Recognized as the world's friendliest city, Glasgow is a popular destination with a lot to offer. World-class attractions, impressive cuisine, stunning architecture, a legendary music scene and diverse neighborhoods make this urban paradise ripe for exploring.
The city of Glasgow comprises numerous districts, so both locals and tourists always have something to do. These different areas can be confusing for first-time visitors. Fortunately, Glasgow is a compact city that's easy to explore. If you're planning an upcoming visit to this famously welcoming city, here are some of the best neighborhoods in Glasgow to check out.
Get Started in the City Centre
The best place to start exploring the various Glasgow districts is in the City Centre. This central business district is bounded by Newton Street to the west, Broomielaw and Clyde Street to the south and High Street and Castle Street to the East. The City Centre's northern boundary follows Dobbie's Loan, Phoenix Road, North Hanover Street and Cathedral Street.
Glasgow's City Centre features a grid system of streets similar to American cities, which makes getting around easier than you might think. George Square, named after King George III and located in the heart of the City Centre, is a prime spot for admiring architecture, viewing statues and savoring fine dining. The Hotel Indigo in the heart of the city features the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill for fare like grass-fed Scottish beef. George Square is also the gathering spot for large celebrations such as Christmas carnivals, Hogmanay and St. Andrew's Day.
One of the oldest and most popular districts in Glasgow's City Centre is Merchant City. This historic neighborhood boasts trendy restaurants and bars, boutiques, art galleries, festivals and family activities. The annual Merchant City Festival is a must-see event.
If you want to explore some of the more unique attractions in Glasgow, Merchant City has a few hidden gems. The Britannia Panopticon, which dates to the 1850s, is the world's oldest surviving music hall. The Glasgow Police Museum is a small but impressive facility showcasing the history of local policing over the past 175 years.
Garnethill, a predominately residential area in the City Centre, boasts the Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow Film Theatre and Garnethill Synagogue, Scotland's oldest synagogue.
See the Personality of Southside
The Southside district starts just south of the River Clyde. The sprawling area is largely residential and contains more than a dozen distinct neighborhoods. Shawlands is one such neighborhood. This quieter section of Glasgow features Queen's Park, which serves as a focal point for those living and working on the South Side.
Cessnock is a small neighborhood in the Southside, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in character. The multicultural community features an array of exotic eateries and local shops offering worldly goods. Other Southside neighborhoods worth exploring include Pollokshaws and Gorbals.
- Queen's Park: 520 Langside Rd, Glasgow G42 9QL, UK
Experience History in the East End
The East End of Glasgow is often considered the historic heart of the city. Wander north on High Street from the City Centre to discover the Cathedral Precinct, which encompasses one of the best examples of medieval architecture on the Scottish mainland: the Glasgow Cathedral.
This district also contains the oldest house in Glasgow, the Provand's Lordship, and the St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art. You'll also want to visit the Glasgow Necropolis, a lovely Victorian garden cemetery with panoramic views located just opposite of the Glasgow Cathedral.
The East End also contains the Gallowgate neighborhood, which takes its name from the important thoroughfare which runs through the district. Gallowgate hosts a popular weekend market called The Barras, a mixture of shops, indoor markets, street markets and pubs. You can purchase just about anything at The Barras Market, so plan to spend a few hours wandering around and soaking up the atmosphere.
Dive into the West End's Culture
Glasgow's West End is centered around Byres Road and is known for its quaint shops, nightlife, green parks and stunning architecture. Key attractions in the West End include the Riverside Transport Museum, the Kelvingrove Art Galleries and Glasgow Botanic Gardens.
The West End is also home to the University of Glasgow's main campus. As such, you can rest assured this popular district is chock-full of vintage boutiques, trendy bars, cozy coffee shops and cultural attractions. In fact, Glasgow's largest cultural event, the West End Festival, is held here each June, providing three fun-filled weeks of music, theater, galas and processions.
- The West End Festival: 50 Havelock St, Dowanhill St, Glasgow G11 5JE, UK
With so many incredible things to do in Glasgow, you'll be happy to know these neighborhoods give you the best this exciting Scottish city has to offer.