Glasgow Travel Guide

Get Your Bearings in Glasgow

Where to Stay

There are a wealth of excellent hotels in Glasgow to choose from. Most visitors will opt to stay either in the downtown city center, where most of the tourist attractions are, or else in the chic West End, where there is lots of nightlife and excellent dining possibilities along with a bohemian vibe. Here you will find the swank boutique Hotel du Vin, which is one of the classiest accommodations in town.

Hot Tips: In Glasgow, B&B rooms may be a nicer and cheaper alternative to a hotel.


What to Eat

In what once was a culinary backwater, there are now plenty of excellent restaurants in Glasgow to choose from. You can opt for fish and chips or local Scottish cuisine in places like Café Gandolfi, and Glasgow has won the Curry Capital of the UK award several times for its great Indian food, of which there are dozens of good restaurants from which to choose from.

Be Sure to Sample: Fish and chips, Indian curry.


Things to See

Glagow's attractions are easy to get to, and the city is famous for its art galleries and museums. In the West End, you can visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, home to plenty of Picasso and Van Gogh masterpieces among others. The Botanic Gardens are also in this neighborhood. On the South Side, make sure to call in to the Burrell Collection, a museum full of thousands of diverse and highly impressive artworks. Downtown, you will find cathedrals, the city chambers and the Central Station.

Take It or Leave It: Sights in Glasgow are concentrated in the respective neighborhoods, so easy to spend a day walking in one area where you can cover all the sights. Budget a day for the West End, a day for the South Side and a day for the City Center.


Places to Party

There is a glut of choices for nightlife in Glawgow. The West End is well known for its great pubs, and the Merchant City area around Strathclyde University is a mecca for student hangouts. Downtown, spots like the Sub Club are where all the young professionals like to shake their stuff. In the more fashionable nightspots, both in the City Center and the West End, there are usually dress code regulations, and wearing tennis shoes might get you refused at the door, so be prepared.

Caution: Wearing Celtics or Rangers soccer jerseys in public, even if just a souvenir, may get you in trouble, especially around match times, and are actually banned in many pubs. Best to keep them in your suitcase.
Avoid: Discussions about soccer; Glaswegians can get pretty defensive if you pick the wrong side, especially in a bar with a few drinks already consumed.


Where to Shop

Shopping in Glasgow is second only to London in the UK. Local souvenirs include the famed Scottish whiskey, tweed or tartan shawls, and if you can carry and afford it, a set of bagpipes! In the city center around Buchanan Street, the "Golden Z" area contains a wealth of boutique, designer, and big name brand shops which will keep you busy for days. Here you can find hip and fashionable clothing stores like Karen Millen and plenty of other hot spots.

Best Local Souvenir: Woolens (cashmere, tweed, tartan), Scottish whiskey, bagpipes!


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About Glasgow

Glasgow has become a major cultural hub as the largest city in Scotland and is sometimes referred to as the "second city of the Empire." In fact, Glasgow has been recognized as the European City of Culture (1990) and the British City of Architecture and Design (1999). Formerly known as an industrial center for shipbuilding — it's located on the River Clyde — the city now heavily promotes the arts through numerous museums and art galleries, as well as the Scottish Opera, Ballet, and National Orchestra. The top tourist attraction is the vast Burrell Collection at Pollok County Park, which features thousands of art works form Scotland and abroad. The hip West End is sprinkled with cafés, pubs, and boutiques. In addition, the huge Barras Market offers unlimited shopping. If you dare, check out the ghostly hilltop cemetery, Necropolis.