Culture, Manchester

10 places that you should visit if you’re new to Manchester

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By Zahra Arshad
Photography: Jack Holmes

As Manchester becomes your home over the next three years you will come to love everything about your adopted city. With amazing things to and places to visit, Manchester and its wealth of culture really has something for everyone.

We’ve put together a list of Mancunian highlights for you to enjoy, whether it’s your first time in Manchester and want to do a bit of sightseeing or you just want a nice day out with friends.

1. John Rylands Library

John Rylands Library

Originally founded by Enriqueta Rylands in memory to her late husband John, this historic building is centrally located at the heart of Deansgate in the heart of Manchester. The library first opened in 1900 as a gift to Manchester and its people, and is now part of the third largest academic library in the United Kingdom. It is also now a Grade 1 listed library, and is home to some of the world’s richest, most unique collections of books, manuscripts, maps, works of art and objects.

2. The Arndale Centre

Manchester Arndale

The Arndale Centre is located in the heart of the city, and was built between 1971 and 1979. The centre opened in stages, originally containing 210 shops and 200 market stalls. A wide range of events are hosted here, but be sure to keep an eye on their events page and sign up for the newsletter. The food court is ideal for a quick bite to eat, and an essential mid-shopping spree re-fuel. Coffee, cake, fast-food and family meals are all available, so there’s plenty of mouth-watering choices to satisfy all.

3. National Football Museum

The world’s biggest football museum is a somewhat recent landmark, opening in Manchester in July 2012. The museum explains how and why football has become ‘the people’s game’, a key part of England’s heritage and way of life. In addition to this, we understand why England is the home of football, the birthplace of the world’s most popular sport. The museum is home to a collection of over 140,000 boots, and balls, as well as programmes, paintings, and postcards.

4. Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry originally opened in 1969, and has since been devoted to inspiring visitors through ideas that changed the world, from the Industrial Revolution to contemporary industry and engineering. In the heart of the industrial city, we discover the latest innovations in science and technology. The museum combines the distinctive appeal of such a historic site, with a vibrant modern science programme, and is a must visit for anyone interested in scientific theory and industrial applications.

5. The Lowry

The Lowry

In 1985 the Salford Quays Development Plan was unveiled, signalling the start of one of the UK’s biggest urban regeneration projects. During the intervening 32 years the area has made the gradual transition from dockland to destination, with attractions like The Lowry Arts Centre and Imperial War Museum North being major tourist attractions. The Lowry Arts Centre presents its audiences to a wide variety of performing theatre, opera, musicals, dance, music, comedy, and of course, visual art. Aside from this, The Lowry is home to the world’s largest public collection of paintings and drawings by LS Lowry.

6. Manchester’s Christmas Markets

Manchester Christmas Market

Be sure to visit Manchester’s world famous Christmas Market, bringing the festive spirit each year to Albert Square. Bringing together local Mancunians with a range of International festivities, the markets are truly a delight to wander on a cold Winter night. With nearly 350 stalls spanning across 10 distinctive market sites, there’s always something new to explore. The food will spoil you with choice, as the market tempts you with gifts, crafts, jewellery, clothes and toys. There’s vegetarian choices, traditional Bratwurst, and for those with a sweet tooth, the Dutch mini pancakes and French profiteroles are an absolute must. That being said, a glass of Mulled Wine or a pint of German beer continue to be a Christmas classic.

7. The Palace Theatre

The Palace Theatre

Having been originally known as the Grand Old Lady of Oxford Street, the theatre was opened on the 18th of May in 1891, in the hands of architect Alfred Darbyshire, at a cost of £40,500. However, the theatre took a direct hit from a German bomb during the Manchester Blitz in September, 1940. Now the Palace Theatre, Manchester is home to one of the best equipped and popular theatres outside of London. Its repertoire hosts major touring musicals lead by major celebrities, opera performances, comedy acts, and various other one night concerts.

8. The Printworks

This former printing house is now home to a range of bars, clubs, and other ways to spend your free time and money. Having been redeveloped after the 1996 IRA bombing, a questionable combination of Sir Alex Ferguson and Lionel Richie opened the venue at the start of the century in 2000. The building now features a twenty-screen UCI cinema complex which includes North West England’s first IMAX screen, a Virgin Active fitness club, a Hard Rock Cafe restaurant and a Tiger Tiger nightclub. Ready for a night out, great deals and somewhere to relax, if your answer is yes then this is the place to be for students. The Printworks hosts a range of students events, offers and discounts to give a warm Mancunian welcome to the city.

9. The Curry Mile

Wilmslow Road is a major road for transport in Manchester, especially for students commuting from South Manchester. The famous ‘Curry Mile’ dominates the Rusholme area before the Universities, but one student friendly place to definitely check out is MyLahore. This popular eatery serves a range of curries, grilled meats, and even paninis and wraps. For those who are too busy studying to drink, a delicious mocktail is always a delight.

10. Media City


Once one of the busiest dock systems in the late 19th century, and now an international hub for creative and digital media, MediaCityUK continues to transform the Salford Quays skyline. The port was originally opened in 1894, handling millions of tonnes of cargo each year. However, the appeal of The Quays is really only the latest reincarnation of a corner of the world, which already has an impressive track record of innovation. MediaCity has given The Quays a new opportunity to shine, boasting the most exciting, creative media in The North West.

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