As a student, you’ve made as great decision right at the start of your course – choosing Glasgow. Here’s the ultimate student guide to getting more out of Glasgow. Have fun. (Maybe study a bit too.)
Lots of pubs (hooray)
No student guide would be worth its salt unless it mentioned pubs! Glasgow’s a bustling hub of activity – there’s always something going on. So this blog highlights things you might like (and places to recover if you ‘like’ them too much.) It has over 700 pubs and clubs for you to enjoy. There are cafés, coffee shops, restaurants, tea rooms and lots and lots of live music venues. And they’re all student friendly. Pretty sure you won’t be bored.
Plenty of students too
Glasgow has the second largest student population in the UK, so you’ll be in good company when you get here. The city’s universities and colleges include Glasgow University, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow Caledonian University, City of Glasgow College, Glasgow School of Art and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. And many more too.
Things to do in Glasgow
Glasgow has an amazing history. And it’s also at the forefront of modern development too. There are huge numbers of bars, cafés, restaurants, shops, museums, galleries, pop-ups, microbreweries. The list is almost endless. So you’ll have plenty to entertain you throughout your studies. Some of our favourite things to see include:
Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum – houses one of Europe’s great art collections
The Lighthouse – Scotland’s national centre for design and architecture
The Gallery of Modern Art – Scotland’s most visited modern art gallery
Scotland Street School Museum – an amazing school, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Centre for Contemporary Arts – art gallery, performance space, café, cinema
Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre – a theatre of kinetic sculpture, mesmeric and beautiful
Glasgow Green – established in the 15th century, this is Glasgow’s oldest park. From Proms in the Park, to Pride, to the World Pipe Band Championships, it’s an amazing green space in the city.
Glasgow is a UNESCO city of music. As one of only two cities in the UK to have earned this title, there’s a huge amount of live music every week. In an average week, there are 130 live music performances across the city. From intimate gigs in backrooms of pubs to prestigious venues like the SSE Hydro (recently ranked one of the top 5 best global venues), there’s something for everyone. And most universities have unions that host live music every week too.
We take our music seriously. From grunge to garage, from hip hop to opera, and from folk through classical, people in Glasgow love live music.
Where to start? Depends what you’re into, really.
Almost every nightclub has a student night, where your matric card buys reduced entry and discounted drinks. Which is a good start.
The Sub Club is famous as the world’s longest running underground dance club. It’s tucked away through an understated doorway. They’ve been welcoming people to the party (officially) since 1987. It’s a must do. Then there’s Stereo, The Flying Duck, SWG3, the Berkeley Suite, the O2 ABC, La Cheetah and a load more excellent venues.
And then there are the places that have amazing unique offerings. Take The Sanctuary. It’s well located for the cool west end and has Glasgow’s largest outdoor terrace. Perfect for relaxing as the sun goes down.
We’d suggest keeping an eye on notice boards at uni, and using social media to find where the best parties are happening.
Glasgow is a coffee lover’s heaven. So there are plenty of places you can pop in and nick their Wi-Fi or just recover from a heavy evening of, ahem, studying.
Riverhill Coffee Bar is in the centre of town, and it sources coffee and food locally. From savoury scones to beetroot and mackerel salad. Healthy or not, your choice. On the Southside of the city you can enjoy The Glad Cafe. It’s an arts / music venue as well as doing an astonishingly good flat white. Or marvel at the setting for your coffee at Siempre´ Bicycle Café. It’s a bike shop that makes great coffee too. Sounds mad. Tastes great.
The Finnieston area has lots of artisan / hipster cafés. The west end is a bohemian centre with bars and cafés every few yards.
Coffee lovers, meet Glasgow. You’ll be very happy here.
Lots of places offer a student discount, so keep your eyes open.
You could do worse than to start at the Glasgow School of Art. It’s currently being rebuilt after a fire, but it’s still an awesome sight. Visit the Scottish Football Museum at Hampden Park and see why we Scots are so passionate about the game. The Riverside Museum was designed by Zaha Hadid and is a striking building. And it’s got a great collection of vintage vehicles. For more exotic surroundings head along to the Botanic Gardens. It sits alongside the River Kelvin and has a glasshouse with tropical rainforest plants in it.
For a breath of really fresh air, pop out to Pollok Country Park (10 minutes by train from the centre of Glasgow). Pollok House has a great wee café tucked away downstairs.
Good places to eat
There are so many, we’re just going to list the best reasonably prices ones. Spend some time off campus, and forget about studying for a wee while.
Ready? Deep breath, here we go:
The 78, The Flying Duck, Mother India, The Hanoi Bike Shop, Hillhead Bookclub, CCA, Mono, Artisan Roast, Roots & Fruits, Babu Bombay Street Kitchen, Bread Meats Bread, Saramago, The Hyndland Fox, Singl-End, Meat Bar, Old Salty’s, Pinto, Ichiban Sushi and Noodle Café, Where the Monkey Sleeps, Avant Garde, Piece, Banana Leaf, Bread + Butter, Black Sparrow, Stereo, Lucky 7 Canteen and The University Café.
Ask Mr Google which ones he thinks are best.
Glasgow caters for everything from high-end fashion to second-hand records and books. It offers the intrepid student the chance to find whatever they’re looking for.
If you enjoy shopping, you’ll probably love Glasgow. There’s Retro on Otago Street for high-quality vintage clothing. There’s also Vintage Guru, Mr Ben Retro Clothing and The Glasgow Vintage Co (just to show that there’s lots of choice). Glasgow also known for its music scene. And it has plenty of shops selling vinyl – Mixed Up Records, Record Fayre, Love Music and Insularis Records. And we’d recommend you make time to visit the Barras. It’s a mixture of indoor markets, street markets, shops and pubs. It’s the place for a bargain in the east end of the city.
Part of being a student in Glasgow is enjoying and using this great city (as well as studying, sometimes). So park the books and go to the park. Or the pub. Or, you know, any of the thousands of other things you can do.
If you’re not having fun in Glasgow, you’re doing it wrong.