Glasgow's best kept secrets
A travel guide that unearths the treasures of the city and offers a spots you wouldn't easily come across yourself. Dive into the deep end of Glasgow's hidden gems.
Glasgow has the character of a younger sibling – rebellious, headstrong, doing its own thing, but still loveable. It has a down-to-earth core that radiates through every facet of society, but most importantly, through its people. You won’t get far without being offered a helping hand or falling into a long conversation with a local. And with their undeniable sense of humour – from the thick accent to the obscure phrases – you’ll be belly-aching instantly.
A creative hotbed of inspirational and gritty artistic expression, from street art, to independent studios and cinemas, to quirky eateries and unhinged (in a good way) watering holes. It’s not a city you need to rush through. Rather enjoy the moments soaking it all in because the heart of the city beats in the unassuming moments. When you’re overlooking a beautiful grey sky view from the many parks, or indulging in one drink too many, or rummaging through the vintage treasures in antique stores.
Music & Entertainment
Move and groove to the city's unique beats
With Glasgow owning the title of UNESCO city of Music, it’s not a surprise that its entertainment scene has a non-stop buzz. The city is home to many brilliant and talented creatives. Catch a range of performances from comedy, to music, to theatre at Òran Mór. Or shake your bones line dancing at the Glasgow Grand Ole Opry.
As is fitting for this humble city, they don’t like to show off, they focus on having a good time in small and cosy venues. Places such as the Flying Duck, Berkeley Suite and La Cheetah Club are institutions among locals, but down-to-earth as can be. And with Glasgow being voted friendliest city in the world, no matter where you’ll go you’ll find someone to chat to or boogie with.
Food & Drinks
Creative takes on various cuisines for all budgets
We wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t consider Glasgow a culinary hotbed of activity since Scottish cuisine tends to be associated with fried Mars Bars (don’t knock till you’ve tried though!) and haggis. Our discovery of hotspots has confirmed that there’s far more for you to enjoy – across the cuisines and budgets.
The unofficial foodie territory is Finnieston, an ex-shipping area where now the hippest restaurants and bars come to delight its visitors. Hidden Lane Tearoom is where your sweet tooth can be satisfied, while for outstanding seafood, book yourself a spot at Crabshakk. Still intrigued by haggis? A low-key family run spot called The Kent Fish & Chip Shop won’t disappoint.
If you’re looking for an experience, then Westside Tavern is the hidden gem for you. Inspired by 70s New York, it’s a Soprano’s vibe serving you killer cocktails and spicy pepperoni pizza (among other things). But for the best pizza? Wait until you step into Errol’s Hot Pizza place. 90s wrestling figurines, vintage football shirts and many more unexpected delights keep you company as you munch the night away. Oh, and it’s BYOB, so you know it’s going to be a wild night…
Art & Culture
This city effortlessly flexes its cultural muscles
Open, tolerant and inclusive. Adjectives often used to describe the city of Glasgow, so it’s no wonder that the arts and cultural scene can thrive in such a landscape. As well as world-class museums and galleries, such as the Gallery of Modern Art and Hunterian Museum & Art Gallery, there are a multitude of small hidden gems where cultural vibrancy is electric.
Galvanizers Yard is a must visit to see the current artists in the throes of creation. Be sure to check out their work before you go, so you don’t come across uninterested. Tramway is also a great spot to get chatting to local artists and debate topics big and small. Many of the city museums are free, so you can dive in without too much commitment – we recommend the Burrel Collection in Pollock County Park.
Shops & Boutiques
Eclectic shops for all your funky interests
After London, Glasgow is considered the best shopping city in the whole of the U.K., quite the prestigious title. An array of high-street-and-end shops decorate the ‘Style Mile’ which is located in one of the city’s oldest areas with a quaint charm. For more independent craft and gritty vibes, explore the Calton area. There you’ll weave in and out of different spots to spend your cash – from vintage havens like Mr Ben’s or Good Press bookstore, and of course the famous Barras Market.
For the most aesthetically pleasing experience you’ll ever experience, drop by ROOTS, FRUITS & FLOWERS, a greengrocer that proudly presents its offering in the most gorgeous way. Sneakers more your thing? END and SneakersER have exclusive collaborations for happy feet.
If you’re a music lover, record stores are by the dozen, Monorail Music being a must-visit. A carefully curated selection of alternative and experimental rock, punk, reggae, soul and jazz is on offer, as well as a vegan treat and cup of coffee at the adjoining cafe, Mono. For real music enthusiasts looking for a community to sink their ears into, look no further than Rubadub Records. Tucked away in a side street but a treasure chest of electronic music equipment and passionate creatives who love all things music.
Parks & Nature
No shortage of green spaces despite the grey weather
Glasgow means ‘Dear Green Place’ in Gaelic, which is apt considering the abundance of beautiful green spaces. Many Glasweigans don’t have gardens, so if the sun comes out to play, so do they. Parks are full of BBQ’s, dogs, groups of friends, lovers and more. But regardless of the weather, each of the spots are rich in beauty and entertainment.
Why not visit Tollcross Park (East End), home to a stunning 240(!) varieties of roses, all arranged in the shape of a rose bud. Kelvingrove Park (West End) is a perfect example of a traditional Victorian park, or at Victoria Park (West End) you can find trees that date back 330 million years – twice as old as the Dinosaurs!
Or head to Alexandra Park (East End) where you can picnic the day away or stretch your legs sauntering up to the fountains. That’s where you’ll catch a great view of Ben Lomond – one of the most famous of the Highland Mountains. If you’re up for a challenge, why not trek up the 974m and reap the vista rewards? Trains and buses take you close to the start of the path.
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