Manchester Student-made

Exploring Manchester: a must-see guide of local attractions

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Manchester is one of the most popular cities in the North of England. There is an abundance of architecture, art, shops, eateries, and bars to explore. Whatever your passion, you are sure to find something of interest in Manchester. Here are just a few of my favourite places to visit around the city…

For the 24/7 student

1. The Science and Industry Museum

Many important Manchurian discoveries and inventions are documented at the Science and Industry Museum. It certainly has an eclectic mix of exhibitions; including steam trains, aircrafts, and laboratory experiments.

2. Manchester Museum

Attached to the University, is the impression Manchester Museum which houses an impressive collection of natural history exhibitions. You’ll find everything from Egyptian mummies and dinosaur skeletons to a rare collection of frogs and reptiles.

3. People’s History Museum

Learn all about the history of democracy and delve into the revolving exhibitions that seek to inform the public on important issues, including the history of LGBTQ+ rights.

4. Paramount Books

You’ll likely hear the classical music blaring from its outdoor speaker before you actually see the bookshop. Inside, the second-hand store is a melting pot of literature with a focus on comics and sci-fi.

5. Pankhurst Centre

The Pankhurst Centre is the only museum in the country to highlight the struggle of the women’s vote. Housed in the ancestral home of the Pankhurst family, the museum has several exhibits showcasing the right to vote.

6. The John Rylands Library

If you enjoy getting lost in a book whilst surrounded by impressive architecture, then this is the library for you. It contains one of the most extensive collections of literature in the country.

For the art enthusiasts

1. Whitworth Art Gallery

Whitworth Art Gallery displays a vast collection of contemporary art. Whilst there, it is worth a visit to their restaurant which overlooks the surrounding park.

2. Manchester Art Gallery

The free-entry gallery situated in the city centre holds permanent exhibitions from world-renowned artists. It is certainly a great way to spend a few hours and aquire inspiration for your own artwork.

3. Manchester Craft and Design Centre

Positioned in the heart of the northern quarter, this hub of creativity is home to local artists and creatives who produce and sell their work in personalised studio spaces.

For the sports fans

1. National Football Museum

Interested in football? Well, you might want to visit to the National Football Museum. It will give you a detailed insight into your favourite sport and even allow you to refine your own football skills.

2. Old Trafford

As one of the most famous football stadiums in the world and now home to Christiano Ronald, it is worth taking a tram to visit Old Trafford. You will be able to take a tour of the stadium and even buy a memento of your visit from the gift shop.

For the architects

1. Manchester Town Hall

A must see building in the city centre. The Manchester Town Hall is a great example of neogothic architecture with ornate ceilings, mural paintings, iconic bee mosaics, and the famous clock tower.

2. Manchester Cathedral

This impressive cathedral is one of Manchester’s oldest buildings and is a must-see for anyone who can appreciate the delicacies of a building’s architecture. You can opt to wander around at your own pace or book onto a tour to find out more about the building’s history.

3. Chetham’s Library

The ancient building is rumoured to be haunted, a fact that you’ll easily believe when you step into its stalls. Lovers of architecture will take great delight in a visit to this prestigious library.

4. Victoria Baths

This Edwardian swimming bath is currently under a slow renovation, which aims to get at least one of the Turkish baths or pools reopened. In the meantime, it is open for guided tours and special events such as festivals, fairs, and theoretical performances.

For the shopaholics

1. Affleck’s

Affleck’s is Manchester’s hub for an alternative crowd, containing an impressive array of stalls selling everything from DIY jewellery and clothing to memorabilia for friends and family.

2. Altrincham Market

Located on the outskirts of the city, the restored market of Altrincham is the best place to obtain some local produce and explore an array of market stalls.

3. Trafford Centre

With every kind of shop you can think of, you’ll be sure to find something that catches your eye at the Trafford Centre.

For the night owls

1. Cloud 23

The 23rd floor of the Hilton Hotel is for the students who prefer a luxurious night. The innovative cocktails are exceptional and the interior just screams indulgence. Keep your eyes peeled when visiting Cloud 23 as you may even catch a glimpse of a local celebrity.

2. The Warehouse Project

The Warehouse Project is a series of must-visit events in Manchester. Running every year from September through to New Years, the seasonal club nights are some of the most popular in the country and are a sure hit for those seeking an fun-filled night out.

For the foodies

1. The Norther Quarter

Discover a seemingly never-ending array of independent bars, restaurants, and eateries for everyone’s taste.

2. Manchester House

Coming close to a Michelin-star eatery, Manchester house has a delectable tasting menu which can be enjoyed whilst taking in the impressive views of the city.

3. Chinatown

Chinatown is a collection of wonderful restaurants and mouth-watering bakeries. It is the perfect place for an afternoon stroll or as a destination for an evening meal.

For the theatre lovers


The new centre of culture offers visitors the opportunity to view an independent film at the cinema and watch a performance at the theatre.

2. The Lowry

Part of the regeneration of the old Salford Quay, the Lowry has become a cultural hotspot in Manchester. The theatre is home to several touring plays, operas, and ballets.

3. Contact Theatre

Contact is located on Oxford Road right next to the University campus and is a charity-run venue that aims to foster the creativity of young adults with workshops, theatre and gallery spaces.

If you’d like more inspiration for places to visit and things to do around Manchester, see the University’s recommendations of 100 things to do in Manchester – there’s so much for you to explore!

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