The image of Scotland's largest city as a hard and dirty industrial center is long gone. Instead, this former European Capital of Culture is now widely regarded as one of Britain's most lively and stylish urban destinations. It boasts the best shopping experience in the U.K. outside of London and is home to a variety of annual festivals celebrating everything from rock music and comedy to literature and the arts.
Once regarded as ''The Second City of the British Empire,'' it remains a well-preserved example of Victorian excess and enlightenment, offering numerous museums and art galleries, of which more than 20 are free to visit.
The city is easy to get around. Many of the attractions are within walking distance of each other or can be reached by the city's unique subway system known fondly as the Clockwork Orange. Opened in 1896, it is the third oldest metro system in the world after London and Budapest, and has only one circle line serving 15 stations with a train every four minutes at peak times.
The streets of this 800-year-old city are paved with history built upon the profits of shipbuilding, Caribbean sugar and American tobacco and cotton.
Glasgow was designated U.K. City of Architecture and Design in 1999 and even a brief walk through its streets will reveal the legacy of renowned architects and designers, such as Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Alexander ''Greek'' Thomson among others.
There are numerous monuments and statues to leading scientists, inventors, poets, politicians and war heroes throughout the city. The most popular is that of the Duke of Wellington outside the Gallery of Modern Art but the statue is rarely seen without a traffic cone on its head. What started as a joke by students more than 40 years ago is now an almost permanent symbol of Glaswegian humor. When the city council tried to raise the statue higher to stop the prank, there was a public protest which attracted tens of thousands of supporters calling for the cone to stay.
One of the most modern city attractions is the Riverside Museum on the banks of the Clyde.
Designed by Zaha Hadid, this iconic building, which was voted 2013 European Museum of the Year, has more than 3,000 exhibits showcasing a variety of ''Clyde-built'' trams, trains and cars - built when the waterfront was home to a major industrial center. The