Graduations aren’t just about gowns, diplomas and funny-looking headgear: they’re a chance to spend quality time together. It might even be your last opportunity to explore Manchester – the city your daughter/son/friend has called home for three-plus years – before they go off and get a real job (you hope).
First, you’ll want to make sure you take in at least a couple of the city’s most iconic buildings. For something old try the John Ryland’s library, whose current exhibition The Life of Objects explores the possessions of famous people such as Lord Byron.
For the newer side of the city, we’d recommend the recently refurbished Whitworth art gallery. Not only is it right by the universities, it also has some wonderful exhibitions on right now including a collection of photographs of Mumbai and prints created by Indian-born artist Raqib Shaw.
If you’re in the city centre, it has to be Yang Sing for food – regularly voted as the best restaurant Chinatown has to offer – while for those with more Mediterranean tastes we’d plump for newly-opened Suri on King Street. If you’re about for Sunday lunch my personal pick would be Gorilla, which has good food, a great atmosphere and isn’t too pricey.
Of course there’s only so much you can do in a short visit, but make sure you don’t miss out on the city’s single biggest cultural attraction. MIF has turned Manchester into a global arts name, and while the ticketed events might not be an option you can still take part thanks to free events such as True Faith, which celebrates the legacy of Joy Division and New Order. If you’ve got any teenagers in tow, they’ll thank you for taking them (or at least mumble appreciatively).
Here are our picks
Featuring objects including a fragment from the lining of Napoleon’s coffin, The John Rylands Library’s latest exhibition sets out to prove that a library’s stories are not just contained within books.
Manchester International Festival presents an exhibition of internationally acclaimed artists to mark the ongoing cultural significance of New Order and Joy Division.