Glasgow Arts and Culture

Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city, and the third-largest city in all the United Kingdom. Located in the West Central Lowlands, the city boasts a rich culture and history that attracts millions of tourists each year.

In 1990, Glasgow was named the European City of Culture.

Offering a wide range of amenities – from opera to curling, ballet, opera, football and art – there’s something for everyone in Glasgow. The city also has a variety of museums related to religion, transport and modern art.

Festivals, Galleries and Museums

Glasgow is famous for its art scene, and is home to a variety of festivals, museums and art galleries.

The most famous art gallery in town is the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, which houses an impressive collection. Other famous museums include the Gallery of Modern Art, Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery and the Burrell Collection.

Many of the museums and galleries in the city are free to enter.

Along with its galleries and museums, Glasgow is known for its festivals, which occur throughout the year.

Some of the most well-known festivals in town include: Glasgow Fair, Glasgow International Comedy Festival, Celtic Connections, Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, Glasgow Film Festival, Glasgow International Jazz Festival, West End Festival, Glasgay, the World Pipe Band Championships, and the Merchant City Festival.


Glasgow is home to several great theatres, and the city is home to most of the national arts organisations in the country, such as: Scottish Ballet, Scottish Opera, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, National Theatre of Scotland, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Scottish Youth Theatre.

The city’s three main theatres include the King’s Theatre, the Citizens Theatre and the Theatre Royal.


Glasgow’s main library is the Mitchell Library, which has grown to become one of the biggest public reference libraries in Europe. Mitchell Library houses more than 1.3 million books, thousands of photographs, and a vast collection of newspapers and maps.

The Glasgow University Library, established in the 15th century, is one of the oldest and biggest libraries in all of Europe.

Music Scene

Glasgow has numerous live music venues, clubs and pubs that play host to both local talent and international stars. The city was named the fourth most musical city in the UK in 2010.

The city’s largest music venues include the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, the SECC, Glasgow Cathouse, The Hydro, The Art School, Queen Margaret Union, The Garage, Barrowland, and the King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut.

Mid-size arenas, like the O2 Academy and ABC, also host some of the best talent in the music industry.

Several successful acts have put Glasgow on the map, including Simple Minds, The Blue Nile, Gun, Idlewild, Teenage Fanclub, Hipsway, Texas, Del Amitri, Belle and Sebastian, Primal Scream, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, Orange Juice, Deacon Blue, Travis, Mogwai, Camera Obscura and Franz Ferdinand.

The city hosted the MOBO Awards at the SECC in 2009, making it the first city out of London to host the show since it debuted in 1995.


Glasgow patter, formally known as Glaswegian, is a dialect of Scots. Words take on different meanings, depending on the context.

In Glasgow, the word “ginger” may refer to a carbonated soft drink and is a reference to ginger beer. The word “away” can also be used to ask a person to stop being a nuisance (i.e. a’m away).

About 1% of Glasgow’s population speaks the Gaelic language. Only the city of Iverness, the Highlands’s unofficial capital, has a higher population of Gaelic speakers.

BBC Alba and BBC Radio nan Gaidheal, a Gaelic language TV station and radio station, have studios in Glasgow. These are their only studios outside the Highlands and Islands.


Only two major landmarks from the medieval period remain in Glasgow: St. Mungo’s Cathedral (13th century) and Provand’s Lordship (15th century). The majority of the architecture in Glasgow today dates back to the 19th century.

The city has impressive Victorian architecture, which can be seen in the Glasgow City Chambers, Sir George Gilbert Scott, University of Glasgow and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

Some of Glasgow’s most impressive buildings were constructed with blond or red sandstone. These colours disappeared under a thick layer of soot and pollutants during the industrial revolution, but many of these buildings have been cleaned and returned to their former glory.

Glasgow has more than 1,800 listed buildings of historical and architectural importance and 23 conservation areas.


Glasgow has a long sporting history. In fact, the world’s very first international football match was held in the city at Hamilton Crescent in 1872.

The city is home to some of the largest football stadiums in Scotland, including Hampden Park, Celtic Park and Ibrox Stadium.