I’ve been to Manchester a fair few times now and every time I go I fall even more in love with the city. People who I speak to have described the place as ‘the northern hub for creatives’ and I couldn’t agree more. No wonder I plan on moving there after I’ve finished my degree! There’s so many cool places to visit and explore and there is also a wide choice of places to hang out and eat that is guaranteed to step up your Instagram feed. Anyway after another week down in Manny, I thought it is about time to share some of my personal favourites.
This post is written mainly for those living on a budget or students who are just moving into the area and don’t want to break their bank accounts however that doesn’t take away the quality of service from each of places mentioned.
Places To Eat
There are so many great places to eat around Manchester so it was pretty hard to narrow it down to a few places but here comes my favourites. Firstly you can’t go to the city without having a browse around the Northern Quarter for something to eat. My first option is BAB that is known for its kebabs and unfortunately I’m not talking about those greasy ones you get at 3am down the Big Market in Newcastle. I am talking mouth-watering kebabs that makes me want to book a train down to Manchester just for another visit. I usually get the Halloumi kebab which has a delicious sunblushed tomato and harissa purée. If you are into fries then I highly recommend the Greek Fries. They are topped with feta cheese, olives, tzatziki and chilli sauce (I remove this cause I’m not a fan of spicy food). Wilson’s Social is another recommendation if you are into Latin American style food. I went for a flatbread with stir-fried veg and again it tasted amazing but the star of the show was the pudding. Not only do they have pistachio and coconut ice cream available but the melt in the middle chocolate pudding was heavenly. They have a bar and outside sitting which makes for a great social night and if you are a not a big fan of alcoholic drinks I’ve got you covered. I had a Hibiscus Juice Drink which tasted delicious!
Next on my list is for all the pizza lovers out there – Dough Pizza Kitchen is the cheesiest place in the Northern Quarter. Like what I did there?! On a serious note though, they have a unique selection of pizzas to choose from and if you have a vegan in your friendship group they can eat there too. I went for the Goat’s Cheese pizza which has caramlised onions, tomato & olive tapenade, mozzarella and finished with garlic oil and chives. It was one of my favourite meals that I had eaten whilst I was doing my work experience. Another option is the BBQ Pulled Jack Fruit which comes with spinach and apple slaw – again this is equally delicious! If your brave enough you can add jalapenoes as an extra.
If you follow me on social media then you know that I spent a lot of time eating alone and some times McDonald’s just wasn’t cutting it so I popped along to Archie’s Diner one evening. They are a bit like Five Guys where it is like old school American Diner food. I had the Faloumi Burger with curly fries. It tasted so good!! They have such a hype on social media at the moment because they offer a BLK bun or a Pink one with any of the burgers. There are also a wide range of Waffles, similar to the oh-so-famous Creams, and milkshakes to choose from as well.
Other places I recommend checking out are: Turtle Bay for cocktails, Alabama’s All American Eatery for pancakes, Chapter One Books for a coffee, slice of cake and relax with a book for a couple of hours, V Rev Vegan Diner for a fully vegan restaurant and Liquor & Burn for a Mexican food option (their burritos are delicious!).
Things To Do
There are so many amazing things you can do in Manchester city centre that I could be here for hours sharing my thoughts but I am going to do my best to narrow it down. The first place I recommend is heading to the City Library and walk up to the first floor. You will come across a beautiful room designed for students, professionals or if you just want to go have a read of a book with nothing to disturb you. The architecture within the room is outstanding but I highly recommend taking some time out to explore all of the floors in the library. Before you leave, spend some time speaking to the tourist information advisors. They have A3 foldable maps that are so useful if you are visiting for a couple of days and want to plan a whole load of different things to do. If you tell them what you enjoy doing and whether you want free stuff or have a bit of a budget then they can recommend a range of different things to do.
Of course you have the Arndale Centre for your usual high street shops but I would recommend an afternoon browsing the Northern Quarter. Not only do they have some amazing places to eat but they have some unique shops to walk around. If you are into second hand fashion then get yourself along to We Are Cow (they even have a store near Piccadilly Gardens now), a kitsch gift shop option is Oklahoma and Fred Aldous if you are into the arts and crafts. Affleck’s is a cool, indie shopping centre in the middle of the Northern Quarter where there are loads of different little shops that sell a range of clothes, jewellery, accessories, prints and retro games.
HATCH is like Manchester’s answer to the STACK that has opened up in Newcastle. There are so many little stores worth taking a look into. You can have a drink and food whilst your there too. It’s like an evening in itself. My personal favourites are: Poppy K, Mindful Store and Bulb Flower Studio.
Another place you could go is a place down next to Castlefield called HOME. It’s a place for lovers of contemporary theatre, film, art and music. There is always something exciting going on. Whilst I was down in Manchester, I saw Blinded By The Light which is an amazing film about a student called Javed who falls in love with Bruce Springsteen music and dreams of becoming a writer. I don’t want to mention too much because I don’t want to spoil it but it is definitely worth watching. There is a café and a restaurant with the prices being affordable for students and people on a budget too.
Whilst you are in the Deansgate area I would also recommend having a game or two of crazy golf at Junkyard Golf Club. They have three different courses to choose from (or you could just do all three). I went for the Bozo one which is a dark circus and fairground. They also have retro cocktails that taste amazing!
There’s a number of free things to do whilst in Manchester too including: the Science & Industry Museum, People’s History Museum, visiting the Royal Exchange Theatre and John Ryland’s Library. If you like a good night out then there are plenty of areas to go for a drink including Deansgate, Canal Street and as mentioned previously, the Northern Quarter. Even the Odeon cinema gives you Stranger Things 3 vibes…
Do you love Manchester? Have you been to any of these places? Is there anywhere I should add to my list for my next visit?
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