With music legend Rod Stewart playing The SSE Hydro’s opening night, you know this venue is going to have rock and roll all over it. Purposely built for concerts, exhibitions and events, this national arena stands at 45m high with its distinctive silver dome standing out on the Glasgow skyline. With concert tickets guaranteed to sell out and a capacity of 12,000, you’ll always be in for a day or night to remember. Just remember that our Glasgow City Centre Argyle Street Premier Inn hotel is just a stone's throw away from the action, too.
It was around 2003 when the SECC decided a new venue for concerts and major exhibitions was needed. And a new world-class venue would be created.
Designed by internationally-renowned designer Sir Norman Foster, it was his genius idea to create the amphitheatre inspired building. As part of the SECC complex and alongside the Clyde Auditorium, it was designed to be mesmerizing. Come the evening, you can watch as the translucent material used to make the bubble-like outside appears to glow in the night.
Since opening in 2013, it has seen the likes of Paolo Nutini, Jessie J, Katy Perry and U2 take to the stage as well as Adele, Andrea Bocelli and Black Sabbath. Not just for gigs, the 2014 Commonwealth Games for netball and gymnastic events were held there alongside big, televised political debates.
As the exhibition centre is so close to the city centre, getting to and from it is not time consuming at all. Whether you’re on a four minute train ride, a speedy bus or keeping it green by cycling in, you’ll have a stress-free journey before your event.
Just a mile away from the city centre, the postcode for the trusty sat nav is G3 8YW. Parking is no problem with a multi-storey car park adjacent to The SSE with on-site payments on level 2.
Travelling to and from the building is simple by bus. Jump on the 100 Riversider from George Square or get dropped off a two minute walk from the venue on Lancefield Street by the X19 or 23 from the city centre.
Taking just four minutes from Glasgow Central rail station and trains running every 10 minutes, you’ll be at the Exhibition Centre station in no time. On arrival, a covered walkway takes you all the way to the door.
There are a variety of cycle paths around The SSE and beside the Clyde with a number of link roads and paths connecting to it. The venue even has a covered cycle storage rack for your beloved bike.
For those with a touch of vertigo or fear of heights, avoid purchasing seats on the top tiers. It’s quite steep and very high so probably not for the fainthearted!
At the onsite medical centre, there are a number of wheelchairs that visitors may borrow for their day at the venue. Given out on a first come, first served basis, it’s best to pre-book one if you require one and an aide will be on hand to get you to and from where you need to be.
Whether you want to grab an early dinner before the curtain goes up or find a cosy bar to have a chat about the show you’ve just seen, there are lots of restaurants, pubs and bars close to the theatre.
Places to eat inside the venue
Not content with having a jam-packed programme full of events, shows and exhibitions, The SSE aren’t shy on providing places to eat at. Book a table at Clydebuilt Bar & Kitchen; it’s perfect for nibbles, sharing platters, stonebaked pizzas and their classic ‘Clydebuilt’ burgers. Alternatively, on the ground floor, pop into RockSalt for fish and chips, oriental food at Hot Wok, big steaks at Big Grill and a drink or two at one of the many bars.
Places to drink after your event
If you don’t want the night to end, don’t fret, there’s bars a plenty for an after event tipple. Cocktail fans can enjoy many at The Kelvingrove Cafe (these are their speciality) while whiskey lovers should pay Ben Nevis a visit for single malt and smoky options. Old school pub The Grove is all for traditional lagers and a hit with the locals as fun and funky bar The Finnieston specialises in gin. Mmm gin.