Like retail therapy? Well, don’t we all. But what we like in particular about shopping in Manchester is the variety: independent shops, and the sorts of boutiques that peddle one-off goods, everything from vintage and second hand shopping to limited-run artworks, contemporary craft, independent markets and interesting interiors. We love print – magazines, posters, screen prints – and we like shopping that shows both a love of place and a love of making. So here’s our guide to the best shopping in Manchester.
Manchester Craft & Design Centre, 17 Oak St, Northern Quarter, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 5JD - Visit now
The thing we love best about Manchester Craft & Design Centre? The fact that you can buy unique, unusual pieces direct from some incredibly talented designers. Being able to see right into someone’s studio, the place where they spend hours trying things out, refining designs and finally putting the finishing touches to the piece you then walk away with… that’s pretty special.
Rapha Clubhouse Manchester, 5 St Ann’s Passage, Manchester, M2 6AD - Visit now
With less than 20 Rapha stores around the world, and only three in the UK, the Manchester Clubhouse is perhaps testament to the city’s love of cycling and the place to pick up the perfect cycling gift. From African sheep leather mits and vintage merino woollen jerseys, to more everyday garb; it has it all.
Fred Aldous, 37 Lever Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1LW - Visit now
Nearly 130 years old and still going strong, the Northern Quarter art store stocks much more than just the odd paintbrush. As well as covering all your creative supply needs, there’s wonderfully stocked gift shop and all manner of delightful knick-knacks.
Chapter 1 Books, 19 Lever Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1BY - Visit now
Independent bookshop Chapter 1 Books is everything you might hope for and more; there are Sherlock Holmes style armchairs, neat café tables and even a running fountain, as well as a fantastic mix of authors – all set in a light, modern space. Chintzy teacups adorn the café, where you can buy tea, coffee and generous slices of cake.
Afflecks, 52 Church Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1PW - Visit now
No trip to the Northern Quarter would be complete without a visit to Afflecks Palace, where you’ll find independent shops selling anything from vintage and contemporary fashion through to piercings, as well as superb sweet treats (at Ginger’s Comfort Emporium) and even the tiny Three Minute Theatre on the ground floor.
With vinyl sales reaching a 25-year high in 2016, it’s easy to argue that record shopping is in rude health. And while some may prefer to do their crate-digging online these days, there is still an integral place reserved for the humble record shop. We pick out our favourites from around the city.
Despite the traditional summer break of many of our favourite nights, there’s still plenty of poetry and prose to catch, from indie publisher fairs and national magazine launches to a brand-new series of relaxed lectures and an exhibition dedicated to banned books. And if you don’t like sitting still for too long, there’s even a literature trail or two to check out…