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 16 February–20 May 2017, FREE

Modern Twist at Manchester Craft & Design Centre

Manchester Craft & Design Centre’s 2016 MMU Graduate Award winner Joshua Till puts a contemporary twist on a traditional craft with his nature-inspired steam bent furniture.

Families 8 April 2017, FREE

Steam bending demonstration with Joshua Till at MCDC

Watch furniture designer/maker Joshua Till bring the traditional craft of steam bending to life at this free demonstration.

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.

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.

Exhibitions 27 January–30 April 2017, FREE

Lucida, Suki Chan at CFCCA

Use advanced eye-tracking technology and discover the illusion at the heart of how we perceive the world in this highlight exhibition at CFCCA.

Music 22–23 April 2017, FREE

Record Store Day at Eastern Bloc

Every year for Record Store Day, Eastern Bloc hosts an all-day party to celebrate all things vinyl and to showcase some of the finest DJs in Manchester – as well as some special guests from outside the city limits.

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