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

Cinema 6–9 October 2022, from £110

Grimmfest at Odeon Great Northern

Grimmfest, Manchester’s annual festival of horror, cult and fantastic film returns to Odeon Great Northern this October.

Author Adam Simcox
Literature 1 September 2022 6:00 pm, from £0.00

Crime Central at Central Library

There’s murder and mayhem in the library! Manchester Libraries’ monthly event Crime Central is back for the autumn at Central Library, hosted by Rob Parker.

Gambit in Manchester City Centre
Theatre 20 August 2022 12:00 pm, FREE

Gambit at St Ann’s Square

If you’re out and about on 20 August in Manchester city centre, keep your eyes peeled for Word of Warning and Proud & Loud Arts’ latest performance piece…

The Glass Menagerie at the Royal Exchange
Theatre 2 September–8 October 2022, from £10.00

The Glass Menagerie at the Royal Exchange

Following the huge success of Hobson’s Choice at the Royal Exchange in 2019, Atri Banerjee returns to direct Tennessee Williams’ semi-autobiographical masterpiece.

Poet Zaffar Kunial.
Literature 7–23 October 2022, from £5

Manchester Literature Festival 2022

MLF22 runs from 7 to 23 October and presents inspiring live literature and spoken word from international writers and home-grown talent.

Let The Right One In at the Royal Exchange
Theatre 22 October–19 November 2022, from £10.00

Let The Right One In at the Royal Exchange

A deeply moving piece of theatre – as enchanting as it is brutal – Let The Right One In tells a chilling and beautiful coming-of-age vampire love story.

What is Manchester Art Gallery?
Exhibitions Until 31 January 2023, FREE

What is Manchester Art Gallery? at Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester Art Gallery reopens with a thought-provoking new exhibition that delves into the history of the public institution and its role within the city.

Electric Gamebox at the arndale
Childrens Until 22 October 2022, from £5.00

Electric Gamebox at The Arndale

Get ready for an immersive, digital, gaming adventure at the Arndale Centre in Manchester.

Families 2 September–1 October 2022, from £13.00

Mrs Doubtfire at Manchester Opera House

Mrs Doubtfire, a touching musical comedy about family, love and friendship, is coming to Manchester Opera House, straight from Broadway.

English National Ballet: Swan Lake at the Palace Theatre
Dance 5–8 October 2022, from £13.00

English National Ballet: Swan Lake at the Palace Theatre

The world’s most famous ballet returns to Manchester. Don’t miss this stunning production from the English National Ballet.

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…