Manchester is a once-industrial metropolis which has since transformed itself into the edgy capital of northern England. Home to some of the biggest legends in british music, plenty of iconic landmarks, world-famous sports, and a thriving culture and arts scene, there’s plenty to see and do in Manchester.
Things to see
For an enlightening afternoon pay a visit to the John Rylands library. It was built as a tribute to textile-tycoon john rylands by his wife, Enriqueta, and this local version of the taj mahal opened in 1900 on New Year’s Day. It’s a dramatic and monastic building, home to the earliest fragment known to exist of the New Testament, as well as a Shakespeare fist edition.
From the library, it’s a short walk to the people’s history museum, celebrating the history of Britain’s working people. It originally opened in london back in 1975, and relocated to manchester in 1990.
For science buffs, the museum of science and industry offers hands-on activities and innovative exhibitions. Art lovers will love the iconic lowry, home to the world’s largest ls lowry collection. For live performances, it’s hard to top the royal exchange theatre for free exhibitions, live music, poetry readings, and — of course — world-class theatre.
No visit to Manchester would be complete without paying homage to Manchester’s sports tradition. Few cities in the world can top Manchester on this front — it’s home to one of the most well-known football clubs in the world, manchester united, and the top-level premier league club that is Manchester City fc. You can get tickets for Manchester City games fairly easily, or take a tour of etihad stadium or old trafford. Plus, there’s the National Football Museum, home to more than 140,000 different item plus world-class exhibitions that explore the past, the present, and the future of the game.
What about nightlife and music? If you had to do just one thing in manchester, going to a live gig is a good choice. This, after all, is the city which brought us the Chemical brothers, Joy Division, The Smiths, Oasis, and more. The city’s nightspots offer plenty of options — oxford road has the student crowd, for upscale cocktail bars you can head to deansgate, if you want a bohemian vibe there’s the northern quarter, and of course Canal Street has Manchester’s world-famous gay village.
Where to eat
if you’d like to sample some inventive british cooking — warm smoked ham hock salad accompanied by crispy eggs, creamed lentils with truffle and potato, and brisket pot au feu with horseradish mash, for example — make a stop at damson’s in mediacity. The brainchild of partners Steve Pilling and Simon Stanley, the £15.95 for a two course menu restaurant has brought in superlative reviews from fellow chefs and critics alike.
Also worth trying is annies in the royal exchange building off st. Ann’s square, likewise serving classic british food and offering a tea menu for afternoons when you need a break from shopping (it’s right in the middle of Manchester’s shopping area).
Alternately, it’s hard to go wrong heading to the famous curry places at Manchester’s rusholme curry mile, or the northern quarter for its famous cafes. Whatever you do, of course, drink local — manchester has some 30 local independent breweries. (many offer tastings and guided tours.)