fun things to do in Glasgow, Scotland

Renowned for its Victorian architecture and rich history, the port city of Glasgow lies on the River Clyde in the Scottish Lowlands. There is a dazzling array of things to do in Glasgow, with everything from opera visits to whisky tours.

Day trips from Glasgow transport you into the heart of the Highlands. Whether you want to explore castles, hunt for Nessie, or take an Outlander tour, Glasgow is a great place to start.

1 – Discover Glasgow’s cultural heart in Merchant City

Merchant City, Glasgow

Strolling around the historic district of Merchant City is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Glasgow.

Dating back to Medieval Times, this vibrant former trading neighborhood is a hive of trendy restaurants and hip boutiques housed in renovated 18th-century warehouses.

It really comes alive during the Merchant City Festival which is held in July or August each year.

2 – Become a super sleuth during a scavenger game

scavenger game in Glasgow

Unlock the secrets of Glasgow’s underworld on a quest that takes in some of the major city landmarks.

Solve clues and discover haunting stories as you follow this fun trail using an interactive app.

Learn about the horrifying history of Glasgow City Chambers and the Music Hall, before completing your mission and reviving your nerves in a local bar.

3 – Take a street art tour

street art tour in Glasgow
Mural, featuring Stan Laurel, at the remains of the Clutha Bar, Glasgow where three people died when a helicopter crashed into the packed bar.

Every picture tells a story, and none more so than those that adorn the walls lining the gritty streets of Glasgow.

Discover the story of this dynamic city through its urban art along the mural trail that meanders through the center.

Take a walking tour with a local and learn the secrets of the artists and residents behind the alluring displays.

4 – Explore the Scottish Highlands

Scottish Highlands, Scotland

Enjoy a day trip out of Glasgow and venture into the heather-clad hills of the Scottish Highlands.

Find out about the dark history of Glencoe and take photos of the brooding landscapes of Rannoch Moor.

Then swing by Loch Ness – watch out for the monster – before entering the Great Glen for folklore tales and scenery that will make you go weak at the knees.

5 – Go monster hunting at Loch Ness

Loch Ness, Scotland

Does the Loch Ness monster really exist? We reckon it does, so keep your wits about you while rambling along the placid shores.

Take a boat ride and admire the mountainous landscape sweeping down to the water.

Then continue by road to check out the romantic ruins of Urquhart Castle – they are even older than Nessie.

6 – Escape to the wilds of Glencoe

Glencoe, Scotland

Famed for its plunging waterfalls and high peaks, Glencoe valley is a popular stop on most tours of the Scottish Highlands.

Check out the folk museum to explore 18th-century cottages and find out about the gruesome massacre that occurred here in 1692.

Want to stretch your legs? Then walk up the Hidden Valley where the local clan used to hide rustled cattle.

7 – Sightsee on a hop-on hop-off bus tour

Glasgow hop-on hop-off bus tourOne of the most fun things to do in Glasgow is cruising the streets on a hop-on hop-off bus tour.

Bag a seat on the top deck for prime views of landmarks like George Square and Glasgow Cathedral.

You can get on and off whenever you like, giving you plenty of independence to see the city at your own pace.

8 – Bust some moves on a silent disco adventure

silent disco adventure in Glasgow

Join forces with fellow dancers as you form the quietest flash mob in town.

Leave your inhibitions at the door and enjoy a musical journey through the streets of Glasgow, jiving and singing as you go.

As lively tunes pump through your headset, get ready to boogie in historic avenues and groove away beside famous landmarks.

9 – Go boating on Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond

Follow in the footsteps of local hero William Wallace as you explore the heart of the Trossachs National Park.

Along the Loch Lomond shores there are sleepy hamlets to discover, as well as the fabled cave where outlaw Rob Roy once hid.

Meanwhile, out on the water, a steamer cruise is the best way to appreciate the majesty of this tranquil pocket of Scotland.

10 – Tour Outlander filming locations

Outlander filming locations tour from Glasgow

Travel back in time to the land of the Jacobites and visit the filming spots used in the Outlander TV series.

Discover why Claire and Jamie were so passionate about this neck of the woods and learn the secrets behind the production.

Stop at Doune Castle, the ancient village of Culross, and Blackness Castle, and see if you can recognize scenes from Cranesmuir and Leoch.

11 – Sample local nectar on a whisky tour

whisky tour in Glasgow
Glengoyne Distillery

Whisky tasting is a bit of an institution in Scotland, so make sure you knock back a single malt or two during your visit.

Touring the Glengoyne Distillery is one of the top things to do in Glasgow, with tastings at the Clydeside Distillery hot on its heels.

See how whisky is made, and discover how the landscape influences the flavors.

12 – Visit the Trossachs National Park

Trossachs National Park, Scotland

The wooded glens and abundant lochs of the Trossachs National Park are what Scotland is all about.

This Highland realm can easily be enjoyed on a day trip from Glasgow, with stops at some of the country’s most spectacular viewpoints.

Stroll through the little village of Aberfoyle, climb a Munro, or take a boat trip for a spot of island-hopping on Loch Lomond.

13 – Explore Culzean Castle

Culzean Castle

Standing proud keeping watch over the Firth of Clyde, Culzean Castle and Country Park makes a great day trip from Glasgow.

Stretch your legs on the forest trails and windswept beaches, before checking out the flamboyant gardens and pond.

Perched high on the cliffs with enough turrets and paintings to keep all explorers happy, the castle is the jewel in the already rather sparkly crown.

14 – Enjoy the fresh air in Oban

Oban, Scotland

This delightful little town is affectionately known as the ‘Gateway to the Isles’ but is a beautiful destination in itself.

Flanked by lush green countryside, Oban is an easy place to explore on foot.

Pop into local galleries and boutiques as you stroll along the waterfront, and visit the remains of Dunollie Castle or build sandcastles on the beach.

15 – Visit Hampden Park Stadium

Hampden Park Stadium, Glasgow

Set foot in the home of Scottish football with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Hampden Park Stadium.

Check out the players’ changing rooms and walk through the tunnel out onto the pitch, imagining the roar of the crowd.

See the cup collections in the museum and hear insider stories behind many of the wins.

16 – Feel sporty at the Scottish Football Museum

Scottish Football Museum, Glasgow

If stadium tours have not quite quenched your thirst for football-related sights, then check out this leading museum to learn about the Scottish game.

Fun for avid fans and active families, the Scottish Football Museum inspires future soccer stars with a staggering collection of memorabilia.

Relive famous goals on film and admire the original Scottish Cup – the oldest trophy in the world.

17 – Go on an epic rafting adventure

rafting around Glasgow

Take the plunge on a thrilling river ride as you tackle the rapids on a rafting trip in the Scottish Highlands.

Keep your nerve as you shoot through deep gorges, then reward your efforts with a relaxing float in crystal-clear water.

Admire the mountains and valleys passing by on all sides and watch out for resident wildlife on the lush riverbanks.

18 – Discover Pollok House and Country Park

Pollok House and Country Park, Glasgow

Enjoy a rare glimpse inside one of Glasgow’s grandest properties on a tour of Pollock House.

The star of the show is the incredible collection of Spanish art belonging to the Maxwell family who lived here for 600 years.

Pretend you are featuring in a Jane Austin novel as you sashay through the grand parlors and perambulate around the scenic estate.

19 – Explore Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow

Beloved by both residents and visitors, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is over 100 years old.

Constructed in a Spanish Baroque style with cathedral-like ceilings, the building itself is as much a draw as its contents.

The collections cover everything from natural history to warfare, with Sir Roger the Asian Elephant and a Dali painting being among the most prized exhibits.

20 – Indulge in an afternoon tea bus tour

afternoon tea bus tour in Glasgow

Looking for unusual things to do in Glasgow?

Then try afternoon tea – on a vintage bus! What could be better than combining city sights with scrumptious sandwiches and scones that come with lashings of cream?

Up your game with a special gin tea experience that perfectly complements cupcakes and savory snacks. Just remember to look out of the window at the views.

21 – Visit the Riverside Museum of Transport and Technology

Riverside Museum of Transport and Technology, Glasgow

Home to one of the most impressive collections of transport and technology in the world, the Riverside Museum is a real highlight of any visit to Glasgow.

There are a jaw-dropping 3,000 objects to discover, with an eclectic mix that includes vintage locomotives, skateboards, and even prams.

Get hands-on with interactive displays, and discover the city’s shipbuilding heritage.

22 – Explore Celtic Park

Celtic Park stadium, Glasgow

Visiting the hallowed ground of the Celtic team is a must for footie fans from all over the world.

This is the largest stadium in Scotland and the atmosphere during a game here is simply phenomenal.

If there are no games on, you can take a guided tour of Celtic Park and explore behind the scenes in the boardroom, tunnel, and dressing room.

23 – Watch a football game at Ibrox Stadium

Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow

Home of the Glasgow Rangers, the Ibrox Stadium is one for true football fans.

Catch a game if the team is playing when you are in town or take a stadium tour to discover what goes on off the pitch.

Enjoy exclusive access to the changing areas, check out the trophy room, and run down the tunnel before sitting in the dugout.

24 – Take a guided tour around the University of Glasgow

University of Glasgow

Discover 550 years of history on an escorted campus tour around one of Scotland’s most famous universities.

Visit the Hunterian Museum – the oldest in the country – with exhibitions dedicated to medicine, art, and culture.

The Art Gallery and Zoology Museum are equally impressive, as is the Mackintosh House which was once home to illustrious artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

25 – Get spooked at Glasgow Necropolis

Glasgow Necropolis

One of the eeriest things to do in Glasgow is a visit to the Glasgow Necropolis.

This Victorian cemetery carpets a hill beside the 12th-century cathedral, and the fading grandeur of the gravestones and tombs is thought-provoking and photogenic.

Guided walking tours are available if you want to hear the intriguing stories behind some of the residents, from poets to war heroes.

26 – Sip beer on a brewery tour

brewery tour in Glasgow

Head into the heart of the Tennents Wellpark Brewery and find out why their beer is so tasty. Take a journey through 450 years of brewing tradition at Scotland’s oldest brewery, and learn the secret ingredients behind this famous tipple.

For craft beer, go to Drygate Brewing Co. and enjoy local ales in a buzzing and relaxed industrial setting.

27 – Breathe in floral scents at Glasgow Botanic Gardens

Glasgow Botanic Gardens

Wander through shady woods and along sunny riverbanks at Glasgow Botanic Gardens.

The plant collection here is phenomenal, featuring species from all over the world.

For a dose of the exotic, visit the Kibble Palace glasshouse and pretend to be jungle explorers amidst the ferns and rainforest flowers.

Treat yourself to coffee and cake in the tearoom before leaving.

28 – Build rollercoasters at Glasgow Science Centre

Glasgow Science Centre

The mind-boggling Science Centre is one of Scotland’s top attractions and a great favorite with families.

Hands-on activities keep the kids entertained for hours and the live science show will have you on the edge of your seats.

Control objects by mind power alone, gaze at the stars in the planetarium, or make a splash on the Waterways exhibit – the choice is yours.

29 – Enjoy some retail therapy on Buchanan Street

Buchanan Street, Glasgow

Buchanan Street is Glasgow’s most famous shopping district, with enough boutiques and big-name brands to keep your wallet occupied for hours.

Whether you are after Gucci handbags or hiking boots, this is the place to come.

Remember to look up as you pop from shop to shop – the architecture along this pedestrian boulevard is quite something.

30 – Discover House for an Art Lover

House for an Art Lover, Glasgow

Designed by artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh, House for an Art Lover is a sight to behold.

The exterior features many Mackintosh compositions, and inside you can visit a suite of rooms styled by the man himself.

Located in Bellahouston Park to the west of the city center, this makes a great half-day visit. Remember to take your camera – you will be needing it!

31 – Climb aboard the tall ship Glenlee

tall ship Glenlee, Glasgow

Set foot on a restored ship and travel back in time to the Victorian era of maritime adventure.

Find out about life on the high seas and what it meant to be a sailor.

Built in Glasgow, the Glenlee is the only steel sailing ship still afloat in the UK and exploring the decks is one of the most exciting things to do in Glasgow.

32 – Visit the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens

People's Palace and Winter Gardens, Glasgow

Explore the social history of the city at the People’s Palace in Glasgow Green.

Charting the stories of Glaswegians from 1750 to today, the palace brings its heritage to life through paintings, artifacts, and photographs.

Outside, take time to explore the Winter Gardens and photograph the magnificent fountain overlooking the oldest public space in the city.

33 – Discover the past at the Hunterian Art Gallery

Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow

The Hunterian Art Gallery at Glasgow University is the oldest museum in Scotland.

As well as boasting an internationally acclaimed art collection, it also incorporates the Mackintosh House, the Anatomy Museum, and a Zoology Museum.

Chart the story of human conquest and creativity through Roman coins, scientific instruments, and even objects from Captain Cook’s Pacific voyages.

34 – Picnic in Kelvingrove Park

Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow

This delightful green space on the banks of the River Kelvin is a great place for waterside strolls and picnics on the grassy slopes.

Dating back to Victorian times, Kelvingrove Park is popular with locals and visitors looking to enjoy the fresh country air.

Take a walk past monuments and fountains, or listen to local bands playing during the summer months.

35 – Let your hair down in the West End

West End, Glasgow

Head into the heart of the action in Glasgow’s bustling West End.

By day this friendly artistic neighborhood is packed with historic attractions, trendy eateries, and lots of green space to explore.

As dusk falls the pumping nightlife scene bursts into action, with epic clubbing venues and leafy beer gardens enticing you in with their lively tunes.

36 – Check out the Glasgow School of Art

Glasgow School of Art

Dating back to the late 19th century, one of the most impressive buildings belonging to the Glasgow School of Art was designed by Rennie Mackintosh.

Housing workshops and studios, the rooms are styled with botanical motifs, marble reliefs, and ornamental columns.

The school also holds regular exhibitions and a visit to the galleries is like being whisked off into an alternative world.

37 – Channel your inner designer at The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse, Glasgow

Known affectionately as The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture is one for creative travelers.

There is a lively program of events and exhibitions, as well as workshops for aspiring designers and thinkers.

The building itself is remarkable, and another example of Renne Mackintosh’s flair. Head up to the viewing platform before leaving for superb city views.

38 – See a show at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Want to take in a show? Then book a seat at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and settle in for an evening of pomp and pageantry.

Whether you love ballet, opera, or pop, there is always something on to enjoy.

The stage has been graced by many famous faces, so plan ahead and see who is performing during your stay.

39 – Cheer on the riders at Glasgow Tigers Speedway

Glasgow Tigers Speedway
credit to Glasgow Tigers Speedway – Ian Adam

Visiting this motorcycle speedway and seeing the competitors flying around the track is one of the most thrilling things to do in Glasgow.

The fast and furious races at Glasgow Tigers Speedway are fun for all the family and you can make a day out of it with plenty of food stalls to fuel up at lunchtime.

40 – Trace history at the Mitchell Library

Mitchell Library, Glasgow

Visit one of Europe’s largest public libraries to discover the fascinating city archives and special collections.

Some of the local treasures on display at Mitchell Library include examples of Scottish poetry, early artwork, and printing manuscripts.

If you are delving into family history then the chances are that some of the answers you are seeking lie within these walls.

41 – Take a boat trip on the Waverley

boat trip on the Waverley

Set sail on the Waverley – the last seagoing paddle steamer in the world!

Modeled on a ship that sunk during World War II, the Waverley now ferries passengers along the west coast of Scotland for a truly grand day out.

Choose from a day, afternoon or evening cruise, and enjoy fine dining in the salon as you watch the countryside roll by.

42 – Enjoy a performance at King’s Theatre

King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Prepare for an evening of top-notch entertainment at the King’s Theatre in the heart of town.

One of the most historic stages in Scotland, the theatre has hosted A-list performers from around the world as well as promising local acts.

From pantomimes that will have you laughing all the way home, to star-studded Broadway musicals, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

43 – Take a tour of Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle

This magnificent pile is one of the most significant castles in Scotland.

Built on top of a craggy hill, Stirling Castle was a favorite residence of Stewart kings and queens in days of yore.

The childhood home of Mary Queen of Scots is packed with treasures, and you can visit the opulent bedrooms, great hall, and royal chapel on a guided tour.

44 – Visit the St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life & Art

St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life & Art, Glasgow

Named after the patron saint of Glasgow, this unusual museum has been designed in the style of a medieval bishop’s castle.

Take a wander through the exhibition galleries and admire works of art that chart the significance of religion through the centuries.

There are also regular events showcasing Scottish culture and worship to enjoy at the St. Mungo Museum.

45 – Admire artwork at Street Level Photoworks

Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow

This leading photography gallery displays work by talented local artists and renowned international exhibitors.

The intimate studio setting encourages you to engage with the prints and purchase your favorites to take home.

There are different exhibitions throughout the year to provoke thoughts and spark conversation.

Whether you love photography or just appreciate artistic flair, Street Level Photoworks is sure to get you wired.

46 – Catch a movie at the Glasgow Film Theatre

Glasgow Film Theatre

This independent cinema in the center of the city is a real local treasure.

Home to the annual Glasgow Film Festival, this is a venue that just oozes heritage and stature.

Constructed in 1939 just before the outbreak of war, the Glasgow Film Theatre remains a popular venue for the latest movie screenings and laid-back evenings out.

47 – Test your sleuthing skills at Escape Glasgow

escape game in Glasgow

Fancy yourself a bit of a puzzle-solver?

Then pit your wits against the team behind Escape Glasgow and see if you can battle your way out of a mysterious locked room.

Make like Sherlock Holmes and use clues to tackle seemingly impossible tasks, or dabble in the dark arts to release your team from the wizarding realm.

48 – Enjoy a show at the Citizens Theatre

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
credit to Citizens Theatre

Founded way back in 1943 by playwright James Bridie, the Citizens Theatre is one of the largest art venues in Scotland.

There are plenty of original Victorian features on display inside the building, which just enhances the performance you are there to enjoy.

Theatrical shows change throughout the year and range from Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” to Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest”.

49 – Discover the Gallery of Modern Art

Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow

Had your fill of historic treasures and classical painters?

Then make your way to the Gallery of Modern Art for a contemporary exploration of Scotland’s modern creative minds.

The collection features thought-provoking work from artists both local and further afield, with changing exhibitions throughout the year.

If you get your timings right you might even meet some of the artists themselves.

50 – Go to a gig at Barrowland Ballroom

Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow

Formerly used as a dance venue and market hall, today Barrowland Ballroom is the setting for major concert tours.

The likes of David Bowie, Oasis, and U2 have played here, delighting fans bopping away on the dance floor.

Check out the Barrowland Park next door where the pathway features names of all the artists who have performed here.

51 – Have fun at SWG3 Studio Warehouse

SWG3 Studio Warehouse, Glasgow

One of the more eclectic things to do in Glasgow is to take in a show at SWG3 Studio Warehouse.

Whether poetry and art are your things, or you prefer comedy or bingo, you will find something to entice you here.

Swing by on a band night to discover new music, or hang out in the acid bar tucking into delicious international cuisine.

52 – Party into the wee hours at the Sub Club

Sub Club, Glasgow

The famous Sub Club is the world’s longest-running underground dance club venue.

The basement has a happening vibe, with house, techno, and electro beats all getting the party started.

The club regularly features well-known DJs and is the place to go for a thumping night out with your pals in Glasgow.

53 – Get into the spirit on a pub tour

pub tour in Glasgow

Glasgow is known for having the best nightlife in Scotland, with plenty of authentic pubs to get you in the groove.

Merchant City is a particular favorite with its abundant bars and micro-breweries.

Join a tour of the city’s best watering holes, sampling local beer and of course a few drams of whisky as you go.

54 – Be entertained by a magician at a live evening show

magic show in Glasgow

Have your mind blown and your senses driven into high alert as you watch a spellbinding performance by a close-up magician.

This show presents a fusion of art, trickery, and storytelling to draw you into the mysterious world of magic.

See if you can work out the sleight-of-hand maneuvers during this intimate act.

55 – Explore the Isle of Arran

Isle of Arran
Lochranza Castle

Head out of Glasgow for a scenic multi-day tour on the Isle of Arran.

Situated off the west coast, this rugged island is knowns as “Scotland in Miniature”.

Adventurous souls can explore the mountains north, and history buffs will love checking out the ruins of Lochranza Castle.

Meanwhile, beaches beckon with their deserted golden sands, and Neolithic stone circles intrigue with their mysterious presence.

56 – Tour the Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye
Kilt Rock

Want to see Scotland at its finest?

Then take a 3-day tour to Skye off the wild west coast and immerse yourself in the sweeping landscapes.

With precipitous peaks and tumbling waterfalls around every corner, you will be in a state of constant amazement.

Highlights include the basalt columns at Kilt Rock and Dunvegan Castle which is the stage for legendary tales of Clan MacLeod.

57 – Spend the night in a historic hotel

Crossbasket Castle Hotel, Glasgow
credit to Crossbasket Castle Hotel, Glasgow

Of all the things to do in Glasgow, sleeping in history is the most special.

Live royally at 17th-century Crossbasket Castle where opulent suites and roll-top baths come as standard.

If tartan carpets and sweeping staircases float your boat, then head to Sherbrooke Castle Hotel.

Alternatively, travel through time at Blythswood Square Hotel where past meets present beneath the gaze of Georgian architecture.

Glasgow is packed with so many exciting places to visit that you may well wish you had longer to spend in this buzzing Scottish city. We hope this guide will help you decide which activities to include in your itinerary.

Need to book some accommodation? Then check out the best hotels in Glasgow and make a reservation ahead of your visit to avoid disappointment.

If you are arriving by plane remember to book your airport transfer before you arrive, and consider car rental options if you fancy an independent adventure.