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

Author David Gaffney headlines Bad Language. (Credit: Phil Rigby)
Literature 28 June 2017, FREE

Bad Language at The Castle Hotel

Live lit regular Bad Language waves farewell to The Castle as it prepares to cross the road to Gullivers for its July event. No open mic this month – just more headliners than you can shake a stick at.

Exhibitions 25 May–3 September 2017, FREE

Athletically Pleasing at Manchester Craft & Design Centre

A showcase of design in sport – including an ‘anti-stink’ material made using silver, a collapsible helmet and a relaxation hoodie with a very particular shade of pink…

Cinema 3 July 2017, from £5.00

Screened/ David Lynch at Texture, Manchester

Screened/ Mcr host a timely appreciation of David Lynch. Featuring guest speaker Mary Wild and a screening of Lynch’s noirish L.A. psycho-thriller Lost Highway.

Exhibitions 29 June 2017, FREE

MIF17: What Is the City but the People? in Piccadilly Gardens

Conceived by artist Jeremy Deller, What Is the City but the People? will see residents parading on a specially designed walkway across Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens to musical accompaniment, capturing the city through its outfits and attitudes.

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.

Exhibitions 29 August 2017, FREE

Craft Unravelled: Meet the Makers

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.

Exhibitions 25 July 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 at 1:30pm.

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.

Music 2–3 September 2017, from £12.50

Manchester Psych Fest 2017

Taking over three venues simultaneously for the first time, Manchester Psych Fest returns to the Northern Quarter with the likes of Teleman, Ryley Walker, Flamingods, Bo Ningen, Menace Beach and MOTHER – plus DJs, art installations and trippy visuals.

Manchester District Guides

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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