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

Chinternet Ugly at Chinese Centre for Contemporary Art
Exhibitions 8 February–12 May 2019, FREE

Chinternet Ugly at Centre for ChineseContemporary Art

CFCCA presents Chinternet Ugly – a group exhibition that offers a rare glimpse behind the biggest digital boundary in the world: the Great Firewall of China.

Eat The City - Scranchester Tours
Food and Drink 27 October 2018–25 May 2019, 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 19 January–24 April 2019, FREE

CFCCA: Free Guided Tour

Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA) as part of their festive weekend will be hosting their monthly free and informal tour of the building as well as their current exhibitions. Ending with some warming winter treats.

'40 Years and Counting' by Meghan Graydon Darby, Manchester Craft & Design Centre
Exhibitions 7 February–11 May 2019, FREE

40 Years and Counting by Meghan Graydon Darby

For her first solo exhibition, ’40 Years and Counting’, artist Meghan Graydon Darby presents a collection of wooden sculptures and fabric wall hangings taking inspiration from her grandpa’s garden – including rubble, utensils, and discarded machinery.

Zig Zag Atelier Bebop at Common Bar, Manchester
Exhibitions 28 February–31 July 2019, FREE

Zig Zag Atelier Bebop at Common Bar

Expect big things and colourful shapes at ZIG ZAG, a new exhibition by Atelier Bebop at Common Bar in the Northern Quarter.

Music 26 April 2019, from £5

Foot Therapy presents: Love to the World w/ Werkha and more at The Peer Hat

Foot Therapy presents: Love To The World, a party at The Peer Hat featuring Werkha, Mola Mola and Hermanito. All proceeds go to the Gaskell Garden Project.

Activity 27 April 2019, FREE

CFCCA Free Guided Tour

The free monthly tour in which you’ll hear from artists and curators at the Centre For Chinese Contemporary Art.

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…

Things to do right now

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Cinema 29 March–25 April 2019, from £5.50

Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story at HOME

West Side Story at the Royal Exchange
Theatre 6 April–25 May 2019, from £10.00

West Side Story at the Royal Exchange

The Lowry - Spring Summer Season. Image courtesy of Ed Waring.
Festivals 1 January–11 May 2019,

The Lowry Spring Summer Season

Festivals 1 January–31 December 2019,

HOME 2019 Season

Music 11 October 2018–22 May 2019,

The Hallé 2018-19 Season

Contact in the City Part Three
Theatre 1 February–13 June 2019,

Contact In The City Part Three

Music 30 January–5 July 2019, from £3

The Stoller Hall Spring Season

Autumn at the Science and Industry Museum - Distortions in Spacetime by Marshmallow Laser Feast
25 September 2018–28 April 2019, FREE

Autumn at the Science and Industry Museum

Music 30 January–31 December 2019, from £19.62

Striking Gold Piano Series at The Stoller Hall