24 Hours in Glasgow with First Bus

Glasgow's packed with great places to go, things to do, bars, cafes, shops... here's a guide to making the very most of a day in Glasgow

Advertorial by The Skinny | 06 Mar 2023
  • Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum
First Bus
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9am: Breakfast in Partick and Hillhead

An energised start is essential for any marathon day out, and fortunately for Glasgow-goers, there’s plenty of places to grab a quick cup of coffee. Partick is one of the most up-and-coming neighbourhoods on this side of the Clyde, and like all hipster hotspots, has its fair share of debonair cafes. The 77 goes right down Dumbarton Road, and stops at such Partick picks as Caffe Monza, Top Hat Cafe, and Meadow Road Coffee. There’s also plenty of eateries to round out your breakfast, with Brawsome Bagels probably being the roundest and soundest.

Alternatively, hop on the 8 to Hillhead, full of hip hangouts for the young and caffeinated. Cafe Go-Go, S’mug Coffee Bar or the Atrium Coffee House are all pretty much next door to each other. Turn the corner for Tchai-Ovna House of Tea, if you’re more of a leaf than a bean person. Either way, warm atmospheres and hot beverages will have you raring for the next leg on our journey, so stick your arm out and flag down that bus.

11am: A shopping spree in the Merchant City 

Buchanan Street, Argyle Street and Sauchiehall Street make up the trendy trifecta of Glasgow thoroughfares, right in the heart of the city and hosting hundreds of brands to help you fill your bags. If you’re the type of savvy shopper that makes a treasure trove out of a high street, you’re sure to get one hell of a haul simply from walking from one end of Buchanan Street (where you’ll find the lush Buchanan Galleries shopping centre) to the other, which will land you squarely in the St. Enoch Centre. Though they’re wonderfully walkable, the placement of these promenades in the middle of town mean that they’re never hard to get to via public transit. The 77, the 6A, and the 4A are just some of the services that will get you there.

If you want to give Glasgow’s small businesses their due, grab the 18 or 60A down to King Street, where you can find vintage outfitters Mr Ben Retro Clothing, The City Retro Fashion, and Minted, as well as board games shop Static Games or the excellent record store Monorail Music.

1pm: Museums and galleries by the water

Now it’s time to soak up some culture, and after this morning’s spending spree, you’ll be relieved to hear just how much Glasgow has to offer for next to nothing. Board the 2, and you’ll find yourself at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. The gallery includes work by members of the Glasgow School group of artists from the city, a legion of levitating heads in the foyer wearing all sorts of expressions, and Salvador Dalí's epic Christ of St John of the Cross.

Walk fifteen minutes to the Clyde to arrive at the Riverside Museum, another fun-filled freebie, furnished with a fleet of historical vehicles, including Glasgow city subway cars of yore, and, you guessed it, buses!

5pm: Dinner in the Southside or Finnieston

Finnieston has plenty more to offer than museums, but if you’re too famished to make your way up Argyle Street, just jump back on the 2. Dinner options include the New-York inspired Porter & Rye, or cosy vegan bistro The 78. Get great Mexican grub at Rafa’s, and if you’re partial to seafood, you can shack up at Crabshakk, or the aptly-titled The Finnieston.

Exterior view of The 78 in Glasgow.

If Finnieston’s not your flavour, ride the 3 down to the Southside, and grab something on the go. Sacred Tum Tacos are about as sacred as they sound, Vietnamese BYOB restaurant Little Hoi An will have you saying OMG, and Kurdish Street Food does what it says on the tin - and it’s amazing. 

7pm: Live music, great bars, and much more...

By now, it’s getting late. The 4/4A will take you back into the city centre where you can enjoy all the nightlife Glasgow has to offer. Despite its top-tier vegan menu, Stereo is far more than a cafe; the basement event space is a top choice for some of Scotland’s best new bands and DJs. Super Bario’s cocktails pair well with their array of arcade games, and a few rounds of button-mashing on Crazy Taxi might make you appreciate just how smooth the ride over was. 

Just head a little further along to Bonjour; the little club/events space has had a colossal impact on the city’s queer community, hosting tons of karaoke nights and open-mics. The 2 will bring you back round for King Tut’s Wah-Wah Hut, a world-renowned music venue that has seen the likes of Radiohead and Rage Against the Machine, but if you’d rather yuk it up than tear it up, the 6 will take you from there to The Stand Comedy Club in Woodlands. 

Remember, if you are aged under-22 and living in Scotland, then free travel is within grasp. Make sure to apply for your NEC card to take advantage, leaving you #FreeToExplore at GetYourNec.scot

Older than 22? Don’t panic! Bus remains a sustainable way to travel that won’t break the bank. Hop on board and do your bit for the planet next time you head out.