Back in the 1970s, Manchester was regarded as an example of everything that was wrong with post-industrial England. However, since then it has bounced back in style, giving birth to a world-famous music scene and establishing itself as one of the best cities in Europe to go for a night out. So, if you are thinking of paying a visit to see what all the fuss is about, you might want to check out this guide to some of the city’s most vibrant areas. For more information about hotels in Manchester, visit the Millennium & Copthorne website.
Manchester City Centre
Manchester’s City Centre has been transformed almost beyond recognition in the past couple of decades, and is now a vibrant modern city centre packed with gleaming shopping arcades, cafes and museums. That said, some of the centre’s historic past has been lovingly preserved, such as the neo-Gothic John Rylands Library, the neoclassical Portico, and Alfred Waterhouse’s Town Hall, which contains some memorable murals by Ford Madox Ford, stunning mosaic floors, and impressive vaulted ceilings.
Nowhere is Manchester’s reputation as an indie mecca more evident than in the trendy Northern Quarter, which is packed with vintage clothing boutiques, record shops, and cool independent pubs and cafes. These are set amidst a rag-tag mixture of 18th and 19th century warehouses, many of which have been restored to their former glory.
Canal Street, Piccadilly & Chinatown
If you’re heading for a night out in Manchester, then you might be tempted to take a stroll down Canal Street to check out the many pubs and clubs. This cosmopolitan area is the heart of Manchester’s thriving gay scene, and is the focal point of the annual Manchester Pride festival. From here, you can stroll down to the recently-remodeled Piccadilly Gardens, which is surrounded by open-air cafes and bars with an almost continental feel, or Chinatown, a lively area that is considered one of the best places to see in the Chinese New Year.
With two universities within spitting distance of one another, this is widely considered to be the student quarter of Manchester, which ensures a lively bar and club scene. And with a theatres, galleries, music venues, and museums aplenty, there are lots of reasons for an avid culture vulture to visit this area.
Castlefield & Deansgate Locks
If you need a break from all the hustle and bustle, then this quiet, historic part of town is the perfect place to spend a few hours. Once a Victorian industrial hub, its railway arches, cleaned-up canals, and cobbled streets lend this area an air of tranquility, although there are still plenty of things to see and do such as the Museum of Science and Industry, Castlefield Gallery, and the Comedy Store.
Photo: Manchester Chinatown, courtesy of Sean Dodson