"My Manchester" Top 5 Page for this destination Manchester by janiebaxter

Manchester Travel Guide: 1,759 reviews and 4,078 photos

Eat, Drink, Shop, Culture & Music

Manchester is a great city to live in if you want to enjoy yourself. We have so many great restaurants, bars, clubs and cultural events, as well as fantastic shops and historical sites.
I have been out trying the many new restaurants that have opened in the last few weeks and have plenty of fab restaurant tips to add.
The downside is that Manchester is renowned for its poor weather. We Mancunians should be used to it by now but it never ceases to amaze me how long it can rain for!


If you were being pedantic you could argue that I'm not a true Manc (short for Mancunian) as I was born and raised in the village of Bramhall which is South of Stockport, and at the time of my birth Stockport was in Cheshire. In fact, to complicate things even further, half of Stockport used to be in Lancashire - the half North of the River Mersey, and the other half was in Cheshire - the half South of the Mersey. When the county boundaries were moved in the 1970's and Greater Manchester was created most of Stockport was swallowed by Manchester, apart from a few country villages on the Southern edges.

The city that adopted me and my fellow Stockportians has gone through massive change in the time I have lived here. The catalyst was really the IRA bomb in 1996 which luckily caused no deaths but ripped a major part of the city centre apart. Since then Manchester has picked itself up and recreated itself as a vibrant, thriving place with a very strong identity and a wonderful diversity of cultures.

If I could, I would spend my life travelling, but since I can't I have to admit other interests to occupy time between trips. I don't like the cold so if the weather is not fine and warm you will find me indoors with the heating on. I really should live somewhere warmer. Indoor hobies I like to indulge in are shopping, eating and drinking in the wonderful selection of restaurants and bars we have here and reading and cinema. I also go to the gym but that's because I have to burn off all the calories I consume!

My Favourite Manchester Places

Bars and Nightclubs
South
When I feel like a good bop I go to South on Friday night. Saturday is good too and perhaps Saturday's Clint Boon's Disco Rescue is more well known, but I prefer Friday's music - Stone Roses, Doves, Gossip, Primal Scream, Killers, Kooks, etc plus some real old Stones, Love and Doors classics as well as a few great old soul classics.
Mojo Bar - Great music and atmosphere
Mr Thomas's - Splendid Victorian pub
The Drawing Room - Unique, very cool but friendly small bar in West Didsbury with great artworks, and live music on Sunday evenings. Best bar in the area - and open late!
M20 - Great small bar in West Didsbury
The Metropolitan - Big busy bar in West Didsbury
The Railway - Friendly little pub in West Didsbury
Harvey Nichols Cocktail Bar - A nice reward for a hard day's shopping

My Favourite Restaurants - Life for the Domestically Challenged
It has been noted by somebody who read my Manchester page that I like my food. And a lot of my tips are about eating and drinking, which may give the impression that I am a food loving wino. The truth is that yes, I love to go out but the reason I go out to eat a lot is that there is nobody in my house who can or likes to cook! So the only way to get a decent meal and avoid malnutrition is to go out to eat, and of course food is no good unless accompanied by a nice bottle of red wine or 2. And now I am a VTer I like to share my experiences of my local restaurants and others I visit. Luckily Manchester and my local area of West Didsbury has lots of good restaurants. These are my favourite Manchester places to eat.
Damson in Heaton Moor near Stockport. Wonderful food, great wines and a superb atmosphere with lovely decor. The perfect restaurant.
Restaurant Bar and Grill in City Centre - Great food and wonderful Kir Royals in the bar.
Lime Tree in Disbury Village - Modern European. The first proper restaurant to open here and still the leader.
Cafe Jem&I in Didsbury Village - Modern European
Piccolinos - Perfect Italian, with cocktail bar, in West Didsbury


Shopping
I love shopping! Manchester is really good for shopping from the designer shops on King Street - DKNY, Vivienne Westwood, Armani, Agent Provocateur, and Harvey Nichols to the quirky independant shops in The Northern Quarter and Afflecks Palace. There is also the Trafford Centre which has a Selfridges and many other chains, the advantage here being you can park free and don't get rained on. Kendals on Deansgate is a good department store and St Ann's Square and King Street have a good selection of clothes and shoe shops. I avoid Market Street wherever possible, but Urban Outfitters is good and there is a Primark there too for bargain hunters.

Green Spaces
You don't need to go far outside the city centre to find some nice green spaces for walking and fresh air. North Manchester has Heaton Park and in Didsbury there is the River Mersey which has walks from Stockport to Chorlton and beyond. Further away but within travelling distance for a day trip are the Peak District and The Pennine Way - both hilly.

A Bit of Culture
The Royal Exchange Truly a great theatre, celebrated it's 30 year anniversary last year. Never seen a play here that was less than brilliant.
The Bridgewater Hall Home of the Halle Orchestra and venue for many international musicians
The Cornerhouse Cinema specialising in the more artistic films. Shows many international films with feature events and has a bar, cafe and art gallery
The City Art Gallery Home to a one of the best Pre-Raphaelite collections in the country and with great art and culture exhibitions and a lovely cafe

Festivals There always seems to be some festival on in Manchester and October is a particularly popular month for celebrations. Here are just a few:
Irish Festival - March
International Festival - July
Jazz Festival - July
Festival in the Park - July
Manchester Gay Pride Festival - August
Caribbean Festival - August
Diwali Hindu Festival of Light - October
Literature Festival - October
In the City Music Event - October
Food and Drink Festival - October
Comedy Festival - October


A Few Famous Mancunians
Here is my list of a few Famous Mancunians. Of course not everybody is included here, as it would just get too boring, and I haven't included people from Lancashire


LS lowry
Mike Leigh
Emmeline Pankhurst
Anthony Burgess
Matthew Williamson
John Thompson
Les Dawson
Steve Coogan
Albert Finney
Robert Powell
Victoria Wood
Joanne Whalley Kilmer
Sir Norman Foster
Howard Jacobson
Karl Pilkington
Ricky Hatton

And as Manchester is famous for it's music (I'm not saying they are all good.....)
Charles Halle
The Buzzcocks
The Smiths
Badly Drawn Boy
John Mayall
The Fall
10cc
Simply Red
Oasis
Happy Mondays
Russell Watson
James
Elbow
The Doves
Joy Division
New Order
Charlatans
The Stone Roses
The Hollies
ABC
Diesel Butterfly
I am Kloot
Alfie
The Courteeners


A few more things Manchester is famous for
The Hacienda
Manchester Tart
Pie and Chips
Binge drinking (according to a few VT members - Cheers!)
Manchester United
"Manchester Caviar" (mushy peas)
Coronation Street
Harold Shipman
Myra Hindley
The Curry Mile
The Gay Village
Cold Feet
"Madchester"
And finally - Anthony (Tony) Wilson, "Mr Manchester" who sadly passed away on Friday 10th August 2007.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Lots to do - history, popular culture, nightlife, food and drink.
  • Cons:The Weather!
  • In a nutshell:England's Second City
  • Intro Updated Jun 20, 2010
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Reviews (68)

Comments (13)

  • Bunsch's Profile Photo
    Jan 13, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    Looking forward to a few days in Manchester in April. Thanks for the suggestions!

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Feb 3, 2012 at 12:31 AM

    Great Manchester page Jane! I will visit Manchester in a few weeks time, but only for a day so I guess it will be a day full of sight-seeing.

  • spidermiss's Profile Photo
    Jul 10, 2010 at 6:45 AM

    I saw Macbeth last year at the Royal Exchange. Great play and, most of all, great theatre! Love to see another play there. In all, I love Manchester and always go there if I want a change from Leeds! A trip there is now well overdue! Dawn

  • muguruki's Profile Photo
    Mar 15, 2010 at 9:42 AM

    Had good time on Thursday night at the Green room, ended up talking to the manager from Corner House. Sadly the tickets for Mark E Smith on Saturday at greenroom are sold out!

  • gilabrand's Profile Photo
    Jan 31, 2010 at 6:37 AM

    I like to see the local libraries in the cities I visit!

  • ranger49's Profile Photo
    Dec 14, 2008 at 4:44 AM

    Another informative - and advisory - Tip on the Fat Loaf,Didsbury .Thanks !

  • DunaKal's Profile Photo
    Mar 14, 2008 at 9:49 PM

    Night life & shopping..that is so typical of me to check ;-) thanx for the guide (my husband is operating a flight to manchester next week) i will surely pass on ur recommandations of places to go.

  • davesut's Profile Photo
    Feb 11, 2008 at 3:42 PM

    Hi Jane-great tips on Manchester. Not so sure about your authenticity of the greats of Manchester, Mark E Smith has made many statements that The Fall are a Salford band, that I can forgive but you missed Herman's Hermits-unforgivable. Hit the North!!

  • Briony's Profile Photo
    Jan 21, 2008 at 3:28 PM

    I enjoyed your Manchester Page - and am sorry not to have seen more of the City on my recent stay nearby. Hope to return one day.

  • Bavavia's Profile Photo
    Jan 12, 2008 at 1:25 PM

    Hi Jane,Really great Manchester tips! I think the restaruant was Capas Tapas.. that sounds right. It was great there..cute, small restaurant. The big santa was there when i was in manchester. is he still there?

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