6 Reasons Why Glasgow is a Must-See City

By: Mary

Y'all, I'll be honest: Until I looked at grad schools, I'd never heard of Glasgow. Edinburgh, sure. But Glasgow? Nope. Not once.

It seems pretty crazy to say that now that I've lived here for almost a year and a half. How could I have not known this fantastic city existed? How did I live 21 whole years without it? But I'm sure I'm not alone, simply judging by how many times I've had to tell people, "It's about an hour from Edinburgh." 

So I'm here to speak up for the city that's almost as close to my heart as Jamlando (almost). Here are ten reasons you should put Glasgow on your must-see list.

Glasgow is an amazing city for museums and culture.

This was a big reason why I moved here in the first place, unsurprisingly. If you're doing a degree in Museums, you'd want to go where good ones abound.

I'm lucky enough to live pretty close to the Kelvingrove Museum and spent what felt like a billion hours there while researching my dissertation. But this is far from the only museum in town--they are spread all across the city. And they're free! On top of that, Glasgow has a thriving arts scene. Theatre, ballet, art exhibitions--you name it, Glasgow's got it. There's no shortage of amazing culture to enjoy. And if ballet and opera aren't your scene, it's estimated that there about 130 live gigs a week. With tons of great venues, some of the biggest artists in the world play in Glasgow.

Architecture in this city kicks butt.

Often referred to as the best example of a Victorian city, Glasgow boasts some seriously beautiful buildings. Noted architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh is a local idol and the CRM Society offers free downloadable walks through the city here. Much of the housing in the city is original 19th century tenements. A quick glance up when you're in City Centre will show you just how special the design of this city is. Glasgow was even designated the UK City of Architecture and Design in 1999.

Glasgow has a great sense of humor.

The best example I can think of is the statue of the Duke of Wellington in front of the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA). 

95% of the time you walk by him, he's sporting a traffic cone on his head. It's caused some consternation to the city council, but the people of Glasgow love it. When the Council announced plans to raise the plinth to stop the practice of putting the cone on his head, the people rose up to fight it. I'm a cone supporter, myself. Whenever I'm looking for something quintessentially Glaswegian, it's the Duke of Wellington I end up with. The statue and cone even have their own twitter account. 

Glasgow's humor is like nothing else, and it's well worth a trip to a local pub just to hear the banter.

There's an abundance of beautiful parks.

There are green spaces tucked away all over the city. On my typical day, I walk through several parks and across rivers. I like to run through the Kelvingrove Park, which is filled with footpaths and beautiful statues. It's a common place to see people walking their dogs and out for afternoons with their families.


So I know some of you out there probably haven't read Harry Potter (get thee to a bookshop, seriously), but I can't help myself with this one.

As an alumna of the University of Glasgow, I gotta give it a shout out. It's the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world, founded in 1451. Columbus was an infant when this university started. Plus, it looks exactly like Hogwarts. You've got to give it a wander while you're in town. From the cloisters to the towers, it's a stunning sight. And don't forget to stop by the University's museum--the Hunterian. 

Glaswegians are friendly and awesome.

If you're lost in Glasgow, half the time you ask for directions you'll just get a walking companion to where you're going. People here are just genuinely friendly. Sometimes I can't understand what they're saying (I'm looking at you, Paisley), but that doesn't matter much. One of the most amazing stories I've heard about Glaswegians lately is the bravery of standers-by in the aftermath of the Clutha accident. People formed a human chain to pull people out of the demolished pub and businesses all over town are donating profits to a fund for victims and families. And if you're looking for a story that couldn't be more Glaswegian, check out this one where a Glaswegian man kicked a flaming terrorist in the testicles. Yep. You read that right.

If this list doesn't convince you to come to Glasgow, I'm not sure what else I can do. It's earned a special place in my heart for these six and for so many more reasons. If you'd like to get some more information on this fantastic city, feel free to email me or check out some of the other posts on my blog! 


About the author

Expat Blog ListingMary is an American expat living in Scotland. Blog description: Hey, y'all! I'm a twenty-something girl trying to navigate my new life in Glasgow, Scotland. Part delusional Master's student, part traveler, and entirely Southern belle, things around here can get kind of crazy. I'm so glad you stopped by!
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Contest Comments » There are 14 comments

Marg wrote 10 years ago:

Hi Mary, I loved reading your entry about Glasgow, it made me laugh when you wrote about the traffic cone on top of the Duke of Wellington. I can't believe it's still there. The Gallery of Modern Art used to be my favourite museum,also liked the museum gift shop and coffee house. Thanks for sharing.

Anna wrote 10 years ago:

I love Mary's blog posts and after living here for six years I totally agree that Glasgow kicks butt! Your posts are always funny and truthful and I love reading them!

Brittany wrote 10 years ago:

Loving Mary's blog post! She is humorous, informative and very easy to relate to. It's like I've known her for years :) Definitely will continue to read!

Kelsey wrote 10 years ago:

Mary hit the nail on the head! Glasgow, besides being full of wonderful arts and culture, is full of amazing, welcoming folk. Lovely post!

Alexander Aavang wrote 10 years ago:

Ahhh Mary. You're hitting me write in the nostalgia... It's all you say and more!

Sharon wrote 10 years ago:

And the shopping great. You made me verklempt about the bravery. Good on them.

Mackenzie wrote 10 years ago:

So glad you found everything you sought in Glasgow, Mary! You mention many things here but they're only the beginning of the list. Thanks for keeping us updated and entertained!

Stewart C McKay wrote 10 years ago:

All very true. I'm definitely on the side of the West coast when it comes to a Edinburgh v Glasgow debate!

Vicki wrote 10 years ago:

I've seen the cones! It made me laugh every time. The Kelvingrove Museum has a fantastic setup...I could wander its halls for days! I particularly love their gift shop and coffee shops:).I love Glasgow. Thanks for sharing. I love reading your blog.

V. Palmer wrote 10 years ago:

Love the Kelvingrove. I have never seen the Duke without a cone on his head. Hahaha! Looking forward to using the city walks link on our next visit. Thanks for sharing.

Sarah K. wrote 10 years ago:

Mary, what a wonderful article! I have to admit that after reading it I am more than a wee bit homesick for the lovely city we had the opportunity to live in!

Alison Chino wrote 10 years ago:

Mary, I am living in Aberdeen and sad to say I have not been to Glasgow yet but you are really making me want to make a trip ASAP. Funny, the Duke of Wellington has a traffic cone on his head in Edinburgh too!!

Christine wrote 10 years ago:

Loving Mary's amusing description of the art history, character and natural beauty of Glasgow! I can't wait to visit.

Diana wrote 9 years ago:

Thank you for this lovely post, and all your other sections. I find that so few people miss the combination of culture and mainstream-modern life in a new city, be it for fear or laziness. Your experiences and suggestions are a vast difference in a great direction. I'm headed to U. of Glasgow for a Masters myself in September, so its great to see the variety and friendliness the city has to offer. I would love any more suggestions you have for exploring the city and getting out to the countryside, if you don't mind. Thanks for the great post!

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