Where to stay in Glasgow? for tourists, families, couples, with a car? In this blog, I will help you to find the best areas to stay in Glasgow (include map and video), the best hotels in Glasgow for all budget and the safest places.
The historical port city of Glasgow has a long and complex history that grants the modern-day metropolis a wealth of character. As the city with the largest student population in Scotland, Glasgow is great for anyone looking for an active and varied nightlife.
Alternatively, the numerous universities in and around the city mean there is no shortage of museums, exhibitions, and shows, for anyone looking for a more cultural trip.
Where to stay in Glasgow?
The best areas to stay in Glasgow for tourists and first-time visitors are Glasgow City Centre, George Square, Merchant City, West End, East End, Glasgow South. These neighborhoods offers plenty of things to do and see for all travelers.
Glasgow City Centre is the overall best area to stay in Glasgow for first-time visitors due to its central location. It offers easy access to major attractions such as the Argyle & Buchanan shopping Streets, George’s Square, as well as many restaurants, bars, and shops.
The best way to get around Glasgow is on foot because many of the best attractions in the city center are located within walking distance apart. Additionally, there are bus, ferry and subway (the Clockwork Orange) systems to help you navigate around.
Glasgow Airport is the primary international airport serving the city and is located about 8 miles west of the city center. To get to the city center from airport, you can take taxi, rental car, or Glasgow Airport Express service 500 bus, which around 20 minutes costs £8.50/adults.
If this is your first visit, I recommend spend at least 3 days to explore the city, which will allow you to see some of the best landmarks in the city, get the sense of the local history and culture. If you have more days, you can enjoy the city in a slower and more relaxing pace.
|💖 Best Area for first-timers:||Glasgow City Centre|
|💎 Best luxury hotel:||Kimpton – Blythswood Square Hotel, an IHG Hotel|
|🏨 Best mid-range hotel:||DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow Central|
|💰 Best budget hotel:||ibis Styles Glasgow Central|
Maps of areas in Glasgow:
The Best areas to stay in Glasgow for tourists are:
1. Glasgow City Centre
Glasgow City Centre is an excellent choice for first-time visitors due to its proximity to major landmarks such as George Square and Glasgow Cathedral. Located on the north of the River Clyde, it is well-connected to public transportation, making it a great base to explore the city.
The city centre showcases a stunning blend of architectural styles, ranging from medieval to modern. You can marvel at iconic structures like the Glasgow Cathedral, City Chambers, and Glasgow School of Art, designed by renowned architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
The city centre is steeped in history and heritage, with notable landmarks and historical sites that showcase Glasgow’s rich past. The Riverside Museum, St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, and the People’s Palace are just a few examples of attractions that offer insights into the city’s cultural and historical significance.
Glasgow City Centre boasts an array of shopping districts and streets, such as Buchanan Street and Sauchiehall Street, which are home to a mix of high-end retailers, independent boutiques, and well-known brands.
Additionally, the area is filled with a diverse range of restaurants, cafes, and bars, offering a variety of cuisines to suit different tastes.
The city center is built on a grid system that makes finding your way around amazingly easy, even for first-time visitors. The large commercial avenues and pedestrianized thoroughfares are the Buchanan Street, Argyle Street, George Square, and Sauchiehall Street.
If you intend to take in some of Glasgow’s world-class performance art, this is an area that’s worth looking into because it is home to some of Glasgow’s most prominent theatres and concert halls.
If you prefer cinema to theatre, the Cineworld on Renfrew Street offers a unique experience, as it holds the status of being the tallest cinema in the world, with 18 screens spread over six floors. With so many options to choose from, they’re sure to be showing something you will enjoy.
Glasgow hosts a variety of events and festivals throughout the year, many of which take place in the city centre. From the Glasgow International Comedy Festival to the Celtic Connections music festival, there is always something happening that can enhance a visitor’s experience.
Glasgow City Centre is well-connected to various transportation options, including train stations, bus routes, and subway lines. It is well-serviced by the two major train stations, Glasgow Central Station and Glasgow Queen Street Station, making it a convenient location if you travel by train.
There is also the Buchanan Street Bus Station, the main bus terminus in Glasgow where you can easily travel to many parts of the city, Scotland, and the United Kingdom.
This is particularly convenient if you will only be staying in the city for one night or two, as you won’t have to worry about missing your train or wasting ages getting to the station.
Stay in Glasgow City Centre if you’re a first-time tourist; you are coming in or out of the city by train; you are planning a shorter trip; shopping is a priority for you;
Best places to stay in Glasgow City Centre for first-timers:
luxury ($$$): Kimpton – Blythswood Square Hotel, an IHG Hotel, 5-star hotel, one of the best hotels in Glasgow, located in the heart of the city center, short walk from Sauchiehall Street and Buchanan Galleries. Also close to Glasgow Central Train Station, Buchanan Street Station, and Glasgow Queen Street Station.
mid-range ($$): DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow Central, 4-star hotel, one of the best places to stay in Central Glasgow for families, easy walk from Glasgow Central Station, Queen Street stations, Buchanan Street bus station, Hydro and SECC – the city’s main shopping district.
budget ($): ibis Styles Glasgow Central, great 3-star hotel, one of the best places to stay in Glasgow on a budget, located in an excellent location, close to main train stations and major sights in Glasgow such as Buchanan Galleries, Royal Concert Hall, George Square.
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2. George Square
George Square is a prominent civic square to the northwest of the city center. As a regular host to a wide range of events, from open-air concerts and presentations, to ceremonies and parades; there will usually be something going on here.
The surrounding buildings are all very architecturally distinctive. Mostly built in the late 1800s, the buildings have a grand, ornate style, which speaks to the city’s history as a trade and economic center.
The most notable buildings overlooking George Square are the Glasgow City Chambers to the east, which houses the city council.
Perhaps of more interest to general visitors, however, would be the Merchants House to the west, another beautiful building, which often hosts performances by orchestras and jazz musicians.
The square itself is home to a number of statues and monuments, including the city’s cenotaph, which acts as the centerpiece in Glasgow’s Memorial Day parades.
There are 12 statues in George Square, including monuments to Robert Burns, James Watt, the 80ft tall column dedicated to writer Sir Walter Scott, and the only known equestrian statue of Queen Victoria.
The streets leading off of the square are host to a wide array of cafes and restaurants, perfect to relax in when you need a break from walking around. Once you’re ready to take in more culture, the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) is just a short walk away to the southwest of the square.
Other places of interest around the square are the Millennium Hotel Glasgow, Royal Exchange Square which is a great space for enjoying alfresco dining, and The Cenotaph – George Square War Memorial.
The square is very conveniently located with both the Glasgow Queen Street train station and the Buchanan Bus terminal, two of Glasgow’s biggest transport hubs, within easy walking distance. This makes the area ideal if you are only planning to be in the city for a short time.
Stay in George Square if you appreciate ornate architecture; you are traveling in and out of the city by bus or train; you like history; you want to be close to the city center but away from the worst of the crowds.
Best places to stay in Glasgow in George Square:
mid-range ($$): Carlton George Hotel, 4-star hotel, one of the best places to stay in Glasgow without a car, centrally located tight next to Glasgow Queen Street Rail Station, easy steps from Buchanan Street’s shops, and an airport bus stop.
mid-range ($$): Native Glasgow, great 4-star hotel, ideal base for couples, families, and traveler without a car as it conveniently located in the heart of Glasgow, right next to George Square, easy walk to the mall, Queen St station and many cafes, restaurants and shops.
mid-range ($$): Premier Suites Plus, family-friendly accommodation, set in the heart of Glasgow’s city centre, easy walk from the train station, bus station, and the bustling shopping area of Glasgow. It is located within the Low Emission Zone, ideal base for those without a car.
3. Merchant City
Considered the cultural quarter of Glasgow, Merchant city sits immediately to the east of the city center. The area gained its name due to being home to many of the wealthiest merchants of the 18th century.
Merchant City’s reputation as a commercial hub continues to this day, with the area known for housing the most high-end boutiques and shops in the city especially on Argyle Street and Ingram Street, two of Glasgow’s best shopping streets.
You can spend an afternoon browsing around big-name brands like Ralph Lauren and Boss, whilst also discovering some more exclusive designers.
Smaller, independent designers and artists also populate this area. You can find a number of art galleries and studios settled in beautiful renovated older buildings around the Merchant City.
Investment into the area over the past few decades has introduced a wealth of cafes, restaurants, and bars into the surrounding streets. Great for kicking back and relaxing after a long day’s shopping.
Once the evening draws in you can head out to some of the many theatres and music venues that populate this area, as Merchant City is well-known for its art and culture scene.
The new arts scene makes use of the area’s commercial heritage though, by reappropriating some of the old trade buildings into events spaces, with one of the most iconic of these renovations being the Old Fruitmarket.
Every summer, the area also hosts the Merchant City Festival. An open-air festival of arts and performance, the celebrations often include parades, live music, and street theatre. It’s a vibrant event you won’t want to miss if you’re in town during the occasion.
Stay in Merchant City if you enjoy high-end shopping; you are looking to enjoy the more luxurious aspects of the city; you are interested in art and culture; you are planning to attend the Merchant City Festival.
Best places to stay in Glasgow in Merchant City:
mid-range ($$): Fraser Suites Glasgow, 4-star family-friendly hotel, located in Glasgow’s cultural quarter, Merchant City, within short walk from Argyle Street, one of Glasgow’s main shopping streets. Also easy access to Argyle Street Rail Station and Glasgow Queen Street Rail Station.
mid-range ($$): Glassford Residence, children-friendly accommodations, located in the Merchant City district, short walk from George Square, Princes Square and St. Enoch Shopping Centres. There are lots of parking around if you come with a car.
budget ($): ibis Styles Glasgow Centre George Square, 3-star budget-friendly hotel, located just a 7-minute walk from Glasgow Central Train Station, featuring 24-hour front desk and family rooms.
West of the City Centre is the district of Finnieston. Granted the title of “One of the Top 10 Coolest Neighborhoods in Europe” by The Independent, this is the area to go if you want to experience the trendier side of Glasgow.
Close proximity to popular attractions such as Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Riverside Museum, the University of Glasgow, Kelvingrove Park, The Mitchell Library, the Botanic Gardens.
The biggest draw to Finnieston is the food. The area is jam-packed with some of the top, award-winning restaurants in the city. There is a wide variety on offer here, from traditional Scottish fare, cooked with fresh, local ingredients, to Spanish tapas and exclusively vegan bars.
Many of the restaurants in this area have been recognized in the Michelin Good Food Guide, so you are certain to find something to please your palette.
If you are looking for a more relaxed dining experience, then you will definitely want to visit one of the nearby street food markets. The Dockyard Social Market is a covered venue hosting a plethora of street food vendors and lives music every weekend.
If you don’t want to spend your whole trip eating, there is still plenty to keep you entertained after you’ve had your fill.
The Hidden Lane, just off of Argyle Street, is a hive of studios, home to a community of over 100 independent artists, designers, musicians, crafters, and general creatives. It’s a great area to pick up some really unique gifts and souvenirs.
There are also some big events venues in this area, most notably the SSE Hydro Arena, which hosts a variety of entertainment by some big names including Elton John, Dua Lipa, and Bill Bailey.
Stay in Finnieston if you love good food, you want to experience the young and hip area of Glasgow, you appreciate small and independent artists and craftspeople, you are attending a concert or event at the SEC Centre or SSE Hydro.
Best places to stay in and around Finnieston:
mid-range ($$): Courtyard by Marriott Glasgow SEC, 4-star family-friendly hotel, located close to Scottish Event Campus Glasgow, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. It is a great base for those travel with a car as it has on-site public parking and costs £8 per day.
mid-range ($$): Radisson RED Hotel, Glasgow, great 4-star hotel, featuring Glasgow’s first official rooftop bar, a fitness room and 76 car parking spaces. Its location offers easy access to the SSE Hydro, SEC Armadillo and SEC Centre.
mid-range ($$): Crowne Plaza Glasgow, an IHG Hotel, 4-star hotel, ideal base for couples, offering views of the River Clyde, short walk from Glasgow Science Centre and BBC Scotland. The hotel is located outside the Low Emission Zone. It has on site parking and costs £9.50 per day.
5. West End
Glasgow’s West End consists of a number of smaller, mostly residential, neighborhoods. The area is best known for its beautiful Victorian architecture and quirky backstreet shops and cafes.
Byres Road is particularly well known for its cobbled streets and charming array of small restaurants and cafes. If you visit in the evening you can enjoy a drink from one of the intimate bars, under the glow of fairy lights draped between the buildings down the length of the street. It’s around areas of Hillhead and Dowanhill.
You can also find a number of vintage and antique shops in the lanes surrounding Byrnes Road. It’s a great place to pick up some unique souvenirs or to do a bit of bargain hunting.
Home to the University of Glasgow, this area is particularly popular with students, so you will find an active nightlife scene here. Connected to the neighboring fashionable districts of Finnieston and Partick, this part of the city is full of popular clubs and bars.
Ashton Lane is a popular hangout for local university students, lined with shops, cafes, bars, and pubs.
The University of Glasgow building itself is also an attraction that is well worth visiting. The iconic building is a gorgeous example of gothic revival architecture.
As the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world, the campus houses the oldest museum in Scotland, the Hunterian Museum and Art Galleries.
In the north of the area are the Glasgow Botanic Gardens. Particularly beautiful in spring and summer, this Victorian glasshouse is home to a collection of marble statues dotted amongst the flowers. You also have Kelvingrove Park South.
In summer, the gardens are host to the Bard In The Botanics festival, where you can witness Shakespeare’s works performed around the grounds of the park.
In June, the area hosts the West End Festival, which involves several weeks of parades, street parties, live music, markets, and outdoor entertainment. It’s the biggest annual festival in Glasgow and draws quite a crowd of both locals and tourists who travel in for the occasion.
Other attractions near West End such as Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum can easily reach from Kelvingrove subway station; Kelvingrove Park located near River Kelvin, Glasgow Exhibition and Conference Center, and the fascinating Police Museum.
Stay in West End if you appreciate architecture, you want to experience student life in Glasgow, you want a vibrant nightlife, you are visiting for the West End Festival, you want more independent shops and eateries.
Best places to stay in Glasgow West End:
luxury ($$$): One Devonshire Gardens a Hotel Du Vin, 5-star boutique hotel located in the fashionable West End, only 30 minutes’ drive from Loch Lomond. Within walking distance from Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens, Hyndland Rail Station, and University of Glasgow. It has rooms for couples, solo travelers, group of friends, and families with children of all ages.
mid-range ($$): Argyll Guest House, 3-star guest house located within a short walk from Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, University of Glasgow, and The SSE Hydro arena.
budget ($): Glasgow Youth Hostel, 4-star hostel located in a Victorian townhouse in the lively West End district, offering views of Kelvingrove Park, close to numerous cafes, restaurants and bars. There are many limited on-street Pay & Display car parkings in the surrounding area if you travel with a car.
6. East End
The East End of Glasgow is a less fashionable neighborhood but it has a distinct charm of its own. Historically a more working district, the area retains its unpretentious character.
One of the most iconic features of Glasgow’s East End is Barrowland. Easy to spot with its massive neon signage, Barrowland is a ballroom turned world-famous music venue, surrounded by streets hosting both open-air and covered markets, known as the Barras. Stalls in the markets sell everything from fresh fruits and vegetables, to antiques and traditional Scottish goods.
To the south, on the banks of the River Clyde, you will find Glasgow Green. One of the oldest public parks in Britain, the grounds are home to the People’s Palace and the neighboring Winter Gardens.
The People’s Palace Museum is a late 19th-century building, designed as a cultural center for the public. It now houses an exhibition on the history and social development of Glasgow from 1750 to the modern era.
Once you’re done with the exhibition, you can head into the Winter Gardens, a beautiful glasshouse where you can enjoy a cup of tea amongst the exotic foliage.
For those with alternative tastes, the Glasgow Necropolis is to the north. Accessible via a pair of ornate gates, this Victorian park cemetery offers a stunning display of 19th-century stonework and artistry. Next to it is Glasgow Cathedral.
This is also the home of the Celtic football club and fans can find a number of shops and pubs around the area dedicated to the team.
Stay in East End if you want to visit the iconic Barrowland Ballroom and markets; you want to learn about the history of Glasgow; you’re a fan of Celtic F.C.; you want to stay out of the hustle and bustle of more popular neighborhoods.
Best places to stay in Glasgow East End:
budget ($): 52 Charlotte Street, Glasgow green ,City Center, family-friendly accommodation, located near Barrowlands Ballroom, 52 Charlotte Street, Glasgow green, and City Center. Offering free private parking, which is a great base for those traveling with a car.
budget ($): Seton Guest House, great accommodation, located Dennistoun, easy distance from Buchanan Street, SECC Exhibition Centre and The Hydro concert venue. It is one of the best places to stay in Glasgow with a car as it has Free on-site parking.
Check out my virtual tour about the best places to stay in Glasgow in this video:
7. Glasgow South
South of the River Clyde is home to one of Scotland’s most popular modern attractions, the Glasgow Science Centre. Comprising three buildings, including Scotland’s first IMAX cinema, the Science Centre was opened to the public by Queen Elizabeth II in 2001.
The main building, The Science Mall, contains three floors of exhibition space, with the first two floors aimed at encouraging children to take an interest in STEM careers. The top floor hosts frequently changing exhibitions, suitable for visitors of all ages.
Sports fans may be interested in attending a match at the Hampden Park stadium which serves as Scotland’s national stadium of football. You can visit Scottish Football Museum to learn more about the history of football.
Much of the rest of this area is composed of residential neighborhoods and public parks. The family-friendly park, Pollok Country Park in the southwest was awarded the title of Europe’s Best Park in 2008, so it is worth taking an afternoon stroll around.
There are also Scotland Street School Museum and House for an Art Lover, an art haven, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh which is located in Bellahouston Park.
Other places of interest are the Citizens Theatre, the Tramway, Govanhill Baths, and Grand Ole Opry.
The Southside of Glasgow is well-connected by subway, bus, and train with the city center.
Stay in Glasgow South if you want to visit the Glasgow Science Centre; you’re attending an event at Hampden Park; you want to stay in an area with lots of open-air and green space.
Best places to stay in Glasgow South:
mid-range ($$): Village Hotel Glasgow, 4-star family-friendly hotel, offers car parking, Starbucks, 4 meeting rooms, located within walking distance from SECC, SSE Hydro, Clyde Auditorium and Finnieston. The shopping district and major rail stations are a short 5-minute taxi.
mid-range ($$): Sherbrooke Castle Hotel, 4-star hotel, situated on the south side of Glasgow in the stunning surroundings of Pollokshields, just a 10-minute drive from Glasgow city centre and 15 minutes from Glasgow International Airport. It has Free private parking, and 24-hour front desk.
budget ($): Vkm Apartments, family-friendly accommodation, featuring units come with a seating area, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels and a private bathroom.
8. Glasgow North West
Glasgow North West is a primarily residential area, with a little specific draw to tourists unfamiliar with the area. Comprising various suburbs, most of the entertainment in these areas is catered towards the local population, with small, niche museums, and community theatres.
A number of public parks and golf courses are available to anyone looking for outside entertainment. Knightswood Park sits next to the Knightswood golf course and boasts a decorating lake with its own model boat club and tennis courts.
Being further out of the city means that prices for accommodation and local restaurants are typically cheaper. If you intend to go into the city, there are a number of train stations dotted about the area to get you into the city center.
Alternatively, if you are driving into Glasgow, the Great Western Road will take you all the way into the center of town. As such, this area is ideal for anyone bringing their car to Glasgow who doesn’t want to worry about city-center traffic.
Stay in Glasgow North West if you want to experience every day Glasgow; you want to stay away from crowded tourist centers; you are arriving in Glasgow by car;
Where should I stay in Glasgow for the first time?
Glasgow City Centre is the best area to stay in Glasgow for first-timers due to its prime location. If you stay here, you will be located within easy access to top tourist attractions and amenities.
What are the best areas to stay in Glasgow?
Glasgow City Centre, George Square, Merchant City, West End, East End, and Glasgow South are some of the best areas to stay in Glasgow for tourists. They are the most popular and safe locations for visitors, offering a wide range of accommodations for all budgets.
How many days in Glasgow is enough?
Well, that really depends on what you want to see and do in Glasgow. But I’d say at least 3-4 days would give you a good taste of the city’s attractions, culture, and vibe.
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Summary – Where to stay in Glasgow as a tourist?
In conclusion, Glasgow City Centre, George Square, Merchant City, Finnieston, West End, East End, Glasgow South are some of the best places to stay in Glasgow for tourists and first-timers. Each area has their own charm and attractions, so consider your interests to choose the best one.
Overall, Glasgow City Centre is the best area to stay in Glasgow for first-timers due to its central locations and proximity to tourist attractions and amenities. Staying here puts you located within easy walk to major attractions, restaurants, bars, and shops.