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. Daily Manchester Walking Tours

    Free Manchester Walking Tours, 31 October 2018–31 October 2019, free entry - Visit now

    If you really want to get into the bones of the city, try a ‘pay as you feel’ walking tour. You’ll soon learn the geography and culture of Manchester, and the stories of people who continue to influence it.

Things to do right now

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Cinema 15–18 September 2019, from £5.50

MIF19: Sunset Boulevard at HOME

Visual Arts 20 September 2018–19 September 2019, FREE

Manchester Art Gallery Highlights Tour

Red Dust Road at HOME
Literature 11–21 September 2019, from £10.00

Red Dust Road at HOME

A Taste of Honey at The Lowry
Theatre 13–21 September 2019, from £12.50

A Taste of Honey at The Lowry

Cinema 13–22 September 2019, from £9

The Shock of the Future at HOME

MIF19 David Lynch at HOME Manchester International Festival
Cinema 6 July–29 September 2019, FREE

MIF19: David Lynch at HOME

Exhibitions 6 April–29 September 2019, Quarry Bank admission prices apply (free for National Trust members)

Rights of the Child at Quarry Bank