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

Word War Four compère Kieren King.
Literature 5 December 2017, from £3.00

Word War Four Final at 3MT

Eighty poets have battled it out to get to this stage in the Word War Four slam contest – the grand final when ten winners of each heat go head to head in a bid to snaffle £200 and the coveted Word War 3MT Trophy!

Poet Helen Mort.
Literature 29 November 2017, FREE

Bad Language featuring Helen Mort at Gullivers

Last Bad Language before Christmas – with poet, Lit Up host and Man Met lecturer Helen Mort headlining, and open mic performers also taking to the stage.

Exhibitions 3 November 2017–4 February 2018, FREE

Digital Matters: The Earth Behind the Screen at CFCCA

CFCCA’s upcoming exhibition explores the contradictory relationship between resource exploitation, ecological protection and technological development in the digital age.

Music 24 November 2017, from £14.50

Emily Barker and Pete Roe at Band on the Wall

Australian singer-songwriter Emily Barker stops off at Band on the Wall with her brand new solo album, Sweet Kind of Blue. The folk and country musician tries her hand as a soul chanteuse for the record, which tells a love story between Barker and Memphis.

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…

Places to go / stay / shop / eat / drink

Things to do right now

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Theatre 3–25 November 2017, from £10

Uncle Vanya at HOME

Exhibitions 18 November 2017–25 February 2018, FREE

humansbeingdigital at The Lowry

Exhibitions 21 October 2017–7 January 2018, FREE

The Return of Memory at HOME

Families 7 October 2017–2 January 2018, from £21.25

Dinosaurs in the Wild at EventCity

Music 24 September 2017–9 June 2018,

BBC Philharmonic 2017/18 Concert Season

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

Manchester Camerata 2017/18 Season

Music 4 October–11 December 2017, FREE

RNCM Autumn Season

Theatre 20 September–20 December 2017,

Contact Autumn Season 2017

Festivals 22 September 2017–31 March 2018,

HOME Autumn/Winter Season

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

Wyndham Lewis: Life, Art, War at IWM North

Cinema 17–30 November 2017, from £5.00

Good Time at HOME

Writer Michael Symmons Roberts.
Festivals 1 November–8 December 2017, FREE

RAH! Research in Arts and Humanities Programme