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

Future Cities: Technolpolis & Everyday Life at CFCCA, Manchester
Exhibitions 2 August–19 October 2019, FREE

Future Cities: Technopolis & Everyday Life at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art

How is the Digital Revolution affecting the future of our cities? A new season of exhibitions and events at CFCCA explores.

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.

Graphic Encounters at Shudehill Metrolink Station
Visual Arts 10 September–15 October 2019, FREE

Graphic Encounters at Manchester Metrolink Stations

A unique city project, presented across Greater Manchester Metrolink poster-sites exploring the experiences of women.

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.

Music 19 October 2019, from £17.60

Adam Green at Soup Kitchen

Artistic polymath Adam Green is bringing his latest whimsical album, Engine of Paradise, to Manchester’s Soup Kitchen this October. Here’s what you can expect.

Jiu Society: Lost in Shenzhen at CFCCA, Manchester
Exhibitions 2 August–19 October 2019, FREE

Jiū Society: Lost in Shenzhen at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art

Artist collective Jiū Society prepares to take over CFCCA’s Gallery 2 with their ambitious multi-media installation, Lost in Shenzhen.

Archive Poetry Workshop
Activity 27 September 2019, FREE

Archive Poetry Workshop with Jennifer Lee Tsai

Join poet Jennifer Lee Tsai as she delves into the CFCCA archive to produce poetic responses. The poetry workshop focuses on themes of migration, identity and inheritance.

Music 23–24 August 2019, FREE

Kickin Pigeon (All Night) at Eastern Bloc

Kickin’ Pigeon (aka Matt Ward) takes over Eastern Bloc for a whopping seven hour set. Guaranteed good vibes to kick off your weekend.

Manchester District Guides

Medieval Quarter, Manchester

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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.

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