Exchange Square Manchester

City Centre, Manchester

Creative Tourist

Visit Manchester Town Hall in the city centre and you’ll spot bees picked out in the mosaics across the lobby floor – once seen, you’ll notice them everywhere. The bee is used as a symbol of Manchester’s industriousness and teamwork, and it appears on benches, council flower pots and even bins across the city. The Town Hall itself was designed by Alfred Waterhouse (also behind the Natural History Museum in London) and is often used in place of the Houses of Parliament when filming. The city centre is, then, a district filled with many incredible buildings, from The Royal Exchange, a former trading hall and once the largest single room in the world, to The Bridgewater Hall, built in 1996 for £46m so that, incredibly, all 22,000 tons of it float on nearly three hundred earthquake bearings, or giant springs.

The city centre is perhaps Manchester’s most diverse area culturally, taking in Chinatown, the Gay Village (area of political importance for the LGBT community; its bars and clubs are legendary) and behemoths of the arts such as The Portico Library and Manchester Art Gallery, whilst not turning up its nose to the high street attractions of Market Street and the Arndale Centre.King Street is dotted with designer stores, but also has a foodie draw, including El Gato Negro’s superb tapas. St Ann’s Square is a quiet little enclave of shops, with Barton’s Arcade set back from it on one side, and St Ann’s Church, which dates back to 1712 and has a 54 stop organ. Albert Square is in front of the Town Hall, a cobbled space that plays host to the Manchester Christmas Markets and festival of premieres Manchester International Festival.

A top tip – don’t miss Manchester’s talking statues; Prunella Scales is Queen Victoria in Piccadilly Gardens, Russel Tovey is Alan Turing in Sackville Gardens, and Tom Conti plays the President in Lincoln Square.

Discover our top picks

Music 23–27 May 2019, from £5.00

Manchester Jazz Festival 2019 – MJF19

MJF returns with a fresh new look, a new festival hub location and more venues across the city than ever before.

UnDoing at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester – Creative Tourist
Exhibitions 22 March–26 May 2019, FREE

UnDoing at Castlefield Gallery

UnDoing at Castlefield Gallery explores our often conflicted relationship between past and present in architecture.

Music 25 April 2019, from £12.5

Sibelius | Tippett | Stravinsky at The Bridgewater Hall

Steven Osborne made the definitive recording of Tippett’s masterpiece several years ago – and tonight, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, he joins the BBC Philharmonic to perform it live. Also on the programme, two symphonies by 20th-century pioneers: Sibelius’s brilliant Sixth, and a vital work written by Stravinsky ‘to the glory of God’.

Chinternet Ugly at Chinese Centre for Contemporary Art
Exhibitions 8 February–12 May 2019, FREE

Chinternet Ugly at Centre for ChineseContemporary Art

CFCCA presents Chinternet Ugly – a group exhibition that offers a rare glimpse behind the biggest digital boundary in the world: the Great Firewall of China.

Music 11 October 2018–22 May 2019,

The Hallé 2018-19 Season

We look forward to a truly exciting season of concerts from the Hallé, whose 2018-19 is filled with music that pinpoints vital moments in our cultural history, from Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring’ to Janáček’s ‘The Glagolitic Mass’.

Music 8 July 2019, from £18

Sixteen’s Choral Pilgrimage 2019 Voices of Angels at The Bridgewater Hall

With a mixture of Renaissance masters and modern maestros, The Sixteen bring you a spread of sacred choral music spanning seven centuries.

Music 5 June 2019, from £20

RPO The Planets: An HD Odyssey at the The Bridgewater Hall

Experience HD footage from NASA space probes alongside some of the masterworks we associate with space travel and our solar system.

West Side Story at the Royal Exchange
Theatre 6 April–25 May 2019, from £10.00

West Side Story at the Royal Exchange

Powerful and fast-paced and heart-breaking, we’re thrilled that Sarah Frankcom is set to direct a brand-new version of this iconic musical.

Cinema 3–6 October 2019, from £20.00

Grimmfest at Odeon Great Northern

One of the top genre film festivals in the World, Manchester’s annual festival of horror, cult and fantastic film returns to Odeon, Great Northern this October.

bbc philharmonic 2018 2019 season at the bridgewater hall manchester
Music 29 September 2018–15 June 2019,

BBC Philharmonic 2018/19 Concert Season

Millions of listeners enjoy BBC Philharmonic concerts on Radio 3, recorded or broadcast live from the outstanding acoustic of The Bridgewater Hall, making this orchestra one of the most widely heard in the country.

Manchester District Guides

Medieval Quarter, Manchester

The Medieval Quarter, or Cathedral Quarter as it is sometimes known, is one of the oldest parts of Manchester and home to some historic gems and cultural must-sees.  

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

A laid-back mix of gift shops, independent outfitters, restaurants, pubs and parks, on a sunny weekend afternoon it’s heaving.

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

Chorlton is a left-leaning suburb a few miles south of Manchester’s city centre (and only…

Cheetham Hill, Manchester

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

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