Manchester was originally settled by the Romans in 79AD and since then has remained one of the major hubs in England. Currently, it is England’s second-largest city and world-famous for its football clubs. It also has a thriving nightlife, vibrant art scene, and cultural activities able to enthrall any backpackers on their visit to England.
Manchester is surrounded by rolling hills of the countryside near the Pennine Mountains. It gives visitors the opportunity to venture out and explore nature along with the bustling city. Visitors to this English city have the chance to balance their museum and cultural visits with some of the United Kingdom’s most stunning landscapes. However, Manchester’s historic standing in many fields has no shortage of activities to fill your weeklong stay.
During your visit to Manchester, take the time to check out these top 10 things to see in this city in England.
The Manchester Museum is England’s largest university museum with an astonishing 4,500,000 items collected from all over the world. Not only are the contents of the museum fascinating, but the building itself is also an impressive gothic style building. It showcases an impressive architecture.
The Museum was founded in 1867 and has since grown to include galleries filled with fossils, ancient world artifacts, cultural symbols, and more. Interestingly, it also has a notable collection of skeletons. Make sure to take some time to check out Stan the Tyrannosaurus Rex; an excellently preserved skeleton with the world’s best tyrannosaurus rex skull. If you wish to learn more about Manchester, the museum also has a special section sharing the cities origins. It shows the area transform from a swamp into the bustling city it is today.
Check out the Music Scene
Potentially one of the best music scenes in the world, Manchester’s streets brought the world the legends that are Oasis, The Smiths, Chemical Brothers, Take That and M People. The red-bricked buildings, murky weather, and collection of fantastic pubs seem to spark creativity with live music still pouring out of many establishments in the evenings.
The city is known for being open-minded, meaning any genre is welcome and talent is recognized. Take time to view one or more live gigs is a must-do among the things to do in Manchester. Some of the best spots to find up and coming musicians include the subterranean Soup Kitchen or Manchester’s current hottest music Venue Yes.
If you are after a party, then look no further than the phenomenal clubbing scene cumulating at Manchester’s Warehouse Project. It is a series of club nights organized every season from September until New Years. The project began in 2006 and since has had an astonishing collection of artists showing up to take part.
The current location is under the Mayfield Train station. It invites visitors to take part in a night they will never forget. Or potentially, never remember dependent on how fun it is. Also, make sure to buy tickets in advance since they often sell out. Additionally, check out the set times on the website to enjoy live music and see some big music names.
Following the music train of thought, independent record stores are well known for providing tunes to Manchester inhabitants. This includes record stores such as including Vinyl Exchange, Eastern Bloc, and Piccadilly Records. They have extensive collections within their walls.
This then attracts music lovers from all over their country, shifting through the vast music archives. You are able to find rare cuts from world-renown artists, along with tiny undiscovered music gems in the many shelves.
Manchester International Festival
This city in England has more festivals than one could possibly attend, ranging from beer, food, music and more. One of the best, and biggest, is the Manchester International Festival which comes about every two years for a long 18 days. Many major artists come to play to showcase their original new work. It began in 2007 and since then has attracted up to 260,000 visitors every time.
The dynamic new work showcased by artists with a wide range of backgrounds, art forms, and cultures makes this event an unmissable one. The last event was in July 2019, so you will have to wait until 2021 to attend the next one.
In the warm summer months over the August Bank Holiday, the world-famous Manchester Pride event comes alive. The LGBT+ events in Manchester are frequent, but this pride event is for the real party people. You can take part in the four day Gay Village Gathering. It features live music, love positivity, and a vibrant atmosphere in the Gay Village and Sackville Gardens.
The celebrity-led parade takes part on a Saturday. It allows visitors to get into the spirit for free while the dancing, music, and rainbows take over the streets.
If you are a fan of craft beers, then you will be pleasantly surprised by the enormous variety of fine craft beers available in Manchester Pubs. Simply head over to some of the beer specialty bars including Port Street Beer House, Piccadilly Tap and Beermoth. Thankfully all three of these pubs are located within walking distance from the Picadilly gardens.
There are also many smaller local brewers you can visit. This includes the Blackjack Brewery’s Smithfield Market Tavern, Marble Arch Pub, Seven Bro7hers’Bar or more. You can certainly spend several evenings wandering the streets, tasting beers, and getting to know the locals.
Of course, if you want to experience the pinnacle of beer, make sure to check out beer festivals in Manchester. There are certainly many to choose from. This includes the Independent Manchester Beer Convention at the Victoria Baths, the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival at the convention complex, and the Indy Man Beer Con.
These baths opened in 1906 and were then considered one of the most splendid bathing institution of the country. It closed in 1993, however, and since then, the retro pools and Edwardian tiles were well preserved. Now they have become the location of many antique fairs and food festivals. If you have the opportunity, try making it to the Independent Manchester Beer Convention. It’s considered the best in the country!
Maybe after all that live music and beers, you may look for something a bit more satiating. Manchester’s food markets pop up often, and seemingly everywhere. You can grab yourself some street food, food trucks, or food stalls in the city.
A particular favorite of many visitors is the Mackie Mayor; a converted Grade 2 listed building with over 400 seats and some of the best pizzas in the world. If you start getting hungry for delicious wood-fired pizzas, then make sure to add Honest Crust to your list of dinner plans.
City, United, and the National Football Museum
Of course, what would a list about the top things to do in Manchester be without mentioning the football? Manchester is the city of football as it has two major teams which also happen to be archrivals. The armies of local and visiting fans are a constant presence in the city. Their big games draw thousands of screaming supporters to the stadium and streets.
There is also the National Football Museum in the city center which gives people further insight into football. There you can learn about the history and get into the nitty-gritty of the team, players, and game itself.
If you are a die-hard fan, there is also the opportunity to visit the Manchester United and/or Manchester City’s grounds. Here, they provide behind the scene tours, massive merchandise stores, and the chance to stand in the proximity of where these massive games take place.
Science and Industry Museum
Maybe once you’ve gotten your fill of music, football, beer, food, and the colorful history of Manchester, you’d take some time to appreciate the rich history of Manchester’s industrial legacy. There is a fantastic Science and Industry Museum on the old Liverpool Station; the oldest rail terminus in the world. There are vast collections of steam engines and old-time machinery. Also, you can catch a glimpse of what the past century had predicted for the future.
This is also a great place to go if you’re a fan of technology. You have the chance to see fighter jets from close up, experience being an astronaut in virtual reality, and see where the world’s first stored-program computer was created.
Chetham’s Library and School of Music
If you have ever wondered when the first English speaking library opened up to the world, then wonder no more. Chetham’s library was founded in 1653 in a building that was originally constructed in 1421. It now has long rows of ancient books and manuscripts, many of which are original and in fantastic condition. It is also the location wherein 1845 Marx and Engels read and wrote the work that became the communist manifesto.