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Straddling both banks of Scotland’s River Clyde, Glasgow was a shipbuilding and trade hub for centuries before reinventing itself in the 1900s from industrial to cultural powerhouse, plus cooking up the cool and clever ambience it flaunts today. Glasgow has a wild side and it’s not afraid to show it, from funky live music gigs to spirited football matches. Glasgow is a place to feed your body and soul—pubs and restaurants dot the city while 20-plus museums and art galleries, and a budding street art scene—are waiting to be explored. Continuously topping “the world’s friendliest city” lists, Glasgow offers oodles of sights, experiences and endless opportunities for chummy banter.
Here are some must-see attractions and activities in Glasgow:
Tour the Clydeside Distillery
Scotch whisky is painstakingly aged in oak barrels for a minimum of three years. The dockside Clydeside Distillery is Glasgow’s first single malt distillery in 100 years, and its tours offer a glimpse into the amber liquid’s traditional distilling techniques. (The sleek Radisson Red Glasgow, featuring the city’s first rooftop bar, is just a 15-minute walk away.) Visitors can choose from tasting tour packages, including the Clydeside Tour, the Chocolate and Whisky Tour and a behind-the-scenes exclusive Distillery Manager Tour. The on-site restaurant serves Scottish specialties and whisky flights.
Listen to live music at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut
Opened in 1990—and taking its name from a club in New York—King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut sports a history like no other in Glasgow. Oasis was discovered here. And Radiohead, Florence and the Machine, the Strokes, and Beck are among the music icons who have graced its stage. The small venue is still a musical hotbed, regularly hosting talented artists across all genres. King Tut’s serves drinks and delightfully greasy bar grub like burgers, ribs and hearty pizzas—plus traditional Scottish fare like haggis. Book a stay at the nearby Malmaison Glasgow, a boutique hotel inside a refurbished Greek Orthodox church.
Take in the views from the Glasgow Tower
Part of Glasgow’s fun and educational Science Center, Glasgow Tower offers superior 360-degree views of the city, the River Clyde and their surrounding landscapes. The Tower is impressive—it holds the Guinness World Record for the tallest rotating freestanding structure and rotates full-circle. Moving with the wind, the Tower stands 417 feet high and provides a thrilling swaying sensation. The chic Village Hotel Glasgow is a five-minute walk from the Tower.
Get your kicks at the Scottish Football Museum
Families, football fans and curious dabblers alike flock to Glasgow’s unforgettable Hampden Park and the Scottish Football Museum. Visitors can explore stadium grounds and experience shooting a ball on the pitch—and check their striking speed, electronically measured. The enclosed Scottish Football Museum features Scotland’s football Hall of Fame, with 112 legendary players inducted, and hosts national Scottish football memorabilia. The luxurious Number 10 Hotel sits on scenic grounds, with free private parking and an in-house restaurant, a 15-minute walk away from the park and museum.
Marvel at the art collection in the Pollok House
A grand country house situated in a peaceful Glasgow neighborhood, the Pollok House was built in mid-18th century by Sir John Maxwell to house three residents, 48 staff members—and his extensive Spanish art collection. The house sits on property that has been owned by the Maxwell family since the Middle Ages. Visitors can explore Spanish paintings, portraits of Habsburg rulers, and luxurious Edwardian upper-class furnishings—and bike or stroll through the surrounding Pollok Country Park after. The Victorian Orchard Park hotel, a 20-minute bike ride away, showcases a lovely terrace with a garden and an in-house restaurant.
Enjoy a pint at Tennent’s Brewery
Historic Wellpark Brewery launched Tennent’s Lager in 1885, when it was coined a “madman’s dream” by newspapers. Today, Tennent’s Lager is Scotland’s favorite beer. Visitors can book a tour to discover Tennent’s brewing secrets with the classic Tennent’s Brewery Tour or take it up a notch with the Tennent’s Brewery Tour and Craft Beer Master Class. Nifty combination tours are also available—including a brewery plus Glasgow city tour and a tour of the brewery plus the Celtic Park stadium. The stylish Moxy Glasgow Merchant City hotel, with a full spectrum of on-site facilities, is a ten-minute walk away.