Stretching all the way from the Curry Mile – with its glittering sari emporiums, Indian sweet shops and mixed reputation for actual curry – up toward the city centre, Oxford Road is not only home to two Universities, the Royal Northern College of Music, an Olympic-sized pool and a good number of the city’s best music venues, it’s also the busiest bus route in Europe. Yes, this is student land, but cultural institutions such as The Whitworth, Manchester Museum and International Anthony Burgess Centre also make the area a real draw for locals and tourists alike.
It’s hard not to spot the theatrical offer on Oxford Road, with the Palace and Contact two instantly recognisable, but very different theatres. There’s also semi-notorious gig venues in Big Hands and The Deaf Institute, and even a few parks: Whitworth Park, which dates back to 1890, and Grosvenor Square, a small patch of green that was once a church and where now, on sunny days, the locals come out to bask in bookish style.
The Oxford Road Corridor is also the site of serious scientific innovation. At The University of Manchester, you can visit the place where the atom was split, and doff your cap to the building dedicated to pioneering computer scientist and code breaker Alan Turing. And there are a number of other notable names who graced, even lived, in this area, one being philosopher Friedrich Engels and another the writer Elizabeth Gaskell. Here, history and innovation still exist side by side.
Below we cherrypick our favourite spots on Oxford Road, taking in many of the above places but also some of the top-tier watering holes and restaurants, because you’ll not go hungry or thirsty here.