Nestled in Northwest England, Manchester is a great combination of history and culture, and has many interesting museums to explore, landmarks to visit, and outdoor areas to walk around in for a relaxing day out. The large selection of shopping, dining, and nightlife venues in the city offer something to suit everyone. Football is extremely popular in this city, with many people travelling from all over the UK to see Manchester United - one of the most widely supported football clubs in the world - play at Manchester Stadium.
Sometimes called the country's “Second City", after London, Manchester offers plenty of big city entertainment - like nightclubs, sporting events, and theatres. And, the city also has plenty of historical significance, as it flourished during the Industrial Revolution.
Top Things to do in Manchester
If you're looking for cheap things to do, head to Oxford Road, which is right in the heart of the city. The area is home to free attractions, cheap Manchester hotels, and inexpensive restaurants. And, it's just a short walk away from the famous Piccadilly train station.
For history buffs, a walk through Manchester's city centre is an absolute must. While you're there, you will see remnants of Manchester's days as a textile hub. As an added benefit, a good portion of hotels in Manchester City can also be found here. The area offers both cheap accommodation and more extravagant lodging.
If you're headed to Manchester, prepare to deal with some rain. In fact, on average, it rains every other day in Manchester! That's OK, though. If a storm pops up, there is plenty to do inside. Manchester offers a slew of indoor markets, museums, and art galleries - so that Mother Nature doesn't dampen your trip!
Arts and Entertainment
One of the city's most popular attractions is the Museum of Science and Industry. It's free to get in, and while you're there, you can check out interactive exhibits - including a trip through Underground Manchester. Or visit The Lowry, an indoor gallery complex on the waterfront that contains theatres, a drama studio, exhibitions, shops and much more!
Manchester has many popular annual events, including festivals and arts exhibitions, and there is something for everyone to enjoy no matter what their tastes are. In January, the National Winter Ales Festival takes place at The Venue, and offers visitors more than 200 different types of ale to taste. The Viva! Spanish & Latin American Film Festival, which takes place in mid-March over a period of ten days, is one of the largest film festivals of its kind in the world, and not only offers screenings of the best Spanish and Latin American films, but also Q & A sessions with the directors, writers, and actors working in the industry.
FutureEverything, which is held every May in Manchester, features a variety of international musicians performing experimental and electronic music in various venues located throughout the city, as well as exhibits and presentations by visionary artists and designers. The Spring Market, also held every May, offers a huge variety of food and drink, arts and crafts, and flowers. For travellers who are in town at the end of June, the Manchester Day Parade is well worth a visit.
Manchester offers a huge selection of restaurants, from dainty cafes and cosy bistros to luxury 5-star establishments offering a wide assortment of cuisines. Abdul's is an affordable place to eat if you enjoy Middle Eastern and Turkish foods, while Asian Fusion is a fun open-plan restaurant serving a variety of different Asian cuisines, and is suitable for the entire family.
Some of the more upmarket restaurants include Aumbry, which is considered by many to be the best restaurant in the city, and Albert's Shed, which offers an assortment of foods from all over the world. If you are a fan Latin American and Mexican food, you can do no better in Manchester than Barburrito, which was recently honoured with the award for Best Casual Dining Venue at the Manchester Food and Drink Festival; this restaurant is ideal for individuals on a budget, as it offers excellent value for money. Carluccio's is an excellent option for Italian food for those looking for something in the medium range with regards to price, and offers a number of dishes that are 100% gluten free, so those with special dietary requirements can still enjoy an excellent dining experience.
Manchester is known for its vibrant nightlife; with an extensive variety of pubs, bars, and clubs to choose from, visitors will be spoilt for choice. Big Hands is a very popular bar on Oxford Road that is often frequented by musicians touring the country, making it ideal for music fans in particular. The Black Dog Ballroom is situated in the Northern Quarter of the city, and provides patrons with an element of New York-inspired elegance and a cosy, softly lit atmosphere. Centro is both a club and a bar, and offers one of the largest selections of beers in the city. Dukes 92 is an excellent option particularly in the summer, as the pub has an outdoor patio next to the canal, while the Fuel Café Bar offers live music most nights of the week. The Iguana Bar plays host to both live music and comedy shows, so if you are up for a laugh, this is the place to visit. Offering the look and feel of Las Vegas, Manchester 235 is a luxurious bar that comes complete with its own casino, restaurant, and live entertainment.
Individuals who are looking for healthier, more athletic forms of recreation won't have any trouble finding what they are looking for in Manchester. Basement is a fitness centre aimed at the gay communities and is open 24-hours a day, making it ideal for those wanting to get fit at any time of the day or night; it also has its own sauna facilities to relax in. Chill Factore offers the longest real snow indoor ski slope in the entire United Kingdom, and is well worth a visit for those who enjoy winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding; this facility also offers lessons if you are a beginner. The Manchester Aquatics Centre is home to the city centre's only public swimming pool, which is ideal for the whole family. The Manchester Climbing Centre is also great fun, while the Velodrome is ideal for cyclists wanting to get fit; it is one of the best bicycle tracks in the world, and the British Cycling Team can often be found training there.
Parks and the Great Outdoors
Manchester features a number of beautiful parks and outdoor spaces for travellers who want to get some fresh air away from the busy bustle of the city centre. Heaton Park is particularly popular, and has lots of activities on offer. The huge park is just four miles from the city centre and features an animal centre for younger visitors that is open throughout the year. Architecture lovers will enjoy Heaton Park's Smithy Lodge, which was built in the 18th century, and has been recently restored. There are many events that take place in the park throughout the year which are geared towards children, including musical shows and various interactive activities; a complete schedule of these events can be easily found online. The Heaton Park Golf Course is a championship standard course that was designed by J.H. Taylor, and has played host to numerous tournaments since it was opened to the public in 1911. The course was voted the Best Municipal Golf Course in Great Britain in 2005.
There are plenty of hotels in Manchester to choose from - regardless of how big your budget is. Whether you are looking for a cheap and cheerful bed and breakfast or a luxury spa hotel, the city is able to cater to all needs. There are many budget chain hotels on offer where travellers will be able to find basic, comfortable accommodation at an affordable price; Oxford Road in particular has a number of hotels offering less expensive accommodation options. With a large number of cosy B&Bs to choose from, those who are looking for a more home-style and intimate accommodation option will find just what they are looking for. The city also has a large number of hostels that cater particularly for younger travellers. There are a number of 5-star luxury hotels located in and around the city centre area, perfect for travellers looking for a more upmarket experience, as well as a range of hotels that cater specifically for the business traveller.