Manchester is a city stuffed full of culture and history. From the Curry Mile to the Northern Quarter, there are museums and restaurants and events to be had around every corner. If you’re planning on taking your first trip to Manchester sometime soon, then make sure you go full Mancunian and hit all these hot spots and fun activities while you’re there.
1. Visit John Rylands Library
I am convinced this is the hidden gem of the city. Stepping into the John Rylands Library is like stepping into Hogwarts. so, wands at the ready! And be prepared for one of the most architecturally impressive libraries you’ll set foot in.
While John Rylands is treated a museum (a free one at that), it is still a working library owned by the University of Manchester, housing some of the university’s most valuable books and texts. Some of which can be seen on display around the library, while others appear during exhibitions.
Creepy Side Note: There are rumours that a ghoul is lurking in the bathrooms of John Rylands. Head down there to try and catch a glimpse, if you’re brave enough…
2. Eat On The Curry Mile
If there’s one thing you can count on when you’re taking a trip to Manchester, it’s that the food will be delicious. The Curry Mile, situated in Rusholme, is a literal mile of curry houses, kebab huts, and Indian sweet shops that’ll keep you coming back the next night for another dose of authentic Pakistani and Indian cuisine.
3. Visit The Museum Of Science And Industry (MOSI)
A trip to Manchester wouldn’t be complete without a lesson in history. Manchester stands as one of the most historically important cities as it was the world’s first industrial city. a tale well documented in the Manchester Museum of Science and History. Built on an old railway station, the station’s original tracks and platform are still on display at the museum for all to enjoy.
4. Explore The Northern Quarter
From a rich industrial history to a happening cultural buzz, Manchester has it all and nothing expresses that more than the Northern Quarter. Try imagining a Jackson Pollack, erratic and splurged with layers and layers of vibrant colours. Then imagine if someone did that to a whole section of a city. That’s the Northern Quarter.
With mind-blowing street art, vintage clothes stores and enough independent coffee houses to fill a lifetime, it’ll take you the better part of a day to really explore what the Northern Quarter has to offer.
Side Note: Make sure to check out Affleck’s, Manchester’s off-beat shopping centre housing cereal cafes, tattoo and piercing parlours and gothic and steampunk clothes stores galore!
5. Canal Street
No trip to Manchester would be complete without visiting the heart of Manchester’s LGBT+ community, the Gay Village, on Canal Street. Just over by Sackville Gardens is where Manchester’s nightlife comes to life with gay bars and clubs like G.A.Y ‘coming out’ in full swing.
Side Note: The best time to plan a trip here would be around the end of August when Manchester Pride takes over the streets in full rainbow colours.
6. Visit The Trafford Centre
From Manchester central and into Trafford. If you’re not shopping at Trafford, you’re just not shopping. Trafford Centre is a massive indoor shopping centre in Greater Manchester that’ll keep you preoccupied for the better part of a day. If you’re up for a bit of retail therapy, or in need of some precious self-care, then the Trafford Centre if exactly the place for you.
7. Go To A Football Game At Old Trafford/Ettihad
If there’s one thing that anyone in the world will, without doubt, associate with Manchester, it’s football. Manchester’s football heritage spans back over a century with a Montague and Capulet level rivalry going on between City and United.
Visit one (or both!) of their main football stadiums for a tour, or a game to really experience the full force of Mancunian football culture.
8. Premier League Football Museum
For football fans who haven’t had enough by the time they’re done with Old Trafford, Ettihad and watching Premier League games back to back, there’s one more stop on the football fan’s trip to Manchester itinerary.
Manchester’s Football Museum houses some of the Premier League’s most treasured memories. If you’re looking to cap off your Football tour around Manchester then this is the way to end it.
9. Visit Manchester Museum
The Little brother to London’s Natural History Museum, the Manchester Museum a must-see sight on your trip to Manchester. It’s completely free and open to the public which makes it a perfect place for a cheap and fun day out.
Side Note: Night tours are also available for few who can brave a chilling night at the Manchester Museum.
10. Visit The Christmas Markets (Biggest in Europe outside of Germany)
From late October to early November, Manchester’s city centre is brimming with timber and scaffolding in preparation for the annual Christmas Markets that fill the entire shopping district with the scent of gingerbread and mulled wine, and the dazzling sight of millions of Christmas lights.
These Christmas markets are famous for being the largest in Europe outside of Germany. So, you can only imagine just how impressive a sight that it.