Architecture and History in Glasgow

In Glasgow, architecture and history often go hand-in-hand—but a spate of architects have enlivened the city’s landscape with beautiful modern buildings, too.

100 Pointhouse Rd, Glasgow G3 8RS, UK
Looking like the graph of a boom-and-bust financial market, the Riverside Museum’s jagged tooth–like facade, designed by the late Iraqi-British “starchitect” Zaha Hadid, is an iconic bit of development on the banks of the River Clyde. Inside, you’ll find Glasgow’s extensive collection of all things related to transportation, from skateboards and locomotives to prams, cars, and an Imperial Stormtrooper. Wander through the interactive displays to visit city shops, bars, and subway stops, then climb aboard a train, tram, or bus and get a feel for old public transportation. Visitors can also discover Glasgow’s rich shipbuilding history, explore the car and motorbike walls, and help put out a blaze with an interactive fire engine. Before leaving, head outdoors to the quayside to see the Tall Ship Glenlee—one of only five Clyde-built sailing ships that’s still afloat.
Argyle St, Glasgow G3 8AG, UK
An ornate late-Victorian heap of red sandstone, the Kelvingrove (located within a lovely park of the same name) is Glasgow’s signature museum—and one of the most popular attractions in Scotland. Free to enter, it features a full house of historic exhibitions on everything from animals to Ancient Egypt and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, plus a wide range of important Scottish art (like Colourist Samuel John Peploe’s Roses), several French and Dutch works, and Salvador Dalí's iconic Christ of Saint John of the Cross. Visiting exhibitions, such as Leonardo da Vinci drawings, round out the offerings. There are also regular organ recitals and free tours on weekends, making the Kelvingrove a perfect family attraction.
Killermont Street
Heading to Glasgow’s Necropolis at sundown in winter is not for the faint of heart. Cross the bridge by the cathedral and enter the cemetery known as the ‘City of the Dead.’ Established in 1831, back when the city was one of the stateliest in Europe, Glasgow’s most eminent Victorian names were laid to rest here. Climbing the stairs up and around the necropolis not only serves to showcase the impressive grave sites, but is an ideal vantage point from which to get a bird’s eye view of the city. Some 50,000 people are slumbering beneath the earth’s surface, housed in about 3,500 tombs, some of which were designed by renowned architects like Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson and David Hamilton. Come armed with a camera and sketchbook as it’s an ideal spot to get the creative juices flowing.
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