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Merchant city

Merchant City

Merchant City

The Merchant City is one of Glasgow’s oldest and most stylish districts, with cafes, shops and arts found within beautiful old buildings.

Known for

Merchant City Festival

Medieval architecture

Locals love

LGBTQ+ scene

Cafes on cobbled streets


Old Fruitmarket

Colourful murals

Things to see and do

A vertical metal sign reads 'Merchant City'. Behind the sign is a stone tower with clock face and blond sandstone building.

Glasgow is a historic city and there is nowhere better to see the city's medieval past than in the Merchant City. Be sure to "look up" while walking through the Saltmarket and Trongate areas to spot medieval sites, including the likes of the 17th Century Tolbooth Steeple.

Across the road from here is the creative hub Trongate 103, home to many arts spaces including The Glasgow Print Studio, Street Level Photoworks and Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre (more on this quirky attraction under hidden gems below). Visit Trongate 103 on Facebook to find out what's on.

A mural on the side of a University of Strathclyde building on a main city road.
A large metal nappy pin sculpture with a bird atop sits between trees.

Walking tours are the best way to take in the Merchant City. The Glasgow City Music Tour, city centre mural trail and contemporary art trail all offer the chance to wander around this artistic area and hear fascinating stories from the past and present. Visit our tours page for details on each of these tours.

A person with huge colourful feathers and mask leads a carnival parade down a street.

The best time of year to visit is July when the Merchant City Festival brings a carnival of street performers, food markets and family activities to the area. Visit

A place that is full of life during the festival and all year round is Merchant Square - an undercover courtyard with fairy lights that is home to bars, restaurants and a weekend craft and design fair. Visit Merchant Square's website for info.

Hidden Gems

Top places for food and drink

Miller Street is one of the city’s trendiest streets. Here you’ll find Paesano which was named as one of the 'top 20 pizzerias in Europe' (big 7 travel, 2021), The Spiritualist, which is home to Scotland’s greatest bar gantry and The Spanish Butcher, a carnivore’s dream. For menus visit Paesano's website, The Spiritualist's website and The Spanish Butcher's website.

For dramatic interiors, there are several restaurants set in former grand courts and banks, such as The Corinthian Club. Find out more at

You’ll find all genres of dining in the merchant city, from award-winning curries at KoolBa (visit to Scottish cuisine at Mharsanta (visit and Table Twenty Eight, a brand new addition (visit

There are a number of bars in the area including Metropolitan, a stylish cocktail bar (visit and Bar 91, a trusted Glasgow institution (visit . For a Scottish flavour try Rab Ha’s (visit or Babbity Bowster (visit

Stylish shopping streets

Elegant old buildings with domes and pillars line a busy street.

The wealth of the Merchant City can be seen in the former mansions which are now home to high-end retailers. The likes of Ralph Lauren, Emporio Armani and Cruise can be found on Ingram Street – the city’s fashion boulevard!

A white church is lit up against the evening sky. It sits at the centre of a cobbled pedestrianised street with well-kept buildings on either side.

The area is also home to many independent concept stores such as END, 18 Montrose, Forty Clothing and Walker Slater. For something a little different, one of the city’s best-known vintage stores, Mr Ben, and independent record store, Monorail, are found here. Visit our shopping pages for more info.

Parks and green spaces

  • Greyfriars Garden - a small yet beautiful community garden that is frequently open to the public.
  • Rottenrow Garden - a landscaped space with public art on the campus of the University of Strathclyde.

Music and arts

From comedy to classical music to cabaret, you’ll find lots of entertainment in the Merchant City. For arts spaces and galleries, check out the city's former fish market, The Briggait (visit for what's on) or independent galleries, The Modern Institute and Transmission.

For music, Glasgow's oldest purpose-built performance space City Halls has brilliant acoustics and is home to the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Sister venue The Old Fruitmarket is a unique venue which has vintage signage from the original marketplace. Visit for events listings. Visit the Tron Theatre for a modern theatre set within an old landmark building (visit for show listings).

LGBTQ+ scene

The city’s LGBTQ+ scene is at its best in this area. Delmonicas is one of the city’s longest-running gay bars while next door is The Riding Rooms, where you can expect to see all manner of thrills on the stage. Just round the corner is The Polo Lounge which has picked up the 'Best Gay Bar' award many times. Visit our clubs and late night bars page for more info on each of these venues and more.

Article last updated: April 2024

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