Glasgow's steely dockside reputation has been tempered by 20 years of gentrification, but Scotland's "second" city is still amenable to the old-fashioned civic principle of doing a lot with a little. Piece is a great place to start - with world-class sandwiches and coffee for less than $10 (laucknerandmoore.com). It's near Glasgow's great cultural treasure house, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (free, glasgowlife.org.uk). The famous University Cafe is around the corner for a lunch of chips and ice-cream "oysters" ($9, 87 Byres Road). If it's not raining, walk on through the Botanic Gardens (glasgowbotanicgardens.com). If it is, go to The Doublet Bar for a few pints ($25, 74 Park Road) before dinner at the Shish Mahal, Glasgow's best curry house ($35, shishmahal.co.uk). Take a room at the Victorian House Hotel for less than $60 (thevictorian.co.uk).
EASY DOES IT
Start with brunch in the cafe of the House for an Art Lover, designed by local hero Charles Rennie Mackintosh in his distinctive nouveau style ($40, houseforanartlover.co.uk), then shop at one of the Merchant City's independent galleries ($70, merchantcityglasgow.com). While you're there, it costs nothing to see style-conscious Scots wearing sunglasses even when not called for by the weather (some of them perhaps professional footballers) at the Italian Centre, Glasgow's "mini-Milan" and choicest spot for people watching. Gandolfi Fish serves up Scottish seafood nearby ($50, cafegandolfi.com/gandolfi-fish). In the evening, take your pick of play, ballet or opera at the Theatre Royal (from $30, atgtickets.com/venues/theatre-royal-glasgow) or a gig at the Barrowlands (from $25, glasgow-barrowland.com). Local pub Rab Ha's has boutique rooms upstairs ($120, rabhas.com).
After breakfast at the superb west end deli and cafe Kember & Jones ($25, kemberandjones.co.uk), head north to Loch Lomond and take a seaplane - you'll see the city from above, and the lush Scottish lowlands rolling off into the distance, then land for lunch on the loch itself. ($350 including lunch, lochlomondseaplanes.com). While you're out that way you could take the Century of Whisky tour at the Glengoyne distillery ($250, scotlandwhisky.com). Back in the city centre try some other premium whiskies at the opulent Bootleg bar of the Corinthian Club. The casino downstairs is elegant enough to justify losing a bit more ($100, thecorinthianclub.co.uk), before champagne and oysters at Rogano, an art deco palace of fine dining ($150, roganoglasgow.com). End the night at the Blthyswood Square luxury spa hotel (from $650, townhousecompany.com/blythswoodsquare).