Where to Stay in Glasgow: Areas and Hotels
If you’re wondering where to stay in Glasgow, or where is the best area to stay in Glasgow, you’re in the right place. In this article, I will give an insight into the best places to stay in Glasgow for first-time visitors, couples, families, backpackers, all budget travelers; read on as I show you the best of Glasgow.
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.
Depending on when you intend to visit Glasgow, it’s worth checking up on whether any of the city’s year-round calendar of festivals will be taking place. Even if you’ve visited Glasgow before, there’s always something new to check out each time you return.
Regardless of how you want to spend your vacation, Glasgow has something to keep everyone happy and entertained.
Where to Stay in Glasgow: Tips & Info
Glasgow is a vibrant, diverse city, with plenty to see and a ton of options for where to stay. Whilst it may seem overwhelming trying to narrow that down to the one area that is best for you, it doesn’t have to be. You just need to ask yourself a few questions.
How are you getting in and out of the city? How long are you planning to stay?
How will you be getting around the city? Will you have a car or rely on public transport? Do you intend to walk or cycle around town?
Maybe you are visiting a student, or you are a prospective student planning to look around the local universities?
How important is nightlife to you? What kind of nightlife do you prefer?
Are you a tourist whose priority is sightseeing? Do you lean more towards culture and the arts? Is shopping your main intention?
When are you planning to visit? What events, exhibitions, or festivals will be on that interest to you?
It’s best to work out exactly what you personally want to prioritise getting from your visit to Glasgow. Once you know for sure what your needs are for a great trip, you will have a much easier time finding an area that suits them.
Where to Stay in Glasgow – The 8 Best Areas to Stay in Glasgow
I have selected eight of what we think are the best areas for visitors to stay in Glasgow. I’ve then summarised them and provided handy checklists of their main draws, to narrow down who would benefit from staying in each district.
Read on to find out which one most suits you.
Where to Stay in Glasgow – The 8 Best Areas to Stay in Glasgow
- Glasgow City Centre – Best Area to Stay for First Time Travelers
- George Square – Best Area for History Buffs
- Merchant City – Best Area to Stay for Shopping
- Finnieston – Coolest Neighborhood in Europe
- The West End – Best Area for Nightlife
- East End – Best Area to learn Glasgow History
- Glasgow South – Best Area with Open Air and Green Space
- Glasgow North West – Best Area for Exploring local Life
Where to Stay in Glasgow Map
To see more detail of where to stay in Glasgow map, go to google map;
1. Glasgow City Centre, Where to Stay in Glasgow for First Time Travelers
Glasgow city centre is, as you would expect, located right at the heart of Glasgow. It’s a hub of shops, restaurants, and bars, which caters to the local population as well as tourists.
The range of shops on offer has appeal for all price points. There is a wide array of well-known, high-street brands, as well as streets populated with higher end boutiques and big-name designers. In fact, the area to the south of this district is so renowned for its shopping culture that it has earned the nickname ‘Style Mile’.
The area is built on a grid system that makes finding your way around amazingly easy, even for first time visitors.
This is also where you will find most of Glasgow’s most prominent theatres and concert halls. If you intend to take in some of Glasgow’s world class performance art, this is an area that’s worth looking into. You would be wise to plan ahead and book tickets in advance though, as the venues are extremely popular.
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.
If you are travelling to or from Glasgow by train, then this would be a good place to start looking for a place to stay. Serviced by the two main train stations in the city, Glasgow Central and Glasgow Queen Street, you will have no trouble hauling your luggage to and from your hotel.
This is particularly convenient if you will only be staying in the city for a day or two, as you won’t have to worry about missing your train or wasting ages getting to the station.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN GLASGOW CITY CENTRE IF:
- You are coming in or out of the city by train
- You are planning a shorter trip
- Shopping is a priority for you
- You would like to catch a show
- It’s your first time visiting the city and you are worried about getting lost
2. George Square, Where to Stay in Glasgow for History Buffs
George Square is a prominent civic square to the north-west of the city centre. 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 1800’s, the buildings have a grand, ornate style, which speaks to the city’s history as a trade and economic centre. 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 centrepiece in Glasgow’s Memorial Day parades. Other significant monuments in the square include 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 is just a short walk away to the south-west of the square.
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.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN GEORGE SQUARE IF:
- You are travelling in and out of the city by bus or train
- You appreciate ornate architecture
- You like history
- You want to be close to the city centre but away from the worst of the crowds
3. Merchant City, Where to Stay in Glasgow for Shopping
Considered the cultural quarter of Glasgow, Merchant city sits immediately to the east of the city centre. 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. 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.
Once a covered marketplace, hosting an array of grocers and food stalls, The Old Fruitmarket now hosts live music, fashion shows, and comedy nights. Many of the original features of the building have been preserved, giving the venue a charming character. It’s definitely worth checking to see what events are being hosted here during your visit
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.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN MERCHANT CITY IF:
- You are looking to enjoy the more luxurious aspects of the city
- You enjoy high end shopping
- You are interested in art and culture
- You are planning to attend the Merchant City Festival
4. Finnieston – Coolest Neighborhood in Europe
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.
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 recognised 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 live 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.
YOU SHOULD 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
5. The West End, Where to Stay in Glasgow for Nightlife
Glasgow’s West End consists of a number of smaller, mostly residential, neighbourhoods. 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.
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 neighbouring fashionable districts of Finnieston and Partick, this part of the city is full of popular clubs and bars.
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.
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 as tourists who travel in for the occasion.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN THE 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
6. East End, Where to Stay in Glasgow to learn Glasgow History
The East End of Glasgow is a less fashionable neighbourhood 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 neighbouring Winter Gardens.
The People’s Palace is a late 19th century building, designed as a cultural centre 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.
This is also the home of Celtic football club and fans can find a number of shops and pubs around the area dedicated to the team.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN THE 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 neighbourhoods
7. Glasgow South – Best Area with Open Air and Green Space
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.
Much of the rest of this area is composed of residential neighbourhoods and public parks. The Pollok Country Park in the south-west was awarded the title of Europe’s Best Park in 2008, so it is worth taking an afternoon stroll around.
YOU SHOULD 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
8. Glasgow North West, Where to Stay in Glasgow for Exploring local Life
Glasgow North West is a primarily residential area, with 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 centre.
Alternatively, if you are driving into Glasgow, the Great Western Road will take you all the way into the centre of town. As such, this area is ideal for anyone bringing their car to Glasgow who doesn’t want to worry about city centre traffic.
YOU SHOULD GLASGOW NORTH WEST IF:
- You want to stay away from crowded tourist centres
- You are arriving in Glasgow by car
- You want to experience everyday Glasgow
FAQs on Where to Stay in Glasgow
Where To Stay In Glasgow City Centre?
Glasgow City Centre is the place to be for a relaxed vacation, filled with food and shopping. For those planning a trip here but not sure where to stay, I’d highly recommend The Ibis Styles Glasgow Central.
Located right in the heart of the city centre and just a short walk from Glasgow Central train station, this fantastic hotel is rightfully rated ‘superb’ on booking.com. If you stay here you will be surrounded by the network of shopping parades, filled with fashionable cafes and trendy boutiques, without ever having to worry about how to carry your day’s purchases all the way home.
Where To Stay Near Glasgow Airport?
If you find yourself stranded in Glasgow for a night between flights, or you just want to be near the airport for an early morning take-off, you are going to want a hotel that offers a good night’s sleep and a short commute to the plane.
Offering beautiful, comfortable rooms, the Courtyard by Marriott hotel is just a 6-minute drive from the airport and boasts a fabulous review score on booking.com. The hotel has its own bar and restaurant to keep you entertained and refreshed for the evening, as well as a fitness suite if you want to work out the kinks from the plane.
And if you want to nip into the city centre before your next flight, the hotel is located just off of one of the major roads leading into Glasgow, so a taxi can have you in the heart of town in as little as 15 minutes.
Where To Stay Near Hampden Park Glasgow?
If you’re staying in Glasgow to watch a football match at Hampden Park, you probably want something nearby and comfortable, but not too fancy.
The OYO The Ivory Hotel is an affordable hotel, located a short distance away from Hampden Park, near the edge of Queens Park. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, and the hotel boasts its own bar and restaurant, which hosts breakfast and evening entertainment. Previous guests have awarded it a ‘very good’ review score on booking.com.
Where To Stay Glasgow Or Edinburgh?
The two major cities in Scotland both offer quite different experiences to visitors. Which one you choose to visit depends on your personal preferences.
Edinburgh has retained more of its historical architecture and refined aesthetic. It typically holds more appeal for those interested in classic art, culture, and museums.
Glasgow offers more in the way of shopping and has a more vibrant nightlife. The art and culture scene here is more contemporary too, with more small, independent modern artists and performers carving out their own communities.
If you are travelling on a budget, you may also want to consider that Glasgow is generally less expensive, but both cities have their higher and lower budget areas.
Where To Stay In Glasgow For One Night?
If you are only planning to be in Glasgow for one night, the city centre is the first place you’ll want to consider, particularly if you are travelling by public transport, as you will be within walking distance of Glasgow’s two major train stations and the Buchanan Bus Terminal. This means you will have to spend less time moving between the train and your hotel.
Well populated with shops, bars, and theatres, there is plenty to do in the immediate area. Plus, you will be within walking distance of the cultural hot spots of George Square and Merchant City.
Places To Stay In Glasgow West End?
There’s plenty to see and do in Glasgow’s sprawling West end but, with much of the area dedicated to residential housing, it can be tricky finding a hotel that suits you.
Situated just off of the thriving Argyle Street, The Kelvingrove Hotel is rated as ‘fabulous’ and will have you staying right in the heart of the action.
Safest Place To Stay In Glasgow?
Owing to its chequered past, Glasgow still has a reputation for being one of Britain’s more dangerous cities, despite significant investments in the city leading to a drastic fall in crime over the last few decades.
Whilst you should stay alert, as you should in any large city, most of the more popular tourist areas are actually much safer than you may have been led to believe.
If you’re still concerned, I suggest staying around the town centre, particularly Merchant City, or the West End, where streets can stay busy until late at night.
Where To Stay In Glasgow As A Tourist?
The City Centre is the easy place for a tourist to get around, especially if it’s your first time visiting Glasgow. Much of what Glasgow has to offer tourists can be found in this area. Shopping, bars, museums and theatres are all plentiful.
Developed on a grid system, it’s incredibly easy for anyone to find their way around. The area is also well serviced by local bus routes if you don’t want to do too much walking.
If you are arriving by public transport, the Glasgow Central and Glasgow Queen Street train stations, as well as the major Buchanan Bus Terminal, all surround the city centre and are within easy walking distance.
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Glasgow is a fast developing, diverse city, full of events, attractions and a thriving arts scene. Whilst many still hold it to its reputation from decades past, continued investments are driving Glasgow to grow into a vibrant, cultural gem, that is well worth visiting.