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

URWOTUEAT, 2017 – John Powell Jones. Part of SUBI 수비 at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester
Exhibitions 14 September–4 November 2018, FREE

SUBI 수비 at Castlefield Gallery

‘SUBI 수비’ at Castlefield Gallery explores the long process of cultural and generational exchange that underpins the art of pottery and ceramics – one of the world’s oldest crafts – as an integral part of the way that humans create and communicate the world in which we live.

陈秋林 Chen Qiulin 空的城 The Empty City 数码艺术微喷印刷. Part of Aquatopia at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA), Manchester
Exhibitions 6 July–7 October 2018, FREE

Aquatopia at CFCCA

Though water covers 70% of our planet and sea levels are rising, access to clean, fresh supplies is becoming a growing problem around the world. Aquatopia forms the first of a season of new exhibitions and debates at CFCCA designed to encourage discussion around some of the biggest environmental issues facing the world today.

Tukaiisloveletter
Literature 27 September 2018, from £8

One Mic Stand at Band On The Wall

Join Manchester’s finest young spoken word performers Young Identity, working in partnership with Contact for the last 10 years, for a boisterous night of poetry and music.

Introduction to Watercolour
Activity 6 October 2018, from £60

Introduction to Watercolour at Manchester Craft and Design Centre

Within the open environment of Manchester Craft and Design Centre, you will be shown how to play with brush strokes to create delicate floral studies.

Asia Triennial Manchester 2018 at HOME
Exhibitions 5–21 October 2018, FREE

Asia Triennial Manchester 2018 at HOME

As part of Asia Triennial Manchester 18 (ATM18), HOME present a group exhibition of work including performance, film, installation, sound art and multi-media.

Eunmi Kim: A Journey Home at Manchester Craft & Design Centre
Exhibitions 13 September–17 November 2018, FREE

Eunmi Kim: A Journey Home at Manchester Craft & Design Centre

In her first UK solo show, artist Eunmi Kim explores what it means to be Korean, what traditional Korean art is, and why people admire its broad outlines, randomised spontaneity, and asymmetry. Presented at Manchester Craft & Design Centre.

Activity 16 September–24 November 2018, from £9

The Modern History of the Northern Quarter Tour

Join us as we learn about the creation of the Northern Quarter as we know it today, find out the major names behind some of the area’s oldest street art and sculpture, and see how modern arts and community movements in Manchester hope to continue to drive creativity within the neighbourhood.

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

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

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…

Things to do right now

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Queen Margaret at the Royal Exchange
Theatre 14 September–6 October 2018, from £9.00

Queen Margaret at the Royal Exchange

othellomacbeth at HOME
Theatre 13–29 September 2018, from £10.00

OthelloMacbeth at HOME

URWOTUEAT, 2017 – John Powell Jones. Part of SUBI 수비 at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester
Exhibitions 14 September–4 November 2018, FREE

SUBI 수비 at Castlefield Gallery

The Royal Exchange Autumn Winter SeasonThe Royal Exchange Autumn Winter Season
Theatre 21 September 2018–12 January 2019,

The Royal Exchange Autumn / Winter Season

Cinema 11–30 September 2018, from £7

Not Just Bollywood 2018 at HOME

Poppy, Esme, Oleanna, Gracie and Kate, 2014. Personal Feeling is the main thing - Chantal Joffe at The Lowry, Salford
Exhibitions 19 May 2018–24 February 2019, FREE

Salford Royal Academy Takeover

陈秋林 Chen Qiulin 空的城 The Empty City 数码艺术微喷印刷. Part of Aquatopia at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA), Manchester
Exhibitions 6 July–7 October 2018, FREE

Aquatopia at CFCCA

Families 5 May–28 October 2018, from £Quarry Bank admission prices apply (free for National Trust members)

Journeys of the Imagination at Quarry Bank

Bee In The City
Exhibitions 23 July–22 September 2018, FREE

Bee in the City