Northern Quarter, Manchester

Northern Quarter, Manchester

Creative Tourist

Manchester’s most characterful, independent district is a jumbled network of streets to one side of Piccadilly Gardens – once home to busy textiles warehouses and even the occasional umbrella factory. Now, the red brick buildings with their New York-style fire escapes are regularly used in film sets, and the streets are bursting with independent cafés, shops, bars, and cultural hotspots.

The Northern Quarter has become a destination in its own right, with the laid-back, bohemian vibe during the day transforming at night into teeming pavements of people in search of good food, craft beer, pop-up events and live music.

Ben Williams, Creative Tourist
Image by Ben Williams, Creative Tourist

When walking around, keep your eyes peeled for public art, including the sculptures of birds high on a wall on John Street (reflecting the area’s reputation in Victorian times as a ‘pets paradise’), the illuminated, 12 metre-tall Big Boys Toy on the top of the NCP car park, and the artistic graffiti on the outhouse in the middle of Stevenson Square.

Discover our top picks

Exhibitions 25 May–3 September 2017, FREE

Athletically Pleasing at Manchester Craft & Design Centre

A showcase of design in sport – including an ‘anti-stink’ material made using silver, a collapsible helmet and a relaxation hoodie with a very particular shade of pink…

Exhibitions 12 May–18 June 2017, FREE

A Private Public at CFCCA

An unconventional view of Hong Kong is revealed in this exhibition of photography by Michael Wolf.

First Draft's Abi Hynes. Photo by Rachel Fernandez-Arias.
Literature 19 June 2017, FREE

First Draft at The Castle

Cabaret regular First Draft celebrates its fifth birthday with a line-up of writers of all sorts showcasing brand-new works. And eating cake. Probably.

Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives
Cinema 28 May 2017, from £11.00

HIP HOP DOC SPOT #2: Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives at Kosmonaut, Manchester

On Sunday 28thth May, from 4.30pm-7.30pm, Hip Hop Chip Shop x Kosmonaut will be hosting a screening of Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives as the second part of their brand new documentary season, Hip Hop Doc Spot.

Exhibitions 29 June 2017, FREE

MIF17: What Is the City but the People? in Piccadilly Gardens

Conceived by artist Jeremy Deller, What Is the City but the People? will see residents parading on a specially designed walkway across Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens to musical accompaniment, capturing the city through its outfits and attitudes.

Exhibitions 31 October 2017, FREE

Craft Unravelled: Hipsters & Heritage

Manchester Craft & Design Centre’s free 20 minute informal ‘Craft Unravelled’ series of talks and tours take place on the last Tuesday of every month.

Exhibitions 29 August 2017, FREE

Craft Unravelled: Meet the Makers

Manchester Craft & Design Centre’s free 20 minute informal ‘Craft Unravelled’ series of talks and tours take place on the last Tuesday of every month.

Exhibitions 30 May 2017, FREE

Craft Unravelled: Meet the Makers

Manchester Craft & Design Centre’s free 20 minute informal ‘Craft Unravelled’ series of talks and tours take place on the last Tuesday of every month.

Exhibitions 25 July 2017, FREE

Craft Unravelled: Hipsters & Heritage

Manchester Craft & Design Centre’s free 20 minute informal ‘Craft Unravelled’ series of talks and tours take place on the last Tuesday of every month at 1:30pm.

Music 26 May 2017, FREE

The Charlatans Oldham Street Takeover

To mark the release of their latest album, The Charlatans take over cafes, shops and more along Oldham Street for one day only, hosting listening parties, signing records, giving away gig tickets and more.

Manchester District Guides

Photo of a handwritten label in a cafe that says "Ring for service with a smile"

Burton Road, West Didsbury, Manchester

Burton Road is the heart of West Didsbury, a beautifully maintained leafy hubbub of shops,…

Beech Road Chorlton, Manchester

It may not quite have the reputation of Benefits Street, but Beech Road in Chorlton…

The front of Didsbury restaurant Volta.

Didsbury, Manchester

Follow Oxford Road South through the Curry Mile, along Wilmslow Road, past Platt Fields Park…

Chorlton, Manchester

This left-leaning suburb a few miles south of Manchester’s city centre (and only ten minutes…

Cheetham Hill, Manchester

As an area, Cheetham Hill gets a pretty bad rep. The foreboding architecture of Strangeways…

Places to go / stay / shop / eat / drink