Fountain outside Peoples Palace Glasgow Scotland

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My new friend and I trudge along the Glasgow sidewalk and the icy wind finds a way to cut through my four layers of winter clothing. There is no question about it, it is way colder than we expected.

Despite the sludge on the ground and the frozen daggers that are blowing down the neck of my jacket, Glasgow is bathed in sunlight. At the top of the Necropolis, the city is so bright I wish I had sunglasses.

Glasgow was an unexpected stop for me. A house sit fell through last minute so I had to find a place to stay quickly. I splurged on an Airbnb near the Glasgow city center. The host was gracious enough to provide breakfast and I met my new friend over toast and coffee my second day there.

We hit it off immediately and were determined to explore as much of the city as possible, despite the tundra-like conditions. She was a student and I like to travel cheaply. Together, we spent a fantastic weekend exploring Glasgow on a modest budget. Here’s how.

About Glasgow

Glasgow is a buzzing city located on the River Clyde in western Scotland. Whether you’re looking for art, architecture, breweries, green spaces, museums, shopping, or parties, this cultural city definitely has something for everyone. It’s no wonder Glasgow is considered one of the best places to visit in Scotland, and this guide will show you some memorable things to do on a budget.

Glasgow on a Budget, Day 1

Eating Breakfast at your hotel/hostel/Airbnb is a great way to kick off a budget day in Glasgow. Making a bowl of cereal is way less expensive than eating out for breakfast and it’s quick which allows you go get an earlier start on your perfect Glasgow day.

People’s Palace

When you walk into the People’s Palace, it is easy to forget that it is practically freezing outside. The main level of the building is a massive enclosed botanical garden – warm, humid, and blossoming with life. Wander along the footpaths between banana trees, orchids, and cacti. Breath in the heavy floral air.

Upstairs houses a museum of the People of Glasgow. The exhibits are organized chronologically, outlining the history of Glasgow from its founding to recent developments.

My favorite part of this museum was a long stretch of galleries about the tenement housing in Glasgow over the last 100 years. Blueprints from original tenement houses, scale models of apartments over the decades, and a full-size apartment from the early 1900s give visitors an in-depth knowledge of how housing has changed over time.

A lifelong lover of dollhouses and all things tiny, I probably stood there staring at the model apartments so long the museum workers worried their security cameras were broken.

  • People’s Palace
  • Address: Glasgow Green, Templeton St, Glasgow G40 1AT, UK
  • Cost: Free
Fountain outside Peoples Palace Glasgow Scotland
Glasgow on a budget, inside of the botanical gardens at Peoples Palace

Lunch in the West End

Take the number 2 bus from the Bain Street stop and ride for about 25 minutes to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery stop. The bus ticket costs £4.50 per person but the ticket lets you ride as much as you like all day long.

For lunch, grab a pizza at Baffo Pizza and Birra. Look for the mustache logo right across from the Kelvingrove Art Gallery. A medium pizza with high-quality toppings costs 8 pounds and serves two people.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery

After lunch, spend the afternoon exploring the Kelvingrove Art Gallery. The building is stunning and filled with art, sculpture, and natural science exhibits. The main entrance features an enormous organ and there is an organ recital each day at 1 pm. Free guided tours are offered daily. Make sure to take a look at the “front” of the building which faces away from the street toward the parking lot.

kelvingrove art gallery grand hall, perfect for a weekend in glasgow scotland
art installation at the kelvingrove art gallery in Glasgow Scotland

Glasgow University

In the evening, take a stroll around the Glasgow University old campus. If you leave from the Kelvingrove Art gallery, it is just a short walk through Kelvingrove Park along Kelvin Way. The old architecture, towers, and spires give Glasgow University that Hogwarts-y feel. Stop by the Hunterian Zoology Museum on campus to see even more of the natural world, plus it’s free! If you walk out to the parking lot behind the main buildings, you will catch one of the best views of the city at sunset.

view of a courtyard at glasgow university at dusk
impressive buildings at Glasgow University


Continue walking along University Avenue until you hit Byres Rd. This street is full of restaurants, bars, and students. Even if you don’t eat here, it is worth walking through the commotion especially on a weekend. Grab dinner at Bar Soba, a Thai fusion restaurant with a crazy looking cocktail list.

  • Bar Soba 
  • Address: 116-122 Byres Rd, Glasgow G12 8TB, UK
  • Cost: £10/person

If Thai isn’t your thing, walk back toward the Kelvingrove Art gallery for dinner at Mother India. This is one of the best Indian restaurants in town and dishes are served Tapas style. If you want to try Mother India, go early. It doesn’t take long for the line to go out the door and down the street!

  • Mother India
  • Address: 1355 Argyle St, Glasgow G3 8AD, UK
  • Cost: £10/person

Tennents Bar

Grab drinks after dinner at Tennents Bar. This cozy pub had some of the best drink prices we found in the West End and they had a wide variety of beers to choose from. Check their website for happy hour times and events!

Return home using your all-day bus ticket

Total for Day 1: £23.50/person

Glasglow on a Budget, Day 2

We will kick off day two by heading into the city center.

Glasgow City Chambers

Kick off day 2 at the Glasgow City Chambers in George Square. Free guided tours of the historical rooms are offered Monday – Friday at 10:30 am and 2:30 pm. This is also a great jumping-off point for exploring more of downtown.

Lunch in City Center

Enjoy the walk back to the city center for lunch at Charlie Browns. This little underground deli has cheap and hardy toasties, baked potatoes, and sandwiches for takeaway. Grab something to go and spend the afternoon walking through the busy downtown Glasgow streets.

  • Charlie Brown
  • Address: 27 St Vincent Pl, Glasgow G1 2DT, UK
  • Cost: £5/person
A historical clock tower in Glasgow city center

Glasgow Necropolis

Walk along George Street toward the Glasgow Necropolis. As you walk, keep an eye out for the large colorful murals that decorate the city. The Necropolis is a beautiful sprawling cemetery built on a hill. As you walk back and forth along the windy path, it is easy to get lost in thought. The views of the city are spectacular. There is a walking tour of the Necropolis but it doesn’t run every weekend so make sure to research in advance if that is something you’re interested in.

glasgow necropolis view looking toward the entrance

Glasgow Cathedral

The cathedral is right next to the Necropolis so it’s easy to pop in for a look. You won’t need a ton of time here, but it is worth walking around the grounds and seeing the beautiful stained glass windows.

glasgow cathedral

St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art

Find your Zen and learn about St. Mungo, the patron saint of Glasgow, at the St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art. It is tucked away next to the Cathedral and admission is free!

Tennent Caledonian Brewery Tour

Take a tour of one of the biggest breweries in Scotland! Learn how this beer is manufactured on a massive scale and sample several varieties of the famous Tennents brew. Wear closed-toe shoes and a hat (or else you will be wearing a very stylish hair net). Tours run several times a day so check their website to book in advance. If beer isn’t your thing, they also have cooking classes on their campus.

Tennents brewery glasgow towers with murals on them

Dinner at Drygate Brewing Co

I didn’t make it here for dinner but a family I met on the brewery tour raved about it. Enjoy hardy burgers and craft beer right next door to Tenements Brewing Company.

Total for Day 2: £30.00/person

Glasgow is a perfect getaway for beer connoisseurs, art lovers, history buffs, and foodies. With so many free attractions to see around the city, it is easy to get lost for a weekend without breaking the bank!

About the Author

Hi! I'm Nic. Let's chat about remote work and ways to incorporate more travel into your life. Whether you're here to find an online job or need some tips for planning your next trip, I've got you covered! More about me

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