Skip to main content

Life in Glasgow

Glasgow is a cultural powerhouse of music, creative arts and theatre. Find out why more than 180,000 students choose to make it their home.

You’re always guaranteed a warm welcome in Glasgow — it’s no surprise that it’s regularly named one of the world’s friendliest cities. Artists and innovators have long called Glasgow home and they’ve made it a cultural hotspot bursting with energy and personality. In 2022, Glasgow was ranked World’s Friendliest City and 4th best city in the world by Time Out. You are sure to make lots of friends here! 

Named the UK’s top cultural and creative city by the European Commission (2019), you won’t be short of things to do in Scotland’s biggest city. The city boasts all but one of Scotland’s national performing arts organisations, so there’s always plenty to see and do. And Glaswegians’ love of live music? It’s legendary. From hotly-tipped bands in tiny bars to global artists on arena tours, Glasgow is alive (and kicking) with the sound of music. No wonder, then, that it was named UK’s first-ever UNESCO City of Music (2008).

Immerse yourself in art at world-class galleries and museums (most are free to enter) and discover why the city is dubbed the ‘Dear Green Place’ — you’re never far from one of Glasgow’s glorious parks. 

Weave your way around the oh-so-Instagrammable City Centre Mural Trail and find out why the food scene is firmly on the culinary map. 

Students order icecream from a truck outside of the RCS main building. They smile and take selfies.

No friendlier place

Glasgow was voted World’s Friendliest City by Rough Guides in 2021 and Conde Nast and Time Out in 2022, after all, the city’s tagline is ‘People Make Glasgow’.

A cyclist enjoys the sun and stream in Kelvingrove Park.

Affordable without losing out

Glasgow was voted as the second most affordable student city in the UK (Unifresher, 2023) and the third best city to live in overall (QS Best Student Cities, 2023). 

The largest city in Scotland has a bustling atmosphere that combines well with the enthusiastic vibe of the city’s university life. It’s not just the classic architecture that makes Glasgow beautiful. – The New York Times  

A trombone player plays on stage. His back is to the camera. Stage lights shine down on him.

Culture and Nightlife

Students dancing at a party.

As a European City of Culture, Glasgow is rich in arts culture with numerous museums, galleries, theatres and creative hubs located around the city with most museums free to enter.

One of only six UK cities included in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, Glasgow is home to Scottish Ballet, BBC Scotland, the National Theatre of Scotland, the Glasgow School of Art and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. The city boasts one of the finest theatre scenes in Scotland with the Tron, the Citizens Theatre and Theatre Royal just minutes from our campus. 

Shop fronts on either side of Ashton Lane. Pedestrians walk down the lane and others enjoy refreshments in the sun.

Keeping it stylish

Glasgow’s West End is renowned for its vintage shops and independent music stores. The city is a shopper’s paradise and the Style Mile is always a popular spot at the weekends. 

A tapas style meal at Ox and Finch in Glasgow.

Hungry? Thirsty?

Food and drink is a big deal in Glasgow, and RCS is well-placed amongst some of the best restaurants in Scotland. Previously holding the title as the most vegan-friendly city in the UK, Glasgow restaurants cater for all tastes across many different cuisines. From the very finest of dining to the most humble of street food, you’ll never be short of a place to eat in Glasgow!

RCS student musicians play for a full audience during a Celtic Connections event. They are backlit by orange light. The audience dances in front of the stage.

A night as vibrant as its day

The city comes alive at night; choose from popular student haunts on Bath Street, the upmarket Merchant City or the fairy-light haven of Ashton Lane. From classic old-school pubs to underground techno clubs, upmarket cocktail bars to ceilidh halls, Glasgow has something for everyone.

Renowned for its rich history, Glasgow pulsates with creativity, offering an array of cultural treasures waiting to be discovered. From world-class museums and galleries to dynamic theatres hosting captivating performances, Glasgow is a cultural hub where tradition seamlessly blends with innovation.

Glasgow’s vibrant cultural life isn’t just an entertaining extra for our students – it’s a way of life. It’s the source of stimulation, inspiration and a hub of mentors and contacts. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is either adjacent to, or close by, to each of the following companies and most partner with us to deliver our degree programmes: 

Glasgow is a great place to see live music. A huge volume of bands and artists play at lots of venues including King Tut’s, the SSE Hydro, the SEC and the infamous Barrowland Ballroom. No matter your music taste, there’s always plenty of performances going on. 

Just some of the great music venues in Glasgow: 

Glasgow is home to more than 35 museums and galleries including: 

Nightlife is a major part of Glasgow’s lure and essential to the student experience. The city comes alive at night, transforming into a lively stream of clubbers, revellers and downright happy people. Choose from nightclub favourites such as:

  • Sub Club (which boasts the longest-running weekly house and techno club night in the world)

  • Garage

  • SWG3

  • Bamboo

If you’re looking for a more relaxed evening, you’ll find live music sessions boasting some of the city’s finest folk musicians in places such as:

  • The Ben Nevis

  • The Islay Inn

  • Park Bar

  • Waxy O’ Connors

A night out in Glasgow is something people travel far and wide for; find out why when you arrive. 

Live Music

Music is part of Glasgow’s soul. On average, more than 130 live music events take place every week in Glasgow.

From the legendary venues that have hosted iconic performances to the bustling streets alive with the sounds of buskers, Glasgow is a haven for music enthusiasts of all genres.

Students from the School of Music can learn so much from attending the various concerts and gigs taking place around the city, with the Royal Concert Hall, City Halls and the RSNO Centre within 10 minutes of RCS. Many concert halls across Glasgow offer student discounts on their tickets, with many charging under £10!

Outside of London, Glasgow is the largest music economy in the UK and is home to almost all of the national orchestras. Here you can step into renowned spaces such as King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, where legendary bands like Oasis were discovered, or lose yourself in the electric atmosphere of the Barrowland Ballroom (pictured here), a historic venue steeped in character and charm where RCS Traditional Music students have recently performed for the first time.

No matter the genre you’re into, Glasgow offers a stage for every sound and a community that embraces musical exploration.

An orchestra plays for a full audience during a Celtic Connections event.

Theatre & Film

Students on stage during an 'Attempts on Her Life' performance.


Step into the bustling world of theatre in Glasgow, students on drama or production programmes are encouraged to see as much theatre as possible, and in Glasgow this is easy. There are more than a dozen theatres in the city with countless theatre companies, including Solar Bear, National Theatre of Scotland, CCA, Tramway, Tron and the Citizens Theatre. 

From the historic grandeur of the Theatre Royal to the intimate charm of the Tron Theatre, Glasgow’s theatrical scene offers a dynamic fusion of classic performances and cutting-edge contemporary pieces. Here, you can immerse yourself in storytelling, whether by experiencing acclaimed plays, engaging in workshops, or taking to the stage yourself!


From the iconic Glasgow Film Theatre, where independent films and cult classics illuminate the screen, to the bustling atmosphere of the Glasgow Film Festival, we invite our filmmaking students to immerse themselves in the world of cinema. Glasgow provides the perfect backdrop for aspiring filmmakers and film enthusiasts alike to discover, create, and celebrate filmmaking.

RCS is just five minutes from the Glasgow Film Theatre. This independent cinema encompasses three annual festivals, Glasgow Film Festival, Glasgow Youth Film Festival and Glasgow Short Film Festival!

In recent years, Glasgow has become a hub of activity for the TV and Film industry being used for Indiana Jones, The Batman, Outlander, 1917, Tetris, Succession  and many more.

Food & Drink

Home to 130,000 students, Glasgow caters extremely well for its large proportion of the population on a budget. Our own cafe bar serves hot food from breakfast through to the end of the day and always includes a vegetarian selection.

Piece will make you a piece (a sandwich), Paesano and Sugo will give you quick and super tasty Italian cuisine. There’s plenty of burger joints. What about Jay’s Grill Bar for a banging South Korean BBQ? There’s also some of the best Indian restaurants in the UK (try Mother India, or Ranjit’s Kitchen). 

Glasgow is a great city for fellow foodies and coffee connoisseurs – in 2022, Glasgow was named 4th best city in the UK for vegans by Student Beans. Check out Mono, Suissi, Stereo, Lotus, The Glasvegan, and Soul Food Kitchen. 

Maybe you will be looking for somewhere to eat on a special occasion, perhaps a birthday or even when celebrating your RCS graduation? Glasgow has the restaurants to fill even the most discerning palates. Unalome and Cail Bruich are the two most recent Glaswegian restaurants to hold Michelin star status. But there are plenty of other eateries that cook to such a high standard; Ubiquitous Chip is known for its proud Scottish fayre, Six by Nico and the Ox and Finch also offer up delectable menus. 

For students who live in the Southside or Dennistoun, these neighbourhoods are building their own reputation for cafes and restaurants rivalling that of the West End. The Southside’s Shawlands offers an amazing array of modern winebars, trendy cafes and incredible bakeries (Big Bear Bakery and Honey Trap to name a few!). Dennistoun is quickly becoming the place to go if you’re looking fo Glasgow’s best cup of coffee with cafes such as Black Pine Coffee, Andina Colombian Coffee, Grain and Grind, Coia’s Cafe and so many more.

No matter what your taste, Glasgow has you covered.