Glasgow is a city rich in history and culture. In fact, Glasgow is actually a UNESCO Creative City of Music! Glasgow has also won “The World’s Friendliest City” not once but twice, which supports the city’s slogan of “People Make Glasgow”.
It’s suggested that Glasgow’s name comes from the Celtic “Cleschi” which means “Dear Green Place”. This is fitting as Glasgow is surrounded by impressive hillscapes!
If you’re looking for cool things to do in Glasgow, you’re probably seeking some lesser-known or quirky spots in the city. At Invisible Cities, we love to share those unique stories from local perspectives. Check out our walking tours in Glasgow to join us! And feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.
For now, we’d like to share some unique things to do in Glasgow, whether you’re local or visiting!
Shuggie Bain Mural – The Barrowlands
Inspired by the Booker Prize-winning novel Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stewart, this mural is definitely a cool spot in Glasgow.
The story takes place in the 1980s in Glasgow and showcases the unconditional love between Agnes and Shuggie, a mother and son trying to cope with Agnes’s alcoholism.
The novel has amassed critical acclaim; it is even a hit with Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
The 30-foot-high mural was commissioned by the publisher Picador and designed by the Cobalt Collective.
The quote featured on the mural “You’ll not remember the city you were too wee, but there’s dancing. All kinds of dancing” is a poignant message that Agnes tells her son about the magic of Glasgow.
Want to check out more murals in the city? Head over to the Glasgow Mural Trail to check out the amazing street art dotted all over the city. It’s free, too!
Meet Highland Cows at Pollock Country Park
Did you know that you don’t need to go to the Scottish Highlands to meet Highland cows? Pollock Country Park is home to a fold of 50 Highland cows and has been a home to these “hairy coos” for the last 180 years.
All of the cows at Pollock Country Park have names thanks to a unique naming system. Male Highland cows are given a Gaelic name that starts with the same first letter as the mother’s name and the female calves are named after their mums.
So when you visit make sure you address them by their name! However, don’t be fooled by their adorableness, it’s best not to pet them…especially if their calves are around!
Pollock Country Park is also the largest park in Glasgow. Once you’ve made friends with Scotland’s best-known animal, take a stroll through the beautiful woodlands and get back in touch with nature.
The Lighthouse – Mackintosh Centre
Another cool thing to do in Glasgow is to climb to the top of The Lighthouse in the Mackintosh Centre to get two high-up views of Glasgow.
Climb the helical staircase and enjoy the skyline of Glasgow from the outdoor viewing platform. This is a great photo opportunity as well as a chance to learn a little history about the building!
The Mackintosh Centre was originally a warehouse behind the Glasgow Herald. The tower was designed to hold an 8000-gallon water tank to protect the building in the event of a fire.
Years later, in 1999, the building was repurposed. It’s now home to Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Established in 1901, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is a must-see when in Glasgow. A favourite with locals and tourists alike, the museum is free to enter and also boasts a wonderful garden, but more on than later.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum has 22 galleries to choose from on a myriad of subjects. Exhibitions include topics such as art, animals, cooking, philosophy and Ancient Egypt. Check out artwork from Turner, Rembrandt and even a portrait by Vincent Van Gogh’s flatmate Alexander Reid!
Once you’ve got your fix of all things art and culture, pay a visit to Kelvingrove Park. Wander through the Victorian Park’s 85 acres, set on the banks of the River Kelvin.
Glasgow Necropolis is an important part of Glasgow’s history. Some 50,000 individuals are buried there in what was a burial ground for all classes.
Take a stroll either with a guided tour or simply by yourself to learn more about the lives of those long gone.
Remember to check out the architecture too! Some graves have a mausoleum, which is a standalone monument and tomb reserved for the Glaswegian elite. The mausolea were not just a status symbol either but a way to protect bodies from Grave Snatchers.
The spooky site is also rumoured to have been one of the spots that inspired Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Want to experience Glasgow like a local?
Head over to Glasgow’s Southside, a hidden gem known for its cafe culture, traditional tenement buildings and sprawling parks. Some of our favourite spots include:
- Snuff Mill Bridge: Check out this magical spot, unknown even to some locals! It has recently sprung to fame for its likeness to a Disney film set.
- The Burrell Collection: A must-see museum housing the art collection of Sir William Burrell and Lady Constance Burrell.
- Oscar Bar and Kitchen: Want to experience Southside’s fine dining? Head over to Oscar to try out their brunch and small plates with a French twist. Try their Cod Fricassee or their vegan smoked aubergine flatbread.
The Absent Ear Bar
The Absent Ear Bar is quite possibly the coolest spot in Glasgow. Shh! Didn’t you know the bar is a secret?
The Absent Ear Bar treats you to an immersive experience, pairing cocktails with an enveloping soundscape.
Its exact location is only revealed after booking and you enter by touching the ear of a Vincent Van Gogh Portrait. Once you’ve provided the password you can enter the speakeasy cocktail bar.
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about some of the cool spots Glasgow has to offer. We’d love to have you join one of our unique Glasgow walking tours to learn more about Glasgow. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions at all.