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 14 September–12 November 2017, FREE

Katab: Quilting Stories from India at Manchester Craft & Design Centre

An exhibition that looks likely to challenge perceptions of ‘traditional craft’ in the world of today, while deepening our understanding of an old form of Indian quilting and the women behind it.

Jon Robb as part of Gothic Manchester Festival at Three Minute Theatre
Literature 26 October 2017, from £0.00

John Robb as part of Gothic Manchester Festival at Three Minute Theatre

Join music and Gothic culture aficionados John Robb and Dr Claire Nally for a full and frank discussion on the Gothic past and Goth in the 21st century, including the deep influence of Gothic literature on the mainstream.

Exhibitions 7 July–22 October 2017, FREE

From Ocean to Horizon at CFCCA

CFCCA’s new show explores life in the global metropolis of Hong Kong through the city’s unique relationship to the sea.

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.

Music 23 September 2017, from £12.50

Kiran Leonard at Band on the Wall

Celebrating the release of his new LP Derevaun Seraun, 21-year-old Oldham-raised musician Kiran Leonard is joined at Band on the Wall by a string trio, for what promises to be a thoughtful and intricate performance.

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…

Things to do right now

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Theatre 22 September–7 October 2017, from £10

People, Places and Things at HOME

Sports 20–23 September 2017, from £10:00 - 15.00

We’re Not Really Here – A Football Opera at Contact

Theatre 14 September–14 October 2017, from £10.00

Our Town at the Royal Exchange

Exhibitions 22 September–5 November 2017, FREE

AND A 123 at Castlefield Gallery

Theatre 6–23 September 2017, from £13.00

Rita, Sue and Bob Too at Octagon Theatre

Dance 14 September–1 November 2017,

The Lowry Autumn Season 2017

Cinema 14–30 September 2017, from £5.00

Not Just Bollywood at HOME

Theatre 20 September–20 December 2017,

Contact Autumn Season 2017

Festivals 22 September 2017–31 March 2018,

HOME Autumn/Winter Season

Music 9 September 2017–31 May 2018, from £15.00

Manchester Camerata 2017/18 Season

Exhibitions 23 June 2017–1 January 2018, from £4.00

Wyndham Lewis: Life, Art, War at IWM North