- Manchester is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — consider printing them all.
Manchester  is located in the north west of England. The city proper has a population of around 450,000, while the larger conurbation, called Greater Manchester, has over 2,500,000 inhabitants.
Manchester is known by some for its influence on the histories of industry and music, and for its sporting connections. It has a large number of students. It is seen by many as the "capital" of the north of England, the second city of the United Kingdom and is home to the UK's largest airport in the UK outside London, which is owned by the ten local authorities of Greater Manchester.
- East central Manchester — Covers the area of the city centre bounded by the A57 (M), Oxford Road, and the A62. It covers the locales of Piccadilly, the Northern Quarter, Chinatown, the Gay Village, and Piccadilly Gardens.
- North central Manchester — Covers the area in central Manchester north of Piccadilly Gardens and east of Quay St and Peter St. It covers the locales of the Millennium Quarter, Deansgate, Albert square, and St. Ann's Square as well as the newly developed business district of Spinningfields.
- West central Manchester — Covers the area in central Manchester west of Quay St, Peter St and Oxford St. It covers the locales of Castlefield and St. Peter's Fields.
- North Manchester — Covers the area north of the centre as far as the M60. Includes Sportcity.
- South Manchester — Covers the area south of the centre as far as the M60. Includes the neighborhoods of Didsbury, Hulme, Moss Side, and Old Trafford.
- University corridor — Covers the Oxford Rd/Wilmslow Rd corridor from the A57(M) to the bottom of Fallowfield. Includes both universities, Rusholme, and Fallowfield.
- The Quays — The city's uber-fashionable redeveloped docks with award-winning architecture and museums.
Towns within the Greater Manchester Conurbation
- Altrincham, Ashton-under-Lyne, Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Sale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside (Stalybridge), Trafford and Wigan
Manchester is located in the Northwest region of England, about equidistant between Liverpool and Leeds. Due to its proximity to the Pennines ( the range which forms England's spine, from just south of the Scottish border down into the region known as The East Midlands ), which force the prevailing Atlantic westerly clouds to rise, it receives more than its fair share of wet weather. Manchester once had a negative reputation derived from its industrial past. Things have dramatically changed in the last decade and now the city has a vibrant exciting air. Investment in the city's regeneration following the 1996 IRA bomb and 2002 Commonwealth Games have paid off. Manchester is well worth a visit, even if just for a couple of days, or for longer, if you plan to use it as a base to explore northern England and North Wales. It is becoming more and more a city where people are choosing to settle. It is seen by many as young, vibrant and cutting edge with a cool vibe about the place. It is a place where things do happen. Many see their city as a rival to London, albeit on a more human scale perhaps ; never mind the ongoing battle with Birmingham for "The Second City" title. This feud seems to go on and on and hinges on how you add up the numbers, if it based on numbers. The latest is, if you compare Greater Manchester's population to Birmingham's and its neighbouring towns and districts, Birmingham pips Manchester to the post by a 100,000 or so. However if you look at the actual population of the city of Birmingham, which is more than 1 million, it is more than twice as big, in terms of population, as the actual city of Manchester, as opposed to the larger conurbation, with a population of around 450,000 people. But the city argues that population is just one aspect and that history and contributions to the world should also be considered. Over the years, many have moved to Manchester from London for example. These people are by no means all returning to their northern roots. Some are from overseas ,who stopped off down south on their way to a better quality of life! Many have come in search of a more affordable urban existence! Manchester IS a friendly city too. It is not a myth! Northerners do talk to each other and to strangers. Just compare asking for directions in London and Manchester and the difference is often clear! Above all,of late, locals seem even more proud than ever of Manchester and all it offers.
The adjective associated with Manchester is Mancunian or simply Manc. The distinctive linguistic accent of the city's indigenous inhabitants is much more closely related to that of Liverpool with its strong north-Waleian roots than it is to the Lancastrian or Cestrian of the neighbouring cotton towns.
- Manchester Visitor Information Centre, Town Hall Extension, St. Peter's Square, +44 (0) 871 222 8223 (firstname.lastname@example.org fax: +44 (0) 161 236 9900)  Mon-Fri 10AM-5:15PM (recorded information available by phone outside these times). The Visitor Centre has up-to-date lists of places to eat and sleep.
Manchester was the site of the Roman Fort Mamucium (breast-shaped) in AD 79 but a town was not built until the 13th Century. A priests' college and church ( now Chetham's School and Library and the Cathedral ) were established in Manchester in 1421. Early evidence of its tendency towards political radicalism was its support for Parliament during the Civil War and in 1745 for the Jacobite forces of the Young Pretender.
It was not until the start of the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th Centuries that this small Medieval town would build its fortune. The presence of an existing cloth trade, coupled with the mechanization of spinning in nearby Bolton, created a thriving cotton industry in Manchester. Though the high and frequent rainfall may lower the spirits of today's inhabitants, the availability of copious supplies of clean, soft, water was of great utility to the various cotton processes particularly in the bleaching, printing, and dyeing of cotton cloth. Water power rapidly gave way here to steam invented by Boulton and Watt and a steam-driven factory was built in the Ancoats Northern Quarter section of the city. By the end of the 19th Century, Manchester was one of the 10 biggest urban centres on earth (even before counting the wider population, within 50 miles of the Northern England region, such as Liverpool, Sheffield, Bradford, Leeds, and Central Lancashire ).
Whitworth, inventor of the eponymous mass-cut screw thread, also manufactured his equally revolutionary rifled guns in huge quantities at his factory on Sackville Street. And after their initial meeting at the Midland Hotel, still one of the city's most luxurious, Rolls and Royce began manufacture of their luxury motor cars in Hulme.
Trafford Park, in Trafford, was to become the first industrial estate in the world, housing the Ford Motor Company and much of the pre-wartime aircraft industry, notably the 'Lancaster' Bombers of the AVRO Co.
Manchester's success during the Victorian era and before is evident everywhere you look. Great Ancoats Street was a source of wonder to Schinkel the neo-classical architect of Berlin. Equally grandiose neo-Gothic buildings line the old Financial District around King Street, and public institutions such as the University and the many libraries are dotted around everywhere. There is even a statue of Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln Square (Brazennose Street, straight across Albert Square from the Town Hall main entrance) commemorating his personal thanks for Manchester's support during a cotton famine created by Britain's refusal to run the Federal blockade of the slave-owning Confederacy during the American Civil War.
Continuing its radical political tradition, Manchester was the home of opposition to the Corn Laws and espoused Free Trade, as well as Chartism and the Great Reform Act. It was instrumental in the establishment of socialism in the UK. Both Engels and Marx frequented the city, where the former conducted his famous inquiry into the condition of the working class; the latter seeking to draw universal rules from the particular circumstances of the early industrial evolution with disastrous consequences for the history of the 20th century. Cleaving to a more gently pragmatic English tradition it was the birthplace of the Trades Union Congress which led to the creation of the Labour Party. It was also home to a number of philanthropists of the industrial age, such as John Owens and John Dalton, who bequeathed large parts of their fortunes to improving the city.
In more recent times, Manchester has been famous for its influence on the UK music scene. The Madchester movement of the early 1980s, started by Factory Records and Joy Division, led to the creation of the Haçienda nightclub (now unfortunately demolished after standing empty for many years) and the birth of modern club culture. Manchester has given life to many hugely successful musicians, among them The Stone Roses, The Smiths, Joy Division/New Order, The Happy Mondays, Oasis, James, and Badly Drawn Boy.
At 11:20AM on Saturday 15th June 1996, Manchester's city centre was rocked by a huge IRA bomb blast. Although preliminary intelligence managed to clear people from the scene enough for there to be no fatalities, the very heart of the city was ripped to shreds. A huge amount of money and effort was put into regenerating this bomb damaged part of the centre, redubbed the Millennium Quarter. The area has renewed interest in the centre and contains the entertainment and shopping heart of the city.
The City of Manchester is home to two of the largest universities in the UK, The University of Manchester (formerly Owens College and subsequently the Victoria University and its Institute of Science and Technology UMIST)  and Manchester Metropolitan University (aka 'Man Met', formerly the Polytechnic, itself a conglomeration of municipal colleges), as well as the Royal Northern College of Music. There is also a university in Salford, within one mile of the city centre, which is renowned as a European Centre of excellence in Media. Together they create a body of over 86,000 students living full-time in the city. There is also now a new university in Bolton, to the northwest of the city.
Manchester is often named 'best student city'. It is very welcoming to the student lifestyle and many establishments in the centre and South Manchester are geared towards students; eating and drinking in Manchester can be very inexpensive due to the high competition that goes on between these establishments.
However, if you don't like hanging around students, there are many places that are not frequented by students, although you may have to be prepared to pay a little extra. Also, some places have a strictly 21-and-over only policy, so take identification with you. Although, the number of bars or clubs that are for 21-and-over is relatively low. When visiting the student areas of Fallowfield and Withington, some venues operate a student only policy, so production of a student card (or something resembling a student card) is necessary.
Old Trafford is also home to the Lancashire County Cricket Club.
In 2002, Manchester was the host to the Commonwealth Games and a large area of East Manchester was converted into a new Sportcity, the centre-piece of which is the new athletics and football stadium.
The Manchester Velodrome started off the whole regeneration of East Manchester and formed part of the bid for the 2002 Commonwealth Games (and infact for Manchester's failed bid for the 2000 Olympics). Britain's great success, in the cycling events in the 2008 Olympics, is very much due this venue and most of the medal winners are based in and around the city. However the London-centric authorites, preparing for the 2012 London Olympics, plan to build a venue in the capital and are not seen willing to share events around the country. It is feared Manchester may be sidelined in the future. The UK authorities have always been lukewarm to any olympic bid that was not based on London, claiming only a capital can host a good games. Many cities who have hosted the games are of course not capitals and such only manages to reinforce what a centralised country the UK is. Some reports in the press now suggest the team wish to keep their base in the city as they are also supported by a large admin team. Time will tell. In the Queen's New Year's Honours list, january 2009, some of the cycling heroes were given awards including a knighthood to Chris Hoy.
Manchester is a very mixed city. Many races and religions have communities in the city and it has a long history of being more tolerant than most cities to people of any background. The very large number of British Citizenship ceremonies, held in Heron House by The Town Hall, each year, is testament to this.
Manchester is also very gay-friendly and liberal minded. The Village is an area concentrated around Canal Street and is very popular with people of all sexualities. It is also home to an annual Pride festival. Most Mancunians have grown up with a tolerant attitude towards sexuality.
Manchester has a temperate maritime climate and rarely gets too warm or too cold. The city receives below average rainfall for the UK. It is not significantly far behind London in terms of the average number of hours sunlight per day (within nine minutes per day, based on the last 100 years data from Met office) it does have a few more days with rain. However, as a result of relatively mild winter conditions, there is never a period where one should avoid visiting due to extreme weather conditions.
Manchester International Airport (IATA: MAN) (ICAO: EGCC).  in the South of the city is the largest airport in the UK outside of London and is in the largest 50 airports in the world. Nearly 100 operators fly to and from hundreds of locations worldwide, including most major cities in Europe, along with services from North America, South America, Africa, and Asia.
Notable services include:
- Dubai - Emirates
- Islamabad - Pakistan International Airlines, Airblue
- Karachi, Lahore - Pakistan International Airlines
- New York - Delta (JFK), Continental (Newark Intl)
- Vancouver, Toronto - Air Canada, Air-Transat, FlyGlobespan
- Paris - Air France, FlyBE
- Madrid - BMI (operated by BMI Baby)
- Doha - Qatar Airways
- Abu Dhabi - Etihad
- Istanbul - Turkish Airlines
- Chicago - American Airlines
- Dublin - Aer Lingus, Ryanair
- Amsterdam - KLM
- Frankfurt - Lufthansa
- Singapore - Singapore Airlines
- Philadelphia - US Airways
The airport also offers flights to many European cities with Easyjet, Jet2.com and Ryanair.
Direct trains run from the airport station (reached by Skyway, between terminals 1 and 2) to Piccadilly and Oxford Road stations about every 20 minutes and cost no more than £3. Taxis are available from outside each terminal, costing about £15 and taking about 30-45 minutes. You can also catch a coach/bus to Manchester Central Coach station.
John Lennon Airport,  in Liverpool is a budget airline airport with Easyjet  and Ryanair  serving it and is also relatively conveniently located for access to Manchester. A coach service runs connecting the airport to Manchester's central coach station and takes about 45 minutes. There is now a direct train link between Liverpool Parkway (i.e. the station near John Lennon Airport) and Manchester Oxford Road Train Station (in the city centre). Services currently run once per hour, but are planned to increase to every half hour.
Manchester city centre is served by two major railway stations, Victoria in the north (the area around the station has recently undergone extensive redevelopment with much more to come) and Piccadilly(transformed in recent years and voted the UK's most popular station in 2007!) in the south. These stations are well-connected with the rest of the UK, although it is more likely that you will arrive at Piccadilly as it deals with the most services in and out of Manchester. Fares vary dramatically depending on time of day and rail operator.
Other stations in the city centre are Deansgate/G-Mex, Oxford Road, and Salford Central, but generally only local services will stop at these stations.
Connections from London Euston to Piccadilly are run by Virgin Trains. The journey on the West Coast Mainline takes just over 2hrs in Pendolino trains that do not need to slow down when going round bends. Online Virgin Value fares can dramaticaly reduce the cost of this trip  if you book well enough in advance (at least 14 days is advisable), purchase two single tickets (one for each leg of the journey) and/or travel outside of peak times (after 9AM and before 3PM during the day, after 6:30PM in the evening).
The outer ring road of the Manchester conurbation is the M60. It is accessible from Leeds or Liverpool by the M62 and from Scotland and the South by the M6. From the North and Scotland follow the M6 and then the M61. From the South take the M6 and the M56. The most direct route from the M6 to the M56 and South Manchester is to take the A556 leaving the M6 at junction 19, but note this has a 50mph speed limit for most of its length and can be somewhat congested at busy times of the day. It is signed Manchester and Manchester Airport. Another route would be to carry on northbound up the M6, taking you directly to the M6/M62 interchange. Here you would follow signs for Leeds and Manchester North. This can, however, seem a longer way round, but it does also give you access, via the M60 orbital road, to places around the conurbation and is a much better option if you wish to access the northern part of Greater Manchester.
If a little lost in the city centre follow signs for the inner ring road. Off this most destinations are signed.
Bear in mind that parking in the city centre of Manchester can be very expensive. Avoid the multi-storey car parks if you can and look for some open-air car parks. There are good ones by Salford Central Station, behind Piccadilly Station and opposite the cathedral.
If you have to use a multi-storey, the one by The Coach Station and The Village is handy. This is fine as a last resort, if you have been driving around for an hour, looking for a place to park, after the introduction of more and more double yellow lines, which mean no parking at any time.
Ladywell Park & Ride  is situated near Eccles (M602, Junction 2); the car park is free and there is a tram station. Similarly, parking at the Trafford Centre (M60, junctions 9 and 10) is free and there are buses to the city centre and Stretford tram station.
A tip worth noting is that on Saturday from 12:30PM to Monday morning, just over from the city centre into Salford, you can park on a single yellow line (remember in The UK you can never park on a double yellow line!) or in a designated space without paying, unlike in the city centre where restrictions apply even during weekends. Streets like Chapel Street, Bridge Street, and the areas around them are a good bet and much safer now with all the new housing developments. There you are just a short walk from Deansgate. Problems are rare as long as you take the usual precautions and do not leave valuables on display. Try not to put things in the boot (trunk) if people are watching, after a shopping spree. Avoid parking under the bridges, at all costs, and try the main roads, just off one or next to one of the many new blocks of flats where it is well lit. Watch out on Bank Holidays around here. Sometimes these are treated like a sunday in the centre, but people have been known to get parking tickets on the Salford side. If in doubt treat a holiday, on the Salford side, as a normal day of the week or ask a warden if you can find one!
Also check out Parkopedia.com , a website that allows users to search and compare parking rates and locations for commercial and private parking facilities in Manchester.
Chorlton Street Coach Station is the central coach station in Manchester, located close to the centre, between Chinatown and The Village on Chorlton Street. Coaches run from all over the country and are generally the most reasonably-priced way to get into Manchester. London to Manchester on the coach can take about four hours, but it depends on the time of day and number of stops.
- National Express  is a comfortable and frequent service which runs 24 hours a day from some cities, including London.
- Stagecoach Megabus  is less comfortable, but can be very cheap (some cities have buses to Manchester for as little as £1). You must book in advance over the web.
Transport in Greater Manchester is overseen and co-ordinated by the GMPTE (Information: 0871 200 22 33) . GMPTE sells a number of tickets which are valid for multiple operators, such as the any bus day ticket or the Wayfarer. If you are planning to do a lot of travelling in one day, these might be your cheapest option. Metromax day tickets are good value if using the tram network. There are tickets for single people and family tickets. The best value are valid after 9:30AM.
Dotted around the city centre in all the places you wouldn't look for them are the pedestrian-level street maps. They are usually placed in normal advertising hoardings, which makes them all the more difficult to spot. From a distance, the map looks like a light-brown horse's head on a blue background. Once found your position is marked by a blue circle. They cover the whole centre down to the university district.
As with any large UK city an A-Z map is often handy. These street maps, in book form, are available from newsagents or book shops and, depending on size, cover everything from the city centre to the whole Greater Manchester conurbation.
Metroshuttle  is a FREE bus service run jointly by the local council, National Car Parks Manchester and First. It runs three routes which between them cover most of the major areas in the city centre. These bus routes can be caught straight from all city centre railway stations (Piccadilly, Oxford Road, Deansgate/G-Mex, Salford Central and Victoria) as well as many of the larger car parks. Areas on the fringes of the city centre (such as Spinningfields, Petersfield, Oxford Road Corridor, Millennium Quarter) are now easier to access from other parts of the city. Just note, that due to a high-level of pedestrian priority around areas such as Deansgate, traffic in the city centre is often slow.
Most of the buses in Greater Manchester are operated by First  (mainly in North Manchester) or Stagecoach (mainly in South Manchester)  and serve most places you are likely to want to go in the conurbation. The main bus station for the south is Piccadilly Gardens and a new state-of-the-art £24 million interchange has been built at Shudehill for the north.
The South Manchester corridor that begins with Oxford Road and Wilmslow Road is the most-served bus route in Europe. Buses connect the centre with the universities and Rusholme, as often as every one minute. The general rule on this street is to get on any bus that is not operated by Stagecoach and your fare is likely to be under £1. Some buses have a student fare, which they will charge you if you look like a student, regardless of whether you ask for it or not. Be warned, though, during peak hours it can take as long as 30 minutes to make the relatively short three mile journey from Piccadilly Gardens to Rusholme. Route number 42 (operated by various companies) is usually the most frequent service, operating through the night from Piccadilly, Oxford Road, Wilmslow Road, Rusholme and beyond.
It is well worth noting that the number 43 bus not only runs all day to the airport, but also throughout the night at regular intervals. (Train services from Piccadilly also serve the airport all night).
Busses to the Trafford Centre include the Stagecoach-operated Route 250 , from Piccadilly Gardens to the Trafford Centre and the First-operated Route 100 , from Shudehill, via Blackfriars (the stop is just off Deansgate) and Eccles, to The Trafford Centre. The quicker, more direct but less frequent option is the 100 bus route.They run about three buses an hour peak times. There are other bus services from Central Manchester to The Trafford Centre and additional services from other towns and suburbs in the conurbation. In the evening, or on sundays and public holidays, your better bet for the Trafford Centre, from the city centre, is the tram and buslink to and from Stretford, as buses are much less frequent at these times.
Bus Tickets are usually purchased directly from the driver. First and Stagecoach both offer day-savers for unlimited travel on their company's buses, which cannot be used on other busses. A FirstDay is currently £4.00. If transfer between different bus companies is required then you can ask the driver for an "any bus day-saver", emphasising the "any"! These '"System One"' tickets can be used on any bus, details of current prices are available at http://www.systemonetravelcards.co.uk
Metrolink , also known as the tram, is the name for Manchester's local mass-transit system. With a map of the system it is easy to understand.
Currently, Metrolink runs two lines, Altrincham-Bury (every 6 minutes at peak times, every 12 minutes off-peak, and Piccadilly-Eccles (every 12 minutes at peak times, every 15 minutes off-peak). At peak times trams run either Bury or Altrincham to Piccadilly, via Piccadilly Gardens, where you can change, or direct Bury to Altrincham. Off peak there are no direct Bury-Altrincham trams and your only option is to change at Piccadilly Gardens. A small part of the city centre from Piccadilly to Cornbrook is shared between the two lines. Metrolink stops serve major areas of the city centre and Central Zone tickets are cheap.
There are plans to extend the system to five lines, with the three new destinations at Oldham/Rochdale, Ashton-under-Lyne/Tameside, and Manchester Airport. This expansion will be carried out in two phases, with work on the first phase expected to commence once the current round of track renewals on the Bury/Altrincham lines is completed.
In part due to its financial difficulties, Metrolink is quite expensive to travel on and does not provide good value for money. If you are going to be using it for more than one journey in a day, your best bet is to buy a Metromax ticket. Tickets must be purchased in advance from the automated vending machines at each station. Press the required destination followed by the required ticket type and then insert your money. Most machines accept notes, but if your note is anything more than even slightly crumpled, it will more then likely be rejected by the machine. Change is not guaranteed over £7 at any machines, or at all, at some machines with the appropriate warning lamp.
The following Central Zone stations might be useful to you:
- Victoria — for Urbis, Chethams Library, Manchester Cathedral Visitor Centre, The Triangle and the Northern half of Deansgate,
- Shudehill — for Bus Interchange, The Printworks, Manchester Arndale and parts of the Northern Quarter.
- Market Street — for the main shopping area, including parts of Manchester Arndale.
- Piccadilly Gardens and Mosley Street — for Coach Interchange from Chorlton Street Coach Station, Chinatown, The Gay Village, Manchester Art Gallery, Cube Gallery and parts of the Northern Quarter.
- Piccadilly — for Rail Interchange and Metroshuttle and Oxford Road Link busses. Manchester Apollo is a 10 minute walk from here.
- St. Peter's Square — for Central Library, The Library Theatre, Bridgewater Hall, The Midland Hotel, The Town Hall and Albert Square. Busses down the Oxford Road corridor to The Palace Theatre, The Green Room, Dance House and Contact Theatres and to the universities and beyond.
- G-Mex — for Rail Interchange from Deansgate Station, Manchester Central (exhibition centre/concert venue), The Manchester International Conference Centre, MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry), the southern half of Deansgate and the beautiful canalside area of Castlefield.
Other interesting destinations include:
- Harbour City — Around 10 minutes from the City Centre. Closest station at Salford Quays to the Lowry, Lowry Outlet Mall and Imperial War Museum North. When the weather is fine, if coming from the centre, alight at Salford Quays Station, walk just a few yards in the direction of travel, crossing road, turn left, and enjoy the tree lined waterside walk, past the Salford Rowing club, as far as the bridge linking The Lowry with The War Museum.
- Heaton Park — Around 10 minutes from the City Centre. Alight here for Manchester's chief parkland. This is the biggest municipal park in the country and a great day out in summer. It has seen much investment of late. Inside you will find a pet zoo, tramway museum, boating lake, stables and golf centre with pitch and putt.The former stately home Heaton Hall is located within the park and is open to visitors in the summer months.
- Old Trafford — Around 10 minutes from the city centre. For Manchester United Football Club, and the home of Lancashire County Cricket Club.
- Stretford — Around 10 minutes from the City Centre. Alight here for a connecting bus to the Trafford Centre. Joint tickets are available from the usual machines.Take care at night.
- Ladywell — Around 15 minutes from the City Centre.There is a large, free car park for the Park and Ride service to Salford Quays and the city.
- Altrincham — 25 minutes from the City Centre. The end of the line is the interchange for trains to Knutsford and Chester. The quaint 'WAG' ( wives and girlfriends of footballers ) village of Hale is around 5 minutes walk from Altrincham and has many trendy restaurants and bars. There is also a lot of old money around here and it is home to some of Greater Manchester's wealthiest people.
- Bury — 25 minutes from the City Centre. Bury's World Famous Market is next to Bury Interchange station. It is open on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. This is visited by people from far and wide; many on day trips by coach. There is also the Millgate Shopping Centre and many retail parks linked by walkways from the Market/Main Shopping Area. Bury is a little worn around the edges, in places, but purely innocent, with an elderly demographic of shopper. Much money is now being invested in a new shopping district.It is a good place for a bargain and a good northern pie, pasty or breakfast and a chance to see real people on their own patch. Check out Bury Museum and Art Gallery too.
Taxis are considerably cheaper than in London. As a general rule, you should be able to get anywhere you need to go within the city for £5-10. You may only flag down the black cabs (London-style Hackney carriages) — other taxis must be booked in advance over the phone and are marked with the yellow Manchester City Council sign on the bonnet, and the firm's phone number (again on a yellow strip) on the sides.
You may find it difficult to get a black cab after the pubs shut on Friday and Saturday nights in the city centre, so it serves to have a back-up plan for getting back to your accommodation. The black cabs with the amber "TAXI" sign illuminated are the ones that are looking for fares.
There are a number of taxi ranks within the city centre, that are staffed by security/logistical staff during busy periods. These ranks are serviced only by black cabs, but there are also private hire taxi companies that you can walk to, and then wait (inside or usually outside) until a taxi becomes available.
Local rail services run regularly and to most places in the surrounding area and beyond. Most trains will pass through Piccadilly or Victoria, but it will do to call National Rail Enquiries (08457 48 49 50)  to find out which one before setting off. If you plan to take several, off peak journeys , by train, within Greater Manchester, you could consider a "Rail Ranger" ticket ,which, as of January 2009, costs £4 per day. An "Evening Ranger" is also available for just £2. This is a large area and means you could travel as far north as Bolton and Rochdale, as far south as the airport and Stockport, as far west as Wigan and as far east as The Peak District. These can be bought at ticket offices or on the train.
GMPTE has a "London tube-style" map of the Greater Manchester rail network, including Metrolink.
It is worth remembering that train services from Piccadilly serve the airport all night.
- The Manchester Wheel, in Exchange Square in the Millennium Quarter. This is a good way of seeing Manchester from an elevated height! You can even hire an extra luxurious gondola with champagne for a special treat.
- Manchester's Chinatown around George Street and Faulkner Street has been a feature of Manchester since the late 1970s. You'll find people on the streets of Chinatown speaking Chinese to each other and most of the signs are bilingual. It's home to the bulk of Manchester's east-Asian restaurants as well as many traders in Chinese food and goods. As night falls upon Chinatown, the neon lights come on, adding to the ambient feel of the area. There many eateries to try too. All of them have an astounding quality, ranging from Chinese to Japanese; reaching out to a wide spectrum of tastes. There are also a Chinese shops, for the locals to buy items imported directly from China, such as newspapers, magazines, DVDs; even specialized medications.
- The Village, also known as the Gay Village, has built up around Canal Street out of the many cotton warehouses in the area. It is home to one of the oldest and most-established gay communities in Europe and is known for its tolerance toward all kinds of people. Many of Manchester's most famous bars and clubs are to be found here, most of which are as popular with heterosexual party-animals as they are with the gay crowd. The Village hosts a major Pride festival every year (August Bank Holiday; the last weekend of the month), when this part of town is closed to the public for a somewhat expensive and exclusive charity raising weekend for gay and gay-friendly people. Many thousands of Pounds are raised, each year, for various Aids charities. There is a moving memorial service on the Monday evening to round the weekend off. Entrance is by wrist band. These are valid for the whole weekend or part of it, if required.
Check out the restaurants in The Village too. The best and longest established has to be Velvet. Staff are friendly and the food is good. It has a cool vibe on a sunday afternoon. There is a bar and a new restaurant space to enjoy. Art works are also on display.
- Check out the Curry Mile, a mile long stretch of curry restaurants, sari shops, and jewelery store in Rusholme.
- If you have time and want to mix with trendy, monied residents try an evening out in the very upmarket southern suburb of Didsbury. "The village" is too far from East Didsbury station for comfort, but a taxi is possible from the city centre or there is a good bus service.On the all too rare,warm and fine saturday evenings, in summer, Didsbury can put on a good show with upmarket restaurants,where you can eat outside, and great pubs and bars. Think London's Hampstead and Islington with similar media types and many others from elsewhere in town ,who want a piece of the action.This was THE place to live in Manchester, for many years, before the rebirth of the centre,and still is, for many, with very high property prices!
- Castlefield is the site of the original Roman settlement Mamucium and has been known as Castlefield since Medieval times. The walls that still stand over two metres high are from as late as the 16th Century. It is the centre of Manchester's canal network and a transport nexus of unique historical importance. The Castlefield Basin joins the Rochdale and Bridgewater canals, the latter being the first cut canal in Britain. The nearby Museum of Science and Industry contains Liverpool Road station, the first passenger railway station in the world. Very important in industrial times, it became run down in post-war times until it was completely regenerated in the 1990s and designated Britain's first Urban Heritage site. These days the area is like a small country oasis in the heart of the city, with regular events and a handful of great pubs around the canals and the neighboring streets. It is also the only place to see wildlife in Manchester's centre.
- The University of Manchester, on Oxford Road, where amongst other things, the atom was first probed by Rutherford, the first computer was built, and where radio astronomy was pioneered. It was here too that the element Vanadium was first isolated. The architectural style of the new curved visitor's centre contrasts with the old buildings on the opposite side of Oxford Road, within which Manchester Museum is nestled.
- Manchester Cathedral, near the Millennium Quarter. The widest cathedral in England with important carved choir stalls (school of Lincoln) and pulpitum. The recently finished Visitor's Centre provides an initmate experience for newcomers to the cathedral. This is near to Harvey Nichols, Urbis and Victoria Station.
- Manchester Town Hall, near Albert Square. This imposing and beautiful neo-Gothic masterpiece by Alfred Waterhouse is a symbol of the wealth and power of Manchester during the Industrial Revolution. Tours can be arranged and the state rooms are generally open to visitors (and free) when not otherwise in use. The Great Hall contains a series of pre-Raphaelite wall paintings by Ford Maddox Brown depicting historical scenes (some rather fanciful) from Manchester's past. The corridors are often seen on television dramas standing in for the Palace of Westminster, although the Commons chamber itself is usually depicted in a permanent set at Granada TV studios. The Town Hall is located on the wide cobbled area of Albert Square, which is all accessible from St Peter's Square Metrolink station.
- John Rylands Library, on Deansgate. The bequest to the people of Manchester by who was once the world's richest widow, Henriquetta Rylands, in memory of her husband John, but now administered by the University of Manchester. It Contains the 'Manchester Fragment' the earliest known fragment of the New Testament, part of St. John's gospel found near Alexandria and dating from the first part of the second century, shortly after the gospel itself was first written. Tours can be booked around lunchtime. The library was designed by Basil Champneys and is the last building built in the perpendicular gothic style.
- St Ann's Church is on one side of St Ann's Square and offers a quiet refuge from the noise of the city. There is always a warm welcome inside.
There are many theatres and concert venues in Manchester, (The Opera House, Palace Theatre, Royal Exchange, Green Room, Dancehouse Theatre, Library Theatre, and The Contact, not forgetting The Lowry at The Quays, which has two theatre spaces). Further afield, The Bolton Octagon, Bury Met, Oldham Coliseum, The Garrick in Altrincham, The Gracie Fields Theatre in Rochdale and Stockport Plaza are worth a mention, as are university and RNCM (Royal Northern College of Music) venues. You can catch the likes of Madonna and Kylie at The MEN Arena, which is the largest of its kind in Europe and seen as one of the best such venues in the world. Other such venues include the Apollo, Bridgewater Hall, and the revamped Manchester Central.
- Central Library & Theatre, near Albert Square. As mentioned above. This interesting, 1930's building is round.
- The Cornerhouse on Oxford Road. This excellent art house cinema has three screens, three floors of exhibition space and a great bar,on the ground floor, with a trendy cafe above. It is located around the former administrative and goods areas of Oxford Road station. This is the gateway to the University Area.
- Imperial War Museum North, at The Quays. Great museum with fantastic architecture, located in Trafford Borough, across the water from The Lowry, near Manchester United's Stadium, and designed by Daniel Libeskind, who also designed The Jewish Museum in Berlin. The museum focuses on the people involved in war, whether it's the people who worked in the factories in World War two, or the soldiers who suffered in the battlefield. Displays are updated on a regular basis.
- The Lowry, at The Quays Home to the City of Salford's collection of the paintings of L.S. Lowry. The centre also contains two theatres. Everything from "Opera North" productions to pantomime at Christmas and touring productions of quality.
- Manchester Art Gallery, near St. Peter's Square. Designed by Sir Charles Barry architect of the Houses of Parliament. The city has a particulary fine collection of pre-Raphaelite paintings.
- Manchester Museum, on Oxford Road. Highlights include a fossil skeleton of Tyrannosaurus Rex and Egyptology, including painted mummy masks of the Roman era.
- Gallery of English Costume, in Rusholme.
- The Museum of Science and Industry, in Castlefield. This is very popular with families and school groups and offers a vast number of displays. The first ever railway station is part of the museum.
- People's History Museum, on Bridge Street between Deansgate and the now much improved Salford Central Station. On Bridge Street, to the left, fans of modern architecture should look out for the new Manchester Civil Justice Centre. It is slowly becoming known to Mancunians as "the filing cabinet". You will see why! For a better view, take it in from the new square, on the other side, into the Spinningfields district, itself worth a detour.
- Urbis, in Millennium Quarter. A "museum of the modern city" in its unmistakable all-glass building. Exhibitions change regularly, so check ahead to see what's on.
- The Whitworth Art Gallery on Oxford Road. During the summer, forget the bus and walk down Oxford Road through the University area, looking out for The Aquatics Centre (a legacy of The Commonwealth Games) and The Royal Northern College of Music. Walk even further and seek out The Museum of Costume at Platt Fields, near the famous Curry Mile in Rusholme, which is unique in Britain. At the Whitworth The Gallery Cafe has been declared "Best Family Restaurant" by the prestigious "Which?-Good Food Guide 2009". It has been described by its owner as "a fresh food cafe" with food of "restaurant quality". The menu is simple with an emphasis on seasonal, local produce.
- Bridgewater Hall, near St. Peter's Square and Manchester Central Exhibition Centre, was completed 1996 and is the home of the Halle Orchestra, the world's first municipal symphony orchestra. The centre piece of the hall is the 5,500 pipe organ by Rasmussen. An elegant bistro and restaurant are open at normal meal times to the general public. There is also a bar next door down the wide steps, overlooking a pleasant water feature. Look out, too, for the polished stone sculpture outside!
- Manchester Jewish Museum, 190 Cheetham Hill Road, Manchester. This is a safe, 10-15 minute walk up the road behind The MEN Arena. You can also catch any bus that goes up Cheetham Hill Road from the stop by the side of the Urbis, opposite The Printworks. The 135 bus is an option; a reliable service running at least every ten minutes. It is about three or four stops from the Urbis, but it is best to ask the driver when to alight. Open Mon-Thu 10:30AM-4PM, Sun 11AM-5PM. Closed on Jewish holidays. Tells the story of the large Jewish population in Manchester. Adults £3.95, concessions £2.95. The museum is in the former Spanish-Portuguese synagogue in what was once the heart of the old jewish quarter. The community has long since moved up the road to Cheetham Hill and Higher Broughton and, in later years, many less orthodox people have moved to Prestwich and Whitefield.
- Lancashire County Cricket Club, located in Old Trafford.
- Manchester City FC, located in Sportcity.
- Manchester United FC, located in Old Trafford.
- Sportcity is located to the east of the city centre, about 45 minutes' walk from Piccadilly Station. It was built to host most of the events for the 2002 Commonwealth Games and is home to the National Cycling Centre, Manchester City FC, and other important sporting venues, as well as tallest sculpture in the UK.
- Manchester Phoenix Ice Hockey Club, located in Altrincham, are the newly formed (2003) team to replace the once most supported team in European Hockey, Manchester Storm. The Phoenix also host the UK's most sucessfull ice hockey player in the form of Tony Hand the team's player/manager.
- Chetham's Library is Manchester's best kept secret - even most residents of the city are largely oblivious to its existence. Europe's oldest Public Library is tucked away next to the futuristic Urbis just off Millenium Square. One of Manchester's oldest buildings it still has the original collection of books, all chained to their shelves. This is where Karl Marx and Frederick Engels would visit while in Manchester and where Engels wrote the world-changing book 'The Condition of the Working Classes in England', a key influence on the development of Communism. You can still sit in the window seat where they would talk. The 15th century structure is part of Chetham's Music School - despite the lack of signs, simply ask at the security hut and they will happily let you in for free.
- St. Mary's, The Hidden Gem, near Albert Square. The oldest post-Reformation Catholic church in the country, dating from 1794. Contains one of the greatest pieces of art in Manchester. The altar is quite magnificent. This is a quiet refuge from the noise of the city.
- The futuristic Trinity Bridge, designed by the Spaniard Santiago Calatrava, who was heavily involved in the designs for the Olympic village in Barcelona, is located in the Chapel Wharf Area. This links the twin cities of Manchester and Salford, leading to the five star Lowry Hotel on the Salford bank. It is all a block behind Kendals, near The Freemasons' Hall. A nice pleasant view.
- The Hulme Bridge in Hulme and The Merchant's Bridge in Castlefield, by Catalan Square, are also worth a look.
- Parsonage Gardens is at the back of the House of Fraser (Kendals) Department Store. This is a quaint garden. Nice to relax in when the weather is fine and to read a book. Nearby there is also an observation platform which looks over the River Irwell. It is a little hidden away but you access this by 20 St Mary's Parsonage, which runs along one side of the gardens.
- Portico Library and Gallery, near Piccadilly Gardens. Home of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical society. Speakers here have included Dalton, the father of Atomic theory and describer of his own colour blindness, the Salford physicist Joule for whom the S.I. unit of energy is named and Roget (who compiled his celebrated Thesaurus here). The Austrian Philosopher Wittgenstein here claimed to have attempted to repeat Franklin's celebrated kite and lightning experiment in the Peak District while employed at Manchester University.
- Midland Bank Building (was the King Street branch of HSBC) is a domineering piece of architecture, reminiscent of Dublin's General Post Office. Go inside for a look if you can once it reopens. It is located at the upper end of King Street near Armani and Vivienne Westwood, towards Mosley Street.
Manchester's shopping district is as diverse as London's, but it is much less spread out and the vast majority of city centre shops are within walking distance of each other. Even in the most upmarket stores you are treated in a friendly manner. The same can not be said of the capital! The recently redeveloped Arndale Centre is a large 1970's city-centre shopping mall, with 280 stores, including the largest Next store in the world. The place retains some of its 1970's concrete charms and STILL some of the infamous yellow tiles that are a testament to bad urban planning of that era. Part awaits an update to the exterior, but the section modernised after the 1996 bomb is a great improvement, although not quite up to the standards of The Trafford Centre. The inside has had a total revamp. It does get very busy at weekends and, unlike at The Trafford Centre, there are far too few places to sit down.
There are a lot of large shops aimed at lower income families ,including the largest Primark in the country, which is great for a bargain and much loved by US cabin crew when in town, and an Aldi food hall , on Market Street (just off Piccadilly Gardens).
The Millennium Quarter (at the back of the Arndale Centre) is now quite smart and good for shopping. There's The Triangle, an upmarket shopping centre based in the beautiful old Corn Exchange, worth a visit for the building alone and Selfridges, with its large Louis Vuitton concession and fantastic food hall in the basement! You will find everything from sushi to fine chocolates, kosher foods, to a juice bar, etc... Harvey Nichols, opposite the Triangle, offer luxury fashions and produce to Manchester's rich and famous. The centre of Manchester's shopping area has traditionally been St. Ann's Square, and there are many shops nearby. King Street and Spring Gardens city centre offer a Vivienne Westwood store (a local girl, from the nearby Peak District), Joseph and DKNY, as well as Emporio Armani and Collezione; these catering for, amongst others, the city's Premiership footballers, soap stars ("Coronation Street" has been produced in the city since the early sixties!), and the many media types who can also be found in the area!
Deansgate has a fair number of decent shops, as do some of the roads off it. The House of Fraser store, considered by many to be the top people's shop, ( still known as "Kendals" to most Manchester people and "Kendal Milne's" to an even older generation ) is on Deansgate and has been on roughly the same site since the mid-19th century. It is somewhat old school and the eating places are worth a visit. One of central Manchester's few quiet green squares is just behind the store. This is Parsonage Gardens.
There is also an outlet mall at The Lowry, in Salford, near the proposed site of a new media village and BBC development.
The Trafford Centre is a huge out-of-town shopping centre and accessible by car, taxi, or a bus/tram journey. It does not yet have a tram station of its own. It has been designated the Temple to Consumerism, and is one the largest, and possibly the grandest, such centres in Europe. It has its own branches of Selfridges, Debenhams and the best of Greater Manchester's two John Lewis stores.( The other is in suburban Cheadle.) The centre is spectacular, luxurious, and 'posh' inside and out. Look out for the biggest chandelier in Europe, near the eating places! If confused how to get there by bus and not too worried about the cost, opt for a through ticket on the tram and catch the link bus from Stretford station on the Altrincham line, (turn right out of station and take the first right for the bus stop). If you already have a Metromax day ticket for the tram, just pay extra on the link bus. You can catch the same bus back to the station from a couple of stops around the centre or from the centre's own bus station. The cinema is also one of the best in the area and has even hosted some UK premieres in the past. The centre is now also linked to an annexe offering homewares and furniture, built in an italianate style around a very large outdoor fountain. With supermarkets and DIY outlets nearby, mancunians can buy everything in this area without venturing into the city or any other town centre.
Of particular interest
- Merchandise from the football club Manchester United is popular with some tourists. There is a dedicated superstore in the stadium at Old Trafford.
- Manchester City FC also has its own dedicated retail outlet at the City of Manchester Stadium in Sportcity, as well as in the Arndale Centre.
- Afflecks Palace in the Northern Quarter is a shopping arcade in a five story Victorian building, featuring a range of 50+ independent stalls catering to a young alternative crowd. It's a lot of fun: strange costumes, lots of goths, punks, and teenagers. Saved from closing in April 2008, it is now simply known as Afflecks.
- The Northern Quarter is Manchester's answer to Soho, and there is a mishmash of stores which sell music, art, and clothing. More and more bars and cafes are opening too.
- Every Christmas time, continental style Christmas markets take place in Albert Square, in St. Ann's Square, and along both New Cathedral Street and Brazennose Street. You can buy all the usual continental and British Christmas curios as well as various foodstuffs. Good fun and very atmospheric at night when it's all lit up.
- Also at Christmas, into the new year, there are open air skating rinks in Piccadilly Gardens and, for the first time in 2008, at Spinningfields infront of the new Justice Centre and The Royal Bank of Scotland building. There is also a bar at the Spinningfields location.
- The small, but perfectly stocked, food section of Harvey Nichols has a particularly fine wine department. Wines range from relatively inexpensive to the highest levels, e.g Chateau Latour, vertical ranges of Petrus, Vega Sicilia, etc. They are still remarkably good value in context, e.g. 1990 Krug Clos de Mesnil 1990, arguably the greatest Champagne ever made and incomparably finer than the footballer's wildly over-rated Crystal is about £150.00 cheaper than usually quoted elsewhere.
- Of late, there is a flower market at the Market Street corner of Piccadilly Gardens during the weekends.
- Also hunt out the Crafts Centre, in the old Smithfield Market Building, in The Northern Quarter.
- There are regular events in both Albert Square and St Ann's Square, all year around, where you can buy art, listen to music and sample foods from far and wide.
- If catering for yourself, there are several Sainsbury's Local stores located around the city centre (at Oxford Road, Mosley Street, Quay Street, Bridge Street, Piccadilly Station). Tesco Metro supermarkets can be found on Market Street (the largest supermarket in the centre), on Piccadilly and on Quay Street, which is near the aforementioned Sainsbury's and Granada TV. There is also a Somerfield at Piccadilly Gardens. M&S food outlets are located within the M&S store next to Selfridges and there are also M&S Simply Food stores at Piccadilly Gardens and within Piccadilly Station.You will find Coop foodstores near both Victoria, by the movement's headquarters, and just outside Piccadilly station. For more upmarket food products, Harvey Nichols has a deli and foodhall as does Selfridges. At the other end of the spectrum there is a large Aldi store in the Arndale Centre, which is, in common with most UK outlets, much more upmarket than the stores in Germany. This is also accessible from Market Street. There is also a Lidl on Oxford Road near Manchester Royal Infirmary.
- For something a little bit different, the newly refurbished Manchester Arndale Market features many food stalls, including a rather large fish store and a butchers. Chinatown has many specialist shops and the landmark Wing Yip superstore on Oldham Road in the Northern Quarter is excellent for everything oriental.
- There are various mini-markets and late night stores around the city centre and in Piccadilly station. There is at least one 24 hour Spar opposite the BBC Studios on Oxford Road. Just out of the centre are a large Sainsbury's, in Regent Retail Park, Salford, an Asda store in Hulme, a Tesco Extra Hypermarket in Cheetham Hill and a Wal*Mart Supercentre in Sportcity.
- Not of particular interest maybe, but it is worth knowing where the main public toilets are about town! Clean conveniences can be found at Piccadilly station (less reliable ones are to be found at Victoria) and there are a few pods around the centre (one is on the corner of John Dalton Street and Deansgate). There are pay toilets in the basement and on the top floor of The Triangle Centre, Exchange Square. You can also find FREE toilets in The Arndale Centre and at the following locations;
- Kendals House of Fraser, Deansgate, (basement, 3rd, and 6th floors).
- Selfridges,Exchange Square. (basement ,in the corner, near TV department).
- M&S, St Mary's Gate. (basement, near the food hall).
- Harvey Nichols, New Cathedral Street (Near the food hall, bar, and restaurant).
- Debenhams, Market Street. (Near cafe, top sales floor).
- Royal Exchange Theatre, St. Ann's Square. (by bars and restaurant — not available to public during performances).
- Town Hall. (entrance opposite Beluga restaurant, on Mount Street, just off Albert Square).
- Central Library, St Peter's Square (in the basement, by the Library Theatre)
Most museums and galleries include free toilets. There is nothing stopping you popping into any busy pub to us their conveniences! At busy times you would hardly be noticed!
- Free copies of The Manchester Evening News are given out, around the city, monday to friday. There is a charge of 40 Pence for saturday's edition, as fewer office workers are in town. This is very good for listings especially on a friday.
- Visit the Trafford area and take a 90 minute Tourist Tracks MP3 walking tour (can be downloaded here , free) of this area of fascinating industrial heritage. Includes information on Old Trafford Cricket Ground and Manchester United FC.
- Manchester has a couple of big multi-screen cinemas located centrally, AMC off Deansgate (as cheap as £3.20 if you're a student), and Odeon in the Printworks show the usual Hollywood fare, The Cornerhouse on Oxford Road tends to show smaller, independent, art house and foreign language movies. There is an IMAX inside The Odeon in the Printworks.
- Gay Manchester(Online Guide), . Details of all Manchester gay and lesbian bars, clubs, saunas and events.
Festivals & Special Events
- Manchester International Film Festival .
- Manchester International Festival , a culture and arts festival of new work.
- Manchester Comedy Festival .
- MAPS Music Art Poetry &Stuff, Northern Quarter.
- Manchester Irish Festival, main events around March, St Patricks Day Parade.
- Gaypride, around The Gay Village in August.
- Manchester Jazz Festival
- Sounds from the Other City, around Chapel Street, Salford
There is no doubting that Greater Manchester's universities continue to be a big draw. More and more language schools are also now opening and offer a more reasonable option than the likes of London and other southern venues.
There are numerous temp agencies in the city and there is work in the hospitality industry to be had. There have been reports, of late, of teacher shortages (though not quite on par with London) and this could be of interest to overseas candidates with the relevant qualifications. It is worth remembering UK schools, and in particular those in the big cities, are one removed from a mad house in many cases!
If qualified to work in Britain, work can be found. Many thousands of east europeans have been drawn to the city in recent years, but if we believe the press reports a great number are now returning due to perceived job insecurity and the falling value of the Pound, as a result of the economic downturn. Many, to date, have found work in the building trade, where there has been a boom as of late. In some areas of employment you could find yourself competing with the many students who need to finance their studies.
Manchester is an important financial centre and the media are also well represented, as can be seen in the BBC's forthcoming partial move to The Media City at Salford Quays and the ITV-Granada ( makers of Coronation Street ) presence on Quay Street. The BBC already has a strong foothold at Broadcasting House on Oxford Road. This is home to BBC Radio Manchester, BBC North West Tonight (regional tv news) and The Religious Affairs Department of The BBC.
Retail is a large employer, in and around the city, and there are many gyms in need of trainers for the growing city centre population.
As you would expect from such a cosmopolitan city, Manchester has a huge selection of restaurants and eateries that serve a vast array of cuisines. Look hard enough and you will be able find any type of international food. It is also worth exploring some of the suburbs for superb, small independent bistros / restaurants. West Didsbury and Chorlton are noted for their large number of great eateries. The usual, well established british chains like Cafe Rouge, Pizza Express, Bella Italia etc are all to be found in the centre and out of town too.
Revolution on Oxford Road has a policy where your food is either ready within a 15 minutes wait or it's free. Worth going at busy times of the day!
There are hundreds of kebab and pizza shops on Oxford Road and in Fallowfield and Rusholme. A listing of takeaways in Manchester can be found here. In Rusholme, in particular, locals speak of the £10 curry. Where if you bring your own drinks into the curry house, you should leave with change from a ten pound note.
Some of the cheapest, long-established curry cafes, though, are still to be found in the back streets of the Northern Quarter. The Little Aladdin cafe at 72 High St (on the corner of Turner St, near Arndale centre) is a tiny little curry house with real charm. They serve a range of delicious curries and kebabs for £3-£4. Here's the menu: .
On John Dalton Street, on the left, just up from Deansgate, going to Albert Square, is a gem of a cafe,Essy's, (imagine a cross between an American diner and an old style British "cafe"). It is run by a group of Iranians, for whom nothing is too much trouble. You can be satisfied for under £5. Clean, welcoming table service. There are a couple of other similar places around town; in the Northern Quarter and one just behind Kendals, on King Street West.
There are plenty of all-you-can-eat buffets in Chinatown for less than £10.00 (€ 13.00). Prices tend to change with the time of day and likely demand. If you eat earlier in the day, you can have a full all you can eat meal, including soup starter and desert for around £5. Really cheap and clean Chinese buffets include Number 1's on Whitworth Street (between Oxford Road Station and the Gay Village) Tai Wu on Oxford Street next to McDonalds.
Wing's Dai Pai Dong in the Arndale Market city centre is set around a sushi counter. It serves a variety of mainstream Cantonese (Hong Kong), Thai, and Japanese dishes. The Hong Kong style roasting dishes are particularly good value and well-made. Typically any mixture of Char Sui, Duck, Belly Pork, Jelly Fish, and Cold Cuts can be paired with Rice, Soup Noodle, or other fried noodles, typically for around £4.50 for a very large and filling bowl/plate. Teamed with a bottle of Asahi Beer, the bill per person will be well under £10. It is difficult to think of anywhere in the city that offers better value.
Amongst the enormous range of Cantonese restaurants in Chinatown, the Great Wall on Faulkner Street offers authentic, reasonably priced food, including many one bowl/plate dishes (Roast Pork and Roast Duck in soup noodle is particularly popular). The only downside is that the service charge increases the bill.
- Red Chilli on Portland Street is of a very good standard and is unusual in Manchester in specializing in Beijing and the very spicy Szechuan cooking. It has a large Chinese following, which is always a good sign.
Outside Chinatown, there is also Moso Moso on Oxford Road and the increasingly esteemed Tai Pan on Upper Brook Street and Brunswick Street.
- Fusion Noodle Bar in Fallowfield has very good noodles.
Rusholme's Curry Mile is, as the name suggests, home to a lot of Indian restaurants! Due to the high concentration of curry houses, and all the competition, you should be able to get a really good curry in just about any restaurant.
In the centre Shimla Pinks is upmarket as is a new venture by the side of The Museum of Science and Industry. This is Akbar's on Liverpool Road and they claim, on the side of buses, to be "probably the best Indian Restaurant in the North of England". Also popular in town are the two EastEast; the original is under the Ibis Hotel, behind The BBC building, and the new, very luxurious one is on Bridge Street, opposite The Manchester Central Travelodge, off Deansgate. Look out for the doorman at the riverside location. There they also offer free valet parking to all guests. These two are classy but not overpriced. Some have claimed the menu could be a little more adventurous, in view of all they seem to have invested. The riverside branch seems popular for asian weddings, lately, which must say something about the quality of the venue.
At the top of King Street on Spring Gardens is Karims. They occupy a fine, old bank building. This too is a classy joint, but by no means over priced.
Further out, Moon in Withington and Third Eye in Didsbury, both in south Manchester, are excellent. Individual takes on traditional dishes are served alongside local specialities, and cost about £6 a dish.
- Yechan Foods, 95 Mauldeth Road, Manchester M14 6SR, ph: (0161) 225 4447.
- Koreana Restaurant — A Long established Korean Restaurant on King Street West in city centre just off Deansgate. A regular stop for Man Utd's Korean football star Ji-Sung Park.
- Wagamama's, (located in the Printworks), is one of the chain of Japanese restaurants popping up all over the country. Wagamama's serve the best ramen, ebi gyoza, and many other different Japanese cooked dishes... perfect with a hot flask of sake! Their second venture in town is into the Spinningfields district just off Deansgate.
- New Samsi, Whitworth Street, city centre. A great sushi restaurant that also caters well for those that don't like raw fish. With a well-stocked, but small Japanese supermarket below (accessed from inside the restaurant) .
- Selfridges Food Hall has a YO! sushi bar.
- Kosmos in Fallowfield.
- Search out the upmarket restaurants in the city's top hotels (The Lowry Hotel, The Midland, SAS Radisson, and Hilton, Deansgate to name just four). Less grand, but very popular, is the restaurant in The Malmaison hotel, by Piccadilly station. The restaurant at the top of the Urbis building,The Modern , reopened at the end of 2007 to much acclaim. It also has a great bar which shares the good view of the city's skyline. The Market Restaurant, in The Northern Quarter, is long established and has an excellent reputation. Heathcote is well represented with a place off Deansgate and a new, modern, Spanish-style venture behind Piccadilly Gardens on New York Street called Grados. Abode on Piccadilly is also believed to have brought something new to the Manchester scene!
Harvey Nichols restaurant and cocktail bar, with views onto Exchange Square, are hard to beat if you like rubbing shoulders with Manchester's wealthy set. When the store is closed there is a dedicated entrance and lift at the side of the building. Their afternoon tea is worth a try, but you may prefer the older style version at The Midland Hotel or a new take on the theme at The Lowry Hotel.
- Yang Sing on Princess Street at the south-western edge of Chinatown has long been considered the best Cantonese restaurant in the country (and perhaps in Europe).
There are the usual chains to be had on Deansgate, but try to search out El Rincon de Rafa, hidden away behind Deansgate, near St. John's Gardens. This is an authentic Spanish restaurant, established many years, and popular with Spanish and South American people, based in the city. It is a stones throw from The Cervantes Centre!! Good on a Sunday.
On Deansgate, opposite The Cervantes Centre, is Evuna. This newish venture has had very good revues.
The Armenian restaurant, very long established, hidden in a basement on Albert Square (by the Town Hall) is good. It's to the left with the Town Hall facing you.
Manchester has a diverse nightlife and can offer a wide range of night-time activities. It has a vibrant and varied nightlife scene, including numerous clubs as well as a huge range of drinking establishments from traditional pubs to ultra-chic concept bars. The best of these, of late, has to be the Cloud Bar on the 23rd floor of The Hilton, Deansgate. Pricey maybe, with attentive table service, yet worth it for the views alone. To avoid the queues, try it during the week! The bars in The SAS Radisson and The Aurora Hotel are also upmarket. For other upmarket venues ( there are some very discrete ones catering for the most privileged in town ), your hotel concierge should be of help in pointing you in the right direction.
Famed for its musical past, the University of Manchester Student's Union on Oxford Road hosts almost nightly gigs in its three venues on Oxford road ranging from local unsigned bands to international superstars. The Manchester Apollo in Ardwick is a slightly bigger venue having boasted appearances from Blondie to new-comers like Kasabian. Smaller bands can also be seen at a range of excellent venues in the city including the Roadhouse, Night and Day, both in the Northern Quarter, and Jabez Clegg, off Oxford Road.
The club scene in Manchester is varied with the dance-orientated clubs you'd expect from a city setting alongside indie, rock, and gay clubs. For the commercial dance music fan, the "place to be" would be Deansgate Locks in Peter's Fields where the clubs and bars can be expensive, but are always full of fashionable types and members of the local student population. More eclectic dance music styles are played at the Music Box and The Phoenix, both on Oxford Road.
For fans of rock music, Jillys on Oxford Road is something of an institution. On a Thursday, it costs just £1 to get in, while Fridays see them open until 6 or 7AM. It has three rooms incorporating punk, ska, metal, goth, and everything in between. Also check out Rock Kitchen on a Saturday night at the Manchester Metropolitan University Student's Union, again on Oxford Road. More rock can be found at the weekly Caged Asylum night, at Club OHM. Next door to Jilly's is Music Box, home to the very good (and increasingly famous) Mr. Scruff. Come here once a month to have a good dance and a cup of tea!
For fans of indie and alternative music, there are a whole host of new exciting clubs opening. Any late evening walk up Oxford Road should enable you to collect a variety of fliers for club nights. The Friday edition of The Manchester Evening News has a good listings section, which is handy for the weekend. Papers are handed out free of charge Mon-Fri, at various points in the centre and at some newsagents.
Successful nights that were championed by City Life include Killing Fantasy on the last Thursday of the month at the Retro Bar on Sackville Street, with a play list that includes Blondie, The Ramones, and Le Tigre. Invest in Property at Joshua Brooks on Charles Street is also another of these nights, falling on the last Friday of the month. Again, expect a mix of indie, electro, punk, and rock. Weekly, Smile at the Star and Garter  in East Manchester is something of a local indie institution with a great play list. Be warned, it sells out very early and can often be unbearably busy as a result of this. Saturday's also play host to Tiger Lounge near the Town Hall. This plays more in the way of lounge alongside experimental and indie sounds.
If you want to hear music by Manchester bands like The Stone Roses, visit Fifth Avenue on Princess Street, often brimming with students — unsurprising when you see the cheap drinks prices! However, the best city centre club for indie music is 42nd Street, just off Deansgate. It plays a mixture of classic and modern indie, 60's pop, and 70's funk and soul.
To enjoy Gay Manchester, it is probably best to visit Canal Street with its concentration of bars and clubs and visit places that appeal along the way. Just off Canal Street, the most popular gay clubs are Essential, a multi-floor super-club open until the early hours (sometimes as late as 8am), Cruz 101 and Poptastic, a two-room pop and indie club held at Alter Ego every Tuesday and Saturday night. Although entry can be expensive, this is usually reflected in a reduced price bar inside the club.
For bars, try the cocktail lounge Socio Rehab in the Northern Quarter (ask a taxi driver where it is) and Tribeca on Sackville Street (in the popular Gay Village). Trof, a funky student bar in Fallowfield, has recently opened a second venture, Trof North, on Thomas Street in the Northern Quarter.
Although there are still plenty of cafes and traditional pubs in Manchester, bars and restaurants with much more bohemian and cosmopolitan feels to them are now dominating. The better traditional pubs include:
- Lass O'Gowrie on Charles Street.
- Salisbury on Oxford Road.
- Peveril of the Peak. Behind The Bridgewater Hall.
- Britons Protection. Behind the stage door entrance of the Bridgewater Hall. It is here where many a poor mug "took The King's Shilling" and found himself pressganged into the army.
- Sinclairs. This is just by Harvey Nichols store.
- Grey Horse Inn.
- The Old Wellington Inn, the oldest pub in Manchester. It was opened in 1552. Along with Sinclair's the whole place was moved, a couple of hundred yards down the road, as part of the development of New Cathedral Street, after the IRA bomb of 1996.
- The Marble Arch Inn, Rochdale Road. Real ale brewed on the premises and cask ale from micro-breweries nationwide.
Comedy wise, Manchester has a fair number of offerings: The Frog and Bucket on Oldham Street offers student friendly prices and The Comedy Store at the Deansgate Locks is the largest comedy venue in town. XS Malarkey in Fallowfield is cheap but good.
- Arora International Manchester, 18-24 Princess Street Manchester, M1 4LY(http://www.arorainternational.com/manchester/location.html), ☎ +44 (0) 161 236 8999(fax: +44 (0) 0161 236 3222), . A modern hotel inside a fine old building with restored facade. Rooms are reasonably spacious for the UK, bathrooms modern and there is air conditioning. The beds are comfortable and the rooms have irons, safes, fridges and heated bathroom mirrors. It is very centrally located in the Manchester city centre, being just across the road from the Manchester Art Gallery, close to China Town and a wide variety of entertainment venues and restaurants. Even reluctant walkers will not need wheeled transport to get around. The staff are friendly and helpful. Residential floors are secured; access requires your room key card. Breakfast has a good selection and may be included in the room rate. It is eaten in the hotel's own Obsidian Restaurant and Bar located in the basement and accessible by lift if you don't want to leave the hotel. The Obsidian also has its own separate street entrance. In room broadband internet is available for a fee. The reception area is modest. Parking is a few hundreds of yards away in a multi-storey public park; the hotel has none of its own. £130.
There are thousands of hotel beds in the city ranging from 5 star establishments to bed and breakfast. If in doubt consult the tourist office, behind the Town Hall on St Peter's Square. See City Information section for contact details and address.
Although you will find a whole bunch of available wi-fi hot spots in central Manchester, they can be very expensive. Until the free municipal wi-fi network comes live in a few years, make best use of the free wi-fi available at:
- Cornerhouse, 70 Oxford Street - art gallery, cinema, bar.
- Oklahoma Cafe, 74 - 76 High Street - coffee shop.
- The Castle Pub, Oldham Street - traditional pub.
If you're uncomfortable around thousands of intoxicated young people, then you should probably avoid Friday and Saturday night taxi queues in the city centre. You should also avoid any conflict with door staff at bars, clubs and pubs.
Manchester is generally quite a safe place, especially in commercialised and tourist orientated areas, but is however prone to trouble due to the large number of people that inhabit the city. It is by no means uncommon to encounter or witness trouble in daylight hours within the city centre. It is a very large and generally deprived city and certain areas have high crime rates, common in outer districts of other UK cities. It is unlikely to affect tourists, but if you should wander into a less desirable area you should be very wary of street gangs hanging around. Should you encounter a group which looks suspicious, either avoid them all together and walk the other way, or try to walk past them quickly (at a distance if possible) and don't behave in a way that they may perceive as disrespectful or confrontational. This can include eye contact or accidently brushing past them with your shoulder.
Caution would be advised in the following areas:
- Longsight. This is a somewhat rundown residential area in the shadow of the city centre, which has as yet avoided the gentrification of nearby Hulme.
- Moss Side. This area has a notorious reputation, but it is very multicultural and worth a visit if you looking for something different, but only during the day. At night the area can be very dangerous. This area is renowned for gang warfare and knife and gun attacks on youths are not uncommon although recent police operations have been reducing this.
- Parts of Hulme. Although this young, trendy, regenerated area would be of interest to many with its new town houses, quirky architecture and blocks of flats; just a stones throw from the centre!
- Cheetham Hill. Not at night maybe, but during the day this suburb, to the north of Victoria Station, is a lively, colourful mixture of cultures: Jewish, Asian, and newer arrivals to the city from various parts of the world! The shopping area around "The Village" is very much like an inner London high street.
- Wythenshawe. Much of this is a vast public housing district out towards the airport.
- Ordsall. This area is on the up and following the example of Hulme with lots of new developments.
- Parts of East Manchester, particularly Beswick.
- Salford. Unless you have good reason, do not wander too far on foot at least, over the river Irwell, into Salford, from the city centre. With the great number of new residential developments in the area, it does feel more relaxed, of late, and should continue to improve over time. The straight route from Manchester centre, via Salford Cathedral along Chapel Street, to Salford University is safe.
Many countries have consulates and commissions in Manchester. For others, you may have to travel to London.
- Australian Consulate, Chatsworth House, Lever Street, Manchester M1 2QL. Tel. 0161 228 1344 Fax: 0161 236 4074.
- Consulate of Belgium, 76 Moss Lane Bramhall, Stockport SK7 1EJ. Tel. 0161 439 5999.
- Consulate General of The People's Republic of China, Denison House, Denison Road, Rusholme, Manchester M14 5RY. Tel.0161 248 9304.
- The Royal Danish Consulate, Century Buildings, St. Mary's Parsonage, Manchester M3 2DD. Tel: 0161 214 4370.
- Trade Commission of France, 24th Floor, Sunley Tower, Piccadilly Plaza, Manchester M1.
- Consulate of France, Davis Blank Furniss, 90 Deansgate, Manchester M3 2QJ. Tel. 0161 832 3304.
- Trade Board of Ireland, 56 Oxford Street, Manchester M1.
- Consulate of Italy, Rodwell Tower, 111 Piccadilly, Manchester M1.
- Consulate of Monaco, Dene Manor, Dene Park, Manchester M20.
- The Royal Consulate of the Netherlands, 123 Deansgate, Manchester M3.
- Vice-consulate of Pakistan, 4th Floor Hilton House, 26/28 Hilton Street, Manchester M1.
- Consulate General of Spain, La Brook House, 70 Spring Gardens, Manchester M2 2BQ.
- Consulate General of Switzerland, 24th Floor, Sunley Tower, Piccadilly Plaza, Manchester
- Swedish Consulate, Lincoln House, 1 Brazennoze Street, Manchester M2 5FJ. Tel. 0161 834 4814.
- Norwegian Consulate, International Trade centre, Churchgate House,6 Oxford Street,Manchester M60 7HF. Tel. 0161 236 1406.
- Consulate of Iceland, 28 Macclesfield Road, Wilmslow SK9 2AF. Tel. 01625 524133.
- Consulate of Finland, 5 Bramway,High Lane, Stockport SK6 8EN.Tel. 0161 376 4799.
- Consulate of Czech Republic, 20 Stamford New Road,Altrincham WA14 1EJ. Tel(mob).07729834759.
- High Commission of Cyprus, 304-306 Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9NS. Tel. 0161 276 5013.
Manchester is well placed at the heart of Northern England. Everything is within an hour away of Manchester's Piccadilly and Victoria stations; major cities, National Parks, picturesque scenery, seaside resorts and swanky suburbs can all be reached by train, usually for under/around £10 return.
- Blackpool — Around 1 hour by train. Previously known as 'The Playground of England'. Famed for a wild night out and favoured by Stag and Hen parties. An education, with some fantastic gay clubs to rival those anywhere! Blackpool's attractions including Britain's busiest theme park Pleasure Beach, Blackpool and the famous "Lights" from end of august to the first weekend in november.
- If you want a quiet day by the seaside try Southport, north of Liverpool, and the North West's best kept secret! Lord Street is a must. Upmarket shopping and tea rooms combine with the beach to make Southport a nice relaxing day out. Accessible by train from Manchester in around one hour.
- The North Wales seaside resorts of Rhyl , Prestatyn and Llandudno are around an hour and a half to two hours away from Manchester.
- Formby near Southport is a nice day out. Some picturesque sand-dunes, red squirrel preservation area, an ice cream van and a lovely beach, without the usual british seaside resort junk (arcade games, amusements etc). A change of train is required, so journey times are over an hour away. You can access the northern end from Southport quite easily.
- Leeds — Post industrial city now a major financial centre, home to Leeds United who are traditional rivals to Manchester United. Get there by coach/bus from Manchester Central Coach Station, Chorlton Street (cheaper by far and as many locals will confirm, often more reliable than the train).
- Bradford with the fabulous Alhambra Theatre and National Museum of Film and Photography.
- Liverpool was 2008 European Capital of Culture, and is booming again, being seen by many in The North West as a strong rival to Manchester. Often seen as quicker than the train is the hourly coach service to Liverpool from Chorlton Street Coach Station. A day return is a real bargain and you are in Liverpool in about an hour. This can be a little longer, at times, but the friendly staff at the coach station can advise you how long the trip takes at busier times. The River Mersey and Liverpool's Albert Dock along with the city's unforgettable skyline and cosmopolitain nature make it definately worth a visit.
- Chester — Take a Direct train from Manchester Piccadilly or Oxford Road stations to this compact Roman city. Old buildings and cobbled streets will greet you. You can walk around the city centre on the Roman Walls. Listen out for all those welsh accents mixed with the voices of nearby Liverpool, Manchester and beyond! All Manchester-Chester via Stockport/Altrincham trains call at Hale and Knutsford. It is worth checking out these posh Cheshire villages on the way for a drink in a trendy bar.
- Preston — It still retains an "old northern" culture and is the UK's newest city, having been at last granted that status. The city centre is currently undergoing a £700 million redevelopment project. Preston is about a 40 minute drive north of Manchester and also accessible by train or coach. Preston is well worth a visit. It is the administrative centre of the County of Lancashire and home to County Hall, The National Football Museum and one of the region's newer universities.
- Peak District for grass and hills. About 15 miles to the east of the city. A National Park and one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Buxton and the villages around are worth a look. Hadfield and Glossop are around 30 minutes train ride away from Piccadilly. Edale and Buxton are under an hour away.
- The Lake District — For a bit of greenery in a National Park, go to the north. Of international poetic repute and one of the most beautiful parts of England. About an hour away.
- Heaton Park — Ok, not exactly deep countryside but the nearest suburban Manchester can offer. Heaton Park is served by Metrolink trams around 10 minutes away from Manchester Victoria on the Bury Line, so it is great if you want a break from the city but are short on time! You could easily spend a whole day in this expansive park, with loads of attractions including pitch and putt, the boating lake, the tramway museum, former stately home "Heaton Hall". Finish off with the excellent views of the City and surrounding countryside from the highest point in Manchester "Heaton Park Temple".
- Delamere Forrest and Tatton Park are beautiful areas of Mid-Cheshire on the Manchester-Chester via Stockport line. Alight at Delamere and Knutsford stations respectively.
Suburban and beyond
- Huddersfield — A solid Victorian gem! Around 30 minutes away by Transpennine Express. This fine town is in West Yorkshire.
- Salford is part of Greater Manchester and home to The Lowry and other attractions. The Roman Catholic Cathedral, here, is well worth a visit, and just minutes walk from Manchester centre. Also of note is the charming village suburb of Worsley.
- Wigan — The western part of Greater Manchester, home to the 1970's Northern Soul scene, famous for it's rugby league team and Pies. Wigan is around a 35 minute train ride away from central Manchester.
- Rochdale — Also within Greater Manchester and home town of Gracie Fields, boasting a Victorian Gothic town hall to rival Manchester's. The town is around a 15-20 minute train ride from Victoria or bus from Shudehill Interchange. The Cooperative movement started here and there is a dedicated museum.
- Stockport is in the south of the conurbation and boasts the Hat Museum and the 1930's Plaza cinema/theatre. Trains from Piccadilly take around 13 minutes and there are also excellent bus links. You can visit the underground, former World War II bomb shelters..
- Bury, Oldham, Ashton-under-Lyne, Bolton and Altrincham are all satellite towns, within Greater Manchester, each with their distinct feeling and market-town atmosphere. They are all under 25 minutes way from the city centre by train or Metrolink tram or a little more by bus.
This page was last edited at 14:30, on 24 March 2009 by Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel. Based on work by Peter Stoner, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.