Manchester, situated in the north of England, is often considered the nations ‘second city’, or the city to rival London. This city of canals and mills reminds visitors of its proud history as a textile manufacturing center during the industrial revolution. Today, with a fast growing metro-population of 2.5 million, Manchester celebrates the revival of inner city neighborhoods, a thumping night-life scene, excellent shopping opportunities, and a plethora of international airport services. Manchester is definitely worth a stop in any English itinerary. Here is our list of the top ten activities or attractions:
1. Visit the exhibitions on display at Urbis. Urbis, contained within a striking glass and steel tower, is the leading exhibition center in Manchester. Four full floors are devoted to the exploration of modern “city life”. Well organized exhibits, some interactive, address architecture, contemporary design, the arts, environment, culture and more.
2. Go Shopping in the Triangle. If there is any place in the UK where you will find all the major brands under one roof in a classically designed building, it is the Triangle. This state of the art retail environment was constructed around and within the 1903 Corn and Produce Exchange. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to shop.
3. Walk around Chinatown. While typical of many Chinatowns in UK cities, the Chinatown in Manchester has a staggering number of fine, authentic restaurants and it conveys a real ambiance separate from the rest of the city. This is a relatively new but growing Chinatown as evidenced by the Chinese Arch built in 1987 and the continuing development of cultural attractions.
4. Stroll along one of Manchester’s canals. The city’s industrial past shows, as the downtown area is well connected via numerous waterways. Commuters and tourists alike can reflect on and enjoy the cities rich history as they walk along the Rochdale Canal (near Deansgate and Oxford Road) or the Ashton Canal (near Piccadilly Station).
5. Visit the Iconic Manchester Cathedral. This 15th century, medieval, Gothic gem stands at the center of Manchester’s vibrant downtown community. It is in excellent condition and is home to an active parish congregation. Read more on the parish website .
6. Explore the Craft and Design Centre. For quirky gifts and that one-of-a-kind purchase, the Craft and Design Centre is your best bet. Even better is the fact that the enterprise is a non-profit social enterprise.
7. Hang Out and Learn at the Imperial War Museum North. To soak up a bit of history and learn about Great Britain’s role in various wars, the IWM is a great bet.
9. Have an Indian meal on Curry Mile. It’s a neighborhood full of Indian restaurants – the neon glow at night will leave you feeling like you’re in Vegas. There are so many eateries, in fact, that they even have their own website.
10. Go Clubbing. For a city that hosts an event called ‘Madchester’, one just has to go for a stroll on a weekend night and hear the pumping beats down many streets to know that this is a town that keeps long hours at night. Oxford Road is always a great place to start; gays may want to head to Canal Street.