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Glasgow Cathedral
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The 29 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

Written by
malcolm jack
Arusa Qureshi
Laura Menéndez

Glasgow has always oozed cool, but it’s only gotten cooler. After all, this is the city home to a number of cracking live music venues and nightclubs, bars full of character, and an ever-growing young creative community keeping the party going. 

This city is the perfect balance of it all: elegant Victorian architecture, fantastic restaurants and plenty of museums and galleries to explore, which makes it great for a weekend break or a much longer stay. 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 attractions in Glasgow
🏨 The best hotels in Glasgow

This guide was recently updated by Laura Menéndez, a writer based in Glasgow. At 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 guidelines.

Best things to do in Glasgow

Escape to Pollok Country Park
Photograph: McAteer Photograph

1. Escape to Pollok Country Park

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. 

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 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.

Drink like a Glaswegian at Drygate Brewery
Photograph: Gail Kelly

4. Drink like a Glaswegian at Drygate Brewery

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.

Wander around the gloriously atmospheric Glasgow Cathedral and Necropolis
Photograph: Shutterstock

5. Wander around the gloriously atmospheric Glasgow Cathedral and Necropolis

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.

  • 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.

See historic forms of transport in a very modern building at The Riverside Museum

7. See historic forms of transport in a very modern building 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.

Wet your lips with single malt whiskey at Clydeside Distillery
Photograph: Ashley Coombes

8. Wet your lips with 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.

Get cultured at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Photograph: Shutterstock

9. 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.

  • Art

What is it? A vast assortment of around 9,000 objects gifted to Glasgow in 1944 by Sir William Burrell (1861-1958). The Burrell Collection reopened in 2022 following a £68.25m redevelopment that has made the museum's building greener and more accessible. Today, there are 225 displays across 24 galleries, which take you on a tour of 6,000 years of history.

Why go? The Collection includes treasures which feature people and places from around the world. Among the highlights are one of the most significant collections of Chinese art in the UK, Roman sculpture and Egyptian pottery more than 2,000 years old and paintings by renowned 19th century French artists like Manet, Cézanne and Degas.


What is it? The country’s oldest public museum, with one of the largest collections.

Why go? At the Hunterian Art Gallery, find the Mackintosh House, with its historically and aesthetically important interior and brutalist exterior. Built in the 1960s near the former home on Southpark Avenue of Glasgow’s most famous architect Sir Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928) and his wife, the artist Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh (1864-1933), the modern concrete structure adjoining the university’s gallery-library complex remembers the Mackintosh’s legacy in fond style. Inside is a meticulous reassemblage of the principal interiors from their home.

Don’t miss: Two separate major fires in four years at Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh building tragically caused the almost complete destruction of the defining work by one of the city’s most celebrated sons. As the Mac is painstakingly rebuilt, the Hunterian is a great place to start discovering other, smaller Mackintosh gems around Glasgow.

Sharpen your knowledge at Glasgow Science Centre
Photograph: HawkAye Photography

12. Sharpen your knowledge at Glasgow Science Centre

What is it? A space-age structure housing a planetarium, cinema, galleries with hands-on activities, two cafés and a gift shop. 

Why go? Rising from the ground like a shimmering silver hermit crab, the Glasgow Science Centre is a wonder inside and out. As well as a host of interactive exhibitions, there’s also a massive IMAX cinema screen.

Don’t miss: The revolving tower that provides visitors with views of the city from 417 feet up. 

Dance into the wee hours at Sub Club
Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

13. Dance into the wee hours at Sub Club

What is it? Definitely one of – if not the – most renowned club in Glasgow. 

Why go? Run by Harri and Domenic since 1985 and 1992, respectively, Sub Club is your best shout for a big night out in the city. Given Harri and Domenic’s credentials, they’re not shy of famous DJ mates to come and entertain the nightly masses. The likes of Gilles Peterson, Erol Alkan, Mylo and Optimo have all graced the decks and continue to do so. Check the website before you go in case a big name has sold out.

  • 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.

Go treasure-hunting at the Barras Market
Photograph: Shutterstock

15. Go treasure-hunting at the Barras Market

What is it? A unique, quirky and historic market full of treasures in the East End of the city.

Why go? Open every Saturday and Sunday from 10-4, the Barras market is made up of indoor and outdoor markets where you can find everything from antiques and records to kitchenware and furniture. Established in 1921 by Maggie McIver and her husband, this weird and wonderful market has a rich history, and whether you're a local or a tourist, it's a genuinely great spot for a weekend outing.

Don't miss: Its ever-growing array of street food stalls, where you'll find the long-standing classics and the newest TikTok hypes. 

Travel back in time at The Tenement House
Photograph: Tenement's House

16. Travel back in time at The Tenement House

What is it?: An ordinary middle-class tenement flat on the outside, a glimpse of life in Glasgow in the 20th century on the inside.

Why go? Glasgow’s tenements are widely known and recognised, but not many people know what they actually looked like back in the 20th century. The now Tenement Museum used to be home to Agnes Toward, a shorthand typist whose possessions and furniture haven’t moved since her departure in 1965. Now, the tenement house offers a real window to Glasgow’s past, through furniture and objects that remain intact and extensive info on its history. 

Don’t miss: Don’t forget to ask the friendly staff about the jam jar (it's been in the cupboard since Agnes’ time). 

See top-notch photography at Street Level Photoworks
  • Art
  • Galleries

What is it? Street Level Photoworks aims to encourage greater public engagement with photography while supporting and exhibiting great snappers both Glaswegian and from further afield.

Why go? Based in the cultural quarter of the Merchant City, this is one of the key hubs for Glasgow’s creative community. Head along for exhibitions by star photographers from Scotland and far beyond. The best part? It’s all free.

Don’t miss: Delve into the gallery’s excellent archive of talks to deepen your film knowledge.

What is it? Glasgow’s original independent cinema. 

Why go? As any film buff in the city will take great pride in explaining to you, Glasgow was once one of Britain’s great cinema cities. By the end of the 1940s, it boasted a total 114 movie theatres. Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT), called the Cosmo until 1973, opened in 1939 as Scotland’s first arthouse cinema. Today, it effectively remains Glasgow’s last. A third screen was added in 2013 to maximise capacity. The discerning cinema-goer will always find something to see at GFT – from arthouse and foreign-language releases to independent documentaries, late-night cult screenings and classics back on the big screen. From the dramatic exterior – a brown-brick, geometric, windowless façade inspired by Dutch modernist architecture – to the deliciously retro interior, particularly the sweeping 394-seater main cinema, it’s a true one-of-a-kind structure.

Don’t miss: GFT operates as the main hub for the annual Glasgow Film Festival every February – a highlight in the UK’s cultural calendar. 

Soak up art on the City Centre Mural Trail
Photograph: Mike Pennington

19. Soak up art on the City Centre Mural Trail

What is it? Striking works of street art adorning the sides of buildings across Glasgow.

Why go? Over the years, a number of extremely talented artists have taken to revitalising the streets with their works, adding colour to otherwise subdued buildings and locations. This is the trail for Glasgow's edgier, creative side.

Don't miss: The St Mungo Mural by Smug, and the Billy Connolly murals by Jack Vettriano, John Byrne and Rachel Maclean. 

Party at the city’s newest creative hotspot SWG3
photograpgh: michael hunter

20. Party at the city’s newest creative hotspot SWG3

What is it? An arts complex with a slew of creative spaces including the Poetry Club, the Warehouse, the Acid Bar and Galvanizers Yard.

Why go? For club nights, live concerts and festivals welcoming major local and touring DJs and bands, indoors year-round in the covered spaces and outdoors come the warmer months. 

Don’t miss: Look out for cool exhibitions – as well as great beer, wine, coffee and doughnuts – in the Acid Bar, with its small but perfectly formed rooftop terrace.

  • Restaurants
  • Coffeeshops

What is it? Mono is little short of an independent music, arts, drinking and dining mecca: it’s a vegan café-bar, record store, concert venue and gallery, all under one big domed roof.

Why go? You could spend the whole day here, from lunchtime until last orders. Opened in 2002 on the corner of the Merchant City’s old railway arches-based King’s Court retail development (home to several good independent shops – yet another reason to visit), Mono is the flagship of a family of similarly-minded venues in Glasgow, including Stereo, The Old Hairdresser’s, The Flying Duck and The 78The food at Mono gets better year upon year – whether you’re a dedicated vegan or a meat-eater in the mood for change, you’ll find something to love. As a live music venue, the calibre of artists discerningly booked at Mono – often stuff you simply won’t find at other venues, be it cult and leftfield bands and singer-songwriters or experimental noise artists – keeps the venue at the very heart of the Glasgow music scene. Every great music city should have a place like this.

Don't miss: Record store Monorail – co-run by members of much-loved Glasgow band The Pastels – which is housed within the Mono complex and represents one of the best record stores in Scotland, if not Britain. 

What is it? A colourful array of buildings in Finnieston that are home to a huge community of artists, designers, jewellers and more.

Why go? Just off Glasgow's busy Argyle Street is an unexpected little creative hub, with around 100 studios that are full of all kinds of disciplines, independent businesses and galleries for your perusal. Aside from creative inspiration, you'll get a much-needed dose of self-care via the yoga studios, craft workshops, hairdressers, bakeries and much more. When you're done exploring, head to the friendly Hidden Lane Tearoom for a treat or two.

Don’t miss: Make sure to stop by Rafa’s dinner for some delicious Mexican food: the smell of barbeque will no doubt guide you there if it’s open. 

Go for a musical wander with Glasgow Music City Tours
Photograph: Shutterstock

23. Go for a musical wander with Glasgow Music City Tours

What is it? A chance to explore the city's immense musical history with expert guides who are all individually immersed in Glasgow's cultural life.

Why go? If you're keen to find out exactly why Glasgow was named the UK’s first UNESCO City of Music in 2008, the team at Glasgow Music City Tours will give you the lowdown. Each walking tour lasts around two hours and in that time, you'll see some of the city's best venues, hear stories about key figures past and present and learn more about the many events, festivals and organisations that make Glasgow what it is year-round.

Don't miss: You'll visit places like King Tut's, the Royal Concert Hall, the Barrowland Ballroom and much more.

  • Attractions
  • Libraries, archives and foundations

What is it? A library and museum all about celebrating women’s lives, histories and achievements.

Why go? Glasgow Women’s Library is a totally unique space in the UK, and as the only accredited museum dedicated to women's history, it’s no wonder it was shortlisted for Museum of the Year in 2018. As well as being full of books and literature, GWL has many important archival collections and artefacts like Suffragette banners, badges and other memorabilia. Pop in to do some exploring or catch an exhibition to learn about some truly fascinating women, both past and present.

Don’t miss: GWL offers walking tours to teach you about the important women that have lived in and shaped Glasgow. 

Zen out at St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art
Photograph: St. Mungo Museum

25. Zen out at St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art

What is it? A number of faiths are represented at this museum, which shows the likes of calligraphy and carvings, and even has a Zen garden.

Why go? Faith is the story of Glasgow in many ways – Protestant or Catholic, Muslim or Hindu, it’s intertwined with everything from education to work to sport. How appropriate, then, than the city should be home to one of the only public museums in the world devoted to the subject of religion. Opened in 1993 and named after Glasgow’s patron saint, it’s housed in a building designed in the Scottish baronial style by architect Ian Begg in 1989. Go for a cross-faith experience, building bridges of understanding and respect between different faith groups, or people with no faith at all. It houses some beautiful religious art and artefacts from all over the world.

Don’t miss: There’s also a small, placid zen garden if you’re feeling inspired to practise your meditation.

See psychedelic puppetry at Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre
Photograph: Robin Mitchell

26. See psychedelic puppetry at Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre

What is it? A theatre where the shows involve sculptures made of reclaimed scrap, synchronised music, coloured lighting and hundreds of carved grotesques living out stories that are sometimes funny, sometimes tragic, all set against the inevitable and relentless cycle of life and death.

Why go? Don’t be put off by the prospect of Russian tragedy told through the medium of electro-powered wooden figures. There is something charming, simple, direct and utterly hypnotic about these shows.

Don't miss: Make sure you check out its website for all the upcoming shows – there's performances suited to kids, teens and adults (the details are all online). 

Go code-cracking at Escape Glasgow

27. Go code-cracking at Escape Glasgow

What is it? The first ever escape room in Glasgow, offering daring visitors a chance to try their luck at break themselves out of the immersive game. There are several escape games to choose from in the city, but Escape Glasgow was the first, having opened its doors in 2014.

Why go? It has five different rooms to try: crack the codes, uncover the keys and break yourself out of the immersive, interactive team games. 

Don't miss: Themes range from demon barbers to witchcraft and wizardry – choose whichever sounds the spookiest.

Immerse yourself in the beautiful game at The Scottish Football Museum
Photograph: Scottish Football Museum

28. Immerse yourself in the beautiful game at The Scottish Football Museum

What is it? Displaying one of the world’s most impressive collections of football-related items, this museum is a must-visit for fans of the game.

Why go? Based within the National Stadium at Hampden, this museum focuses on Scotland’s rich footballing heritage. It contains an extensive collection of memorabilia as well as showy items such as the Scottish Cup, the world’s oldest surviving association football trophy (the English FA Cup would be older but the original was stolen in 1895). Tour the 52,000-capacity National Stadium and practise your victory dance in the Scottish Football Hall of Fame.

Don‘t miss: The museum holds the world’s oldest national football trophy, the Scottish Cup, which was made in 1873 (the English FA Cup competition is older by one season, but its original trophy has been lost). 

Take a deep breath and a relaxing stroll around Queen’s Park
Photograph: Shutterstock

29. Take a deep breath and a relaxing stroll around Queen’s Park

What is it? A green haven at the heart of Glasgow’s up-and-coming neighbourhood, located south of the river.

Why go? Queen's Park is a green oasis of peace and quiet in the middle of endless tenement buildings that form the various areas of the Southside. There's play parks for children and meandering paths for wandering adults, as well as multiple choices of coffee shops, cafes, bars and restaurants nearby. The coffee here is seriously ace, so grab one from a local indie for your stroll and hope for sunshine. 

Don’t miss: Walk all the way up to the flagpole at the very top of the park to enjoy a view of the city. 

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