Can I write a song about Manchester? This modest English city is so much more than just a business hub. While Machester mostly has people visiting for work rather than leisure, it beats me why the city's tourism board does such a shoddy job at flaunt-bragging about the myriad opportunities for tourists!
I mean, you have to visit Manchester to know. It's got a little something for everyone. Like this canal I stumbled upon while sauntering through a bylane (Drop a comment if you can guess exactly where this is at!)
By now you probably know I'm a fan. Here are 20 absolute MUST-DO things for when you visit Manchester.
1. Start Your Day Right At Piccadilly Gardens
This massive central square with swathes of green is exactly what your mornings have been missing. Grab a coffee from a place nearby, sit by the beautiful fountain in the middle and people-watch for hours on end.
2. Shop Yourself Silly At The High Street
For a shopaholic, Manchester's High Street is like waking up in a Disney movie. You're spoilt for choice, ranging from a (relatively) modest Primark to House of Fraser and Debenhams. The Arndale Center is a massive indoor shopping mall that houses over 240 brand stores, including flagship branches of Next, Topshop and Oasis. You'll also find the popular European chain TK Maxx (Alert: Big discount on big brands!) and one of the biggest M&S showrooms in the world.
3. Have A Drink At The Gay Village
Positively, one of the liveliest areas of the city. Canal Street, popularly called Gay Village, is lined with bars, pubs, hotels and cafes, and is perfect for a drink and a fun dance with some really happy, life-embracing folks! You can spot the street from a distance courtesy of the Pride Flags and tons of colourful lights to perk up the area.
4. Visit The Football Museum
This is a must, regardless of whether you're a football fan or not. The museum covers the social history and cultural journey of football becoming a global phenomenon, and everything is very lucidly explained and displayed to cater to the uninitiated as well.
At the museum, you'll see Maradona's "Hand of God" t-shirt, the ball used in the first ever FIFA World Cup Final, and the original hand-written football rulebook! cue shock and awe
Best part: Entry is free! They welcome donations, though, so you can make a contribution if you enjoy the experience.
5. Say A Prayer At Manchester Cathedral
The cathedral is only a few steps away from the Football Museum, and is resplendent in quaint English Gothic architecture. The look and feel on the outside as well as indoors will take you back in time.
6. Eat At Wagamama
Even though this restaurant chain is no longer exclusive to Britain, you've got to have at least a meal at Wagamama. They're known the world over for delish Japenese food, and you absolutely must try their signature Katsu Curry.
7. Get Curried Away At The Curry Mile
This stretch running through the center of Rusholm in the south of Manchester is a food paradise for kebabs and curry lovers. You'll have some 70 outlets to choose from, service boys brandishing menus and vying for your attention, and neon lights to transport you to the streets of Lahore.
8. Channel Your Inner Nerd
Manchester has a number of libraries, the most notable ones being John Rylands, Central and Chetham's. Even if you're not much of a reader, make sure to visit these for the sheer architectural brilliance.
9. Visit A Tiki Bar For A Slice Of Hawaii
You know the English weather in the north can be a bummer, which is all the more a reason to hit some Tiki themed bars for serious tropical feels.
Recommended: Hula Bar and The Zombie Shack
10. See The Old Trafford Stadium
Because you gotta. Old Trafford has played host to several games in the history of football, and still does. There's a museum, and stadium tours to give you the complete football experience.
11. Have The Best Burger In The World
You guys! Handmade Burger Co. has the best burgers in the world, period. No contentions there. Located in the Old Courthouse on Deansgate, the burger joint has beautiful interiors and great service too, so you cannot miss it when you're in Manchester.
12. Visit The Northern Quarter
This Bohemian part of the city houses the best places to shop, eat, drink and party at. Which means you're going to be spending a lot of time here, you know? Make sure to stop by at Magma Shop and Vinyl Exchange for some great books and old vinyl buys.
13. Shop Vintage At Oldham Street
There's a vintage market street here, you guys! And a brilliant one. Nestled in the Northern Quarter, the graffiti-strewn walls and the avant-garde atmosphere make such a perfect setup for all the retro boutiques and jewelry stores. If you love vintage style, Retro Rehab, JUNK and Blue Rinse offer tailored wear.
14. Count The Number Of Worker Bees You Can Find
The Worker Bee was adopted as a motif for Manchester during the industrial revolution, and is an inextricable part of the city's character. You'll chance upon tons of Worker Bee sculptures everywhere. How many can you find? I got 5. Nope, 7. Gee, never been good at Math!
15. Go To Chinatown
The second largest in the UK, Machester's Chinatown is a visual and culinary delight. There are bakeries, restaurants, even massage parlours in case you fancy one! The annual Chinese New Year festival in February is the highlight, with a parade, food stalls and dancing dragons to teleport you to China.
16. Experience World Class Clubbing
The only item on the list I couldn't cover, but recommend nonetheless!
Now, I'm not so much a clubbing person, but I've heard brilliant things about Warehouse Project. While I missed it because of limited time, be sure to go there if you're in Manchester. If you've been, tell me all about it!
17. Make A Day Trip To Salford Quays
This beautiful water-side destination, just ten minutes from the city center, has to be on your Manchester itinerary. It's a melting pot for culture, history, food and sport, and will take you a day to cover end from end.
18. Spend The Evening At The Printworks
There's so much to do at The Printworks! Watch a movie at IMAX, have dinner at Nandos, and then kick back with a drink at one of the bars as you watch hen parties flock in and out of the area.
19. Visit The Manchester Museum
This is an archeological museum with fossils and artifacts that include a T. Rex and Egyptian mummies. Entry is free, y'all! Always the best part. Oh, and there's a really nice cafe too.
20. Soak In The Sun At Heaton Park
A little outside the city centre, but every bit worth the visit. This park has a public golf course, a beautiful boating lake and a small farm. It's such a pleasant contrast from the unabating bustle of the city. Go for a run or sit by the water and write poetry. Anything that floats your boat (always up for a good pun!)
Now tell me there isn't much to do in Manchester, eh? Pack your bags and make a visit to this gorgeous albeit unassuming little city, oh, and make sure to keep this list handy!
[You Might Like: 10 Typical English Things To Do In London]