It’s not long now until the new BIMM academic year begins… which means that BIMM Manchester Freshers is just around the corner! To help you arrive at BIMM Manchester with a bang, BIMM Manchester student Jacob Greenhalgh-Lee has written a handy guide exploring the best bits that Manchester has to offer for new students.
Freshers at BIMM is ace because you get a month before university starts to get to know the place and find the cheapest shops, best bars and tastiest hangover food. Last year’s BIMM Freshers was awesome – they held open mic nights and jam sessions across the best venues in Manchester, at which point you can meet your course mates and stumble straight out into the best clubs – usually The Factory’s second floor, 42’s or if you’re feeling particularly drunk and courageous, Fifth.
The alt-hip Northern Quarter is brilliant for nice cafes like Ziferblat, which charges 5p per minute for unlimited food and drink (a godsend for reaching deadlines) and is home to some fantastic Sofar Sessions. There’s also the crazy-busy City Centre and beautifully picturesque Castlefield, so be sure to get out and about and explore.
Finding live music
Manchester has a number of streets dedicated to live music. Manchester Academy’s 1, 2, 3 and Club are just a short walk from the City Centre, as are the O2 Apollo Manchester and Manchester Arena, where you can blow your student loan seeing massive acts perform. Oldham Street is home to Dive, Night & Day Café, The Castle Hotel and Gullivers – graced by regular festivals like Sonder, Dot To Dot and When In Manchester. I’m sure you’ll find yourself in all of these venues at some point, and Jimmy’s, Matt & Phreds, Kosmonaut and The Whiskey Jar too. BIMM always hosts gigs at The Ruby Lounge, The Deaf Institute, Gorilla and the O2 Ritz Manchester, as engagement with the real music scene is highly encouraged.
Every BIMM student’s Starter Pack includes something from Afflecks, where you can buy hippy-hoodies, posters to plaster your room with, bags, hats, make-up, tapestries, incense, rugs and more. Fopp and HMV, just off market street, are the most popular shops for buying vinyl, although if it’s old vintage vinyl you’re after, you’re best searching the Northern Quarter. Manchester Arndale has every shop you’ll ever need, and the food court makes a nice break for dinner. If you’re a classy student, Deansgate and Castlefield offer lovely bars, exclusive nights out and the best beers. If you’re a big spender you’ll want to have a look around New Cathedral Street. Not far out of Manchester, head to the Trafford Centre – it’s similar to the Arndale, but a better, more exciting experience… with added Laser Quest!
Central Library is huge and a quiet place to just chill. The Castlefield Bowl and The Wharf are lovely places to sit when it’s sunny and play football or just have a BBQ. There are a few nice parks, such as Whitworth Park and Heaton Park, which make for a brilliant day out and are just a tram ride away.
PMT Manchester on Regent Road is the biggest music shop I’ve personally ever been in, so definitely get yourself there for a browse. Night-time must sees include the Trafford Centre, Castlefield locks, The Printworks entertainment hub, the fountains at Piccadilly Gardens, and Salford Quays’ MediaCityUK, as well as the Northern Quarter and its many bars, such as TwentyTwentyTwo, Soup Kitchen and Stage & Radio. If you can get to the 34th floor of Liberty Living’s student accommodation, Liberty Heights, with a friend who lives in there, it’s a great place for views of the whole city!