Manchester’s creative heritage is second to none. Home of the ‘Madchester’ movement of the late 80s, which birthed an impressive list of bands, including Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses, and The Smiths, it was also the home of the legendary club, The Haçienda, which fuelled the rise of acid house music and rave culture in the city.
Manchester’s cultural calendar reveals a city with world-leading arts events everywhere, from huge venues like Factory International to more intimate independent spots tucked away from the city centre.
It’s safe to say that Manchester does the arts like no other city.
The City of Manchester
Manchester is a highly creative city with a diverse cultural scene and a wealth of theatres, galleries, live music, and cinemas.
There are beautiful galleries to inspire and delight you. Manchester Museum, The Whitworth Gallery, MOSI, Castlefield Gallery, and Holden Gallery are not to be missed. HOME hosts a variety of installations, dance shows and independent film festivals. Also, The Everyman Cinema is a must-visit for all film fans if you want to catch a blockbuster with the added luxury of a comfy sofa and a cold beer. Backyard Cinema also offers themed experiences on the roof of Depot Mayfield. Not to be missed.
With four universities, Manchester has a huge student population, and there are plenty of student club nights and events throughout the year to suit all tastes.
The Warehouse Project attracts some of the world’s biggest DJs. Manchester’s Gay Village caters for a vibrant LGBTQI+ scene. There is a vast number of venues in Manchester, from the spacious to the bijou (and many in between). Some of the most popular music venues and hangouts include Ritz, The Deaf Institute, Manchester O2 Apollo, Manchester Arena, Jimmy’s, and The Castle.
Classic indie heads will love The Venue, 42nd Street and Factory. YES has a good variety of nights at its basement venue attracting plenty of famous names. For metal and rock, gigs tend to be at the Manchester Academy up Oxford Road. Try Satan’s Hollow for a late one.
You can experience your favourite vibe at smaller, more intimate places like The Peer Hat, Night & Day, Soup Kitchen, Gulliver’s and The Fitzgerald. Bigger venues include AO Arena, Castlefield Bowl, Victoria Warehouse, Albert Hall, and Gorilla. If you’re after something a little classier, try The Lowry, Palace Theatre, Manchester Opera House, or Bridgewater Hall.
Mancunians, much like students, love a festival. And in Manchester, big names flock to play at the likes of Parklife and Dot to Dot. It’s also home to Neighbourhood, where some of Manchester’s most prestigious music venues join forces to host a one-day event. Over 100 artists and bands from all over the world perform at this friendly and diverse event.
Food and Drink in Manchester
Be sure to visit ‘The Curry Mile’ in Rusholme (past the universities up Oxford Road) for affordable, good-quality Indian food. China Town (just off Portland Street) has many Asian cuisines to suit any budget, including legendary spot Pho Cue. There’s also a fantastic fish and chip shop called Portland Plaice. If it’s breakfast you’re after, you mustn’t miss Goey, serving delightful breakfasts for all tastes. Suki Suki is also a must-visit.
In the Northern Quarter, check out Sugar Junction for a quaint vintage tearoom. Almost Famous, Luck Lust Liquor and Burn are amazing for deliciously dirty burgers and Mexican street food. Or if you’re on a budget, Wolf at the Door do amazing £1 bao buns and tacos – which are not to be missed! Loaf Mcr is a must-visit if you’re after a sweet treat.
Manchester Arndale is the main shopping centre hosting all the big names in the middle of town. For top-end brands, try King Street; for more vintage tastes, try the Northern Quarter. The Trafford Centre, a short bus ride to Old Trafford, opens at 10am and has many shops and restaurants. Chapter One Books offers a lovely selection of fiction and a decent flat white (the perfect combo, in our book!).
Manchester has plenty of open spaces and green areas to grab a break and enjoy the fresh air. Just a short walk from our Bank Chambers building, you’ll find Piccadilly Gardens – a nice spot to hang out in the sunshine between lectures. A bit further south, just off Canal Street, you’ll discover Sackville Park, home to the Alan Turing memorial statue.
Look a little further afield, and you’ll find Manchester and its surrounding areas teeming with numerous wide-open spaces like Heaton Park, Alexandra Park, Platt Fields and more.
Check out more about this amazing city on our Life in Manchester page.