the globe for its two world-class football (soccer) clubs, Manchester United
and Manchester City, the Lancashire town, often dubbed as ‘the Capital of the
North’, has a lot to offer visitors. A myriad of international flight
connections make Manchester an attractive starting point for many coming to the
UK who don't want to cope with London's often confusing subway system or
Heathrow's notoriously tedious immigration lines right off the bat. Friendly
folk and even friendlier prices mean that Manchester shouldn’t be overlooked on
your UK itinerary.
Manchester is a
shopper's paradise, with all of the UK’s most famous brand names occupying many
square meters of retail space. However, if you're looking for something a
little quirkier, then you need to head to Affleck’s Palace. Before you get
disappointed, it's not an actual palace, but rather a shopping complex located
in a brick building over several floors, and it's crammed full of quirky fashion
and goodies from independent retailers. Want pink platform boots to complete
your Cosplay outfit? Got it. T-shirts of your favorite metal band? You can find
it here. A shop completely dedicated to condoms, or a retro ice-cream parlor?
Yup, it has both of those as well.
2. Canal Street
Known as a hub
of gay and lesbian culture, Manchester has lots of bars and cafes to keep its
pink population happy, and they’re located down, or just off, Canal Street.
Canal Street has iconic status among gay people in the UK, and you'll find
people from all walks of life out there enjoying a refined lunch in the
daytime, or partying like there’s no tomorrow at night. The setting for the
(original) UK version of Queer As Folk, Canal Street has also popped up on the
likes of popular UK soap opera Coronation Street, too.
3. John Rylands
It may look
like just another old building from the outside, but you'll be scraping your
jaw off the floor when you head into the John Rylands Library. The interior is
the most awe-inspiring in Manchester, and you'll feel like you're in some kind
of Victorian crime thriller as your footsteps echo through the hallways, down
the staircases and around the arches. If you're looking for a little bit of
England in days-gone-by, then make a beeline for this place.
No, I'm not
talking about the setting of EastEnders, the rival to Manchester-based soap
opera Coronation Street. Albert Square is the setting of Manchester’s rather
grand city hall, and is the perfect place to plonk yourself down and people
watch. The perimeter of the square is dotted with some great spots to grab
lunch, with my favorite being pan-Asian restaurant Tampopo.
Quarter is to Manchester what Williamsburg is to New York or what Shoreditch is
to London. A creative center, the Northern Quarter is replete with independent
shops, tattoo parlors, crumbling-yet-cool dive bars and clubs where local bands
try to kick start their careers, and cute cafes and coffee shops serving up
everything from curries and cupcakes to Korean food and cappuccinos.
Have you been
to Manchester? What should we add to this list?