Exploring the city

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Even though the University of Manchester is a city campus (integrated with the city), you will find that around main campus, there are only really students walking around during the day. You should try catching a bus or walking into the centre of the city because there are many more shops, galleries and places to eat there. Here are a few things I enjoy doing in the city that give you a chance to relax with your friends but also explore Manchester a little bit more, as a city rather than just as a University.

Art Galleries

I study Art History so my lecturers are always encouraging me to visit galleries to study works of art. However even if you don’t study Art History (not a lot of people do) I really recommend visiting the galleries in Manchester at least once because they are a nice way to wind down, giving your brain a chance to look at art and think in different ways. In particular the Manchester Art Gallery permanently houses lots of British art, as well as more frequently changing exhibitions. One which you might be interested in is called, ‘And Breathe…’ which has been curated with peacefulness in mind (there’s sofas to sit on inside the exhibition!).

As well as the Manchester Art Gallery, there is also the Centre for Chinese Contemporary art. This is a small gallery in town which curates exhibitions highlighting Chinese artists such as their upcoming installation of neon lights and sculptures by the Jiū Society. These institutions also host events and performances so it’s a great way to experience a cultural side of Manchester


Like most East Asian students, I seem to somehow drink more bubble tea than I should. China Town is located close to St. Peters Square and has many Chinese as well as a few Vietnamese and Korean restaurants. This means that it will be easy to find comfort foods and familiar flavours. My friends and I often hang out here as it’s a really nice area which is dedicated to the Asian community living in Manchester and is a great place for yum cha or to have a chat whilst drinking boba.

The Northern Quarter

This is an area in town which I visit a lot with my friends. There’s a lot of vintage stores, art shops, cute cafes and venues. I’ll usually come here if I’m craving brunch or in order to peruse the racks in the vintage clothing stores. One shop in particular which exemplifies the Northern Quarter is Affleck’s Palace. Affleck’s is a multi-storey building with a maze of vintage clothing shops, a tattoo and piercing parlor and cafes and it is a building with a lot of history in Manchester. It might look a little confusing from the outside but its worth going inside at least once 🙂

Something I also love doing with my friends is simply walking around. Manchester as a city has many small side streets, different areas such as Spinningfields or Piccadilly Gardens and lots of cafes and venues. It’s nice to let yourself wander and find new places in the city.