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

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.

Photo of brown and white painted cells
Families 19–21 February 2019, FREE

Half Term Open Days at the Greater Manchester Police Museum

Best behaviour only at special open days to explore this gem of a Museum and meet guests from the forces on Tuesday 19 and Thursday 21 February.

Activity 6 October 2018–6 March 2019, from £40

Northern Quarter Taster Walk with Manchester Food Walks

We are lucky to be spoilt for choice when it comes to fresh, delicious and independent food choices in the centre of Manchester. Nowhere is this presence felt more than in the Northern Quarter. Join John Ryan on this taster walk as you eat your way through the back streets learning about the local history and culture as you go. 

Eat The City - Scranchester Tours
Food and Drink 27 October 2018–25 May 2019, from £50

Eat The City – Scranchester Tours

Satisfy your hunger for knowledge as well as lunch with Scranchester’s food tours of the city centre. You may discover a new favourite hidden gem or learn a bit more about the cultural or historical significance of the food you eat all the time.

Activity 19 January–24 April 2019, FREE

CFCCA: Free Guided Tour

Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA) as part of their festive weekend will be hosting their monthly free and informal tour of the building as well as their current exhibitions. Ending with some warming winter treats.

Cinema 5 March 2019, from £3

Graduation at Small World Cinema Club, Foundation Coffee House

For March, Small World Cinema Club present the gripping Romanian drama ‘Graduation’ by Palme d’Or winner Cristian Mungiu.

Sixteen at The Horsfall. Photo by Craig Easton
Exhibitions 16 February–8 March 2019, FREE

Sixteen at The Horsfall

Presented at venues across Manchester, ‘Sixteen’ is a nationwide photographic project that gives voice to the next generation of young people across Great Britain, who will live in a politically reshaped country divorced from the European Union.

Activity 16 March 2019, from £85

Give pewter vessel making a bash at Manchester Craft and Design Centre

Create your own pewter vessel with Ella McIntosh. Expect a jam-packed day full of bashing, soldering, decorating and pewtersmithery. All within the Manchester Craft and Design Centre.

'40 Years and Counting' by Meghan Graydon Darby, Manchester Craft & Design Centre
Exhibitions 7 February–11 May 2019, FREE

40 Years and Counting by Meghan Graydon Darby

For her first solo exhibition, ’40 Years and Counting’, artist Meghan Graydon Darby presents a collection of wooden sculptures and fabric wall hangings taking inspiration from her grandpa’s garden – including rubble, utensils, and discarded machinery.

Places to go / stay / shop / eat / drink

Manchester District Guides

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

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The front of Didsbury restaurant Volta.

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