When Glasgow was named European City of Culture in 1990, it was the first non-capital city to be handed the accolade. That it was honored in such a fashion came as no surprise to those familiar with the city’s amazing array of cultural highlights, which span everything from legendary music venues to iconic showcases for fine art. Another string to Glasgow’s cultural bow is its architectural legacy, in which Charles Rennie Mackintosh—one of the city’s most famous sons—looms large.

While Edinburgh’s annual festival binge in August attracts more press, Glasgow is just as packed with celebrations of culture, music, and other excuses to make merry. The festival calendar kicks off early in the year with Celtic Connections, an annual festival of contemporary and traditional Celtic music. From then on, such lively shindigs are practically a monthly occurrence. Highlights include Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, one of the UK’s boldest visual arts events, and the West End Festival, which involves comedy shows, colourful processions, literary events, and much more.