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Glasgow vs. Aberdeen Which place is better

Glasgow vs. Aberdeen: Which place is better?

Before anything else, knowing the differences in living expenses, education, job market and other important factors that affect quality of life is necessary before moving into a new city.

In this article, we will give you a detailed comparison between Glasgow and Aberdeen, so you can easily choose which city fits you best.

Which is better, Glasgow or Aberdeen?

Which is better, Glasgow or Aberdeen
Photo by charlieirvine1 from Pixabay

In terms of cost of living, Aberdeen is cheaper than Glasgow. Aberdeen has lower prices in factors affecting one’s quality of life, which is 10% less expensive than Glasgow.

In terms of safety, Aberdeen is safer than Glasgow. Aberdeen has a rate of 66.22 on the safety scale, which is 19.14% higher than Glasgow’s 54.65.

In terms of land area size, Aberdeen is larger than Glasgow. Aberdeen has 186.5 km², which is 6.36% bigger than Glasgow’s 175 km². 

In terms of education, Glasgow is better than Aberdeen. Glasgow is placed 86th in school rankings, which is 59.02% higher than Aberdeen’s 158th.

In terms of work opportunities, Aberdeen offers wider options than Glasgow. Aberdeen has a 3.9% unemployment rate, which is 101.89% lower than Glasgow’s 12%.

In terms of culture, Glasgow offers more establishments in the city and is known for their friendliness. Moreover, Glasgow has larger shopping districts, stores, clubs, pubs and bars compared to Aberdeen. 

Read on as we delve into each of these considerations (and more!).

1. Cost of Living

Cost of Living
Photo by Collie581 from Pixabay

On average, Aberdeen is 10% cheaper than Glasgow in terms of cost of living. That said, Aberdeen can be a bit costlier in a handful of aspects.

Below is a breakdown of costs related to living in each city according to Numbeo:

Expense TypeGlasgowAberdeen
Dining Out£0.95 – £15.00£1.09 – £15.00
Market£0.74 – £12.75£0.74 – £12.88
Transportation£1.06 – 76.09£1.37 – £80.65
Monthly Utilities£0.10 – £188.53£0.09 – £111.51
Sports and Leisure£10.00 – £27.75£7.50 – £33.85
Childcare£791.00 – £11,375.00£1,000.56 – £11,175
Clothing and Shoes£27.25 – £69.41£26.00 – £79.75
Rent Per Month£610.21 – £1,415.62£444.55 – £1,187.50
Price per Square Metre to Buy Apartment (One-Time Cost)£2,297.49 – £4,681.67£2,014.29 – £2,428.57

In terms of purchasing your own car, Aberdeen is still cheaper compared to Glasgow: 

Cost RangeGlasgowAberdeen
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car)£24,000.00£19,900.00
Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car)£26,000.00£21,159.00

From all the data, Aberdeen proved that they can offer lower prices in most areas compared to Glasgow, except for some aspects such as transportation, clothing and shoes, and sport and leisure.

2. Safety

Photo by 12019/10255 from Pixabay

Aberdeen is safer than Glasgow by 19.14%. On the safety scale, Aberdeen sits at 66.22, while Glasgow is at 54.65. 

The higher the number is, the “safer” a city is considered. 

In the crime department, Glasgow has a higher crime rate than Aberdeen by 45.52%. Glasgow has 51.97, while Aberdeen has 32.70. 

The higher the number is, the higher the number of crimes is in an area.

3. Education

Photo by craighunter from Pixabay

Although this may be true that education in both cities are highly competitive, we can’t deny the fact that Glasgow placed higher in the 2022 Times Higher Education at the 86th spot. Meanwhile, Aberdeen only made it to the 158th.

In this section, we’ve listed the top-rated universities in Glasgow and Aberdeen.

Top Universities in Glasgow

1. University of Glasgow

University of Glasgow
Photo by Johnny Briggs from Unsplash

The University of Glasgow is included in the top 100 universities around the globe and has been a regular part of QS World University Rankings since 2019. 

Being home to multiple achievements, the university also attained an overall score of 4.3 stars in the Best Global Universities Rankings held by US News & World Report.

The University of Glasgow offers and provides quality education for various programmes, specifically in clinical and pre-clinical health fields.

Fun fact: it’s known for its charming ambiance and historical buildings. In fact, many have said that the university was the inspiration of Hogwarts, Harry Potter’s school. 

2. University of Strathclyde

University of Strathclyde
Photo by Vishnu Prasad from Unsplash

On the other side of the spectrum, the University of Strathclyde is popular for its top-calibre business programme.

The university ranked 18th in the United Kingdom’s university rankings and placed 4th in Scotland, and has also been recognised in the The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023 among the Top 20 higher education institutions.

3. Glasgow Caledonian University

Glasgow Caledonian University
Photo from watchgcu

Meanwhile, Glasgow Caledonian University specialises in financial services operations and risk, and has been named the first Center of Excellence of the Securities and Investment Institute.

Glasgow Caledonian University also achieved a total score of 4.2 stars and ranked 601st in the World University Rankings by the Times Higher Education.

This university claims to ensure its students’ employability with 95% of graduates being in employment, even just after six months of leaving. 

Other institutions and services in Glasgow

Other institutions and services in Glasgow
Photo by Alexandre Van Thuan from Unsplash

A number of public and private schools can also be found in Glasgow. While public schools are free, private institutions have tuition fees. 

Some of the more well-known private schools are: 

  • Belmont House School
  • Hutchesons Grammar School
  • The Glasgow Academy
  • Kelvin Academy
  • High School of Glasgow
  • Fernhill School
  • Al-Khalil College
  • St. Aloysius’ College

Public schools are owned by the government and while these institutions are free, most of them still offer quality education. Meanwhile, private schools have more freedom in their curriculum and offer better facilities than public schools. 

Additionally, Glasgow also offers services for homeschooling, special needs education and tutoring. 

Top Universities in Aberdeen

1. University of Aberdeen

University of Aberdeen
Photo from University of Aberdeen

The University of Aberdeen placed 13th in the Guardian University League Table and 19th in the The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023, both in the United Kingdom.

Furthermore, the university ranked 192th in the Times Higher Education Ranking 2023, among all colleges from all over the world.

In addition, the University of Aberdeen is big on diversity, having 14,000 students and 3,600 staff representing more than 130 nationalities.

2. Robert Gordon University

Robert Gordon University
Photo from Global Scholar

Robert Gordon University offers more than 300 courses and is recognised as 1st place in terms of employability in Scotland.

The university also ranked 3rd in the National Student Survey in Scotland, which focuses on the overall student experience.

Other institutions and services in Aberdeen

Other institutions and services in Aberdeen
Photo by Elisa Calvet B. from Unsplash

Aberdeen has a total of 15 secondary schools and 54 primary schools which are managed by the city’s council. There are also several private schools to choose from.

4. Job Opportunities

Job Opportunities
Photo by Firmbee from Pixabay

Glasgow has a higher unemployment rate compared to Aberdeen. Glasgow has 12%, while Aberdeen has only 3.9%. 

Check out the differences between Glasgow and Aberdeen below, as of 2022: 

Average monthly salary£2,423.83£2,245.21
Field expertise of a city• Technology
• Finance
• Industrial
• Shipbuilding
• Manufacturing
• Oil
• Gas
• Tourism
• Bioscience
Number of people in employment400,000115,900

Although both cities are packed with potential, Aberdeen shows greater opportunities for career exploration.

Job Market in Glasgow

Glasgow is particularly known for offering career opportunities in finance, technology, shipbuilding and manufacturing.

Moreover, the city generates over £13 billion in a year by supporting more than 400,000 jobs in the market. There are also lots of available jobs in the field of retail, senior professional, secretarial staff and managerial positions.

Meanwhile, the average monthly salary in Glasgow is £2,423.83 after tax deduction.

Job Market in Aberdeen

Aberdeen manufactures 30% of Scotland’s food and drinks, which tells you which type of industry employs a large number of individuals. 

That said, Aberdeen is also known for offering plenty of jobs in oil, gas, tourism and bioscience, among others. The city was even acknowledged for their oil and gas industry within Europe.

Moreover, Aberdeen is also open to migrant workers. In fact, around 10% of employed individuals in the city are migrants. 

In total, the average monthly salary in Aberdeen is £2,245.21, tax deducted.

5. Culture 

Photo by danielmanastireanu from Pixabay

Glasgow Culture

Glasgow offers a mixture of traditional Scottish culture and contemporary influences. In fact, the city is recognised as Scotland’s cultural powerhouse.

“Glaswegians” is the term used for people residing in Glasgow. And contrary to the reputation of the British, Glaswegians are known to be amiable!

In fact, Glasgow is known as the world’s friendliest city, according to the 2022 Time Out Index. 

Foreigners who move into the city can vouch for this. They appreciate the Glaswegians’ welcoming nature.

Here are a few key cultural experiences to be had in Glasgow:

Cultural Hotspots (Historical Icons / Museums)

1. Mitchell Library
Mitchell Library
Photo from The Mitchell Library

Before anything else, stopping by Mitchell Library is a must do when visiting Glasgow. It has a large collection of maps, archives and photographs that depict the historical past of the city. 

2. The People’s Palace Museum
The People’s Palace Museum
Photo from Visit Scotland

Meanwhile, The People’s Palace Museum focuses on Glaswegian’s lifestyle in the past. Hence, if you want to learn more about Glasgow’s culture, visiting Mitchell Library and The People’s Palace Museum first would be a great start.

3. Riverside Museum
Riverside Museum
Photo by Time Out Travel from Pinterest

Onto the next remarkable stop — Riverside Museum.

Located between Rivers Kelvin and Clyde, it is the first 21st century-built museum built by Glasgow Life. 

That said, several technology and transport collections can be found inside, highlighting the main industry of Glasgow in the past — shipbuilding, engineering and train manufacturing.

In fact, the Riverside Museum even won the European Museum of the Year Award 2023.

The Gallery of Modern Art
Photo from Visit Scotland

Besides the historical past, wouldn’t it be nice to know Glasgow’s modernity as well?

Derived from its name, The Gallery of Modern Art is the main contemporary art gallery of Glasgow. It has four main galleries, a library and a gallery shop.

The management displays, collects and borrows art from all over the world. 

Moreover, to help both local and international artists be well-known in the industry, the museum holds different exhibitions and workshops all throughout the year so they can display their masterpieces.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Photo by Kamyq from Pixabay

One of the most-visited museums by foreigners. You can never go wrong by stopping by at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum located in Argyle Street!

Composed of 22 galleries, explore and enjoy sightseeing different works from art to animals and even ancient pieces during the Egyptian era.

Aside from this, you can also visit some notable museums in the area such as People’s Palace and Hunterian Art Gallery.

Unique Neighbourhoods and Areas

1. Dennistoun
Photo by danielmanastureanu from Pixabay

Dennistoun — a neighbourhood which has been recognised as one of the best places to live in 2021 – has also a rich historical past behind its current success.

Aside from being located in the East, it’s also famous for its alluring green spaces.

Dennistoun is popular for the Market Gallery and Drygate Brewery today one of the main reasons why the neighbourhood remains successful and culturally relevant through the years.

2. Hillhead
Photo by Finlay McWalter via Wikipedia

Positioned nearby Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens and Kelvingrove Park at the West End side of Glasgow, Hillhead is a great neighbourhood as it offers a variety of shops and eateries within the area. It is also home to Glasgow University.

Similar to Dennistoun, the area is also surrounded with lots of old buildings, tracing back its historical past. There is Hillhead House which was used during the Gibson dynasty, then became a school from 1872 to 1875. 

Fun fact: Hillhead used to be an independent police burgh before urbanisation came into picture, making it one of the best neighbourhoods in Glasgow. 

Other notable landmarks in the neighbourhood include Glasgow Academy, Ashton Lane, Kelvinbrigde and Western Baths. 

3. Shawlands
Photo from Yahoo!

Located in the Southside, Shawlands is popular for its exhilarating night clubs, food scene, green spaces, and big parks.

Before Shawlands transformed into its current state, it was home to various traditional shops, tenements and cinemas. 

In fact, you can still visit the Springhill Gardens and the Camphill Gate Tenements which have been preserved through the years. These buildings were built by John Nisbet around 1904-1906.

Meanwhile, there are also traditional shops such as City Bakeries and Ross’s Diary, which were present back in the day. These two confectionery shops were well-known for their cheap bread and milk bars. 

In order to protect remaining heritages, Shawlands was turned into a conservation area to preserve the neighbourhood’s historical character.

4. The Barras
The Barras
Photo by Victoria Rodriguez from Pinterest

The Barras is a large indoor market with different pubs, clubs, vintage markets and shops that enable you to fully experience Glasgow’s culture. 

You can find numerous pieces of art, cheap books, DVDs and other vintage pieces that symbolise the city’s historical past.

5. Park Lane Market
Park Lane Market
Photo from

This market is popular for local traders selling their second-hand clothing, homemade bread and wares. 

Thus, if you’re looking for cheaper pieces of clothing, you might want to visit Park Lane Market, which is only open during the first and last Sunday of the month.

6. Merchant Square Craft Market
Merchant Square Craft Market
Photo from merchant_square_glasgow

Derived from its name, this market offers various handcrafted candles, jewellery and cards. You can also appreciate photography, aromatherapy products and artwork during your visit.

Restaurants / Dining Concepts

1. The Gannet
The Gannet
Photo from thegannetgla Instagram

Located in the West End, The Gannet offers a first-rate fine dining experience featuring the best seasonal menus created by chef Peter McKenna.

Some menu items include Pig’s Head Beignet, Burnt Apple Sea Trout & Horseradish Croustade and Gigha Oyster.

2. Unalome by Graema Cheevers
Unalome by Graema Cheevers
Photo from unalomebygc Instagram

Fine dining restaurant Unalome by Graema Cheevers takes pride in its modern European dishes. 

Some of its bestsellers include Mackerel Tartare and Gigha Oyster, Wild Perthshire Mushrooms and A Selection of Farmhouse Cheeses From the Trolley.

3. Paesano
Photo from paesanopizzaglasgow Instagram

Home to Europe’s top pizza, Paseano is also well-known for its friendly, fast and accommodating service.

They offer 10 pizza options such as tomato sugo with garlic, oregano and EVOO, spianata spicy salami from Calabria with tomato sugo mozzarella and EVOO, and spicy ventricina and Nduja sausage with tomato sugo and mozzarella.

Best-selling appetisers such as mixed salad, rocket and parmesan salad, and spicy Nduja and mascarpone are available too.

Music Houses

Music Houses
Photo by Marcela Laskoski from Unsplash

Glasgow is acknowledged for its live music scene by UNESCO. Some of these venues include the following: 

1. King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut
King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut
Photo from KingTuts

Hosting big-name bands through the years, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut was known for being a mandatory musical pilgrimage in the city. 

This iconic venue witnessed the performances of world-famous musicians such as The Killers, Manic Street Preachers, Florence And The Machine and Juliette Lewis.

2. Barrowland Ballroom
Barrowland Ballroom
Photo from barrowland_ballroom

Home to numerous gigs and concerts, the Barrowland Ballroom has hosted well-known personalities such as The Clash, Oasis and The Smiths. The ballroom can also cater over 2,100 partygoers.

In fact, Barrowland Ballroom was already dismantled by a huge fire in 1958, but was reconstructed and made its grand opening again during the Christmas Eve of 1960. 

Today, it is one of the popular music houses in Glasgow where you can fully experience the best performances Glasgow has to offer.

3. Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Owned by Glasgow City Council and operated by Glasgow Life, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall hosts all music genres in all walks of life. In fact, it witnessed the standing ovation for the performance of Nelson Mandela’s Down By The Riverside in 1993. 

The Concert Hall has also hosted several orchestras such as St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and National Youth Orchestras of Great Britain.

Festival Venues

1. Glasgow Film Festival 
Glasgow Film Festival
Photo from FilmFreeway

Glasgow Film Festival focuses on showcasing the world’s best films and providing annual dynamic events for the audience. 

It started in 2005, and is now one of the leading festivals among all cities in the UK. Glasgow Film Festival is usually held in March and often showcased in Glasgow Film Theatre.

2. Glasgow International Comedy Festival

At the Glasgow International Festival, top comedy stars around the UK go up on stage and entertain you until your stomach hurts—in the best way possible.

If you’re in for a barrel of laughs, this is a great way to unwind with great company.

3. Glasgow Art Fair
Glasgow Art Fair
Photo from reveal_glasgow Instagram

Glasgow is never Glasgow without art. Art presence is very strong in the city, which is why many art-related events are held here like the Glasgow Art Fair.

Here, people from all walks of life can purchase any artworks to their liking. To name a few, photography-related, urban street art and portraiture are some of the things you can see in this event. 

Aberdeen Culture

Dubbed “Aberdonians”, residents of Aberdeen are just as welcoming. 

You’ll find these locals mostly walking around the city or riding on bicycles instead of other modes of transportation. 

Experience-wise, since Aberdeen also focuses on culture and the arts, many festivals and events are held here every year.

Furthermore, Aberdeen is also home to various theatres, West End shows and museums. 

Below are some of the most iconic Aberdeen experiences you can ever have:

Cultural Hotspots

1. Aberdeen Historical Museum
Aberdeen Historical Museum
Photo from aberdeenhistoricalmuseum

Established in 1987, Aberdeen Historical Museum preserves historical artefacts and archives to maintain its relevance until today.

The museum envisions to pique the interest of Aberdonians and tourists towards Aberdeen’s local history, hoping they could get a new perspective that can be applied in day-to-day life.

2. Aberdeen Maritime Museum
Aberdeen Maritime Museum
Photo from abdnartmuseums Instagram

One museum worth visiting is the Aberdeen Maritime Museum. Since it focuses on telling the history of sail and clipper ships to its famous oil and gas industry, you’ll learn more about the beginnings of the city’s main industry.

3. Arbuthnot Museum Peterhead
Arbuthnot Museum Peterhead
Photo from Livelife Aberdeenshire

Considered one of the oldest museums in Aberdeen, your adventure is never complete without stopping by Arbuthnot Museum Peterhead. 

The museum displays a large collection of historical memorabilia such as Peterhead’s whaling past, fishing and shipping.

It is also home to other photographs of Peterhead, Inuit collection and Arctic animals. 

They also hold seasonal exhibitions and other exciting recreations, perfect for families.

Unique Neighbourhoods and Areas

1. Old Aberdeen
Old Aberdeen
Photo by from Pinterest

Back in the day, Old Aberdeen used to be an essential political and cultural centre during the Late Middle Ages. 

In fact, old buildings were preserved and can still be seen to this day. Some of these are made with grey granite, while some are built with bricks. These include the Old Town House, High Kirk of St. Machar and King’s College. 

The neighbourhood is also home to several attractions such as Machar’s Cathedral, Seaton Park and Cruickshank Botanic Garden. Old Aberdeen is even home to the famous University of Aberdeen. 

There are also sports venues available within the area such as Kings Links Golf Course and Chris Anderson Stadium. 

Luckily, the neighbourhood is also near the city centre, perfect for individuals looking for a place with a mixture of historical past and a modern way of life. 

2. Rosemount
Photo by Steven Lawrie from Pinterest

Situated in the northwest area of Aberdeen, Rosemount is popular for providing large shopping facilities with goods priced reasonably for its residents. 

Houses vary from Victorian-inspired and modern apartment complexes. There are also various boutique stores, green spaces and parks in the neighbourhood. 

Quick history: Rosemount wasn’t part of Aberdeen until the city extended its boundaries in 1862. The area was home to few houses and farm buildings before being part of the city. 

Some longstanding tourist must-sees include Victoria Park and Centenary Stone. 

Restaurants and Dining Concepts

1. The Silver Darling
The Silver Darling
Photo from thesilverdarlingrestaurant Instagram

Located on the beach coastline, The Silver Darling will not only give you a flavourful experience of Aberdeen’s traditional food, but also scenery like no other. 

Their menu includes a selection of Scottish traditional fish, shellfish, meat and other seasonal food items.

2. 210 Bistro
210 Bistro
Photo from 210 bistro Instagram

210 Bistro offers a mixture of traditional and contemporary dishes created by internationally-experienced chef, Steven Frei.

Some crowd-pleasers include Beer Battered Haddock, Roast Beef & Mustard Mayo Yorkshire Pudding and Turkey Ballotine.

3. Cafe52
Photo from Cafe52 

The first dog-friendly cafe and restaurant in Aberdeen, Cafe52 is located in the buzzing Union Street in the Green. The cafe has become an avenue for aspiring artists as well.

The cafe offers lunch, evening, wine, beers and coffees & teas on the menu. 

Some bestsellers include Fabulous loose tea, Cape Heights Viognier, South Africa, 2020, 12.5% and Café 52 Spanish-style pork sausage, tomato and smoky chorizo casserole. 

Festival Venues

1. Aberdeen Jazz Festival
Aberdeen Jazz Festival
Photo from jazz_scotland Instagram

If you’re in for a wine night with some chill music playing in the background, then attending the Aberdeen Jazz Festival would be a great fit. 

In fact, the festival supports amateurs to professional artists showcasing their skills to the world. Some of these include Marianne McGregor, Shapes of Time Trio and Aberdeen’s own band, Funk Connection.

2. Aberdeen Christmas Village
Aberdeen Christmas Village
Photo from abdninspired

Aberdeen has its own Christmas festival where locals and expats can appreciate the beauty of this festive season!

Shops selling crafts, clothing, arts, jewellery are just a few of what you can see at the Aberdeen Christmas Village. 

At some point, the market was also used to raise funds for local children’s charities. This was organised by Charlie House in partnership with Aberdeen Inspired, which generated a whopping total of £15,000.

3. Nuart Street Art Festival
Nuart Street Art Festival
Photo from nuartaberdeen Instagram

Held every April of the year, Nuart Street Art Festival allows both locals and international artists to showcase their artworks through murals and exhibitions.

Music Venues

1. Aberdeen Music Hall

Located at the heart of the city centre, Aberdeen Music Hall is the premier concert hall avenue in town. It hosts numerous plays, musicals, performances and concerts throughout the year. 

You can check out their official website for upcoming events, so you can stay tuned for the best performances you shouldn’t miss!

2. Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre
Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre
Photo from

Owned by Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre is a huge exhibition hall located in the suburb of Bridge of Don.

It hosts concerts, shows, and sports events. As a matter of fact, the Aberdeen Cup tennis event was held here. 

Meanwhile, some artists who already performed here include Katy Perry, Oasis, One Direction and Westlife. 

3. The Lemon Tree
The Lemon Tree.
Photo from The Lemon Tree

Located on West North Street, The Lemon Tree is a popular performing arts venue in Aberdeen. It was established in 1992 and has a capacity of 550 lounge, 166 seat studio. 

The Lemon Tree hosts different kinds of festivals in Aberdeen all throughout the year. Whether it’s edge music, comedy or theatre, you can find any genre that suits your liking here. 

Fun fact: Aberdeen birthed famous musicians such as Annie Lennox, Evelyn Gennie and Seb Rochford. The city is also home to various talks and events in the art scene.

Art Galleries

Aberdeen Art Gallery
Photo from AberdeenCity

Owning a large collection of artworks in Scotland, Aberdeen Art Gallery offers masterpieces from Brueghel to Borland and from Guthrie to Gibb. 

Established in 1885, the gallery is popular for its neoclassical architectural style. It also has the Cowdray Hall concert venue and Remembrance Hall that are worth visiting.

Enid Hutt Gallery
Photo from enidhuttgallery

The Enid Hutt Gallery offers a variety of art pieces ranging from prints, sculptures, abstract and contemporary paintings, and more. 

The gallery is also home to several artists. Some of these include Juliet Collins, Sally Lancaster and Katie Bell.

3. Peacock Visual Arts
Peacock Visual Arts
Photo from Aberdeenshire Scotland

Similar to other art galleries, Peacock Visual Arts also hosts temporary exhibitions for artists to showcase their artworks. Moreover, the gallery also has print and photography workshops available in a year. 

FAQs on Glasgow and Aberdeen

We hope that we have guided you well in choosing which city suits you best. If you have any other cities you’d like us to compare, feel free to drop comments below!

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