Expats moving to Scotland's largest city will find that the lifestyle in Glasgow offers plenty of opportunities for shopping, entertainment and outdoor pursuits. Whether expats are in the mood to shop up a storm in the city centre or are in search of a moment alone in the great outdoors, Glasgow has something for everyone.
Shopping in Glasgow
Buchanan Street in Glasgow's city centre is the heart of the Style Mile, as the city's main shopping district is affectionately known. Lined by high-end shops, tempting restaurants and an ever-present array of street performers, there's plenty to enjoy in this part of town.
At the top of the street is Buchanan Galleries, which houses more than 80 retailers. Further down is Princes Square, where the best of designer fashion can be found, from Kate Spade to Ted Baker and beyond. For families, St Enoch Centre towards the bottom of the street has toy shops galore, including Scotland's flagship Henley's store.
Glasgow has plenty to offer shoppers beyond the Style Mile, too. Lovers of vintage and second-hand clothing will be in seventh heaven in Glasgow's West End, while other excellent shopping centres such as the Glasgow Fort and the Forge Shopping Centre can be found dotted around the city.
Nightlife and entertainment in Glasgow
Whether expats are in the mood for some live music, a cocktail night, or just a drink down at the pub, there is plenty of variety for those looking to enjoy a night on the town.
Music fans can go big at the SSE Hydro, a 30,000-capacity arena that often attracts some of the world's biggest musicians and comedians. On the other side of the scale is King Tut's Wah Wah Hut – one of the city's smallest but most iconic live music venues.
Merchant City, close to Buchanan Street, is a hotspot for upmarket cocktail bars, while those in the mood for a pint should head to the East End, where a number of local breweries can be found.
Sports and outdoor activities in Glasgow
Despite Glasgow's typically cold and rainy climate, Glaswegians love to get out and about, whether it's to support their favourite football team or enjoy the city's natural beauty. Golf is a popular pursuit, as are water-based activities such as sailing, kayaking and swimming in Glasgow's rivers and lochs. There are also plentiful opportunities and trails for mountain biking and hiking.
See and do in Glasgow
Expats looking to explore Scotland's largest city will discover plenty to see and do in Glasgow. Founded centuries ago, Glasgow is filled with historic sites and buildings, not to mention art galleries and museums galore – plenty to keep any culture-hungry expat busy.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
One of Glasgow's most popular attractions, Kelvingrove has something for everyone. Highlights include an authentic WWII-era Spitfire plane, a huge collection of historical arms and armour, and an active hive of bees. There is also an incredible art collection which includes works by the likes of Dalí, Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh.
Glasgow Botanic Gardens
Although sunny days are something of a rarity in Glasgow, the Botanic Gardens is the perfect place to spend them when they do come around. In spring, daffodils and colourful tulips pop up all around the gardens, while squirrels can be seen scampering through the grounds and are quite friendly to visitors, especially those who come prepared with a few nuts.
Gallery of Modern Art
A visit to the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) is never a dull experience and it's well worth spending some time contemplating the artworks on display. Work by both local and international artists can be seen in the museum, and the gallery frequently runs special projects to address social issues.
Duke of Wellington Statue
In front of GoMA, visitors will be greeted by a sight beloved among locals and foreigners alike: the statue of the Duke of Wellington. This statue's unusual claim to fame is the ever-present traffic cone perched jauntily on its head. This is one of Glasgow's most iconic images and is considered by many to be a monument to the city's cheeky sense of humour.
Where to meet people and make friends
Trying to make friends in a new city is a plight many expats are all too familiar with. Luckily, Glaswegians are friendly and love to socialise, but it can be difficult to find somewhere to begin. Here are a few local clubs to get started.
Every Saturday, a number of 5km running/walking events known as parkruns take place in and around Glasgow. Joining in is a great way to get a bit of fresh air and exercise, not to mention mingling with likeminded people. After the run, participants sit down for a cup of coffee and a chat.
Theatre lovers of all ages and levels of experience are welcomed at this community theatre group. Situated in the heart of the West End, the Minerva Club hosts numerous social events throughout the year, with the year's major production being staged each November.
Expats who enjoy kicking a ball about are sure to have a great time meeting fellow footie fanatics at the United Glasgow Football Club. The club places great emphasis on inclusivity for all nationalities and many club members are expats themselves.
►Get the lowdown on public transport and driving in Getting Around in Glasgow
"In Glasgow, Kelvin Hall has a truly fantastic art collection and museum. The Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) is a favourite of mine, and the University of Glasgow has amazing collections open to the public. National museums and galleries are all free, and the very few private collections open up for free at least once per year." Read more of Scottish repatriate Daniel's interview.
Are you an expat living in Glasgow?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Glasgow. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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