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

Eat The City - Scranchester Tours
Food and Drink 27 October 2019–19 November 2022, 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.

Give Handmade this Christmas at Manchester Craft and Design Centre
Festivals 23 November–24 December 2019, FREE

Give Handmade this Christmas at Manchester Craft and Design Centre

Reliably festive, MCDC launches a season of Christmas-related events and workshops. It’s also the perfect place to pick up unique handmade gifts.

Jade Montserrat
Literature 11 December 2019, 7:30 pm–10:00 pm, FREE

No Matter #10 at Gullivers

New poetry etc with the premiere of an Arts Council-funded New Matter commission from headliner Jade Montserrat and readings from Rachael Allen and Daisy Lafarge.

Activity 11 September 2019–28 February 2020, from £5

Meditation at the Manchester Buddhist Centre

Learn how to meditate with the welcoming community at Manchester Buddhist Centre. Their beginners classes are the perfect way to find your feet and develop your own meditation practice.

Described by the Wall Street Journal as one of ‘China’s Rising Art Stars’, encounter the work of Shanghai-based artist Cui Jie at CFCCA.
Exhibitions 25 October 2019–19 January 2020, FREE

Cui Jie at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art

Described by the Wall Street Journal as one of ‘China’s Rising Art Stars’, encounter the work of Shanghai-based artist Cui Jie at CFCCA.

Cheng Ran: Diary of a Madman, Manchester Plan at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art
Exhibitions 25 October 2019–19 January 2020, FREE

Cheng Ran – Diary of a Madman: Manchester Plan, New Bees at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art

See Manchester through entirely fresh eyes. CFCCA presents the latest installment of Cheng Ran’s ‘Diary of a Madman’ series.

Screen Printing on glass
Education 8 December 2019, 2:30 pm–5:00 pm, from £55

Screen printing on glass workshop – Festive Decorations

Create your own Christmas decorations with Helen Tiffany, expert glass maker. Learn the basics of screen printing on glass to realise your own festive designs.

Winter Festival Songs with Manchester Community Choir at Manchester Craft and Design Centre
Festivals 7 December 2019, 1:30 pm–3:00 pm, FREE

Winter Festival Songs with Manchester Community Choir at Manchester Craft and Design Centre

Take a trip through the magical world of winter festival songs with Manchester Community Choir at Manchester Craft and Design Centre.

Tea Light
14 December 2019, 2:00 pm–4:30 pm, from £19.99

Tea Lights Design Workshop at Chapter One

Let the Christmas chaos wash over you in a chilled out tea light design workshop at Chapter One Books. You’ll decorate 20 small Christmassy candles.

tea blending
Activity 15–27 December 2019, from £40

Tea Blending Workshop at Bird and Blend

Experiment with tea leaves and herbs to create your own brew with the guidance of Bird and Blend’s Tea Mixologists in one of their Tea Blending workshops.

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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Festivals 19 November–24 December 2019, FREE

Evergreen at Hatch

Eat The City - Scranchester Tours
Food and Drink 27 October 2019–19 November 2022, from £50

Eat The City – Scranchester Tours

Cinema 22 November–12 December 2019, from £7.50

Marriage Story at HOME

Give Handmade this Christmas at Manchester Craft and Design Centre
Festivals 23 November–24 December 2019, FREE

Give Handmade this Christmas at Manchester Craft and Design Centre

Family things to do. An art installation at Lightopia.
Families 21 November–31 December 2019, from £11

Lightopia at Heaton Park

Exhibitions 20 July 2019–5 January 2020, from £6

The Sun at the Science and Industry Museum

Manchester Christmas Markets 2020
Families 8 November–21 December 2019, FREE

Manchester Christmas Markets

Cinema 29 November–12 December 2019, from £9

Knives Out at HOME

Gypsy at the Royal Exchange
Theatre 30 November 2019–25 January 2020, from £25.50

Gypsy at the Royal Exchange

Hallé
Classical Music 19 September 2019–30 May 2020,

The Hallé 2019-20 Season

Music 30 January–31 December 2019, from £19.62

Striking Gold Piano Series at The Stoller Hall

Music 15 October–12 December 2019, from £5

RNCM Autumn Season