One Day in Glasgow: What to See and Do, and Where to Eat, if You Only Have 1 Day in Glasgow, Scotland. Includes Optional PDF 1-Day Glasgow Itinerary Download and a Map of all Locations.
Read More About Glasgow Here: Where to Stay in Glasgow I Yes, You Should Visit Glasgow I House for an Art Lover Is Beautiful I Glasgow Mural Trail Self-Guided Walk I Wandering The Glasgow Necropolis I Trying Haggis Pakora in Glasgow I The Glasgow International Film Festival
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Disclosure: This Glasgow itinerary contains affiliate links. That means we may earn a small commission when you use the links on this site to book a tour, book a hotel, buy your travel insurance, etc.. You don’t pay anything extra. If you’d like to learn more about how this works, you can read more under our Disclaimer page. Also note, we have visited Glasgow on our own dime, as well as guests of People Make Glasgow. Some of our experiences in this guide were provided without cost to us.
Glasgow in 1 Day: What to See, Do & Eat with One Day in Glasgow
8:30am: Breakfast at Café Gandolfi
9:30am: Self-Guided Walking Tour (Alternative activity: Glasgow Necropolis)
11:00am: Riverside Museum (Alternative activity: Kelvingrove Museum)
1:00pm: Lunch on the Go
2:00pm to 5:00pm: Glasgow Miracle Tour
6:00pm: Cocktail at Anchor Line
7:30pm: Dinner at Stravaigin
9:00pm: Pub Hop Along Ashton Lane
Edinburgh’s unsung hero of a sibling, Glasgow is 100% worth making time for on your Scotland trip. Whereas Edinburgh is pretty and buttoned-up, Glasgow is handsome and a lot of fun. And while Edinburgh is all about showing off Scotland’s fantastic history, Glasgow is the place to go to see a more modern side of Scotland.
We’ve been to Glasgow a few times now, and each time we find ourselves liking the city more and more, getting drawn into its hip yet ‘too cool to care what anyone thinks,’ attitude. Filled with art and culture, a fantastic food and drinks scene, some cool and creative brands, and a fair dose of historical attractions, Glasgow is well worth the short train ride from Edinburgh for a day trip or (even better) overnight visit.
If you only have one day in Glasgow, we’ve pulled together a few of our favorite things to do in the city. And if you do stay overnight, we recommend checking out Grasshopper Hotel for an affordable boutique (with free cookies and cupcakes), Z Hotel for a value-focused option, and Blythswood Square as a luxury choice.
Explore the city centre with a sense of purpose, checking out some of the best (city-sanctioned) street art murals in the downtown core, while getting a feel for the city as a whole. Part of a city-backed rejuvenation project for the centre, Glasgow’s Mural Trail is a self-guided walk through the city centre, stopping at city-sanctioned street art along the way. Even if you don’t love street art, this walk provides a nice framework for exploring the city centre on foot, and you can stop and admire a few of the pieces along the way.
For us, the Mural Trail was yet another embodiment of how Scotland’s largest city exudes a creativity that’s hard to pin down, yet is everywhere.
Be sure to stop at George Square to see the ‘conehead’ Duke of Wellington Statue.
If street art isn’t up your alley, head to the Glasgow Necropolis. Scotland seems to have some of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world, and Glasgow is no exception. The Necropolis sits above Glasgow, about a 20-minute walk from George Square in the city centre. As you climb the hill, you can get some nice views of the Glasgow skyline below. There are more than 50,000 bodies buried here, but only a few thousand tombs and markers, many alluding to the difficult times Glasgow has faced over the years.
Our favorite Glasgow museum is the Riverside Museum, which is in a gorgeous building designed by starchitect Zaha Hadid. It’s essentially a transportation museum, but a very Glasgow focused one, giving you a picture of the city over the years, and touching on some industries that shaped the city over the years (i.e. shipping). It’s also wonderfully hands-on: you can climb into old trams, jump aboard a subway car from Glasgow’s (adorable) original metro system (which is the 3rd oldest in the world!), and wander a recreated street from Glasgow’s past.
Alternatively, Kelvingrove is a gigantic, mixed collection of treasures. A bit of history, a bit of natural history, a bit of technology, and a bit of art, you really need to prioritize what you want to see, and focus on that; otherwise, you’d spend an entire day there.
The so-called Glasgow Miracle refers to the role of the arts in transforming Glasgow from a deteriorating, post-industrial city best avoided up to the 1990s into the vibrant cultural capital and visual arts powerhouse it is today.
In a city bursting with creativity and cultural events, there are any number of ways to experience the Glasgow Miracle. For those interested in visual arts and architecture, however, the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) is the obvious place to start. The GSA has now produced two generations of creative leaders, including Margaret MacDonald and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. If you’re a huge MacDonald-Mackintosh fan, it’s worth adding an extra half-day to your Glasgow itinerary and heading to House for an Art Lover.
GSA students lead tours of the school, which provides a good foundation for understanding the importance of the arts in Glasgow. Alternatively, Context Travel offers a 3-hour Miracle of Glasgow tour, which is led by an art scholar.
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Further Reading to Help You Plan Your Scotland Trip
You can see all of our articles about Scotland on our Scotland Travel Guide page. Otherwise, continue planning your trip with one of the articles below.