It’s coming up on five years since we moved to Glasgow, and I’ve grown to love this city’s unique charm. It’s truly like no other place on Earth, and I think it may take me another 50 years to truly understand it. One of the things I love about Glasgow is that there are so many cool things you can do while visiting without paying a dime. Here are 10 awesome things to do in Glasgow for free.
The beautiful Glasgow Cathedral dates back to the 12th century, and you can’t help but marvel at the architecture of this space that is still being used as a church today. There are lots of nooks and crannies to explore, and don’t forget to look up. You can also pop across the street to visit some of the graves at the Necropolis.
St. Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life
Just in front of the cathedral, the St. Mungo’s Museum is small but fascinating if you’re at all interested in spirituality. You can go through the whole thing in less than an hour, so if you’re planning to visit this area, definitely pop in here and check it out.
Across the street from the St. Mungo’s Museum is Provand’s Lordship, the oldest dwelling in Glasgow. This is a fascinating way to step back in time and see how people lived in 1471. Mind you head on the stairs. People were shorter back then. Also, be sure to take a stroll through the medicinal garden out back. It’s lovely.
You can easily combine all three of these sites in an afternoon, and when they’re all free, what’s stopping you?
I think the Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art is pretty boring. I suggest you skip it and instead visit The Lighthouse. This Charles Rennie Mackintosh building now highlights design and architecture through various exhibits and events. There are several floors with various exhibits, but the best part is the two lookout points. One you can access via an elevator, but the other is at the top of a beautiful wooden spiral staircase. The both give you a glimpse of Glasgow’s unique and varied architecture. Don’t miss it.
In the heart of Glasgow’s city centre, you can easily fit this in with a day of shopping or pub hopping.
Glasgow Green & People’s Palace
If you need a hit of trees and grass, Glasgow Green is a lovely little park near the city centre along the River Clyde. Take a nice long walk, and pop into the People’s Palace museum for an hour to get some history of what Glasgow was like for the working class. And be sure to check out the cool fountain in front of the museum as well.
Glasgow Botanic Garden
Heading into Glasgow’s West End, things get distinctly more posh. My neighorhood looks nothing like this. For a healthy dose of nature and some incredible exotic plants, explore the grounds and greenhouses of the Glasgow Botanic Garden. If you want to make it into a nice long walk, follow the Kelvin Walkway to Kelvingrove park and the next museum on the list.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum
The Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum is one of the strangest museums I’ve ever visited. The collection varies from modern art to taxidermied animals to mummies. There’s a lot to see her, so luckily there are lots of restaurants nearby.
The Riverside Museum is Glasgow’s transport museum, so it’s filled with planes, trains, and automobiles of all sorts. There’s also a tall ship outside. I think this museum is especially fun for kids, but curious adults will love it, too.
Scotland Street School Museum
The Scotland Street School Museum is for all you obscure history lovers. We loved this museum that shows what life was like for Glasgow’s children way way back in the day. There was also an exhibit of old photos of Glasgow’s poorest neighborhoods when we were there, but I don’t know if that was a permanent exhibit.
Pollok Country Park
On the south side of Glasgow, there’s a massive expanse of green space called Polok Country Park. Explore the expansive grounds, have a picnic, and visit the Highland Cows. This park is also the home of another cool art and antiquities museum, The Burrel Collection. Unfortunately, it’s currently undergoing renovations and is not due to re-open until Spring 2021.
Maybe Glasgow doesn’t have quite the same reputation as Edinburgh, and when people visit Scotland, they tend to give it a pass. I assure you, though, this is just the tip of the iceberg. I hope you visit our quirky and vibrant city soon.