England’s second largest city, Manchester is a celebrated center. Settled by the Romans in 79 AD, Manchester has since grown to become an urban hotspot of culture. Victorian markets are now Instagram-friendly food halls, and the famous red-brick mills are now art hubs and galleries. Apart from its history and architectural beauty, Manchester is surrounded by the countryside and Pennine mountains, making it a great base for exploring the country’s natural sceneries. No matter what you’re here for, check out this list of the best things to do in Manchester.
1. Marvel at Manchester Town Hall
An iconic part of Manchester’s skyline, the Town Hall’s imposic structure is the heart of the city. Opened in 1877, it is one of the finest examples of Victorian, Neo-gothic architecture. The building includes a beautiful clock tower, a sculpture hall, tall arched ceilings and beautiful spiral staircases. It is currently going through a refurbishment, but the building can still be seen from Albert Square.
2. Explore Castlefield
Castlefield is one of Manchester’s most relaxed neighborhoods. It is entirely walkable and filled with canals and green spaces. Bridgewater Canal was once used to transport coal from Worsley to Manchester, and the many old warehouses here have been restored and converted to hotels, shops, restaurants and bars. Or take a boat tour, why not?
3. Check out the local coffee scene
The coffee culture in Manchester is stronger than ever. If you’re craving for a great brew or can’t live without your morning coffee, there are many places that will hit your sweet spot of strength, taste and temperature. Grindsmith is a hot favourite, and their coffee is just as robust as their atmosphere. While Takk has been dishing out Nordic style espressos and hygge vibes for years. They have three outlets in Manchester now, but we still love the one at Northern Quarter the most.
4. Go vinyl shopping
Independent record stores such as Vinyl Exchange, Eastern Bloc and Piccadilly Records have become world-renowned for their collections. If you collect vinyl records, a trip to these stores are a must. Over in Chorlton, Kingbee Records offers a treasure trove of rare cuts. In fact, the collection is so good, some even regularly come all the way from New York to shop with an empty suitcase.
5. Catch a game at Old Trafford
Manchester is perhaps most famous for the football club, Manchester United. Old Trafford is the largest and one of the most iconic stadiums in the country. You can catch a game or book a tour for a behind-the-scenes look at football grounds, backstage, and the museum. That being said, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea unless you’re a football fan.
6. Eat your way through Chinatown
Manchester’s Chinatown is one of the largest Chinatowns in Europe, with a wide selection of shops, supermarkets, business and of course, ethnic restaurants. One of the best things to do in Manchester is to eat! For authentic Szechuan cuisine, try Red Chilli, one of the best eateries here that’s tucked away in a store basement. For delicious Chinese bakes, make sure to stop by Wong Wong Bakery and if you’re here with family or friends, visit Yang Sing for a communal Chinese feast.
7. Sample the local craft beer
Manchester produces some of the finest craft beer, make sure you sample some of them. Port Street Beer House, Piccadilly Tap and Beermoth are some of the best places for beer enthusiasts, all within a few minutes’ walk of Piccadilly Gardens. Or if you’re here in July, visit the Manchester Craft Beer Festival, a celebration of beers from the best Manchester breweries and beyond, along with the city’s finest kitchens and culinary talent.