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

Education Until 28 April 2020, FREE

World of Music Choir – Weekly Online Workshop from Band on the Wall

Join award-winning folk singer Bella Hardy for a weekly online workshop of song learning and harmony.

Activity Until 12 July 2020, from £9

Skyliner: Modern History of the Northern Quarter Tour

Join Skyliner for an alternative view of the Norther Quarter, learn about the area’s political happenings through it’s stunning public art.

Ho Tzu Nyen: The Critical Dictionary of Southeast Asia Volume 10: N for Nameless at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art – exhibition
Exhibitions Until 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.

tours and activities
Activity Until 1 May 2020, 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 6 June 2020, 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. 

Activity Until 29 May 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.

Rae-Yen Song: *May-May Songuu*
Exhibitions Until 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.

Music 24 April 2020 7:00 pm, from £15

Amp Fiddler at Band on the Wall

Among a sea of beige imitations, Joseph ‘Amp’ Fiddler makes authentic funk straight from the heart of Detroit.

Music 22 April 2020 7:30 pm, from £12.50

BADA ft Anna Von Hausswolff at Soup Kitchen

Featuring the excellent Anna Von Hausswolff, Swedish collective BADA are bringing their cinematic drone/noise rock to Soup Kitchen this April.

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…

Because of the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, we are unable to bring you our usual recommendations for things to do in Manchester and the North. Our thoughts at this time are with our readers and with the organisations and businesses who make the North of England a great place to live and visit. We hope you stay well and look forward to sharing more unmissable events and places with you later in the year.

Here’s our guide to supporting organisations in Manchester and the North.

Please note – many of the venues on our site will be closed and events either postponed or cancelled. Please check the venue website for details.