What to see in Manchester – The best places in the city

Manchester has long been celebrated as a cultural, entertainment and arts hub in the north of England. Buzzing with energy, and full of life (pandemic or not!) the city and its surroundings are now home to almost three million people, and it shows no signs of slowing down. 

With significant development and regeneration projects happening in the city centre and across Greater Manchester, and the government’s ongoing commitment to creating the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ there’s never been a better time to add a visit to Manchester to your bucket list.

If you’re familiar with Manchester or not, the city has some impressive exports. Underpinned by a rich musical history, the city prides itself on being the birthplace of the likes of The Stone Roses, The Smiths, and the legendary nightclub the Hacienda. But don’t be fooled into thinking the best is behind it, the city is home to some of the biggest and brightest newcomers to the music scene. 

Whether you’re heading to Manchester as a day tripper, or looking to make the city your permanent home in 2021, the place is packed to the brim with things to do, places to eat and exciting things to see. We’ve put together a handy guide of what to see in Manchester – the best places in the city are unrivalled, unique and downright unmissable.

Start with a walk in the park 

Green space isn’t often the first thing you think of when picturing a bustling city, but Manchester is rapidly evolving into a place where nature and innovation go hand in hand. It’s also worth noting that many of the districts of Greater Manchester are easily accessible by tram from the city centre, so you’ll be able to explore on a budget and in a more environmentally-friendly way.

Get some friends together and head north to Heaton Park. Most famously known as the host of the annual Parklife festival these days, but the  600 acre park is worth a visit all year round. With plenty of green space, a boating lake and a small farm, the park is suitable for people of all ages.

If botanical gardens peak your interest, Fletcher Moss in Didsbury is a bit of a hidden gem but a favourite with locals. Head for a walk through the park then indulge in a Sunday roast at Volta, the perfect way to round off a weekend. 

Staying pretty central? Wander along the canal networks that thread through the city centre. Start on the Rochdale Canal in Ancoats and take a walk up to The Etihad Stadium, home to Manchester City Football Club, or meander through New Islington Marina, stopping at Pollen, a sourdough and Viennoiserie bakery, for a fresh loaf or homemade croissant. 

Become a culture vulture

When visiting any city, soaking up the history and culture of the place can make it feel more like home. We’ve touched upon Manchester’s rich history of music, but what about the everyday people that made the city is it today? The People’s History Museum is the UK’s national centre for the collection of materials that represent the working people, and as with all UK museums entry is free, but donations are welcome. 

The cities museums are known for being family-friendly, and the Manchester Museum is a great day out no matter your age.  You could head out to Salford Quays to visit the Imperial War Museum North, don’t forget to stop by the Lowry or visit the Makers Market for a treat while you’re there!

If art is more your scene, Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Art Gallery in the city centre are worth a stop on your visit, or head to HOME on First Street to experience some of the best and brightest creative talents showcase their work. You could also catch a show at the Royal Exchange theatre, where fresh off the West End talent and travelling theatre companies present their work.

Check out the architecture 

When exploring a new city, it can be easy to get caught up with what’s on ground level, but don’t forget to look up and around you! Manchester is a city brimming with stunning architecture. Take a walk down Deansgate and pass the John Rylands Library, the outside of the building is just as attractive as the inside. Remember to look out for the staircase, a focal feature of the building.

Have you thought about taking a guided tour of the city? Walking tours are an easy and budget-friendly way to get acquainted with the places to see in Manchester, and you might learn something new too. Most tours will cover Manchester Cathedral, and take you through the history of the city, including St Anne’s Square and the Town Hall. 

Have a pint in hipster’s paradise

You may have heard of the Northern Quarter, if you haven’t, where have you been? Once renowned for being the home of the offbeat and creative, the Northern Quarter is now as well known for its student scene as it is for its street art. Take a walk through the backstreets and you’ll spot plenty of walls and buildings adorned with stunning artwork created by graffiti artists and local creatives alike. 

Manchester’s Northern Quarter is well regarded for its food and drink scene too. Once you’ve taken in the culture, whet your appetite with a visit to one of the bars or restaurants that line the streets. If you’re looking for the ultimate comfort food, head to Home Sweet Home, a cosy spot on Edge Street that is beloved for its brunch and overloaded desserts. If you need more inspiration for the best places to eat in the city, check out our guide.

Exploring a city is thirsty work, make sure to take the time to stop at one of the quirky bars dotted around the Northern Quarter, or head to the New Cross border and have a craft ale or glass of wine at Mackie Mayor. Formerly part of Smithfield Market, the building harks back to 1858, but had lay empty since the nineties before being refurbished in 2017 into a dining hall full of local food vendors. 

Watch some live sport

We couldn’t talk about places to see in Manchester without mentioning the wide range of sports teams in the city. If you prefer football, cycling or cricket, there’s options to suit any sports fan.

Whether you’re red or blue, the city is home to two of the best football clubs in the world. Manchester City are based just outside the city centre, while Old Trafford football ground, home to Manchester United, is just across the River Irwell. Getting tickets to live matches can be a struggle, but they are sometimes available if you plan ahead. If you’re unsuccessful, matches are often shown in pubs across the city, so you’ll get the next best thing. 

If cricket is more your game, head to the other Old Trafford, home to Lancashire County Cricket Club. The ground hosts test matches and club games throughout the year. The cricket ground is also often used as a concert venue, so keep an eye out for ticket announcements throughout the year.

For fans of sports on two wheels, take a trip to the Velodrome. The indoor venue also boasts a BMX track, was the site for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, and is still the home of British Cycling today. Part of the SportsCity area of Manchester, it’s worth a visit for any sports fan. 

If that isn’t enough, you can visit the National Football Museum in the city centre, located next to Victoria Train Station. With hands-on exhibits, places to test your football skills and over 140,000 football related-items it’s the perfect day out for any football fanatic!

Put on your dancing shoes

Exploring a new city in the day is one thing, but everyone knows places truly come alive at night, and Manchester City Centre is home to some of the best nightlife spots in the country. When wondering what to see in Manchester, don’t forget to make time to have a proper mancunian knees-up during your time here.

Start out with a Michelin star dinner at Mana in Ancoats, before putting your gladrags on and heading down for cocktails at Australasia. Keep your eyes peeled, as Spinningfields is a hotspot for reality stars and footballers alike. If quieter pubs and bars are more to your taste, head down to Salford and visit the King’s Arms, where you’ll find local ales and up and coming musicians playing to a willing crowd every weekend. 

If you want high energy, grab tickets for the Warehouse Project and dance the night away, or check out a gig at one of the many music venues in the city centre. There’s Manchester Arena, which hosts pop superstars regularly, or more intimate venues such as The Albert Hall. If you’re watching music there, stop into Albert’s Schloss for an after show tipple as they have live music of their own into the small hours each weekend. Or why not party well into the night and head to Canal Street and the Gay Village.

There are lots of places to see in Manchester, have we missed any hidden gems? Let us know via our Instagram page. 

Please note: this article was written prior to lockdown restrictions in England, some venues may not be open or have restricted capacity. Please check with the venue before making a booking. 

What’s it like to live in Manchester City Centre?

Bursting with life and character, Manchester City Centre has rapidly become a hub of entertainment, culture and nightlife. Drawing in millions of visitors every year, whether to experience the ever-expanding restaurant scene or watch two of the worlds most successful football teams play, there’s plenty to see and do in this metropolitan hotspot. But what’s it like to live in Manchester City Centre?

Voted in the top 15 of Time Out’s best cities in the world, Manchester is underpinned with a rich industrial and musical history. The city has birthed some of the most successful musicians, including The Stone Roses, Joy Division and Oasis. Not to mention the historic pubs and bars dotted around that now showcase the next generation of talent to come from this North West City.

Ever-changing, the city has enjoyed a recent property boom and many redevelopments of old industrial mills have turned into cultural hubs and modern apartments. Bringing an influx of young professionals and families to call the city centre home. 

Whether you are visiting Manchester as a tourist, or moving to Manchester and buying a home, you’re sure to find something to suit your taste. Our guide rounds up several of the most unmissable spots a stone’s throw from New Cross Central,  and some handy tips for living like a local while you’re here – you’ll be spoilt for choice!

Eat, drink, party, repeat

Whether you’re familiar with Manchester as a food and nightlife hotspot or not, it’s difficult to ignore the rising reputation that the food and beverage scene has seen recently. You only have to wander through the Northern Quarter to see the new bars and restaurants opening up each week. The city prides itself on its extensive range of culinary specialities, whether it’s plant-based you’re after, looking for somewhere off the beaten track, or fancy the ultimate indulgence of a Michelin star rated experience, there is something to satisfy anyone’s taste! 

There are plenty of bars to choose from throughout the city too. In the summer months, if you’re lucky enough to catch a sunny day stroll down the canal to Castlefield, where students and locals alike head in their droves to catch some sun with a few drinks. If you’re looking for something more upmarket, Spinningfields has a plethora of cocktail bars, popular with footballers and celebrities. Check out 20 Stories for 360 views of the city with a drink in hand, or The Ivy if avant-garde decor and Instagrammable drinks are your thing.

As the home of The Hacienda and The Warehouse Project don’t forget to bring your dancing shoes (or at least a comfy pair) when heading out in the city for the night. If indie bars are more your scene, stop by The Soup Kitchen or Night and Day Cafe, and maybe you’ll uncover the next big thing. Manchester City Centre also has a host of larger venues, with Manchester Arena, The Manchester Apollo, and The Etihad Stadium all hosting shows from Liam Gallagher, Taylor Swift, and Foo Fighters recently.

Shop ‘til you drop

If your money is burning a hole in your pocket, the shopping on offer in the city centre is sure to help! Whether you are interested in high-end purchases or looking for vintage treasures, you won’t be walking away empty-handed. Market Street, the spine of the city centre, is the place to go to find all the high street shops you’d come to expect, all conveniently located in the Arndale shopping centre. Walk a little further to Cathedral Street and you’ll find Harvey Nichols, Selfridges, and House of Fraser before ending in Spinningfields for designer goods.

If you’re in the mood for something a little different, head to the Northern Quarter and get lost in the wacky and wonderful Afflecks Palace, which has several floors of independent shops, cafes, and even a tattooist or two! You’ll find an abundance of vintage shops, quirky bookstores, and comic shops in the Northern Quarter too, so be sure to take a wander (if your shopping bags aren’t too heavy!).

Looking beyond the city centre, to Greater Manchester, world-renown shopping and leisure destination The Trafford Centre is just a few tram stops away via public transport or a 20-minute drive from the city centre. Artfully designed with Athenian flair, the huge mall has hundreds of shops, restaurants, and leisure facilities to keep you entertained, well worth a visit during your time here!

Job opportunities galore

We can’t cover what it’s like to live in Manchester city centre without mentioning the job market. When the BBC announced it was moving its headquarters to Media City in Salford Quays in 2011, the Manchester job market widened exponentially, attracting creatives, designers, and professionals from all over the country. Since then, the job market has shown no signs of slowing across the city, and Manchester is now considered one of the fastest-growing job markets in the country. Cultural, arts, and creative jobs make up a lot of the landscape, but there are also plenty of opportunities in finance and hospitality. With the strongest economy outside of London, you’d stand in great stead jumping on the career ladder in Manchester. 

The city has two major train stations, Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria, and is only two hours on the train from London. Both stations offer great public transport links to the rest of the UK too. There is also a regular tram service throughout the city, into the Greater Manchester boroughs.

Manchester is also a university city, with one of the largest student populations in the country, with the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, and Salford University calling the city home.

Did we mention there’s football? (and other sports)

We couldn’t tell you what’s it like to live in Manchester city centre without mentioning the football, could we? Whether your allegiance lies with red or blue, you won’t be short of entertainment with these two world class clubs in the city. Both football grounds are located within easy distance on the tram or by Uber from the city centre. It’s definitely worth heading to the city centre when these two clubs meet, just for the atmosphere alone.

If lower league football catches your interest, Salford City, owned by United’s own Gary Neville, also play in the city and their meteoric rise through the ranks is an impressive watch.

Not forgetting the cricket either, just a stone’s throw from Manchester United’s Old Trafford, is Old Trafford cricket ground, home to Lancashire County Cricket Club. The ground hosts many One Day Internationals and matches throughout the year, and tickets can be snapped up here. The ground is also used as a music venue in the summer months, so keep an eye out for announcements.

The Countryside on your doorstep

While living in the hustle and bustle of the city centre is undoubtedly great, there’s sometimes nothing better than putting on some walking boots and heading out into the countryside for some fresh air. One of the great things about Manchester is it’s proximity to great outdoor spaces and walks. 

Nestled on the edge of the Peak District, and less than 90 minutes from the Lake District, you are never far from nature. Dovestone Reservoir is just 40 minutes away, , or get the train to Saddleworth to experience some top walking spots, not far from your home in the city. 

A hub for culture and the arts

Manchester is well known for its rich history and cultural scene, from the Northern Quarter to the Museum of Science and Industry, the city celebrates the arts, media and history in a number of unique ways. There’s always a show to watch, a gallery to attend or a museum to visit.

Whether you’re looking for inspiring theatre or off-beat comedy, Manchester’s culture scene has it all. Head to HOME just off First Street to witness some of the city’s biggest talents take the stage, or visit one of the city’s art galleries, like Whitworth Art Gallery. You could also laugh your socks off at the Frog and Bucket Comedy Club on Oldham Street. 

Find out more about Manchester’s part in the industrial revolution at the Museum of Science and Industry or immerse yourself in the story of Emmeline Pankhurst and the plight of The Suffragettes at The Pankhurst Centre

What’s it like to live in Manchester city centre from your perspective? Have you uncovered any hidden gems you think we should shout about? Let us know via Instagram. 

The Best Gyms In Manchester City Centre

While 2020 may have been the year of the home workout, yoga in your spare room isn’t for everyone, so we’ve rounded up the seven best gyms in Manchester City Centre.

Whether lockdown took its toll on your waistline, or you’re looking to kickstart a new fitness hobby, we’ve considered location, workout style and goals in this list – grab your trainers!


Described as a ‘boutique’ by its owners, this independent gym on Dale Street avoids the clinical feel of some mainstream chain gyms. Arguably one of the coolest gyms in central Manchester, V1be features a fashionable aesthetic enhanced with live DJ’s. For the tech minded among us, there is an emphasis on heart rate monitoring and vital stat tracking. The data adds a competitive edge, so you can challenge yourself or rope in a friend or partner to battle against.

Find out more here

Gym and Juice 

Previously based on Oldham Road, Gym and Juice shifted their offering to outdoor classes post lockdown. Dubbed ‘Urban Playground’, their team of personal trainers run various fitness classes across Ancoats and New Islington focusing on HIIT, strength and core training. Since restrictions have lifted slightly, the team now has an indoor space in Castlefield dedicated to meditation and yoga. 

You can find their weekly timetable via Classpass

Les Mills

Unless you’ve been avoiding the internet for the last ten years, it’s likely you’ve heard of Les Mills in some form or another. It’s namesake is four-time Olympian Les Mills, and catapulted into success through their ‘Bodypump’ classes. The beauty of Les Mills is you can choose a gym nearby to attend the class – and there’s plenty in Manchester City Centre –  or complete them from home if group fitness classes aren’t your thing. 

Find a class to suit you today 

Crossfit Ancoats

 If you’re local to the Ancoats or New Islington area, you’ll likely have seen members of Crossfit Ancoats training in Cutting Room Square over the summer. Once the colder months hit they retreat back to their ‘Box’ in the heart of Ancoats, just a stone’s throw from Manchester City Centre to offer Crossfit training, classes and personal training sessions from beginner level up to experienced. 

Find their timetable here


If you’re after a flexible and budget-friendly gym, this is the place for you. PureGym has 17 gyms across Manchester to choose from, including Spinningfields and the Northern Quarter in the city centre. Aside from its purse friendly price point, the gym has everything you need, with contract-free memberships and 50 fitness classes a week included at no extra cost. 

Find your nearest PureGym here


The newest member on the indie gym scene, KOR has two studios, Resistance and Revolution. In the first, you’ll find everything needed for high intensity interval training (HIIT) alongside the usual suspects of treadmills, weights and assault bikes. Revolution is the place for spin classes, where experienced instructors will talk you through intense but rewarding classes via the Life Fitness Connect app. Think a blackout studio with giant screens, making for a fully immersive experience, and if you’re feeling a bit gym-timidated the team offers day passes for you to try a session out.

Check them out here 

Livingwell Health Club

If you like exercise to feel like a luxury, there are few better places to work out than the Hilton Deansgate, in Manchester City Centre, where Livingwell Health Club is based. Think high-tech gym equipment, a 20 metre swimming pool and complimentary toiletries once you’re finished working up a sweat. The team will also set up a free personalised Fitness For Life programme to help you achieve your goals and if you really want to kick it up a notch, personal training is available too. 

Find out more here

Interested in owning your own home in New Cross Central? Find out more here

The Best New Restaurants in Manchester City Centre You Should Try

This year has seen us spend more time at home than we ever planned to, and hospitality has been one of the hardest-hit industries, that being said, Manchester City Centre still has one of the best food and drink scenes in the UK. 

While you may now be well acquainted with your oven, or at least your Deliveroo driver, there’s never been a better time to start planning where to head out to eat in Manchester in the coming months.

With so many great places on offer, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, luckily, we’ve taken the time to pick out some of the best new dining experiences Greater Manchester has available, whether you’re entirely plant-based, looking for somewhere off the beaten track, or fancy the ultimate indulgence of a Michelin star rated experience, there is something to satisfy anyone’s taste! 



The restaurant to finally bring a Michelin Star to Manchester. Mana, based in Ancoats, a short walk from the city centre, promises to bring the best of British produce in an exclusive setting. Focusing on natural resources to take patrons on a culinary journey in their dining room, with open kitchen, throughout the evening, the avant-garde menu is full of locally sourced ingredients which change based on seasonality.  If you’re looking for fine dining and an extensive wine list, this is it.

Mana is in high demand and there is an extensive waiting list. Make a booking enquiry here 

Update –  Mana is temporarily closed due to the tier three restrictions in Manchester, but gift vouchers are available for when they reopen.


202 Kitchen

An overnight success, 202 Kitchen has become an instant hit with influencers and celebrities local to Manchester, mainly due to it’s Barbie pink interior and Instagram-ready decor. Originally birthed from the owners of 101 nightclub in Birmingham, owners Leon Beckford, John Rambo and Panikos Parper changed their offering when the first Coronavirus lockdown hit to allow for the change in the market, and swiftly set up their restaurant offering in both cities.

Serving a ‘trapbox’ style menu – a recent food scene development where food is piled into a box and promoted on social media – and an extensive themed cocktail list, this is the place to go if you want to be seen. 

202 Kitchen is on Bridge Street – check booking availability here.


Peck & Yard

Fried chicken worth venturing to Great Ancoats Street for! Already a firm favourite at their flagship site in Chorlton, Peck & Yard has opened a second, slightly smaller site on the edge of the Northern Quarter. Forget Kentucky fried, the team offer Asian style fried chicken, with exciting flavour twists like Korean barbecue and classic salt and pepper.  There’s also plenty of vegetarian and vegan options including halloumi strips and cauliflower bites, all drenched in your choice of sauce. 

A casual setting, the site only has a few tables and will also operate as a takeaway, so don’t worry about needing to book a table. Peck & Yard is also available on Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat.


Pho Cue Kitchen

If you’re looking for something slightly off the beaten track, why not wander into Manchester’s China Town one weekend? Brilliantly named Pho Cue opened over the summer and infuses traditional Vietnamese food with some wildcard options including Vietnamese-style tacos and Katsu Curry. This place is worth the walk from New Cross Central.

Letting each dish speak for itself, the Cue family, prepare and cook each dish from scratch, just as it would be done traditionally in Vietnam. The epitome of family-run, with owner Cue being joined in the kitchen by his mum, as well as his uncle as head chef.

Update – Pho Cue Kitchen is currently offering takeaway alongside their dine-in options.


Escape To Freight Island

Another triumph of an otherwise pretty bad year for the restaurant industry, Escape to Freight Island popped up almost out of nowhere over the summer to take over the old Mayfield Depot space near Piccadilly Station. An outdoor eating and drinking space from the creators of Camden Town Brewery, the regenerated space hosts a whole load of independent food traders, including Voodoo Rays Pizza and Krum doughnuts.

Somehow, the team have managed to expand even in 2020 and have just launched their new winter ticket hall, which brings all the magic of the festive season into one place. Bringing the vibes of freight island inside to a warmer setting, the ticket hall will feature pop-ups from some of the city’s best bars and restaurants, including Sugo Pasta Kitchen and cocktail bar The Jayne Eyre. There will also be a craft beer offering from Manchester’s own Pomona Island Brewery, plus a taproom from Camden Town.

Escape To Freight Island is currently closed due to the national lockdown measures in England, we can’t wait to visit them as soon as we’re able to.

Check out Escape To Freight Island for the latest updates here.


Delhi House Cafe

Opening during the slight lockdown lift of the summer, family-owned Delhi House Cafe in the Corn Exchange is aiming to carve a niche for itself in a city full of great Indian Restaurants.

Featured in The Guardian by Jay Rayner, who gave a glowing review, Delhi House Cafe is an ambitious offering, with a mixture of Indian Tapas style dishes and larger plates. 

The Lamba family chose Manchester as their first UK spot to showcase their exciting and unique take on traditional Indian cuisine, featuring South Asian dishes with a twist, including the ‘Not My Burger’ special and other Indian street food dishes, a real treat for those who love to combine flavours of the East and West. 

Book your table here

Update: Delhi House Cafe is currently closed due to tier three restrictions in force in Manchester


Black Leaf

An extension of the already popular garden-themed bar Alvarium in the Northern Quarter, Black Leaf is offering a brand new food concept. Situated in the basement of the bar, diners can expect an exciting and adventurous plant-based menu to tickle their taste buds. Creative and innovative flavours are used in each dish, and head chef Adam Leavy has even mastered the vegan scotch egg. 

The ambitious offering takes the idealogy of the garden theme of Alvarium and transfers the decor into its menu. As one of the only spots in the city dedicated to offering a three-course plant-based menu, it’s sure to be a hit with vegans and carnivores alike.

Regulars to Alvarium will also be pleased to know the extensive plant-based cocktail menu the bar is famous for will be available in the restaurant, and there’s even a delicious dairy-free black forest gateaux on offer, so make sure to save room for dessert!

Make a booking enquiry here

Update – Black Leaf is currently running a click and collect takeaway service due to tier three restrictions in the Manchester area.


Another Heart To Feed

One of the most recent openings on our guide, this Australian inspired brunch and natural wine spot in the heart of the Northern Quarter opened its doors in September is already proving to be a hit with locals.

The second site for the team, the first being in Didsbury,  Another Heart To Feed is located in Stevenson Square and serves all the brunch classics you’d expect, like smashed avocado toast and poached eggs, inspired by travels to the brunch scene of Melbourne and Sydney. You’ll also find vibrant additions like acai bowls and their house-made beans on sourdough toast.  They also have an extensive cocktail menu for a tipple or two! 

The team doesn’t take bookings & tables are on a first come first serve basis.

Have you eaten somewhere in Manchester City Centre and think we should be shouting about it? Get in touch with us on Instagram.