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Glasgow - The host city of Commonwealth Games is all set for The Commonwealth Games


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The Commonwealth Games that started on July 23 will continue till  August 3 and so Glasgow is in the sporting spotlight. The excitement is palpable, the bunting's up and the city is already teeming with people. For the latest updates and last-minute ticket availability see glasgow2014.com.

If you haven't got tickets yet you can also watch the Games on giant screens throughout the city. And along with live sport, Festival 2014 will feature free entertainment with music, comedy and dance and food and drink stalls at four key venues around the city: Glasgow Green, Merchant City, Kelvingrove Bandstand and BBC at the Quay (glasgow2014.com).

Get your bearings

Glasgow's relatively compact centre, hemmed in by the M8 and the Clyde, is laid out in a grid pattern. In George Square, you'll find The Big G, a giant 3D installation based on the Games' logo. The tourist office is at 170-174 Buchanan Street, open daily 9am-5pm (visitscotland.com).

Many attractions are outside the centre; to the west you have the leafy West End, Kelvingrove Park and the main museums, involving a heart-in-mouth negotiation of flyovers. Luckily, along with a good bus network there's a handy circular Subway (spt.co.uk; single £1.40, all-day pass £4).

A walk in the park

Or a jog. For those veering less towards spectator sports, Parkrun is a growing phenomenon across Glasgow; the free, weekly, timed 5km runs on Saturday morning at 9.30am in Pollok Country Park will take place as normal during the Games. It started with 44 runners in 2008; today — including Springburn, Tollcross and Victoria park runs — more than 750 runners take part each week. Register to run at parkrun.org.uk. Pollok Country Park is in Glasgow's Southside: catch a train from Central to Pollokshaws West.

Lunch on the run
After working up an appetite, head to the award-winning Burrell Collection in the park (glasgowlife.org.uk; entry free, open daily 10am-5pm, from 11am Friday and Sunday) to enjoy fish and chips, home-made sandwiches or cakes in the airy café. Sir William Burrell gave the 8,000 exhibits — from paintings by Degas and Cezanne to tapestries — to the city.

Take a hike

Everyone watched in horror as the Glasgow School of Art went up in flames this year. While restoration work is under way, get your Charles Rennie Mackintosh fix by visiting the Willow Tea Rooms at 217 Sauchiehall Street (willowtearooms.co.uk), remodelled by Mackintosh inside and out and just bought by a charitable trust and gifted to the city. From here, cut down Hope Street to West George Street to George Square.

Turn right along Queen Street to the Museum of Modern Art. From here turn down Ingram Street towards the revamped Merchant City area and Café Gandolfi at 64 Albion Street (cafegandolfi.com). The wooden interiors were carved by late artist Tim Stead, whose work can be seen in the Museum of Modern Art.

Window shopping
Glasgow loves to shop and the city's square, not linear, Style Mile (glasgowstylemile.com) is a retail zone with more than 200 independent boutiques, flagship stores and malls around Buchanan Street — it has the UK's biggest footfall after London's West End.

Dining with locals
An old-school favourite is Two Fat Ladies at the Buttery 652-654 Argyle Street. This Glasgow institution is all wood-panelling, tartan carpets and knick-knacks, with starters such as mignons of beef fillet, Stornoway black pudding crush, au poivre sauce (£25.95).

Go to church
Sit silently in Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum on Argyle Street (glasgowlife.org.uk; free; daily 10am-5pm, Friday and Sunday 11am-5pm) in a chapel-like space and contemplate Salvador Dali's Christ of St John of the Cross. Afterwards, watch the short documentary about Dr Tom Honeyman, former director of Glasgow Art Gallery, whose controversial purchase of the painting in 1952 resulted in student protests and hear how it was vandalised in 1961.

Out to brunch
For a healthy energy boost, head to the Siempre Bicycle Café at 162 Dumbarton Road (siemprebicyclecafe.com), Glasgow's first bicycle café. You can park your bike inside or out and even have it serviced while you tuck into ethically sourced, largely organic food. Scrambled egg and smoked salmon on a bagel costs £5.95.

Take a ride
The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome at 1000 London Road (emiratesarena.co.uk) was named after the great Scottish track cyclist. During the Games this impressive arena is where the badminton and cycling will be held but after the Games are over you can sign up for a taster session on the vertiginous track (£10.40, excluding equipment hire). There are also one-hour family sessions (£10.20, with bike).

Icing on the cake

During the Games, 29 Glasgow at 29 Royal Exchange Square (29glasgow.co.uk), a private members' club, will be open to the public and turned into Jamaica House. There will be Jamaican-themed food and drinks menu in the restaurant, plus a Jamaican Sporting Museum displaying the kits and memorabilia from the 1966 Commonwealth Games in Jamaica. If all that inspires you to plan a holiday, there'll be a pop-up travel agency in collaboration with the Jamaican tourist board.

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