Wednesday, 19 February 2014

6 Reasons Why Glasgow is a Must-See City: ExpatBlog Awards

I'm cheating a bit with this blog post. 
But I've gotten a lot of emails lately asking about Glasgow--what is it like to live there? What makes it a good destination for travel or study abroad? It's not easy to narrow down my answer because there is so much that I love about living in Glasgow and Scotland in general. So I've decided to repost my entry from the ExpatBlog Awards contest with six reasons why you should put Glasgow on your travel wish list. I hope you enjoy it!

Y'all, I'll be honest: Until I looked at grad schools, I'd never heard of Glasgow. Edinburgh, sure. But Glasgow? Nope. Not once.

It seems pretty crazy to say that now that I've lived here for almost a year and a half. How could I have not known this fantastic city existed? How did I live 21 whole years without it? But I'm sure I'm not alone, simply judging by how many times I've had to tell people, "It's about an hour from Edinburgh."

So I'm here to speak up for the city that's almost as close to my heart as Jamlando (almost). Here are six reasons you should put Glasgow on your must-see list.

Glasgow is an amazing city for museums and culture.

This was a big reason why I moved here in the first place, unsurprisingly. If you're doing a degree in Museums, you'd want to go where good ones abound.

I'm lucky enough to live pretty close to the Kelvingrove Museum and spent what felt like a billion hours there while researching my dissertation. But this is far from the only museum in town--they are spread all across the city. And they're free! On top of that, Glasgow has a thriving arts scene. Theatre, ballet, art exhibitions--you name it, Glasgow's got it. There's no shortage of amazing culture to enjoy. And if ballet and opera aren't your scene, it's estimated that there about 130 live gigs a week. With tons of great venues, some of the biggest artists in the world play in Glasgow.

Architecture in this city kicks butt.

Often referred to as the best example of a Victorian city, Glasgow boasts some seriously beautiful buildings. Noted architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh is a local idol and the CRM Society offers free downloadable walks through the city here. Much of the housing in the city is original 19th century tenements. A quick glance up when you're in City Centre will show you just how special the design of this city is. Glasgow was even designated the UK City of Architecture and Design in 1999.

Glasgow has a great sense of humor.

The best example I can think of is the statue of the Duke of Wellington in front of the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA).

95% of the time you walk by him, he's sporting a traffic cone on his head. It's caused some consternation to the city council, but the people of Glasgow love it. When the Council announced plans to raise the plinth to stop the practice of putting the cone on his head, the people rose up to fight it. I'm a cone supporter, myself. Whenever I'm looking for something quintessentially Glaswegian, it's the Duke of Wellington I end up with. The statue and cone even have their own twitter account.

Glasgow's humor is like nothing else, and it's well worth a trip to a local pub just to hear the banter.

There's an abundance of beautiful parks.

There are green spaces tucked away all over the city. On my typical day, I walk through several parks and across rivers. I like to run through the Kelvingrove Park, which is filled with footpaths and beautiful statues. It's a common place to see people walking their dogs and out for afternoons with their families.


So I know some of you out there probably haven't read Harry Potter (get thee to a bookshop, seriously), but I can't help myself with this one.

As an alumna of the University of Glasgow, I gotta give it a shout out. It's the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world, founded in 1451. Columbus was an infant when this university started. Plus, it looks exactly like Hogwarts. You've got to give it a wander while you're in town. From the cloisters to the towers, it's a stunning sight. And don't forget to stop by the University's museum--the Hunterian.

Glaswegians are friendly and awesome.

If you're lost in Glasgow, half the time you ask for directions you'll just get a walking companion to where you're going. People here are just genuinely friendly. Sometimes I can't understand what they're saying (I'm looking at you, Paisley), but that doesn't matter much. One of the most amazing stories I've heard about Glaswegians lately is the bravery of standers-by in the aftermath of the Clutha accident. People formed a human chain to pull people out of the demolished pub and businesses all over town are donating profits to a fund for victims and families. And if you're looking for a story that couldn't be more Glaswegian, check out this one where a Glaswegian man kicked a flaming terrorist in the testicles. Yep. You read that right.

If this list doesn't convince you to come to Glasgow, I'm not sure what else I can do. It's earned a special place in my heart for these six and for so many more reasons. If you'd like to get some more information on this fantastic city, feel free to email me!


Originally submitted/posted under the ExpatBlog Awards here


  1. One of my old housemates when to Glasgow for uni and she's obsessed. She was originally at Edinburgh, hated it and found her perfect school when she transferred. She says its one of the best cities in the world. x

  2. I've got loads of cousins in Glasgow, one was even my roomie back in Dublin. I've been dying to get over and visit for ages, it seems like such a cool city :)

  3. Great list! I'm totally obsessed with the Hunterian right now. I'm getting my Masters in Library Science and I'm super glad to be (hopefully) heading to Glasgow soon.

  4. I haven't spent much time in Edinburgh, but I'm already biased toward Glasgow! I think it's the coolest, weirdest place in the world. I've never been anywhere else that's like it!

  5. I feel like I could be the face of "Visit Glasgow" sometimes, haha. I 100% recommend a visit, especially if you have family over there!

  6. Oooooh! That sounds amazing. If you're going to the University, there's one more thing you have to see: the view from the top floor of the library! You can only get into the library if you're a student, which is why I kept it off the list, but it's one of the coolest views in the city. It's totally worth the sketchy elevator ride to the 12th floor. :)

  7. I will still be going to school in Texas. Everything is digital thankfully. I am required to do an internship but I'm so glad that I might find a place in Glasgow. Crossing my fingers for The Hunterian or Glasgow School of Art Archive. I will try to get in to see the top of the library anyway! :-)

  8. That is so cool! I love the Hunterian--I spent a lot of time there this past summer doing research.


Thanks for taking the time to comment! It's well and truly appreciated. :)

Hover Pin It Code


about this blog

All materials on this blog belong to me, unless stated otherwise. I try to give credit where it is due, but the internet is a vast wasteland of images separated from their creators. If you own something I post that is not attributed to you, please contact me and I will fix it stat. STAT. Like a doctor running down the hallways of the hospital to restart someone's heart. Exactly like that.