, as it’s known, for its odd shape), there’s a crossing for practically every era of modern Glasgow history.

Don’t miss: Carry on past Pacific Quay and the Finnieston Crane and you’ll eventually reach Glasgow’s spectacular Riverside Museum. Head to the Red Sky Bar to get a rooftop view of the crane and the river.

  • Music
  • Music venues

What is it? One of the most iconic and cherished music venues in the world, and for an enduringly good reason.

Why go? You’ve never really experienced live music in Scotland until you’ve stumbled into the famous Barrowland Ballroom – a dusty, old, family-owned Glasgow institution that’s been embraced by several generations of live music fans alike for more than four decades. All while retaining independence, integrity and a gloriously retro feel like few other spaces of its size. Barely altered in architecture, décor or spirit since it opened, the Barrowland’s shows today include new and veteran acts alike – every major promoter in Scotland books here. The mere view of the venue’s massive garish flashing coloured neon sign hovering into view down the Gallowgate on a show night is sufficient to give gig-goers a buzz of anticipation.


9. Grab a single malt whiskey at Clydeside Distillery

What is it? Glasgow’s very first dedicated Single Malt Whisky distillery in more than 100 years.

Why go? Hidden inside the old Pumphouse building that once controlled entry to the famous Queen’s Dock – and thus Scotland’s whisky exports to the world – Clydeside became one of the first new distilleries in generations to operate in Glasgow when it started running its huge copper stills in 2017. Take a tour of their pristine and impressive facilities to see the operation in action. 

Don’t miss: A chocolate and whisky tour allows visitors to savour five carefully selected single malt whiskies, each expertly paired with freshly-made artisan chocolate handcrafted by Sugar Wings of Glasgow.

10. Get cultured at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

What is it? One of the UK’s most visited museums, Kelvingrove’s vast collection of items is free to see and covers everything from natural history to civic art.

Why go? Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, which opened in 1901 and is Glasgow’s most popular tourist attraction, is a striking piece of architecture in the Spanish baroque style, fashioned out of red sandstone. There is some truly wonderful art here, with galleries given over to Scottish colourists and French impressionism, for example. Look up as you enter and you’ll see Sophie Cave’s spooky floating heads, all sporting eerie human expressions. In the adjacent museum you’ll find a Spitfire fighter jet suspended from the ceiling, above stuffed animals including old favourite Sir Roger the elephant.

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