A little quirkier and more rough-around-the-edges than nearby Edinburgh, Glasgow’s spirit is sure to win your heart. While there are delights of all kinds waiting for you throughout this vivacious city, the city center is a good place to begin. Get your bearings with this day strolling the streets of downtown Glasgow.
Start your journey at Royal Exchange Square, wandering northwest via Queen and Cochrane Streets to historic George Square. This is the city’s historic center, presided over by the majestic City Council building and featuring statues of various famous figures, including Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott. Veer left from here along George Street, letting it carry you all the way to Nelson Mandela Place. The slender square, named for the South African leader during his imprisonment, is home to St. George’s Tron Church.
You may notice you’re now surrounded by a bit more activity – you’ve reached Glasgow’s famous Buchanan Street. This car-free pedestrian thoroughfare is a bustling shopping district, and retail therapy enthusiasts and people watchers alike could find time escaping them as they take in all Buchanan has to offer. Even if fashion isn’t your fixation, linger awhile to take in a street performance or two; you’ll find everything from busking musicians to fire jugglers passing the hat.
When you’ve had your fill of Buchanan’s delights, head north until you reach Cathedral Street. Take a right to begin your escape from the buzz of the city center, passing through Cathedrals Street’s student neighborhood to reach Glasgow Cathedral. Enjoy the soothing hush of this gorgeous medieval cathedral before proceeding onward to The Necropolis. This sprawling graveyard features majestic monuments and stunning views of the city below, making its green expanse a peaceful respite – and a great place for a picnic if you’re so inclined.
When you’re feeling rejuvenated, head back towards the city, and take advantage of your newly found bearings to do a little exploring. The roads surrounding Buchanan offer a variety of quirky shops to browse, and the city center is bursting with fascinating architecture. Grab a curry (Glasgow boasts some of the UK’s best) in preparation for an evening enjoying the city’s vibrant nightlife. Live music is always a sound bet; Glasgow’s underground music scene is hard to beat. King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, famous as the place Oasis was discovered, always has quality music on offer, as do many of the wide variety of local venues.
For a sampler platter of Glasgow pubs (and a bit of delightful silliness, besides) take your group (or yourself) on a sub-crawl. Popular with students, a sub-crawl takes advantage of Glasgow’s circular underground system to create a convenient citywide pub-crawl. Ride the tube all the way around, getting off at each stop to enjoy a drink at a nearby pub. Cheers!