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

Ho Tzu Nyen: The Critical Dictionary of Southeast Asia Volume 10: N for Nameless at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art – exhibition
Exhibitions 24 January–12 April 2020, FREE

Ho Tzu Nyen: The Critical Dictionary of Southeast Asia Volume 10: N for Nameless at CFCCA

CFCCA presents Singapore artist Ho Tzu Nyen’s alternative ‘A to Z’ account of Southeast Asia, focusing on the region’s neglected histories.

Cinema 24 January 2020 7:00 pm, from £5

Queer Cinema Collective/ Rafiki at Nexus Art Cafe

Queer Cinema Collective are back with a screening of Wanuri Kahiu lyrical lesbian romance, Rafiki. Notable…

Eat The City - Scranchester Tours
Activity Until 19 November 2022, 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 Until 28 February 2020, from £5

Meditation at the Manchester Buddhist Centre

Learn how to meditate with the welcoming community at Manchester Buddhist Centre. Their beginners classes are the perfect way to find your feet and develop your own meditation practice.

Visual Arts 18 March–8 April 2020, from £30

Photorealistic drawing workshops at Galleria Quattro

Join Krystan-Grace Sharpe-Young for a double bill of workshops, in which, you’ll learn the skills needed, to create your own photorealistic artwork.

Music 13 February 2020 7:30 pm, FREE

Gengahr at Band on the Wall

North London alt-pop band Gengahr’s latest tunes suggest a very good album to come. Two weeks before it drops, catch them at Band on the Wall.

Visual Arts 4 March 2020 6:30 pm, from £18

Collage based Zine making workshop

Let go of the day’s stresses and get creative after work, with this crafty zine making workshop featuring artisan pizzas.

Rae-Yen Song: *May-May Songuu*
Exhibitions 24 January–12 April 2020, FREE

Rae-Yen Song: *May-May Songuu* at CFCCA

An exhibition by artist Rae-Yen Song at CFCCA which explores British-Chinese identity through the prism of her own family history.

Rock and Goal
Activity Until 1 June 2020, from £4.5

Rock and Goal Tour

Join Joe Feeley a Mancunian through and through, who guides you into Manchester’s two pillars of cultural excellence with his Rock and Goal tour.

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…