Glasgow is a window on a wide world of Scottish wilderness - think lochs and highlands, windswept coastline, and moody castles. As alluring as the countryside is, don't be in a rush. Glasgow's pubs, museums and thick-accented humor are worth hanging around for.
Icelandair offers regular cheap flights to Glasgow from North America for art nouveau architecture and cheeky pints in snug pubs, followed by whisky tasting, iconic golfing and fishing, and wilderness adventures.
Before you go hunting for Nessie, do you fancy a search for Iceland's very own lake monster? When you book flights to Glasgow with Icelandair you have the opportunity to add a stopover in Iceland at no additional airfare.
Glasgow and Edinburgh have a historic rivalry - there are points in favor of both cities, so visit both then cast your vote. Let Edinburgh score points with the parliament and the castle - Glasgow has Kelvingrove, Mackintosh and a live music scene so good the city has been recognized as a Unesco City of Music.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is an acclaimed temple of art, natural history and historic finds (and it's free!). Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a designer and architect who left his brilliant art nouveau stamp on his home city - start discovering his fine forms at the Glasgow School of Art. For culture of a different kind, make a pilgrimage to one of Glasgow's sporting stadiums to witness the locals' passionate allegiance to either the Celtic or Rangers football teams.
You can challenge yourself with some traditional Scottish fare (hello haggis!) and investigate some lyrically named mystery dishes (such as cock-a-leekie soup, clootie dumpling and cranachan), but you may also be surprised by Glasgow's high-quality culinary offerings. Many stylish places offer a farm-to-table experience with prime local ingredients include fresh seafood and Angus beef. The most fertile hunting ground at mealtimes is the West End.
Be sure to dedicate some of your time to investigating Glasgow's brilliant pub culture, found across the city. Many places serve food (from classic pub fare to high-end cuisine) to accompany the real ales, microbrews and whiskies on offer. Plus: timeless decor, friendly locals, tall tales, and sometimes live music too.
Glasgow has a surprisingly big reputation for shopping - as well as the typical tourist trinkets (anything with tartan/bagpipes), great gift ideas include whiskey, fine woolen items, and edibles like shortbread. Glasgow-specific souvenirs are heavy on Charles Rennie Mackintosh motifs, and museum gift stores offer great browsing.
Vintage stores are big in Glasgow - you'll find some good ones in and around Byres Road in the West End, along with cool little cafes, gourmet stores, and creative boutiques. Be sure to browse in Ruthven and Dowanside Lanes. The city's main retail strip is Buchanan Street, and the Princes Square shopping center is an elegant place (dating from 1841) in which to exercise your credit card. Ingram Street is another firm favorite.