students guide to manchester
Photo by Stefan Lorentz

Student guide to Manchester

Creative Tourist

You’re leaving home for the first time, flying the coop, making your way in the world, and you’ve chosen Manchester as the destination for this new phase of life to begin. What an excellent choice. Manchester is a city with endless personality, bountiful libraries and has a nightlife fizzing with variety. Over the course of three years, surely the city that inspired Marx and Engels to write the communist manifesto can also motivate you into writing a dissertation.

While your settling in, meeting the people who could end up being your best mates for the next few years, and finding your feet, it’s useful to know where to look to find fun in the city. We’ve got you covered, with a guide of ‘student essentials’, (your Uni will tell you the boring actual essentials). We’ve rounded up some of the best music venues, shops, cheap eats and night clubs this city has to offer.

Dive into the urban maze of DIY club nights, lo fi fashion and cross cultural cuisine that this city has to offer, and you’ll soon get over the mancunian climate.



Here are our picks

  • 1. This & That Café

    Creative Tourist

    This & That Café, 3, Soap St, The Northern Quarter, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1EW - Visit now

    For students who want to eat out in the Northern Quarter without haemorrhaging student loan This and That is a must. As one of the cities worst kept secrets, their hearty portions and heartfelt pricing keeps the cafe buzzing with custom.

    Whether you’re vegan or can’t imaging the thought of a meal without meat, you’ll find something delicious in This and That’s spread of curries and dhal.

  • 2. COW Vintage

    Photo of the lights in Cow's window, spelling COW

    COW Vintage, 61 Church Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1PD - Visit now

    So you’ve just arrived in Manchester and want to get involved in the self expression, creativity and plain fun seen in how Mancunians present themselves. COW vintage is the place to head. With a selection of hand picked vintage as well as remade clothing, you’re sure to find one or two signature pieces that’ll help you start building an independent wardrobe.

  • 3. The White Hotel, Salford

    Creative Tourist

    The White Hotel, Salford, Unit 3
    Dickinson Street, Manchester, M3 7LW - Visit now

    White Hotel’s rustic charm is unavoidable. As a late night venue it draws in groundbreaking electronic artists from across Europe, earlier in the evening you can find all manner of artistic ‘happenings’ taking place. It is an old mechanics garage with a unique ability to be the perfect venue for both a string quartet and a heavy techno night. This diversity in programming lets you see a whole range of artists working at the top of their game.

  • 4. YES


    YES, 38 Charles Street, Manchester, M1 7DB - Visit now

    One of the newer additions to Manchester, YES has made its name for serving good pizza and great music. With a basement for late nights as well as a roof terrace for a breath of fresh air mid gig, you will find yourself gravitating towards this musical hub during your time here.

  • 5. Afflecks

    Image of Afflecks Palace in Manchester's Northern Quarter
    Ben Williams

    Afflecks, 52 Church Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1PW - Visit now

    Affleck’s palace is a long standing institution, and the perfect place to buy your Manchester student starter kit (a.k.a. a couple of wall hangings, some incense and obviously wavy garms). No other retail unit embodies so wholeheartedly the indie DIY attitude that Manchester is so well known for. This emporium of independent sellers is easy to get lost in, as you search through priceless vinyls, artisanal beads, posters, piercings and some of the best ice cream to be found in the city centre.

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