Must do recommendations in Manchester
Music and sport: the two main reasons tourists travel to Manchester. That received wisdom is still true today — the northern city is an incredible hub of live music, and you only have to ask a Mancunian which football team they support to learn just how deep local loyalties run — but those aren’t the only Mancunian must-dos. From its legions of museums to its super-cool independent shops and stunning Victorian Gothic architecture, here are five essentials to tackle on your next trip.
Shop independent Manchester
In Manchester, the coolest shops aren’t designer flagships. They’re corner record stores, vintage boutiques, and other creative and quirky outlets, all proudly independent and one-of-a-kind. In the Northern Quarter, scoop up vintage finds at Afflecks, limited-edition vinyl at Piccadilly Records, and Manchester-made fashion at Junk Shop. And don’t forget to venture to the up-and-coming Green Quarter, which is also emerging as an independent retail hub.
Maybe it’s because Manchester has produced some of the most influential British bands of all time — ever heard of The Smiths, Oasis, The Stone Roses, or Joy Division? — but this city’s identity is inextricably linked to all things musical. From live bands and club nights to grade-II listed gig venues (and those aforementioned record shops), pay tribute to its musical identity both past and present on your next trip.
When it comes to the sheer number of world-class museums, Manchester gives London a run for its money. From the revamped Whitworth Art Gallery to the starchitect-designed Imperial War Museum, from the wide-ranging Manchester Museum to the Museum of Science and Industry, from the National Football Museum to the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, there’s certainly more than one way to spend a rainy day.
Cheer on Manchester United
Manchester is home to not one, but two Premier League teams: Manchester United and Manchester City, whose fierce rivalry is notorious around these parts. If your loyalty is with the Red Devils, then pay tribute at the Old Trafford Museum. If you aren’t lucky enough to scoop up tickets to see a match, you can still go on a tour of the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ — a must for any fan.
Discover the Victorian gothic architecture
Thanks in part to its boom during the industrial revolution, Manchester today is home to an array of spectacular Victorian Gothic buildings. Keep an eye on the skyline as you roam around town: from the Manchester Town Hall to the John Rylands Library and Manchester Cathedral, you’ll find plenty of soaring spires and gorgeously ornamental facades during your explorations.