There’s nothing I enjoy more than walking through Manchester's distinct neighborhoods looking for a perfect cup of coffee or an unexpected architectural gem. Even after living here, this extraordinary city still surprises me—from the Victorian pubs and decorative buildings lining the streets, to the restaurants and bars gaining international acclaim.
There’s a rich history behind Manchester’s buzzing city center, from the hidden past of ancient Roman settlers, to the now cleaned up mills and factories that form the bedrock of the trendy Ancoats foodie center. Stroll along the canal and you’ll walk by more than 100 years of industrial history. Find culture everywhere you look. Here’s what I suggest you do with three days in Manchester.
Manchester is called “Rain City” for a reason—bring a waterproof jacket and umbrella.
If you only have time for one thing, make it a walk through the Northern Quarter.
On your first day in Manchester, do as the locals do—get yourself to a pub for a delicious lunch and a pint of local beer. Ease yourself into the city's attitude, or go on a craft beer tour to learn about the world-famous beers being brewed in the center of town.
After lunch, stroll around the city center. Worried about getting lost? Take a walking tour. Starting in the Northern Quarter—where you can find the best coffee in the city at Idle Hands—explore record shops, walk to Chinatown for bubble tea, and then head to Deansgate for window shopping.
Manchester is famous for its music, from rave culture to bands such as Oasis. A personalized tour of the music hot spots is recommended. You'll see where bands like Joy Division and The Smiths gained notoriety, visit the hallowed land of the Haçienda, drink where the Gallagher brothers did in the early 90s, and visit venues where the Buzzcocks played.
Manchester has a historic rebellious streak, and no trip would be complete without learning more about the city's activism and inventions. Starting at St. Peter’s Square, the site of the Peterloo Massacre, walk to the grand Manchester Central Library and then John Rylands Library, where you’ll find rare manuscripts and learn about research happening at the University of Manchester.
Take a cab to the Alan Turing memorial in Sackville Park, and then walk to Canal Street to experience Manchester’s vibrant Gay Village, where pioneering LGBTQ rights led the way for the rest of Britain in the early 1990s.