Places to Visit in Manchester
Written by Fanny Bois-Berlioz, 2nd Year BA Architecture
“Whether you are a new student looking to explore Manchester or you are visiting the city for a few days, you will find everything from the arts, media, notable architecture and incredible food places! After three years of living in the city, I have curated a list of my favourite places and go-to activities that are affordable to students and will offer you a wonderful experience.
The Manchester Art Gallery is a public museum with no entrance fee that exhibits many well-known international artists and contemporary arts. It is located to the West of Piccadilly station and a bit further up Chinatown. Not only does the interior architecture of the building will spark you, but the arts exhibited bring a fresh view on our world and can spark discussions with your friends or family.
The National Football museum is located near the Manchester Cathedral (which is also a very interesting palace to visit) and is considered the world’s biggest football exhibition which tell you stories about historic games and players who created beautiful memories for many generations. This can be a fun day out with your family and friends and once you buy a ticket you can return to visit the museum for up to 12 months!
Areas of Manchester
The Northern Quarter is an area further away from Picadilly station and right before Ancoats, known for its notable record label, clubs, vintage shops and popular coffee shop. If you are looking for vintage or contemporary records don’t miss the Vinyl Exchange, Eastern Bloc and Picadilly Records. For a nice brunch with your friends or a studious day, the coffee shops Foundation, Arlos and Takk will have everything you need.
Chinatown in Manchester is a very appreciated area with an impressive red pagoda that frames the main street and its selection of supermarkets, restaurants and small businesses. I have yet to try each one of them, but my favourite is the restaurant and coffee shop Tsujuri which gives you the opportunity to experience a range of Matcha flavoured foods, as well as Ohayo Bubble Tea which makes delicious milk-tea drinks and other snacks.
Castlefield is an area designated as an Urban Heritage Park for its historic Edwardian mills that surrounds the canals and that have been restored into offices, apartments, shops and hostels. After walking above the Bridgewater canal, I recommend going to the Castlefield Art Gallery which usually presents contemporary exhibitions and the impressive Bridgewater Hall where concerts and various ceremonies take place. If you feel like having lunch or simply grabbing a coffee the Banyan Tree will offer you views of the contrasting architecture in the area with St George’s Church and Deansgate Towers in the back.
By far my favourite area in the city, Ancoats is filled with places to discover and visit on a nice day out. Starting with Halle St Peter’s square which holds a Market once a month on Sundays with small businesses and good music. The New Islington is located the East of Ancoats and has been rejuvenated over the years with contemporary apartments and a small park where you will meet many dogs and their owner on a promenade. You can walk around the marina and buy some bread in Pollen Bakery or Trove which make amazingly fresh and comforting sourdough bread. For an evening out, Rudy’s Neapolitan Pizza has the best pizza with low prices ranging from £6 to £9 which is amazing if you want to treat yourself and not spend too much!”