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The focal point is Merchant Square - an old indoor market that's been converted into space for trendy pubs and restaurants - it features a large central space for the craft fairs that frequent here every weekend.Adjoining it are a pair of (interconnected) music venues: The City Halls and The Old Fruitmarket, the former of which plays host to the Scottish Symphony Orchestra, while the latter caters for a variety of different equally classy events - it was most recently used for BBC Scotland's Hogmanay celebrations and the annual "Celtic Connections" festival.This half of the area is a bit busier and livelier than its western counterpart and features a number of very popular Glasgow pubs and restaurants.If you aren't a resident but have visited Glasgow in the last 10-20 years or so, its likely you ended up here at some point - its particularly popular with away team's fans in search of a pre-match sing-along before heading for Celtic Park a few miles eastward, which can make for a slight cultural clash between the sometimes rowdy "fitba" fans outside the O'Neills enormo-pub and trendy gastrophiles heading for Cafe Gandolfi.

These are meter-controlled parking bays, which at least suggests someone thinks parking needs to be controlled.

Albion Street is two way, and features on-street parking on both sides of the road for most of its length (aside from one section northbound directly in front of the City Halls), despite featuring (yet another) large carpark - the slightly mislabelled "Q-Park Candleriggs": Perhaps you think I'm being a bit precious, but I think it bears repeating: there are at least three car parks within easy walking distance of anywhere in the Merchant City. The problem I have with on-street parking is that its presence is often used as a excuse for why there's "no space for cycling", particularly on narrower urban streets with residential properties.

Even where cycling is tolerated or even nominally accommodated with on-street cycle lanes, these are almost always routed on the nearside of parked cars within the door zone.

Okay, so far we've assessed the western part of the Merchant City with some mixed but generally positive results.

Now we'll look at the eastern side, the part you could just about see looking eastward along Wilson Street.


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