Top Things To Do In Manchester
January 1, 1970
My first visit to the city of Manchester in United Kingdom was in April 2017. Getting out of Piccadilly Station that day, having just spent two hours in the incredibly efficient and fast Virgin trains plying every few minutes between London and Manchester, I had no idea that I was about to take my first step into a city that would soon become my home. It was a cold, windy and wet day but outside the station, Mancunians, as the city’s inhabitants are lovingly called, milled about happily, seemingly oblivious to the weather.
Within a few short weeks of my stay in this vibrant city, I realised that Manchester could capture the fancy and delight of virtually anyone from anywhere. Here’s a small list of some of the top things to do in Manchester. Visiting each of these places will pose no problem as the city is well-connected by the Metro Link and is easily explored on foot as well!
John Rylands Library
If it’s your first day in Manchester and you’re walking down Deansgate, one of the city’s main roads running through the centre, you are sure to come across John Rylands Library, a neo-Gothic architectural masterpiece, standing statuesque and proud, right in the middle of the city’s hustle bustle. Whether you’re into books, history, architecture, or are simply on the lookout for a brilliant new experience, John Rylands Library will satisfy you on all counts. Entry to the library is free and everyone is warmly welcomed. From the little café as soon as you enter to the Historic Reading Room, to the washrooms that are centuries old, everything about this library is steeped in history, knowledge and grandeur. Visiting the website before you visit the library itself is recommended so that you don’t miss out on some of the interesting exhibitions on display inside. With over a million items, including manuscripts, maps and books in store, once you step into John Rylands Library, it might well be a few hours or even a day before you step out!
Salford Quays in Manchester is a must-visit. Often described as Manchester’s very own waterfront destination, this picturesque part of the city is known for its open views of the water and its ultra-modern architecture that stands in contrast to the city’s other prominent historic buildings which are more Gothic and medieval.
There are many things to do in Salford Quays. You can walk around the length of the waterside, admire the views and take photos along the scenic backdrop. Those looking to inject their day with some adrenaline can step into the Helly Hansen Watersports Centre and explore the wide range of exciting activities available, including open water swimming, kayaking, bungee jumping and canoeing.
A number of trendy bars, restaurants and cafes sit invitingly along different areas of the Quays, so foodies and party-goers will not be disappointed. The Lowry, an impressive building, housing an art gallery, several theatre spaces and a restaurant, is a visual delight for architecture lovers and a symbol of pride for the locals. Salford Quays is also home to MediaCityUK which has the offices of many of Britain’s prominent media and creative businesses including BBC and ITV.
You’re in the city center, strolling around Market Street, you can’t miss Manchester Arndale, one of the biggest shopping malls in the city. Housing over 200 stores, from Apple to Lush to Boots to Dune, this mall caters to every shopper’s fancy. The mall is expansive, so even the most experienced shopper is bound to get tired. Which is why Manchester Arndale has pit stops aplenty in the form of many cafes or you could hop over to the Foodcourt for a quick bite. For those into luxury, don’t forget to visit New Cathedral Street, which is a just a short walk from Manchester Arndale. This street is home to some of the finest brands including Harvey Nichols, Hugo Boss, Burberry, Ted Baker and Paul Smith. And once you’ve had your fill of shopping, go across the road from New Cathedral Street to catch the latest movies at Vue in Printworks, Manchester.
Part of the University of Manchester, the Manchester Museum is located on Oxford Road, one of the main roads running through the city. With free entry, Manchester Museum is the perfect place to spend a few hours while exploring the city. During my visit to the Museum, I saw children and adults equally fascinated by Stan, the fossilized T-Rex on display. Spread out over a number of floors, the Museum caters to the curious-minded with fascinating displays on many subjects, including Ancient Egypt, astronomy, birds, coins, culture and even some live animals! Friendly staff and a well-stocked café are additional reasons to make sure you do not miss out on Manchester Museum on your visit to the city.
Located just off Deansgate and alongside River Irwell, Spinningfields is where the buzz is. On a weekday during working hours, you’ll find the energy brisk and efficient, as Mancunians dressed in smart corporate attire step out of the nearby buildings that house big corporates. By the evening and on the weekends however, Spinningfields turns into a location for leisure and fun. The bars and restaurants come alive, the sound of music and the aromas of food waft through the streets. Whether you’re out looking for fine dining, a night of partying, or a cup of coffee, Spinningfields has many places to pick from.
Leftbank in Spinningfields boasts of premium residential apartments and also contains some of the trendiest bars and eateries such as The Dockyard and Scene Indian Street Kitchen. A short walk around Spinningfields will bring you to The Avenue, a lively area with large stores by luxury brands such as Emporio Armani and Mulberry.
Lots more in Manchester…
The above list is by no means exhaustive, and is of course, relative to my tastes and experiences. Besides this, there’s Northern Quarter with its street art and vibrant night life, there’s the beautiful Manchester Cathedral with its stained glass and lovely architecture, and of course, no visit to Manchester is complete without seeing Manchester City Football Club Stadium and Manchester United Museum. What’s left to be done then? Book your trip to Manchester, United Kingdom and don’t forget to look me up when you’re here!