One of the famous city in England, Manchester has a lot to offer to its visitors. Discover the best things to do in Manchester, tips, Manchester restaurants, Manchester hotels, and off the beaten attractions things to do in Manchester from a local: Subhadrika Sen from Trekkers of the East. This guide is part of the free travel guides series on this blog.
Insider guide to Manchester with the best things to do in Manchester
The city of Manchester is the third largest city in England after London and Birmingham. It is located in the North-West of United Kingdom and is home to the most famous Football Team, Manchester United. This city has always been a supporter of tradition and development. It has been home to the arts and culture and science.
After the unfortunate bombings of 1980’s, the government and administrative forces renewed the city infrastructure and gave it a modern look.
However, the remnants of the medieval buildings and sculptures definitely keep alive the rich history and culture of this city amidst development and progress.
This insider’s guide to Manchester includes the top tourist attractions in Manchester, offbeat things to see and do, where to eat and stay and useful tips that will allow you to go Manchester sightseeing safely and to discover the best of the city.
Famous tourist attractions in Manchester
This insider’s guide to Manchester starts with the top attractions to see here. These are the best things to do in Manchester so make sure you include them all on your Manchester itinerary.
5. Manchester Town Hall (Albert Square)
Home of the Manchester city administration, The Town Hall is one of the biggest in the United Kingdom so you can easily see why it’s considered one of the best things to do in Manchester.
The neo-gothic style structure was designed and built by Alfred Waterhouse who is credited to have designed various other structures across the city like the Manchester University.
The Ground level of the Town Hall is open to the public. It is the main attraction during Manchester parades and during Christmas as it hosts a part of the Manchester Christmas Markets.
4. Manchester Art Gallery –
With a collection of more than 25,000 permanent exhibits and numerous temporary exhibitions, Manchester Art Gallery is a must visit for Art Lovers and one of the tourist attractions in Manchester. It is open to the general public all days a week, except on Christmas.
The main highlights of this place are the Gallery café and shop, apart from the exhibitions themselves. Also, with no entry fee required, this is one of the most loved tourist spots in Manchester.
3. Old Trafford Football Stadium
Coming to the home of the Manchester United Football Club, one has to take the advantage of visiting the Football Stadium. One can either watch a match during the season or opt for the guided tours that take place. It’s definitely one of the Manchester points of interest.
Alternately, one can visit the Manchester City Football Club and the National Football Museum as well.
2. The Manchester Museum
One of the famous tourist attractions in Manchester, the Manchester Museum hosts thousands of exhibits from the Animalia Kingdom. In fact, there is a live animal’s gallery as well.
If you are interested in science, then the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) would be of your interest.
1. Manchester Cathedral– One of the most beautiful Cathedral’s built in Manchester is the Manchester Cathedral. The Cathedral is situation in the city centre and is fully functioning at the moment. Its unfortunate damage during the Manchester bombings to its full recovery is a wonderful transition and the helpful guides in the cathedral gives more details about it. Alternately, you can also pay a visit to the Salford Cathedral or the Hidden Gem.
Manchester Off the Beaten Path
Let’s continue this local’s guide to Manchester with some unusual activities Manchester. If you have an adventurous bone in your body and want to explore places not quite listed in the tourist hotspots then you can have a look at the following off the beaten path attractions in Manchester:
4. Manchester Canals, Castlefield
Castlefield is a quiet and serene place in the middle of the city which boasts of the hugely popular canal system of Manchester. If you go near Castlefield, you can get many eateries and even the ruins of an old Roman Fortress called the Mamucium. This is one of the unique places to visit in Manchester.
3. Walk Across Chapel Street
Chapel Street is the first street in the entire United Kingdom where the street lights were first put on. This is street with history in every corner and one of the Manchester attractions to check out.
Branching from the main road, there lie various pubs, cathedrals, churches, old preserved buildings, peel- park and the esteemed University of Salford with the Salford Art Gallery. It’s one of the best off the beaten path things to see in Manchester.
There is one Chinatown in most part of the World. You can definitely not miss this one as well. Though the Chinatown in quite small, with only two adjoining streets, there is a lot to see and eat.
From Thai to Chinese and Japanese food, to beautiful Chinese ornate good luck charms available in the curio shop, ChinaTown is a beautiful place to visit and one of the cool offbeat places to visit in Manchester.
photo by Aimee Cunlife via Trover
1. Manchester Arndale/ Market Street
If you want to explore Manchester even further, then go here. Set in the heart of the city, Market Street is the best Shopping arena that you can find. With over 300 stores in the mall and on the street, this is not a place to miss for the shopaholics.
Where to eat in Manchester
There are a few great restaurants in Manchester that I’m recommending below. If you are wondering where to eat in Manchester, note these places to try them on your Manchester trip.
5. Trafford Centre
One of the most elaborate places to eat, the food court has been divided into theme cuisines. From Chinese, to Mexican, Indian, and Japanese – you name it you get it. One would be spoilt for choice in this beautiful shopping and eatery arcade.
If you are looking for exclusive Indian or Pakistani/ Mughlai cuisines this is the place to be.
Hosts some of the most famous pubs and restaurants of the city along a mile long stretch of the road.
2. Beetham Tower, Cloud 23
Although, Cloud 23 is just a café, it is not everyday one gets a chance to experience a cup of hot coffee, sitting on the twenty third floor of the tallest building of the city.
1. Piccadilly Weekend Markets
Piccadilly Weekend Markets are only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The food ranges from sweets and savory to proper lunch. This is a great place for getting takeaway food.
Alternately, you can grab your food and take a seat in the Piccadilly Gardens and enjoy it amidst live music.
Tips for Manchaster
Manchester is a very safe city in its own terms. However, as a personal safety I would not recommend anyone going alone to the Manchester Canals.
The city is well connected by road to all major tourist spots. Thus wearing a good pair of shoes is all that is needed along with a camera and a map.
This is a very cosmopolitan city and you can ask people for help anytime, even if you have a language problem.
The city has always supported and looked after the needs of the disabled as well. Thus, there would be no objection for them to enjoy the city in its full fervor.
Also, a sunglass and an umbrella would be very handy. You cannot trust the weather! At least I don’t: P!
To conclude, Manchester is a city which would not disappoint the tourists in any way. In fact, it might surprise them for all I know. The warm reception of the people is something that you should look forward to.
Everyone is always wearing a smile on their face and is up to help you in any problem. As I say, Manchester is a city full of surprises; you never know what holds for you the moment you step out of your doors.
About the author
Subhadrika Sen – I am a Journalism student from India currently residing in Manchester. I love to travel and spend all my money on travelling and owning a good camera. Follow her blog on Facebook and Twitter as well.
9 thoughts on “Insider’s guide to Manchester with the best things to do in Manchester, hotels, restaurants, and more”
I was just in Manchester a few weeks ago. Sadly I had jet lag so some of the things I did were in a fog, but reading this brings the main sites back to mind for me. I thought it was an absolutely fascinating city and would love to revisit it.
The part of the UK I have not been to, together with Dover! Looks like I have to go on my 5th trip!
I’ve just come back from an overnight to Manchester. It’s evolved into a lovely city
I’d love to visit Manchester–we’ve only been to the airport there, so I’d love to make it to the city! Love all the suggestions you shared. The Manchester Art Gallery and the canals look like a lot of fun to explore!
Looks beautiful I would love to see it. So much history!
The only place that I have been to in England so far is London. Manchester looks awesome though, so I’ll definitely try to visit the next time I’m in the UK. Great post!
I’ve only traveled through Manchester, but I’ve always wanted to go out and explore. Great guide.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit Old Trafford 3 times in my life! Glory Glory Manchester United! 😉
I haven’t been to Manchester for a few years but I really enjoyed my time there last time. I remember going to Manchester cathedral which was beautiful and we ended up in the Arndale centre