Forget the bright lights of London – for those in the know, Manchester’s buzzing bars, chic cafes and iconic music scene make it Britain’s coolest city by far.
Home to The University of Manchester and unofficially christened ‘The Capital of the North’, this proud industrial town punches well above its weight in terms of cultural clout and community spirit.
Whether you’re in town for a few days or are lucky enough to have longer to explore, our 10 hipster travel tips will help you make the most of Manchester.
If you want to glam it up with exotic cocktails, party at Manchester’s Tiki-themed Lola Lo in the Arches at trendy Deansgate Locks. Dress to impress – you’ll be mixing with the beautiful people.
When you want authentic ambience, nothing beats an old-fashioned English boozer like The Marble Arch Inn on Rochdale Road. It brews its own beers, serves tasty traditional food and has a rustic brick interior with a sloping floor – all the ingredients for a night to remember.
If you’re a sports fan, Manchester boasts two of the world’s best football clubs. And securing a hospitality package at Old Trafford or the Etihad stadium allows you to see Man United or Man City in style – see their official websites for details.
Greater Manchester has produced legendary bands like The Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses, The Smiths, Joy Division and Inspiral Carpets. Take a Manchester Music Tour to witness firsthand the clubs, bars and neighbourhoods that inspired them – check visitmanchester.com to find out more.
If your personal style is a little leftfield, browse Manchester vintage store pop boutique in Oldham Street to find everything from 1920s flapper dresses to 1960s flower-power flares. When you want a unique couture ensemble, look no further.
Vinyl fans shouldn’t miss the chance to buy or swap rare records from every genre imaginable at the excellent Empire Exchange at Newton Street. And you can also get in the groove with their selection of cult books and magazines.
Manchester’s Northern Quarter is its cultural heart, with brilliant independent bars, cafes and galleries aplenty. The small yet perfectly formed Abel Heywood pub and boutique hotel is bang in the middle of it, with 15 comfy rooms and all the mod cons you need.
Coach company Go North West provides a free bus which shuttles you around Manchester city centre at no cost whatsoever, with services running up to 10PM Monday-Saturday. Check routes and timetables at tfgm.com to plan your itinerary.
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Manchester airport is an excellent launchpad for weekend trips to Ibiza or Paris. For a chilled pre-flight experience, book Manchester airport parking at Looking4.com then sip a perfectly mixed cosmopolitan at Bar MCR before boarding.
That’s our list. Please share your own Manchester travel tips in the comments section.