5 Must-Dos in Glasgow

Glasgow is hands down one of my favorite cities on the planet. There’s something about the combination of Victorian architecture, modern murals, friendly folks, fascinating history, and great vegan eats that makes my heart swoon.

Peter and I had the chance to visit Glasgow earlier this summer during a jaunt we took around Scotland, which also included Stirling and Inverness. While it was my fourth time in the city, it was Peter’s first, so we were sure to visit all the must-do sights. See the list below to learn my favorite spots in Glasgow, plus a bonus recommendation!

The Tall Ship

Although I’ve never been much of a sea person, I love visiting historical ships when the opportunity arises. The (aptly named) Tall Ship was originally built in Glasgow and is one of only five Clyde ships left in the world. It is still a functioning ship, but now acts as a fascinating maritime museum covering Glasgow’s seafaring past and current preservation efforts. While the Tall Ship is free to visit, we recommend purchasing one of the many printed guides offered to support the museum.

The Necropolis

The Glasgow Necropolis is the pinnacle of spooky graveyard exploring. Even if visiting cemeteries isn’t usually on your to-do list, the Necropolis is worth an exception. Spanning over 37 acres and housing 50 thousand bodies, the cemetery contains some of the region’s most ornate Victorian grave markers and includes several famous figures.

Enter through the Bridge of Sighs (where funeral processions used to begin) and walk through the sprawling area. From the top of the hill, you can get a great view of the city and the nearby Glasgow Cathedral, which is worth a stopover as well.

Purrple Cat Cafe

One of the hardest parts of traveling is leaving our two cats at home, so the chance to visit a vegan-friendly cat cafe is something we couldn’t miss. The Purrple Cat Cafe is home to 29 friendly felines who are ready to play, nap, and cuddle with visitors.

We had a great time casually hanging out with the kitties while sipping cappuccinos and eating tomato grilled cheeses (mine with dairy-free cheese). While the cats at the Purrple Cat Cafe aren’t up for adoption, they support the local CATFLAP rescue with regular donations. If you go, be sure to reserve a spot ahead of time on their website because slots often fill up.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

Besides the Necropolis, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum was probably the attraction I was most excited to share with Peter. It’s easy to spend hours wandering the 22 displays that cover everything from marble sculptures to the famed Glasgow Boys painters that delve into Scottish modernism. If art isn’t exactly your thing, the free museum also houses ancient armor, Egyptian sarcophagi, and there’s an organ recital performed every afternoon.

The Lighthouse

Built in 1895 as the home of the Glasgow Herald newspaper, the Lighthouse is now Scotland’s Center for Design and Architecture. The space houses design programs, art exhibits, and (the real reason for our visit) a modern viewing platform on their sixth floor. Totally free to enter, you can march up the spiral staircase and be rewarded with a beautiful sight of Glasgow. Since much of the district surrounding the Lighthouse has relatively short buildings, you can see an uninterrupted view of the cityscape.

Bonus: Stirling Day Trip

If you’re in Glasgow for a more extended period of time, Stirling is definitely worth a day trip. Just a 30 minute train ride outside of the city, Stirling is a medieval little town with a ton of character. I recommend checking out Stirling Castle, Cambuskenneth Abbey, Stirling Cemetery, and grabbing a lunch of vegan haggis with neeps and tatties at Nicky-Tams Bar and Bothy.

Glasgow Trip

Glasgow was probably my favorite city that I visited this summer. Something about its vibe just made me happy to wander around the beautiful (and occasionally grungy) streets and chat with all the interesting people I met. It may have also helped that Glasgow had a lot of amazing vegan restaurants to choose from.

The one I visited the most was Stereo, a hidden gem in a dark alley plastered with band posters. They had a set menu and also daily specials to choose from, so you’ll never be bored coming back here for a meal. My favorite meal of the entire trip was loaded nachos.
Corn chips topped with cheese, beans, salsa, chipotle cashew sour cream, and jalapeƱos. It’s so ridiculously good that I ate this a total of three times over my two trips to Glasgow.
The other meal I tried at Stereo was the cheeseburger. The bean burger was delicious with a flavorful creamy sauce and stretchy vegan cheese. Served on the side was a lightly dressed salad with a hint of citrus, and home fries.

The other vegan restaurant I frequented was Mono. Sadly, something seemed to get in the way every time I ate, so I never managed to snap a photo of my meals. I went twice and got the portobello mushroom burger with beer battered onion rings (yum!) then the chili dog with aioli fries. Everything was delicious.

One of the coolest things about Mono though was the fact that it had a record store and zine shop in the same building. While I waited on my food to cook, I wandered through Good Press and its array of interesting zines.This was my personal favorite of the zine offerings.

The Duke of Wellington statue was on my must see list.
It was conveniently right behind the statue is the Gallery of Modern Art, which had a fantastic collection of pieces. The one that I found the most breathtaking was a project (which I frustratingly don’t remember the name of now) featuring cardboard models of every religious building in town.
IMG_0324.JPGThe best place to visit on a sunny day was the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. It’s a beautiful building and has lovely grounds to lay around on.
And while the grounds are cool, what’s inside the museum is even better. From deranged modern art to classical pieces and historically relevant items, there was something for every interest.