Altrincham and Sale
Located in the southwest outskirts of the city, Altrincham is a pleasant suburb with tree-lined avenues and fashionable shops like
Bolton and Bury
Bolton and Bury, at the northern end of the city, are traditional Lancashire towns with their own distinct personalities. Bolton has a vibrant main street filled with excellent shops and entertainment venues such as the
Castlefield and Deansgate
The regeneration of the Castlefield Basin has added an extra dimension to the already highly popular shopping and entertainment area of Deansgate (King Street & St Ann's Square). In Castlefield, you can enjoy a meal at an excellent gastro-pub such as
Manchester has one of the largest Chinese populations in the country, and Chinatown (located off of Portland Street) offers some superb restaurants. Try the nationally renowned
The Irish Republican Army (IRA) bombed Manchester in 1996, causing substantial damage to the city's infrastructure. The redevelopment has produced a shopping district large enough to compete with others in larger cities. Popular stores such as the largest
Didsbury, Chorlton and Withington
Just a few miles south of the City Centre are some of the most fashionable and highly sought after residential areas in the city. The flourishing environment and superb eating, drinking and shopping create this demand.
Didsbury is home to some of the city's best restaurants. Try the lamb at the renowned
Fallowfield, Rusholme and Whalley Range
Close to the southern edge of the City Centre, this area of Manchester is one of the most culturally diverse and is home to a large percentage of the city's massive student population. Fallowfield contains a number of University Residence Halls and the many lively pubs and bars such as the
This neighborhood is located west of Piccadilly, and is centered on Canal Street. Although obviously orientated towards, and created for, the gay community, it has an excellent range of mixed bars, restaurants and clubs. Try the exclusive Turkish restaurant
This fashionable part of the city is located between Piccadilly and Ancoats and contains trendy shops and live music bars like
Old Trafford and Salford
This area is home to the region's most famous sporting institutions. The
This busy thoroughfare leads to the heart of Manchester and the city's three main universities. In addition to the many student-friendly bars, like
Rochdale, Oldham & Ashton
The northeastern sector of Manchester has in the past been virtually untouched by the overall economic and commercial redevelopment of the city, but it still contains many places of interest. Plan a day trip to the
Stockport, Cheadle & Wilmslow
Southeast Manchester is known for its prosperity. Outlying affluent suburbs such as Bramhall and Prestbury are home to professional football players and wealthy businessmen attracted by the surrounding countryside. The good transportation lines link conveniently close to Manchester International Airport. Stockport itself is a busy town with a large central shopping complex and plenty of places to eat, drink and stay including the
There are lots of places to eat, due largely to the incredible flow of money and people into the City Centre, after the urban reconstruction.
This is an extremely popular dining area near to the City Centre, as local people know that this is the place to come for real Chinese and pan-Asian cuisine. There are bakeries, grocers and fine restaurants like The New Emperor. The well known Yang Sing, offers some of the tastiest Cantonese food in the country.
All kinds of greasy spoon cafés, chains and individually-owned restaurants make up the culinary map of Central Manchester. From well-known, traditional places like the Northern Quarter Restaurant and Bar, to high-class restaurants run by celebrity chefs like Nico Central and Simply Heathcotes. At the other end of the spectrum, Café Pop is a trendy, popular café with good, cheap portions of great tasting vegetarian food.
Deansgate and Castlefield
In these neighborhoods, established and traditional restaurants like Dimitri's Tapas Bar Taverna, Rafa's and Jowata mix with modern places like Atlas Bar and the Restaurant Bar and Grill.
Gay Village is best known for its bars, but it also boasts some superb places to eat. From the tasty tradition of Spirit to the cool fusion of Taurus. There's also the Mongolian Barbeque, which combines classic, old-world decor in a comfortable family setting.
The nationally famous "Curry Mile" is renowned for its fantastic food at low prices. A wander down the neon-lit Wilmslow Road will provide you with just about every kind of restaurant you can think of; from large, corporate enterprises such as Shere Khan to the family-run Royal Naz which is known for its delicious curry. Although not all of the restaurants serve alcohol, most don't mind if you bring your own.
Didsbury, Chorlton and Whalley Range
This part of southern Manchester is full of high-quality restaurants and café-bars of every description. West Didsbury has many highly rated establishments including the Lime Tree, Greens (for vegetarian and vegan cuisine) and the award winning Great Kathmandu Nepalese restaurant. If you want a drink with good food, then try Sakura or the Metropolitan pub, which serves real ales and quality meals. Beech Road in Chorlton has plenty of choice from the refined east-west fusion cuisine of the Spice Cafe to the contemporary food of Primavera. Whalley Range has recently been put on the culinary map by the runaway success of the excellent Palmiro on Upper Chorlton Road, serving traditional Tuscan food with a modern twist.
The Outer Suburbs
If you wish to be more adventurous and look beyond the City Centre and its immediate environs, you will be well rewarded with some fantastic eating experiences further out in the suburbs. Places like That Cafe in Levenshulme and Nutter's in Cheesden (between Bury and Rochdale) provide high quality food in unique settings.
Tour 1: Shopping & Culture
Morning So you've had breakfast, now what? The Lowry is Manchester's latest cultural and architectural offering and is easily accessible by road or Metrolink. The main exhibition is (of course) art by the famous local painter LS Lowry, but there are also plenty of innovative pieces by new artists to explore.
Lunch Although the Lowry has its own café and restaurant, you're probably ready for a change of scene by now and Manchester's City Centre has plenty of café-bars and coffee shops to suit all budgets and palates. For a quick bite to eat American-style, you could try a Starbucks on Deansgate. For a more relaxing, leisurely lunch, head for the Grinch café-bar, which has live jazz performances during the week. If you're a vegetarian, then check out the Earth Cafe underneath the Manchester Buddhist Centre, where your spirit and stomach can be refreshed at the same time.
Shopping These days it's hard to fit the whole of Manchester into just one afternoon shopping spree, so you may want to decide what you want and how much you want to spend in advance. The best places for alternative cheap clothes, gifts and records are to be found in the Northern Quarter at Afflecks Palace emporium. It is easy to get lost in the maze of shops that are contained within these buildings, but if you're looking for something different or retro, then these are a must.
For more mainstream offerings, you only have to walk around the corner to the Arndale Centre where you'll find the usual array off chain stores. If cosmetics are your thing, the Boots store on Market Street is the largest in Europe.
If you're looking for that special dress or present, then there are three places that you need to find. Firstly, Triangle, which houses designer clothes and beauty shops including Giant and Molton Brown all under one roof. A stone's throw away is the St Ann's/Kings Street district, which is home to high fashion houses such as Kookai and Emporio Armani.
Lastly, if you want a shopping experience that has everything, then look no further than Kendals on Deansgate, which has whole floors dedicated to expensive clothes, food, cosmetics and electronic goods. Throughout the year, they also have major fashion shows, which come as a nice surprise if you aren't expecting it.
Theaters and Concerts Well you've bought the outfit, now it's time to show the world. Manchester has a plethora of theaters to choose from. The Palace Theatre, shows mostly musicals, while the Opera House presents opera and ballet. For the unusual and contemporary, the Royal Exchange and Contact Theatre are the places to go; they quite often have productions by local writers and performers.
Alternatively, maybe you would like to hear some music. The Bridgewater Hall, built to house the Hallé Orchestra, is a breathtaking building with a spacious and modern bar. Manchester is also the home of the Royal Northern College of Music and the Northern Ballet, who regularly hold performances and recitals. However, if it's rock and pop that you're after, then the Manchester Evening News Arena, the Carling Apollo Manchester or the Manchester Academy is where you're likely to end up, with people like Robbie Williams to entertain you. Dining After your entertainment of choice, you may still wish to take a meal, so why not take a trip into Chinatown to the New Emperor? The food is excellent and the restaurant itself is close to many of the theaters. If you're not in the mood for Chinese, then try Giulio's Terrazza Restaurant. They freshly prepare tasty Italian dishes. There's also Nico Central for a more sophisticated French cuisine.
Drinks If you've eaten and just want to have a drink, then Castlefield, Deansgate Locks or Gay Village have some of the best bars around. Castlefield is a soothing place for a walk on a late summer evening. Dukes 92 and Barça are situated close to one another. Dukes 92 has two floors with tables outside, while on cold winter evenings, there is a roaring fire and it's a wonderful place to relax and chat with friends. Whereas Barça, owned by Mick Hucknall of Simply Red, is energetic and a pre-club favorite.
Deansgate Locks, under the railway arches at the back of G-Mex, with it's row of bars including The Lock is now the place for beautiful people to be seen. Some of the bars have strict door policies and high drink prices. It also gets very busy at night, so if there's a large group of you, then it's worth arriving early. The development of Deansgate Locks means that Gay Village has now returned to how it used to be, both chilled out and devilishly hedonistic. Favorites such as Manto and Via Fossa are still going strong and it's nice to sit by the canal and watch the sun go down.
Tour 2: Family Day Out
Morning Never let it be said that Manchester is only a city for students. There are lots of things you can do together as a family. The City Centre is a fun and educational place, both for children and adults. First, take a bus to Oxford Road, where you'll find Manchester Museum. There are guided tours for school children and fantastic exhibitions. The museum is free, although donations are appreciated.
Next, take a bus into Piccadilly Gardens. Once there, head along Market Street, and turn left onto Deansgate. At the top you will find Liverpool Street and The Museum of Science & Industry. This is a great museum because it is so interactive. You can strap yourself into the flight simulator, play educational games and see what Manchester was like a century or so ago. There are always interesting exhibitions on display and you can be sure that you will learn something new.
Lunch Simply walk across Liverpool Street to get to Castlefield Arena. Once there, head for the arches near the Canal basin — straight ahead of you is Castle Street and Dukes 92. This is a great place for adults and children. You can relax in homely surroundings, read the paper and have a drink, while the children enjoy the feeling of having lunch in an grown-up's pub. They also provide highchairs and baby changing facilities for younger ones. During the summer you are close enough to the canal to be able to watch the barges go by, so after lunch, why not take a cruise down the river? The whole family can learn about the industrial history of Manchester while gliding along in comfort. Castlefield Canal Cruises offer trips to the general public on Sundays. If you are in Manchester on a weekday, then take a tram from Castlefield to the beautiful expanse of Heaton Park. There's a mini train for the children, affording a lovely view of the surroundings.
Dinner Yang Sing on Charlotte Street welcomes families and serves delicious food. If you're in Heaton Park, then take a tram to Piccadilly Gardens, walk along Mosley Street and you'll find Chinatown on your left. You might want to try a wonderful Indian meal from one of the many restaurants along the middle section of Wilmslow Road, Rusholme. Curries can be as mild as you like and some restaurants serve English dishes, so the children can have something a little less exotic if they wish, while you savor the delights of vindaloo, madras, jal frezi and bhuna. There are plenty of buses that will take you from the City Centre to Rusholme, making it very easy to reach. Finally if they prefer pizza to poppadums then Pizzeria Italia in the middle of Deansgate is a great Italian restaurant; the owners are warm and the food is of a high standard.
The origins of Manchester can be traced back to the establishment of a Roman camp called Mamucium in 79 AD, the remnants of which can still be seen at Castlefield. While the fort was maintained and developed by the Saxons, it was not until 1301 and the grant of the charter that the town, in a modern sense, began to develop.
It was undoubtedly wool that transformed Manchester into one of England's leading industrial giants. In the early 18th century, there was an enormous upsurge in both international trade and technological development dependent on the city's textile industry. This growth was facilitated by the invention of Hargreave's Spinning Jenny and Crompton's Spinning Mule during the last half of the century. Manchester was rapidly becoming a hub of the Industrial Revolution.
The 19th century was a period of unparalleled growth and cultural endeavors. The Manchester Guardian was first published in 1821, and 1830 saw the opening of the world's first passenger railway. The Co-operative Wholesale Society was formed in 1863 and in 1887 work on the Manchester Ship Canal began. By the end of the 20th century, the textile industry fell into decline, but its legacy has formed the bustling, vibrant city we know today.
Many things that are fundamental to the social and economic history of England occurred in Manchester during the 20th century. In 1903 Emmaline Pankurst created the Women's Social and Political Union. 1919 saw Ernest Rutherford first split the atom and in 1948 the world's first stored-program computer was developed.
Manchester can boast arguably the biggest football team in the world: Manchester United FC. Music is also hugely influential, from the famous Halle Orchestra (formed in 1857) to bands like Joy Division, New Order and the Smiths.
1996 saw a huge IRA bomb devastate much of the City Centre and the subsequent financial aid and support has helped to remold it as a confident, modern, cultural center. Many prestigious developments such as the Bridgewater Hall, Exchange Square and the re-development of Salford Quays and the Castlefield Basin have created an appealing new environment.
In the new millennium, Manchester can look forward to the future with pride and optimism.