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A Weekend Guide to the Hidden Gems in Glasgow, Scotland

After spending a summer studying abroad at the University of Glasgow, I fell in love with the city. I truly believe that Glasgow is home to the kindest and funniest people in the world. It also has a great food scene and is full of all sorts of cool music and art. I hope to go back someday, but for now, I will relive all my memories by writing about the perfect weekend in Glasgow.

Day 1 – West End

Glasgow’s West End is full of quaint shops, cute restaurants, and beautiful parks. During my time abroad, I stayed right in Finnieston, one of Glasgow’s trendiest neighborhoods on the West End. It was the perfect location to explore the entire city, as I was able to walk practically anywhere from my little apartment.

While I spent some of my weekends traveling to other parts of the UK, I wanted to spend a full weekend experiencing all that Glasgow had to offer. I told myself I would forget about my schoolwork for the entire weekend, truly taking in the city. I planned out two full days to see the coolest sights across Glasgow. My friends tagged along for some parts of it, but I also did some exploring by myself. Glasgow can be known as a rough and industrial city, but I found it to be quite the opposite. Everywhere I went, people were so friendly and chatty! I loved it so much!

Papercup Coffee Company

I started my day at Papercup Coffee Company. The West End has so many little cafés. While you really can’t go wrong, this place is one of the cutest spots. I went here all the time before and after class to grab a coffee or a snack. Naturally, my perfect weekend had to start with an açai bowl as I sat outside watching people pass by. My friends ordered the avocado toast and the salmon egg bowl. Yum!

Glasgow Botanic Gardens

Since the Botanic Gardens were so close by, I had to stop in to see the greenhouses. They felt like a wonderful escape from the city, and there is something so calming about being surrounded by plants. It was definitely the break I needed from my physics studies. There also happened to be a book sale going on, so I spent some time browsing old books and picked up a copy of Pride and Prejudice.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Next I headed to the Kelvingrove Art Museum! The museum is completely free, so it is super easy to stop in anytime! There is lots of Scottish art, so it’s a great way to learn about the history of the city and country through art. If you’re into design and architecture, the building holds a large collection of pieces designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Glasgow’s most celebrated artist from the 20th century. The building itself is also quite beautiful!

The Hidden Lane

After visiting the art museum, I headed to The Hidden Lane, one of my favorite places in the city. It’s quietly tucked away down an alley off of Argyle Street. The lane is home to a community of artists and craftspeople who own little studios and shops. One of my favorite shops was Decadent Riot. It was filled with all sorts of girl-power themed trinkets and was owned by the kindest woman who told us all about her favorite places in Glasgow. My friend and I also stopped at the Hidden Lane Tea Room for an afternoon tea. It was super affordable, and they let you choose which pastries and sandwiches you want which enabled us to try a little bit of everything!

Kelvingrove Park and The University of Glasgow

Next my friend and I wandered through Kelvingrove Park. We curiously followed whatever path looked interesting, crossing old stone bridges and enjoying the beautiful views of the River Kelvin. Eventually, we found ourselves at the University of Glasgow. I took my friend to the cloisters, so we could pretend we were learning how to ride broomsticks at Hogwarts. We also stopped at the Hunterian Museum located on campus and saw all sorts of old scientific instruments and preserved organs which were a bit creepy but still very cool.

Hillhead Bookclub

Hillhead Bookclub is the place to go for dinner and drinks! The atmosphere is super cute and they have so many fun drink options. For dinner, I got the cauliflower steak, pictured above. Also keep an eye out for special events here like drag queen bingo. It can get crowded on the weekends, but that just adds to the fun energy.

Inn Deep

Inn Deep is the coolest pub in the city! It looks perfectly normal from the street, but then you walk down to a cave-like room that opens right up onto the River Kelvin. The bartenders were so friendly, and they let me and my friends try a bunch of different beers. Once we made up our minds about what we wanted, we took our drinks outside to enjoy the river views. I also saw a man here who looked eerily similar to what I imagine an older version of Harry Potter to look like.

Ashton Lane

Ashton Lane is an adorable cobblestone street full of bars, pubs, and restaurants. It’s most magical in the evening when the string lights are shining and everyone is out having a good time! There are a bunch of different spots to fit whatever vibe you’re going for. We opted for some fun drinks at one of the small bars.

Day 2 – Merchant City, City Centre, and East End

Since I was staying over on the West End of Glasgow, I didn’t make it to the East End and City Centre quite as often. This part of the city is the commercial center of Glasgow and has all kinds of shopping. I wanted to spend a day exploring this area to see all of the historical sites. As I explored this part of the city, I found that all of Glasgow’s beautiful old architecture was mixed in with incredible street art and murals. I loved this mix of old and new. It’s part of what makes Glasgow so special!

River Clyde Walkway

I woke up the next morning and went on a nice run along the River Clyde. I love that there is a waterfront path that goes all the way from the West End to Glasgow Green at the other side of the city. It’s the perfect place to run because there are no cars. There are also so many cool bridges along the way to add some excitement!

Wilson Street Pantry

After getting back from my run, I joined my friends to walk to the other side of town. By that point, I was very hungry, so we found this adorable café. I of course had to order the avocado toast. After my friends roasted me for not being able to go to a restaurant without getting avocado toast, I quietly sipped on a delicious latte.

Glasgow Cathedral

In Glasgow, you must always be ready for rain (even in the middle of July). Unfortunately, I was not prepared, but the Glasgow Cathedral provided the perfect break from the rain. The stained glass windows were absolutely stunning, and the downstairs chambers had really cool stone archways. I also stopped into the St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life & Art which featured art from religions all around the world, reminding me of how inclusive and welcoming of a place Glasgow is!

Glasgow Necropolis

At this point the rain had turned into a light drizzle, so I decided to brave the outdoors and climbed up the Glasgow Necropolis, a Victorian cemetery with over fifty thousand individuals buried. It is full of beautiful monuments, and the whole place has a very peaceful feel to it. From the top, there are amazing views of the whole city!

Tennent’s Wellpark Brewery

Next I headed to Tennent’s Wellpark Brewery for a behind the scenes tour of how Scotland’s favorite beer is made. I wasn’t allowed to take pictures on the actual tour, but the tour provided an in depth look at the oldest brewery in Scotland. I learned a lot about Scotland’s history as well as the science behind beer-making. The best part is that you get a pint of Tennent’s at the end! It’s the perfect way to end a great day exploring the city.

I miss this city so much. These places are only scratching the surface of all the wonderful spots in Glasgow. What truly makes the city shine is the wonderful people in it! I cannot wait to go back someday!

Meet Emily!

Pao username: @emilyd

Bio: I’m a student currently living in Los Angeles. I love any chance I get to explore new places, both local and far away!

Fun Fact: I did Irish step dancing for 10 years!

Her fave part of Pao: I love finding cool new places that I never would have known about if it wasn’t for Pao and being able to keep a virtual travel diary of all the places I’ve gone!

Download Pao now to to start exploring Emily’s Scotland spots and beyond!

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Anna Zervos


Anna graduated from UCLA in 2017 where she studied psychology and cognitive science. Her passion for travel, design, and psychology fuel her passion for Pao. On the Pao team she is in charge of feature development, business strategy, UI/UX, and big picture marketing strategies. Anna has been to over 40 countries and plans to keep that number growing. She hopes to inspire people to get outside their comfort zones and eventually give back to people who aren’t able to.

Favorite food

Tacos, burritos, nachos, quesadillas

Favorite band

The 1975

Favorite movie genre

Psychological horror/thriller

Favorite hobby

Singing and playing guitar

Favorite place in the world

Antipaxos, Greece

Sara Zervos


Sara is has a PhD in Economics and spent 22 years in the finance industry managing teams and over $20bn in assets. She is Pao’s CFO and CTO, and also spearheads business development and AI initiatives. She has traveled to over 57 countries, adores animals and the outdoors. Sara loves to connect with people and help them learn and strive to be their best selves.

Favorite food

Peanut Butter

Favorite band


Favorite movie genre

Sci Fi

Favorite hobby

Salsa Dancing

Favorite place in the world

Kauai & New Zealand are tied