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

Poet and performer Camilla Nelson
Literature 18 April 2018, FREE

The Other Room 10th birthday at The Castle

After a mighty fine 10 years, The Other Room is coming to an end. Join the three organisers and an impressive line-up of performers at this last-ever outing for the experimental and avant-garde poetry reading series.

NOW: A dialogue on female Chinese contemporary artists
Exhibitions 16 February–29 April 2018, FREE

NOW: A Dialogue On Female Chinese Contemporary Artists

CFCCA and HOME take part in a new UK-wide programme of exhibitions, commissions and events celebrating female contemporary artists working in China today.

Breathe at MCDC
Exhibitions 9 February–12 May 2018, FREE

Breathe at Manchester Craft & Design Centre

Glass making and digital design combine to remarkable effect in this new exhibition at MCDC, which gives physical shape to the sound of the blower’s breath.

Music 20 January–29 April 2018, from £8

New North and South at Band on the Wall

A three-year programme of co-commissions, exhibitions and intellectual exchange to celebrate shared heritage between the North of England and South Asia, New North and South features 15 events over three months in its 2018 music strand. Highlights include a live soundtrack from Asian Dub Foundation, Nitin Sawhney’s collaboration with theatre company Tara Arts, plus live performances fmor the likes of percussion ensemble The Dhol Foundation and contemporary Indian folk musician Raghu Dixit.

Music 21 April 2018, from £9

Alfa Mist at Band on the Wall

East London producer, pianist and occasional rapper Alfa Mist returns to Manchester following his previous sold out visit. With a nod to soul and world music, as well as grime and hip-hop, he is very much one to watch in the current new jazz scene.

Music 24 March 2018, from £3

Emma Sweeney at Band on the Wall

Emma Sweeney, a rising star of traditional Irish music, leads Band on the Wall’s first relaxed performance. Also featuring cello, guitar and percussion, the show will offer a fun, inclusive and interactive experience that is open to everyone.

Places to go / stay / shop / eat / drink

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.

Didsbury, Manchester

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Chorlton, Manchester

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Cheetham Hill, Manchester

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