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Must-do things in Manchester

30th March 2022
 
Must-do things in Manchester - Victoria Riverside
Must-do things in Manchester - Victoria Riverside

Manchester is a hive of activity, full of exciting entertainment and cultural experiences. If you’re new to the city, considering moving here, or simply looking for things to do around town, here are our top ten must-do activities and sights in Manchester.

 

Take the Old Trafford Guided Stadium Tour

Manchester is famed for being home to the world’s biggest football club, Manchester United.

That makes a trip to the Field of Dreams, United’s Old Trafford stadium, a dead cert for your list of must do things in Manchester!

Walking tours of the stadium led by informative guides are available all year round, and you can even enter the changing rooms and sit in the seats of your favourite player.

If you’re more of a Manchester City fan, head over to the Etihad stadium in the East of the city.

We also recommend that die-hard football fans take a trip to the National Football Museum, located next to the Arndale shopping centre. Notable for its unique sloping glass structure, this is a haven for lovers of the history of the beautiful game.

 

Take Quiet Time in Manchester Cathedral

Situated in the heart of the city, although not immediately visible, is the exquisite Manchester Cathedral. 

The perfect place to reflect and take a pause from busy city life, it’s worth staying behind to listen to evensong, sung by the cathedral choir which consists of professional singers trained at the internationally acclaimed Chetham’s School of Music, just a short walk away from the cathedral.

It’s tucked away behind the National Football museum and a row of beautifully preserved medieval pubs. The cathedral opens up onto Deansgate, where even more shops, bars and restaurants can be enjoyed.

 

Explore Manchester Town Hall

This beautiful piece of Victorian architecture is set in Albert Square, in the city centre.

The town hall is currently closed for renovations, but as of 2024 you’ll once again be able to take a guided tour of this historic building.

At Christmas time, Albert Square converts into a winter wonderland as it hosts the Christmas Markets. It’s the perfect place to have a mug of mulled wine and a German sausage, or to buy hand crafted unique Christmas presents for your loved ones.

The town hall lies adjacent to another of Manchester’s architectural gems, the Central Library, so be sure to have a wander around the corner!

It’s also located near to bars and restaurants, so you can put your feet up with a cocktail or two after your visit.

 

Spend, spend, spend!

There are plenty of shopping options in Manchester.

First off, we have the Arndale Shopping Centre in the centre of the city. Just about every high street retailer can be found within the Arndale, and if not, then you’ll most likely find what you’re looking for a stone’s throw away on the main high street, Market Street.

If you’re more of a fan of designer labels, then take a five minute walk to King’s Street, located between the Arndale and the Town Hall. You might even spot a Coronation Street star out and about while you’re shopping here!

Other more upmarket brands such as Selfridge’s can be found close to St Ann’s Square – which, by the way, is another location for the annual Christmas Markets.

 

Be Inspired by Art Galleries and Museums Galore

If you’re into culture, then fear not – Manchester offers an abundance of art galleries, museums and libraries to choose from.

Perhaps the most impressive is the John Rylands Library, with its Hogwarts-like architecture. Here you can enjoy such treasures as a fragment of St John’s gospel, wonderfully preserved and on display in one of the Library’s many exhibitions.

Manchester Art Gallery also hosts many exhibitions throughout the year, so it’s worth making multiple visits. Stroll from gallery to gallery, enjoy an extensive selection of classical, impressionist, interactive, and contemporary art, before taking a coffee in the cafe or buying a souvenir in the gift shop.

Closer to the University of Manchester, step inside the Manchester Museum and see real-life Egyptian mummies and their mummified cats, as well as a huge replica skeleton of a tyrannosaurus rex.

Nearby explore the ever-changing installations at the Whitworth Art Gallery, adjacent to the enormous greenery of Whitworth Park.

Or, to learn more about the inspiring folk history of Manchester, head over to the People’s History Museum, which retells the stories of the spirited, forward-thinking Mancunian people in a captivating manner.

Add to the list of must-do things in Manchester the Science and Industry Museum. This one goes without saying, as it charts the history of Manchester as the powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution which shaped the modern world as we know it!

 

Discover Other Cultures

A melting pot of different races, nationalities, creeds and sexualities, Manchester is a decidedly cosmopolitan city.

This is reflected in the wide range of foods, restaurants and even districts with distinctive international flavours.

Take for example, China Town, with its paifang, or archway (which was made in China and shipped over in three containers!). This compact neighbourhood is loaded with restaurants where you can sample some of China’s most delicious, authentic cuisine.

A couple of miles down the road and you can be whisked away to another continent at Manchester’s famous Curry Mile. Towards the southern end of the city, here you can sample mouthwatering Indian and South Asian cuisine all along the mile-long stretch lined with restaurants.

On the other side of the city, closer to Angel Meadow and Cheetham Hill, exists the Jewish quarter. It’s worth exploring Manchester’s fascinating history of Jewish refugee presence at the Manchester Jewish Museum on Cheetham Hill Road.

The museum is located in what was formerly a Spanish and Portuguese synagogue, and the super friendly volunteers will happily explain the significance of every exhibition and even the details of the majestic Sephardic synagogue. You can even get some delicious kosher food in the museum’s cafe.

Red Bank is just around the corner, with its Northern gateway residential development set in a green valley. The perfect place to set up camp if you’re looking for a place to live close to the centre in one of Manchester’s most up-and-coming areas.

 

Take a Day Trip to Heaton Park

Not too far away from Cheetham Hill lies the biggest park in Manchester and the largest municipal park in Europe, Heaton Park.

It may not be centrally located, but it’s certainly worth a visit and is definitely a must-do thing in Manchester!

Once the home of the noble Egerton family, it’s now a hub of activity, especially in the summer when it comes to life for a variety of events and festivals including the famous Parklife Festival. Parklife attracts many headliners and massive crowds of music fans.

Heaton Park also has its own impressive Georgian manor house, where the Egertons used to live.

It’s also home to the Manchester Beekeepers Association and Heaton Park farm, so it’s doing its bit for the environment!

Speaking of green spaces, on the other side of the city in Didsbury there’s another beautiful spot. Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens boasts sprawling open spaces and is where the Royals Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) was founded. Ideal for a sunny day out.

 

Be Swept Away by the Nightlife

Party animals, take heart: Manchester hosts legendary nights out.

From the Gay Village with its cheesy pop tunes and carefree ambience, to the swish bars of Spinningfields, to hidden dive bars, warehouse nights, and DJ-led raves, there is definitely something for every mood and taste.

If you fancy rubbing shoulders with celebrities, then head to Chinawhite on Deansgate. The decor is Asian-inspired with Chinese lamps and enormous stone warriors. You can expect Manchester’s best DJs and artists, as well as table service and confetti cannons.

For a Latin flavour, check out Revolución de Cuba, where there are tapas on offer alongside hip-shaking tunes.

If you’re a jazz fan, get down to Matt and Phred’s in the Northern Quarter. Grab a cocktail or beer with a slice of pizza before entering into prohibition-style interiors to spend the night chilling to folk, gypsy, salsa, swing, ska and jazz, or perhaps even get moving to a dance class..

 

Step Into the Future at Media City

Salford Quays once played a pivotal role in the shaping of Manchester as the engine of the Industrial Revolution, thanks to it being a central part of the canal system.

For a while it fell into ruin, but in recent years has undergone a period of regeneration, and is now growing at a remarkable speed.

Media City forms part of Salford Quays, and is the location for many businesses and media production companies, including the BBC and ITV. You can also enjoy shopping at the retail outlet here, so fill your boots!

 

Chill Out in the Northern Quarter

Forming part of Manchester’s rejuvenation over the last couple of decades, the Northern Quarter has become the place to be and should be on your list of must-do things in Manchester.

This part of the city is hipster central, and is lined with an endless variety of bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes, vintage stores and of course, the iconic Affleck’s Palace.

It’s one of the most desirable places to live and hang out in Manchester, particularly if you’re a young professional.

 

Just as well, then, that Victoria Riverside is situated just a stone’s throw away in Manchester’s emerging Red Bank neighbourhood. If you’re looking for new home in the heart of the city, look no further! It’s the perfect place to relax after a long day of exploring the many must-do things on the menu in Manchester!

 
 
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