By Candyce H. Stapen-
A former gritty industrial city, Glasgow now pops with trendy neighborhoods, digital startups, a lively music scene and plenty of history. “People Make Glasgow,” the city slogan that debuted in 2013, is plastered on buildings and proclaimed on banners. The motto celebrates Glasgow’s vivacity and diversity.
Citizens of Glasgow, Scotland, make a joke by placing traffic cones on the statue of the Duke of Wellington and his horse outside the Gallery of Modern Art. Photo courtesy of Candyce Stapen.
The equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington outside the Gallery of Modern Art attests to Glaswegians’ sense of humor. Years ago someone placed a traffic cone atop the duke. Each time authorities removed the cone, it reappeared until the police gave up. Now the duke’s horse sports a similar chapeau.
Local artists express themselves by painting city-supported murals that appear throughout Glasgow. The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum’s eclectic collections include Rembrandts and French Impressionist paintings as well as fossils and suits of armor.
The Glasgow Science Centre, a striking building on the banks of the River Clyde, engages kids with hands-on exhibits and panoramic views from the facility’s Glasgow Tower. The Riverside Museum explores modes of transportation as diverse as baby carriages, skateboards and trains.
Among the city’s oldest structures, Glasgow Cathedral was consecrated in 1197 although much of the present building dates to the 16th century. Many of the stained-glass windows are by contemporary artists.
The University of Glasgow’s Hunterian Art Gallery reconstructs interiors of a Glasgow house owned by noted architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh and artist and designer Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh, his wife. The couple’s furnishings with their elongated lines illustrate their elegant and restrained take on art nouveau.
The Mackintosh’s House for an Art Lover is located in Bellahouston Park, about six miles from the city center. Built after Mackintosh’s death but according to his plans, the house may be toured but can be closed to the public for weddings and other private events. The property’s Studio Pavilion presents temporary exhibitions of art and architecture. In season, the park’s garden is a brightly blooming space with hundreds of pink carnations, yellow dahlias, red roses and other colorful flowers.
Glasgow thrums with a thriving dining and music scene. Consider a burger and a beer at Drygate’s Craft Beer Bar and Kitchen, among Britain’s first experiential craft breweries. Bistro serves contemporary versions of Scottish food such as John Dory with artichokes, clams and shrimp, or duck breast with apricots. The restaurant is tucked into the Hotel du Vin, five connected Victorian townhouses that retain the original stained-glass windows and other period details.
Still have energy? Finish the night by listening to traditional live music at The Ben or local up-and-coming bands at King Tut’s Wah Hut, frequently named Britain’s best small music venue.