Where to Stay in Glasgow (2020 • COOLEST Areas!)

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In this EPIC GUIDE, we cover where to stay in Glasgow based on your travel style & budget. Check out the coolest areas in Glasgow!

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The biggest city in Scotland and the home of a very tricky accent for most to understand, Glasgow is a compact city of industry with a hard-working history. 

But with a reputation as one of the less wholesome parts of the country, it can be daunting working out where to stay, and where you’ll feel safe. That’s why our pro travel team have written this insider guide on where to stay in Glasgow, so you know the best neighbourhood to pick, based on what matters to you.

Budget-travellers: we got you. Families with kids: there’s a section that’s yours. Nightlife fiends: read on!

Choosing your accommodation should be easy, so you can spend your time brushing up on your Scots. So have a peek below, as you cannae be tae prepared!

 

Quick tips – Where to Stay in Glasgow

  • Where to stay in Glasgow your first time – Merchant City
  • Where to stay in Glasgow on a budget – East End
  • Best area to stay in Glasgow for nightlife – Finnieston
  • Coolest place to stay in Glasgow – West End
  • Best neighborhood in Glasgow for families – Southside

 

In a hurry? Here’s my top neighborhood for first timers:

 
Merchant City
Merchant City is a small neighbourhood sitting within the Centre boundaries, between George Square and the river, and west of Trongate. It’s one of the more historic parts of town, being where wealthy traders had their homes in the 18th century.
 
Places to Visit:
  • Visit GoMA to see the eye-catching and thought-provoking displays.
  • Shop at exclusive stores on Ingram Street.
  • People-watch at Royal Exchange Square.

 

Where to Stay in Glasgow

Not worried about the neighbourhood and just looking for the best of the lot? Check out our top recommendations for Glasgow on the whole!

 

Best Hostel in Glasgow – McLays Guest House

McLays Guest House offers great value budget accommodation in the heart of the city centre. They are superbly located for visiting Glasgow’s many museums and art galleries and just minutes away from Glasgow’s finest shopping streets Sauchiehall Street and Buchanan Street.

If you love hostels, you should check out our list of the coolest hostels in Glasgow!

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Best Airbnb in Glasgow – Comfy central apartment

First time to Glasgow and you don’t have an idea of where to go or what to do – check out this Airbnb. The apartment is located in the heart of Merchant city, making sure that the main attractions are within walking distance. If you get hungry or just want to do some “people watching”, you’ve also got a wide selection of great cafes and restaurants just moments away.

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Best Hotel in Glasgow – Dakota Glasgow

There are 83 rooms at Dakota Glasgow, each offering all the essentials to ensure a comfortable stay. On-site dining options include a restaurant, which is an ideal spot to enjoy a meal. Guests of this 9.6 rated 4-star hotel can also try one of the many bars and restaurants in the vicinity. 

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Glasgow’s Neighbourhood Guide

Quick Summary: The Best Places to Stay in Glasgow

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Merchant City

  • Merchant City is a small neighbourhood sitting within the Centre boundaries, between George Square and the river, and west of Trongate. It’s one of the more historic parts of town, being where wealthy traders had their homes in the 18th century.
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East End

  • East End, as you’d imagine, is east of the centre city. This is an area not as frequented by tourists and there’s arguably less to attract attention here.
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Finnieston

  • Voted one of the ‘hippest places to live’ in the UK or ‘top ten coolest neighbourhoods’ in Europe by media outlets, Finnieston is a great wee area west of the city centre.
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West End

  • The West End is northwest of the centre city, and just on the other side of Kelvingrove Park. It’s the achingly cool area of town, with all sorts of vintage stores and cafes – the usual markers of a hipsterville!
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Southside

  • We’ve given you a big area to play with here, as the Southside is literally all of Glasgow that sits on the south side of the River Clyde (there goes their practical naming tendencies again!).
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Glasgow sits on the River Clyde in the southwest of Scotland, directly across from Edinburgh.  If you are visiting Scotland I personally recommend paying a visit.

Its largely Victorian architecture gives it a quaint old-worldly feel, though housed in that stonemasonry is a range of modern stores and cafes.

The city itself is rather compact, and the grid system of its streets makes it super easy to navigate. This makes it a great destination for wanderers who can traverse the different neighbourhoods in the city. In fact, if you spend a Weekend in Glasgow you should be able to see all of the major draws.

It’s little, but there’s diversity here. Scottish pragmatism has the regions divided into Centre, North, South, East and West. For the most part, we’ve gone further into the subsections of these geographic markers to give you the low-down on where to stay.

In the Centre is where you will find the heart of the district: George Square. There’s always something on, winter or summer. A friendly atmosphere and great food and drink is what you’ll find in the West. A bit of history is on offer as well. North is for the adventure lovers. You can get a bit out of the city up here and explore the countryside via the waterways.

The East is the historic centre and has a more laid back vibe. And lastly, the South (our top pick for families) has heaps of attractions dotted through its 19th-century streets. 

So now you’re up with the play – dive in!

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5 Best Neighbourhoods to Stay in Glasgow

These five have been chosen with specific criteria in mind, and each fulfils its job title superbly!

 

#1 Merchant City – Where to Stay in Glasgow your First Time

Merchant City is a small neighbourhood sitting within the Centre boundaries, between George Square and the river, and west of Trongate.

It’s one of the more historic parts of town, being where wealthy traders had their homes in the 18th century. This is what gives the area its name and busy atmosphere.

It’s our choice for the best place to stay in Glasgow your first time as it’s in the middle of town and has a range of attractions for tourists, whether it’s history, shopping or dining that you’re into.

Its location also means the rest of town is easily accessible as all roads lead to Merchant City or something like that!
The furthest away of our recommended neighbourhoods is a 45-minute wander or, if that doesn’t appeal, there are the simpliCITY buses running in cross-sections across the city. 

For lovers of culture, the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) is in Merchant City, with its stunning exhibits.

History fans will like St Mungo Museum, a unique place that teaches about all religions, for those of any or none. 

And if you’re here in summer, specifically around July/August, you’ll be able to get swept up in the carnival atmosphere of the Merchant City Festival!

Merchant City, Glasgow

 

Things to See and Do in Merchant City

 – Visit GoMA to see the eye-catching and thought-provoking displays. 

 – Learn about religion in the historic heart of Presbyterianism at St Mungo Museum.

 – Shop at exclusive stores on Ingram Street.

 – People-watch at Royal Exchange Square.

 – Have a drink – or a flutter – at the Corinthian Club’s cocktail lounge or casino.

 

Best Hostel in Merchant City – Merchant City Inn

Located in the heart of the vibrant Merchant City district of Glasgow and just off Argyle Street, the Merchant Lodge is one of Glasgow’s oldest buildings. Room rates are inclusive of a full continental breakfast, served by the friendliest staff in Glasgow. 

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Best Airbnb in Merchant City – Comfy central apartment

First time to Glasgow and you don’t have an idea of where to go or what to do – check out this Airbnb. The apartment is located in the heart of Merchant city, making sure that the main attractions are within walking distance. If you get hungry or just want to do some “people watching”, you’ve also got a wide selection of great cafes and restaurants just moments away.

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Best Hotel in Merchant City – Ibis Styles Glasgow Centre George Square

Strategically located in the middle of the city, this 3-star hotel makes for an ideal base in Glasgow. It is close to Buchanan Street, eateries and shops. The hotel has 101 rooms and has been recently refurbished. They are modern and provide cable/satellite channels. 

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Best Hotel in Merchant City – The Z Hotel Glasgow

Within a two minute walk of George Square, The 4-star Z Hotel Glasgow is centrally situated. It provides free wireless internet in public areas and is steps from Glasgow City Chambers and other popular attractions. In addition, multilingual staff can provide tips and local knowledge. 

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#2 East End – Where to Stay in Glasgow on a Budget

East End, as you’d imagine, is east of the centre city. 

This is an area not as frequented by tourists and there’s arguably less to attract attention here. That, and the subsequent drop in price for accommodation in an area like this, is the reason we’ve picked it as the best place to stay in Glasgow on a budget. 

Because the truth of the matter is, there’s a fair amount to do here. And due to Glasgow’s compact nature, you’re well within walking distance of everything else anyway!

Beer lovers are in for a treat as there are several micro or craft breweries in the East End, including Drygate, where you can watch it being brewed before your eyes.

And for the athletes, you can find Glasgow’s largest public park here, as well as a huge swimming centre and velodrome (which was used in the 2014 Commonwealth Games – an event at which one of our travel team got sunburnt. In Scotland. We know!).

This is the oldest part of the city too, with the suburb of Dennistown taking the title of the grand dame of Glasgow. 

It’s around these parts that you also find the Barras Market, the largest weekend market in the city. Sounds like a great place to wander and build up a thirst for one of those breweries, if you ask us!

 

East End, Glasgow

 

Things to See and Do in East End

 – Take a look around the Barras Market on the weekend and listen to the hilarious hawkers.

 – See your beer brewed at Drygate.

 – Step back into Victorian splendour at the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens

 – Chill out on Glasgow Green, the largest public park in the city. 

 – Do some vintage shopping at Rip it Up.

 

Best Hostel in East End – Tartan Lodge

At Tartan Lodge, they’ve really embraced their Scottish heritage. In every room, you’ll find colourful tartan carpets to help you get into the Glaswegian spirit. Connect to the free Wi-Fi and let everyone know you’ve arrived with an Insta story update.

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Best Airbnb in East End – Private room in best location

This cute single room is everything you could expect when travelling on a budget. The room is cosy, bright and very clean according to previous guests. What makes this Airbnb so special is the kind host, who’s always ready to give great recommendations. You’re only a short walk from the city centre and just moments from Glasgow Green & Winter Gardens – a great home for only little money.

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Best Hotel in East End – Glasgow Central Clock Tower Boutique Suites

Strategically located in the middle of the city, this 3-star hotel makes for an ideal base in Glasgow. It also offers free Wi-Fi and a tour desk. There are 8 rooms at Glasgow Central Clock Tower Boutique Suites and Bistro, each offering all the essentials to ensure a comfortable stay. 

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Best Hotel in East End – Cathedral House Hotel

Conveniently situated, Cathedral House Hotel offers easy access to Glasgow’s popular sightseeing areas. Those staying at the property can also take advantage of complimentary wireless internet during their stay. The hotel has 7 rooms and has been recently refurbished. 

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#3 Finnieston – Best Area to Stay in Glasgow for Nightlife

Voted one of the ‘hippest places to live’ in the UK or ‘top ten coolest neighbourhoods’ in Europe by media outlets, Finnieston is a great wee area west of the city centre.

It’s home to a huge variety of bars and restaurants and is known as one of the culinary hubs of Glasgow.

There’s access to the riverfront too, for the daytime wanderings. And there’s all the artisanal coffee shops to round out your whole day.

What’s that you say? You’re here for the nightlife? Right you are, then.

First of all is the SSE Hydro Arena, one of the world’s busiest entertainment venues. Check out their schedule to see what’s on when you visit. Or plan a trip around a particular show!

‘The Strip’ is the name given to the bustling Argyle Street that runs right through Finnieston. This is where you’ll find a high-density area of food and beverage destinations. With a few of the eateries given a shout in the Michelin Good Food Guide, you can do better than an end of the night kebab!

The Strip is a fantastic place for pre-gig drinks, either for the Hydro or the SWG3 venue. That being said, it’s also great for entire evening affairs, especially at places like the iconic Kelvingrove Cafe. 

Finnieston, Glasgow

 

Things to See and Do in Finnieston

 – Have dinner at Fanny Trollopes. Do I even need to explain this?

 – Get to the Electric Frog & Pressure Riverside Carnival, Scotland’s largest of its kind.

 – Wander and shop in The Hidden Lane eclectic art community, just off The Strip.

 – Immerse yourself in Glaswegian history at The Riverside Museum.

 – Catch an event at the SSE Hydro Arena.

 

Best Hostel in Finnieston – Euro Hostel Glasgow

At Euro Hostel Glasgow, you’ll have hotel-like facilities at an affordable price with twice the fun! They’re in a central location and have a friendly hostel atmosphere, with plenty of sociable common areas. 

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Best Airbnb in Finnieston – Super stylish apartment

If you want to stay in one of the top ten neighbourhoods of the UK, then your apartment has to be just as good. This stylish Airbnb is a great choice if you want to explore the nightlife of Finnieston. The apartment is so comfortable it’s going to make your hangover only half as bad (no promises though). Bring friends along for company – there’s enough space for 5 people.

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Best Hotel in Finnieston – No 15 Hotel

A 10-minute walk from Charing Cross Railway Station, No 15 Hotel has a convenient setting, making it an ideal base. The rooms offer an elegant décor and superb 5-star amenities, while the hotel is rated a massive 10.0 on travel sites.

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Best Hotel in Finnieston – Hilton Glasgow

Hilton Glasgow provides modern 5-star accommodation, as well as a sauna, a Jacuzzi and an indoor pool. Staff are available 24 hours a day and can help with booking tours and tickets. Every stylish room comes with a mini bar and all the essentials for a comfortable stay. 

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#4 West End – Coolest Place to Stay in Glasgow

The West End is northwest of the centre city, and just on the other side of Kelvingrove Park. 

It’s the achingly cool area of town, with all sorts of vintage stores and cafes – the usual markers of a hipsterville!
This is a leafier part of Glasgow, a little bit posh, little bit bohemian, and is home to some excellent museums and galleries. You’ll want to dedicate a day or two just to explore your local area before you even think of hitting up the rest of the city!

You can freely wander about the gothic architecture of the University of Glasgow, and check out the great coffee shops nearby, intended to caffeinate those hard-working students.

If you’re in this part of Scotland at the right time of year (usually the entire month of June, but check the dates), then the West End Festival is a must-see. A fun and fiercely independent arts festival, it’s the biggest cultural event on the Glasgow calendar. There’s a wide range of events of so you’ll be glad you timed your visit to coincide. 

Byres Road is the main artery running through the West End, and it’s the lanes that filter off this thoroughfare that are hiding your next favourite bar, eaterie or indie clothes store.

West End, Glasgow

 

Things to See and Do in West End

 – Take a breather in Kelvingrove Park, the sprawling yet manicured grounds south of the suburb. 

 – Sample a dram from the Clydeside Distillery. The location is in the name!

 – Walk down Byres Road, taking your time to choose a side-street to explore.

 – Get your cultural quota in at the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery.

 – Score a table at the Ubiquitous Chip, a Glasgow icon!

 

Best Hostel in West End – Glasgow Youth Hostel

Glasgow Youth Hostel offers 4-star VisitScotland accredited accommodation in a fabulous Victorian townhouse overlooking beautiful Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow’s lively West End, close to award-winning Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, numerous cafes, restaurants and bars.

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Best Airbnb in West End – Spacious and comfy townhouse

If you want to live in comfort while visiting the coolest area of Glasgow, you’ve found the right place. This Airbnb is super welcoming due to its massive windows, bright and spacious rooms and comfy beds. This is a true “home away from home”. You can even bring some friends along since there are two bedrooms (makes the rent cheaper too). Bonus: it’s close to the best restaurants.

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Best Hotel in West End – The Alfred

This 3-star hotel has 16 rooms and has been recently refurbished. The front desk operates 24/7 and the friendly staff can suggest sights to visit and provide other tourist information. Guests can also enjoy free internet throughout the property. 

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Best Hotel in West End – Argyll Western Hotel

Argyll Western Hotel is a Victorian base while in Glasgow and is close to everything the area has to offer. The multiple facilities this traditional hotel offers include a ticket service, a concierge and a tour desk. Guests can soak up the sun on the terrace or enjoy a beverage at the bar. 

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#5 Southside – Best Neighbourhood in Glasgow for Families

We’ve given you a big area to play with here, as the Southside is literally all of Glasgow that sits on the south side of the River Clyde (there goes their practical naming tendencies again!).

It’s earned its name as the best place for families to stay in Glasgow for the trifecta: easy accessibility, attractions for kids, green spaces.

In terms of easy accessibility, it’s just one bridge away from the city centre, and encompasses the whole riverbank on the south side, with all that entails. In terms of the airport, it’s the closest of our suburbs, being straight up one of the main motorways from arrivals.

You’ll have heaps for the kids to do here. For educational fun, there’s the Science Centre, with plenty of interactive displays (we love a good science museum here!). And the Scotland Street School Museum – show ‘em how it used to be!

To get a bit more active, there’s ten-pin bowling and a roller rink. To get the opposite of active, there’s the huge ODEON cinemas. 

And for green spaces, take your pick! Ibrox Stadium is good for a tour but for a run-around, you’ll want Festival or Bellahousten Park. 

Southside, Glasgow

 

Things to See and Do in Southside

 – Find a PG rated flick to share with the family at Luxe ODEON. 

 – Burn off that popcorn with a ramble (nature walk) through Festival Park. Better to take your wellies (rubber boots) if it’s been raining. 

 – Watch (or join) the kids go crazy at Wonder World Soft Play Glasgow.

 – Climb the Glasgow Science Centre Tower for the best view over the city.

 – Wander down the riverfront and plan the next day’s adventure northside!

 

Best Hostel in Southside – Crosshill House

Crosshill House is a newly developed property with a lot of green areas. Continental breakfast buffet is available for a price if required. Wifi is free of charge. Plenty of parking in the premises and a range of family rooms available.

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Best Airbnb in Southside – Central family flat

Glasgow is a beautiful city to explore with your family. But finding good accommodation can be hard. This Airbnb fits up to 4 people and should meet all of your expectations. Bright, with 2 bedrooms (everyone can enjoy their privacy) and a great living area to relax in at the end of the day, you really can’t wish for more. The area is family friendly yet very central.

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Best Hotel in Southside – Premier Inn Glasgow City Centre South

Premier Inn City Centre South Glasgow offers stylish, 3-star accommodation close to the Citizens Theatre. A short walk from the Glasgow Central Mosque, it provides contemporary rooms equipped with a private bathroom, a telephone and a radio. 

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Best Hotel in Southside – Sherbrooke Castle Hotel

Sherbrooke Castle Hotel provides a Victorian setting when in Glasgow. It also offers a shopping mall, a concierge and room service. In-house dining options include a restaurant, which is a convenient place to enjoy a meal. Each evening, guests can wind down in the cosy lounge bar. 

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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Glasgow

Glasgow is an easily navigable city, built in a very logical style, so you’ll have no problem working your way around.

If you’re like one of our crew though, and have no sense of direction, this guide will be invaluable in orienting yourself within the city. Hell, even if you’re a human compass, the guide will get you where you need to go!

And staying in our best hotel overall Dakota Glasgow will give you that touch of luxury to make your stay a little more special.

That’s it for our travel team’s tips and tricks for Glasgow. So get to your trip calendar, and lock in your Scottish visit – there’s a plate of haggis waiting with your name on it!

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In this EPIC GUIDE, we cover where to stay in Glasgow based on your travel style & budget. Check out the coolest areas in Glasgow!

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