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The Essential Guide to Glasgow

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Glasgow is Scotland’s largest and arguably most vibrant city. While it has a wealth of history, it’s also a completely modern town, with lots of contemporary music, art, and literature writ large. The two main tourist districts are the City Centre (including the Merchant City, on the eastern fringes) and the West End (the more affluent, culturally attuned neighborhoods around the University of Glasgow). While highlights include the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow Cathedral, and various landmarks associated with architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, it’s best to just wander and enjoy the place.
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Castle St, Glasgow G4 0QZ, UK
While Saint Kentigern (alternatively called Saint Mungo)—Glasgow’s 7th-century patron saint—may well be mythical, early Roman Catholics venerated his memory and started a cult on a hillside site where they believe he worshipped....
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61-63 Netherlee Rd, Glasgow G44 3YU, UK
While most of the world knows of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, another architect from Glasgow arguably deserves more attention. Alexander “Greek” Thomson is responsible for several of the city center’s commercial buildings,...
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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...
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6 Professors' Square, Glasgow G3 6BY, UK
Glasgow weather is notoriously fickle and not uncommonly damp, but the sun does shine and, when it does, this extensive park in the city’s fashionable West End is the place to be. It features 66 acres to wander, picnic, or just people-watch,...
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University of Glasgow, 82 Hillhead St, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK
After the horrific fire that gutted the Glasgow School of Art in 2018, the Mackintosh House—located on the University of Glasgow’s campus—is the best place to see designs by the great architect and his wife, Margaret Macdonald....
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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...
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103 Trongate, Glasgow G1 5HD, UK
Opened in 2009, this “centre for the arts and creativity” provides yet another reason to visit Glasgow’s trendy Merchant City. Made up of exhibition spaces, workshops, production facilities, and artist studios, Trongate 103...
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64 Albion St, Glasgow G1 1NY, UK
Having recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, Cafe Gandolfi is a bona fide dining landmark in the Merchant City district of central Glasgow. It’s aged remarkably well, thanks to its organic timber furniture by Tim Stead and simple but...
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11 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4AD, UK
For a while now, Scotland has boasted—justifiably—about its abundance of high-quality foodstuffs, including fresh fish from the clear, frigid waters surrounding the country and its hundreds of coastal islands. For a taste, head to...
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215 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow G2 3EX, UK
An important piece of Glasgow’s architectural and cultural heritage, Mackintosh at the Willow occupies the same building designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for local entrepreneur and patron Catherine Cranston. It was here that Miss...
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910 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow G3 7TF, UK
If one area has dramatically transformed into Glasgow’s latest dining destination, it’s Finnieston. Once a rather nondescript district between the stylish West End and the City Centre, Finnieston is now the place to go, whether for...
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12 Ashton Ln, Glasgow G12 8SJ, UK
If you wanted to trace Scotland’s modern culinary renaissance, you would begin here, on Ashton Lane in Glasgow’s West End, where the late Ronnie Clydesdale opened Ubiquitous Chip in 1971. Even then, Clydesdale recognized that Scottish...
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78-82 Oswald St, Glasgow G1 4PL, UK
One of Glasgow’s more recent additions, Motel One attempts to be both stylish and affordable. Dedicated to railway romance, the property is full of industrial character, from the wireflow lights at reception that are reminiscent of railroad...
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1 Devonshire Gardens, Glasgow G12 0UX, UK
If you’re in Glasgow and looking to splurge, Hotel du Vin is where you want to stay. Set on a tree-lined Victorian terrace in the fashionable West End neighborhood, it’s one of the city’s most luxurious accommodations. Here,...
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106-108 Brunswick St, Glasgow G1 1TF, UK
Stylish yet minimalist, The Brunswick hotel opened in Merchant City when the former warehouse district was in its early stages of revival. Since then, the hotel has become synonymous with the area, offering 18 simply furnished guest rooms and one...