Glasgow has a lot going on and in a weekend break in Glasgow you can sample a nice mix of culture, history, urban nature, good food and entertainment.
This guide to 48 hours in Glasgow focuses on the things that make Glasgow special and fun.
Scotland’s second city is ideal for a 2 day visit. It has impressive museums, fascinating cultural tours, great places to eat and a lively vibe during weekends.
If you have more than a weekend to spend in Glasgow, I’d recommend staying a few days more.
This will give you more time to explore the city and take a day trip from Glasgow to one of the many beautiful Scottish destinations nearby.
This itinerary for a weekend in Glasgow covers its main highlights plus some more unique things to do in Glasgow.
It is quite easy to get around the city. Many of the places of interest in Glasgow are within walking distance from each other. Some will require a short bus or subway ride.
Weekend in Glasgow itinerary – day 1 (Saturday)
On day 1 of this 48 hour Glasgow itinerary, you’ll get to know two of the city’s main districts, visit some of its most famous museums, learn about its history, relax in the park and experience some of its nightlife.
Start your visit with a walk in the centre of Glasgow
Glasgow’s city centre is walkable and perfect for a morning stroll.
The main street is Buchanan Street, where you’ll also find the tourist information centre.
It is quite busy on Saturdays, with stalls, street musicians and a lively atmosphere.
Walking down Buchanan Street will give you a good idea about the special character of Glasgow as a city.
It’s also one of the main shopping streets in Glasgow. The other two are the nearby Argyle Street and Sauchiehall Street.
Take a Glasgow city centre guided walking tour
From Buchanan Street, it’s easy to get to George Square.
That’s the main square in Glasgow that many walking tours depart from.
To get to know the city I highly recommend taking a guided walking tour with a local.
It will show you all the highlights in a couple of hours, so it’s ideal especially when you have limited time in the city.
It’s also a way to discover some hidden gems that only locals know about.
I took the tour on my first day in Glasgow, knowing very little about the city, and by the end of it I felt I had a wealth of information, not just about the city and its history, but about local culture too.
One of the spots you’ll see on the tour is Glasgow Cathedral, which has the most beautiful stained glass windows.
Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art
After the walking tour and before lunch, you can visit GoMA – the gallery of modern art in the centre of Glasgow, at the Royal Exchange Square.
It’s free to enter and well worth a visit if you like modern and contemporary art.
Right outside GoMA, the statue of the Duke of Wellington on his horse with a traffic cone on his head is one of the most hilarious city icons I’ve ever seen 😉 You have to see it!
Address: Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow G1 3AH
Lunch at picnic
For lunch there are plenty of options around the city centre.
I recommend Picnic, a short walking distance from GoMA, for a light plant-based lunch.
The menu includes salads, soup, curry, baked potatoes, sandwiches, desserts and more.
After lunch, we move to a different part of the city – The West End.
There’s plenty to see there and you can easily spend an entire afternoon around the area.
It’s about 20 minutes by bus or subway from the centre.
The first stop is a rather unique museum called Tenement House.
It’s a historic house from the beginning of the 20th century that shows exactly how people used to live in Glasgow at the time.
On the ground floor there’s an exhibition that will give you some background information, plus a cool collection of vintage costumes.
Then you go upstairs and enter into the restored house, where you can browse all the rooms with the help of the friendly staff.
This was the house of Agnes Toward, turned into a museum by her family after she passed away.
The interior and all the items and furniture are fascinating to see and for a brief moment you will really feel like you’ve gone back in time.
Address: 145 Buccleuch St, Glasgow G3 6QN
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
One of the most popular places to see in Glasgow, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is housed in an amazingly beautiful baroque style building.
The museum is free to enter and is very large with lots to see.
You may want to start with the most famous piece in the museum, a striking surrealist painting by Salvador Dalí called Christ of Saint John of the Cross.
Some of my favourite exhibitions were the Glasgow tea rooms, the Art Nouveau display and the paintings of the Scottish colourists with their vivid style.
TIP: There’s a cool phone app you can use at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery which lets you scan an artwork and see details about it on the screen. It’s called Smartify and you can use it at many other museums as well.
Address: Argyle St, Glasgow G3 8AG
When you leave Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum you’ll find yourself in Kelvingrove Park.
The park is a joy to visit, especially on a sunny day. It’s a great place to relax and get some rest.
The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery
If you still have the energy to see another museum after Kelvingrove, head to another one of the main attractions in Glasgow’s West End – The Hunterian Museum.
It’s part of the University of Glasgow and free to enter.
It includes an impressive zoology museum, an art gallery, an archaeology collection and more.
Address: University of Glasgow, 82 Hillhead St, Glasgow G12 8QQ
Dinner & evening entertainment
For dinner and some evening entertainment, check out the Flying Duck, a vegan pub with a schedule of events from comedy nights to live music. The food is great and comes in nice big portions.
Another option for an interesting evening in Glasgow is the Glaswegian Nightlife Experience.
It’s a guided tour run by a local who will take you around the coolest nightlife spots in Glasgow, from a Scottish brewery to upmarket cocktail bars.
Weekend in Glasgow itinerary – day 2 (Sunday)
On the second day of your weekend in Glasgow, you’ll get to see some of its most unique museums, take a tour to learn about local culture, chill out in its gorgeous Botanic Gardens and enjoy some live entertainment in the evening.
I’ve included different options for the morning and the afternoon activities that you can choose from.
Option 1: Riverside Museum and The Tall Ship
The first place to visit on your second day in Glasgow is a little bit outside the city centre, but very easy to reach by subway.
The Riverside Museum is described as a museum of transport, but it’s much more interesting than that.
As you enter the museum you’ll be walking into a very colourful retro world.
Though vehicles are the main thing on display (and there are so many of them, of any kind imaginable) it also lets you see and learn about how people used to live in a really entertaining way.
I liked the cobbled street with the shoemaker shop and pawn shop, old vehicles and signs from a century ago.
You can walk into a pub from the 1920s (minus the smells of smoke and alcohol) and see what a subway carriage looked like in 1898.
If you like graphic design, don’t miss the vintage travel posters upstairs
The building itself is quite fascinating, designed by Zaha Hadid.
The museum is free to enter.
The Tall Ship, just outside the Riverside Museum, is a Glasgow-built ship called Glenlee that’s also free to visit.
It’s very interesting to go on board the ship and see how it’s been preserved.
Address: 100 Pointhouse Rd, Govan, Glasgow G3 8RS
Option 2: Glasgow Green and the People’s Palace
As an alternative to the Riverside Museum (or in addition to it if you’re very quick…), The People’s Palace is a wonderful place to visit in Glasgow.
It’s in Glasgow Green, the oldest public space in the city and isn’t really a palace, but a historical museum that’s engaging and entertaining while teaching you about how Glaswegians used to live.
Covering the 18th to the 20th century, it uses old artefacts, photos, recordings and documents to tell the story of Glasgow.
You’ll learn about everything from what people had in their houses to where they would go dancing at night, from the role of alcohol in local culture to the Glasgow accent and slang.
The display is colourful and really invites you to explore.
Entry is free and the place is easy to get to from the city centre.
Address: Glasgow Green, Glasgow
Lunch at The Glasvegan
Back in the city centre, go for lunch at The Glasvegan, a popular spot for vegan fast food and perfect for a quick lunch.
It is also just a few minutes away from the next stop.
Address: 50 St Enoch Square, Glasgow G1 4DH
Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture is right in the centre of Glasgow, in a small street off Buchanan Street.
The first thing you want to do in The Lighthouse is climb the spiral staircase to the viewing platform at the top for some incredible panoramic views of Glasgow.
Then go back down to explore the exhibitions.
The permanent collection features Scottish architect, designer and artist Rennie Mackintosh.
There are changing exhibitions as well and a lovely gift shop downstairs.
The Lighthouse is free to enter.
Address: 11 Mitchell Lane, Glasgow G1 3NU
Afternoon tours in Glasgow
After visiting The Lighthouse, you’ll be right in the city centre and close to the departure point of different tours.
They all run more or less at the same times in the early afternoon, so you’ll have to pick one.
Option 1: Glasgow Street Art Tour
This wonderful tour runs on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 pm and leaves from outside The Lighthouse.
It will take you to see one of the loveliest surprises in Glasgow – its Mural Trail.
The city of Glasgow actively supports street art and invites artists to cover its grey, empty walls with spectacular artworks.
The tour is guided by a knowledgeable and enthusiastic local who knows where to find the artworks, but more importantly, knows all the stories behind them.
Option 2: Glasgow Silent Disco Adventure Tour
An original way to spend an afternoon in Glasgow.
I didn’t get a chance to do this tour in Glasgow, but did the same one in London and it was so much fun!
This is how it goes: You get a headset and listen to the guide’s instructions. The guide shows you funky dance moves and soon you’ll find yourself dancing to disco hits around streets full of people who can’t help but smile at you 🙂
Option 3: Glasgow’s Music Mile Tour
Did you know that Glasgow was a UNESCO City of Music?
This guided tour is all about music in Glasgow.
You’ll hear about the stories behind Glasgow’s music scene and see some of its music venues, from the concert hall to the city’s dive bars.
Glasgow Botanic Gardens
After touring the city, it’s time to relax in one of Glasgow’s most beautiful attractions, the Botanic Gardens.
It’s easy to reach from the city centre by bus or subway.
With themed gardens, plants from around the world, plenty of space and a very impressive tropical glass house, this is one of the best places to see in Glasgow.
Address: 730 Great Western Road, Glasgow
Dinner & evening entertainment
Alternatively, you can spend the evening on a Glasgow walking tour with beer tasting.
The locals are proud of their beer and the local guide will not only take you around Glasgow’s beer bars, but also tell you about the history of beer in Glasgow and a bit about how it’s made.