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

Music 25 September 2019,

Marika Hackman at Band on the Wall

A whip-smart lyricist and box-defying musician, Marika Hackman is hitting full stride. Don’t miss her playing Band on the Wall this September.

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.

He Xiangyu at CFCCA, Lemon Project, Sylvain
Exhibitions 17 May–21 July 2019, FREE

He Xiangyu at CFCCA

CFCCA presents an exhibition of installations, paintings, sculpture and film from He Xiangyu’s Lemon Project, which includes the premiere of new film Sylvain.

404: Resistance in the Digital Age at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Manchester
Exhibitions 24 May–21 July 2019, FREE

404: Resistance in the Digital Age at CFCCA

404: Resistance in the Digital Age is a new installation by RAGE Collective at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art that explores changes in modes of civic resitance over the last 30 years.

Music 20 May–18 August 2019, FREE

Monday night Jam at Matt and Phreds

Matt and Phreds, Manchester’s favourite Jazz establishment, opens its stage to all every Monday with jams lead by familiar names from a cross section of jazz traditions.

Music 20 May–26 August 2019, from £5

NQ Jazz at the Whiskey Jar

With international artists as well as those making waves in the UK, NQ Jazz at the Whiskey Jar brings virtuosic musicianship and big names to the cosy whiskey jar basement.

Music 18 May–1 October 2019, FREE

Free Jazz at Band on the Wall

Contemporary jazz from some of the most exciting up and coming ensembles in the north.

Social 29 June 2019, from £18

Japanese Fan painting with Floating Art

Join visual artist Ula Fung and Floating Art for a crash course in the delicate art of Japanese fan painting.

Activity 29 June 2019, FREE

CFCCA Free Guided Tour

Join the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art for their monthly guided tour where you’ll have chance to see new exhibitions, and occasionally hear from the artists themselves.

Activity 27 June 2019, FREE

Thursday Late at CFCCA drop in illustration workshop with Lily Kong

See the two new provoking thought exhibitions at CFCCA whilst unleashing your own creativity in this after hours workshop.

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

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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

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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…

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