The hip, cosmopolitan, big city of Glasgow is, in many ways, the diametric opposite of its more famous sibling, Edinburgh. Glasgow got through its bad patch, following the collapse of shipbuilding and other industry, with determination and its characteristic self-deprecating humor. A super popular weekend break destination for British and Irish visitors, stylish Glasgow has won accolades from European City of Culture to UK City of Architecture and Design, and wins more admirers daily. Imposing 19th century architecture fills the city, from George Square’s City Chambers (whose interiors are used as a film double for scenes featuring both the Kremlin and the Vatican) to Kelvingrove’s Art Museum. Other impressive addresses include the dark, gothic 15th century University of Glasgow, the Old Town’s Victorian Necropolis cemetery and Alexander ‘Greek’ Thompson’s Great Western Terrace.

Another major attraction is Glasgow’s proximity to the stunning lochs and heather-carpeted mountains of the West Highlands, small seaside resort towns such as Largs and ferries to the Hebridean islands.

Glasgow boasts a vibrant theater scene, the most talked about independent music scene outside the U.S., watering holes that run the gamut from hipster bars to traditional pub and restaurants that serve everything from local delicacy deep-fried pizza (delicious) to dishes concocted with the best Scottish ingredients (venison, lamb, Angus beef, wild salmon, berries and, of course, whiskey.) It’s an exciting city to go out in. With all this and more, it’s little wonder (to Glaswegians anyway) that there’s been such a creative surge in the city of late. Despite its newfound popularity, Glasgow remains un-self-conscious and down to earth. Undaunted by the all too often dreary weather, Glasgow is energetic and progressive, and the weather doesn’t get Glaswegians down – it has merely lead to the creation of more tanning salons per head of population than anywhere else in the world. But the big reason visitors love Glasgow is the friendly, fun-loving, wildly sociable locals.