- Travel and Places
10 Special Things To Do In Manchester
Welcome to Manchester!
Welcome to this quick, impartial guide to what to do in Manchester. From theatres and museums to bars and shops, the city has something for everyone. Please add your own ideas about things to do and places to go in Manchester in the comment box. Thanks for reading!
There's more photos of Manchester at my website, North Shore: Pictures of Manchester.
The Manchester Wheel (RIP)
This picture shows the ferris wheel, sadly now dismantled, reflected in the glass frontage of Selfridges. (c) Geoff Steen 2010
10 special things to do in Manchester
1. See a beautiful building for free
See a play at the Royal Exchange, pictured right, or just go in for free for a look around. A fantastic juxtaposition of Victorian architecture and high-tech theatre, with round seating bringing a real immediacy to the performances. Click here to find out what's currently on: Royal Exchange.
2. Feed the ducks
Wander around the Castlefield Basin, a network of canals, cobbles and restaurants. Sun yourself on a bench (if the weather allows), watch the ducks and geese, and decide which barge you'd live in if you had one. Then go to Duke's 92, a bar and restaurant housed in a converted old stable block, for speciality cheese and pate (they have over forty varieties, served with freshly baked bread). Click here for the Duke's 92 website: Duke's 92.
3. Go up 23 stories for a spectacular view
Jump up and down on the glass ceiling in Cloud 23. The bar itself is pretty ordinary, but the view (from the 23rd floor of the Hilton Hotel on Deansgate) is spectacular. The cocktail list is good too; it includes well-made classics and plenty of original recipes with a Mancunian theme (my wife recommends the Sally Cinnamon). Click here for the Cloud 23 website: Cloud 23.
4. See another beautiful building for free
Be dazzled by the splendour of John Rylands Library. Built in the Gothic style in the 1890s, the Library is dramatic, beautiful and free to go inside. As well as housing special collections of books, the Library also holds free exhibitions. One of its most awe-inspiring artefacts is the St John fragment, the earliest known fragment of the New Testament in any language. Less than nine centimetres high, on one side the papyrus contains parts of verses 31-33, on the other side parts of verses 37-38 of the eighteenth chapter of John's Gospel. Click here for the page on the library from the Manchester University website: John Rylands Library.
5. Marvel at ancient artefacts
Gawp at the Ancient Egyptian mummies in Manchester Museum. The Museum has one of the world's best displays of mummies, along with their coffins and funerary goods. Click here for the page on the museum from the Manchester University website: Manchester Museum.
6. Have a really good feed in authentic Victorian surroundings
Go to Mr Thomas's Chop House for brown onion soup (cooked for 36 hours) and corned beef hash (ten days in the making) served in an original 19th century pub. Best done whilst wearing something with an elasticated waistband or you'll never get to the pudding menu. Click here for Mr Thomas's website: Mr Thomas's Chophouse.
7. Let your hair down
Dance like mad, in a very small room full of friendly people, at The Star & Garter's Smiths Disco. You can dance exactly how you want all night, without anyone batting an eyelid. The Smiths Disco is on the first Friday of every month; it's Â£5 on the door but make sure you get there early-ish to get in as it can fill up quickly. Click here for the Star & Garter website: The Star & Garter.
8. Relive your grungy student days
Mooch with the teenagers at Affleck's Palace (now apparently called Afflecks but it doesn't sound quite the same), amongst the vintage clothing and unusual accessories. And that shop where everyone bought their Joy Division posters in the 1980s is still going! Click here for the Affleck's website: Affleck's.
9. Visit the markets
Manchester City Council have a programme of specialist markets running throughout the year, selling art, fresh produce, crafts and much more. The Christmas market is particularly well known, and runs every year from November. Click here for the Council's website on the markets: Manchester Markets.
10. Have an unpretentious night out
Wonder at the miracle that is the Ape & Apple on John Dalton Street: good bitter from Joseph Holt at around Â£2 a pint! And a jukebox! Blimey! The Ape & Apple doesn't have its own website, but there is more information on the brewery website: Joseph Holt.
Gothic splendour in Manchester
John Rylands Library (c) Copyright Geoff Steen
Old meets new in Manchester
The Great Northern (c) Copyright Geoff Steen.
Good books about Manchester
These are the books about Manchester which have entertained me the most.
Peter Hook's account of his involvement in the legendary Hacienda nightclub. Hilarious, tragic and eye-popping, frequently on the same page at once.
Stuart Marconi's funny and thought-provoking exploration of the North of England.
Iconic photographs by Kevin Cummins (who took those classic images of Joy Division on the bridge in Hulme), chronicling the city and its pop history.
Filled with photographs of the changing city of the 70s, this book is a real piece of nostalgia for those of us who remember Manchester as it was then.
Interesting websites to go to from here
Here is a list of some good Manchester-related websites
- Pictures of Manchester
My website, North Shore, featuring plenty of pictures of Manchester.
- Manchizzle Blog
A beautifully-written, very informative blog on Manchester, with particular focus on what's going on culturally.
- Creative Tourist
Everything you could possibly want to know about what's on in the arts in Manchester.
- Cerysmatic Factory
An unoffical blog about Factory Records, one of the driving forces of Mancunian popular culture in the 20th century.
- Visit Manchester
The official tourism website for Manchester.
- City Life
A comprehensive online guide to what's on in the city. Used to be a great magazine too.
The Manchester entry on Wikipedia.
Places you like in Manchester or just general comments...