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Manchester Travel Guide
Get Your Bearings in ManchesterWhere to Stay
Manchester hotels range from accommodations in handsome historic buildings to funky loft-style apartments and chic boutique hotels, with plenty of budget-friendly hostels and few-frills chain hotels thrown into the mix. The city's industrial heritage has left a legacy of vast warehouse buildings, many of which have been turned into fashionable loft-style living spaces, and visitors with a reasonable travel budget can make themselves at home in a serviced loft apartment. Many Manchester hotels are located within easy walking distance of the city's buzzing nightlife scene and there are some slick new options close to Piccadilly train station.
Caution: The area below Piccadilly railway arches is known for its red light activity.
Avoid: Clubbers should avoid hotels in the suburbs, or risk spending hours in cab queues after closing time.
Hot Tips: Hotels close to Piccadilly are not only handy for trains, but also close to the hip shops and bars of the boho-chic Northern Quarter.
What to Eat
Whether you have a hankering for sushi, a yearning for traditional fish and chips, or an urge to tuck into some Greek mezze or Spanish tapas, Manchester's diverse dining scene will have something to satisfy your appetite. For informal eating, many bars and pubs - including the trendy yet refreshingly unpretentious Kro Bar - sell snacks and meals that range from pies and pickled eggs to sweet potato wedges and grilled halloumi cheese sandwiches. There are plenty of formal dining restaurants in and around the city centre. Meanwhile, fans of Indian food should jump on a bus out to the suburb of Rusholme and the legendary Curry Mile.
Hot Tips: Rusholme's main thoroughfare has been dubbed 'Curry Mile' in honor of the abundant curry houses that can be found there. Many stay open late into the night, and are a favorite with the post-pub crowd.
Be Sure to Sample: A baked potato from the What a Potato street stand on Market Street. Huge, hot potatoes filled with butter and your choice of anything from cheese to chili, these are the ultimate in comfort food on the go.
Things to See
Manchester's attractions are not as celebrated as those of London or Edinburgh, but this atmospheric city has plenty to offer the sightseer. The imposing Town Hall, on Albert Square, is well worth a visit, while the Gothic architecture of the John Rylands Library, on Deansgate, will catch the eye of anyone with an interest in historic buildings, while the scenic canal-side parks of Castlefield are pleasant places to take a stroll or enjoy a picnic on a sunny day. For a bird's eye view of the city, jump aboard the Wheel of Manchester, a giant Ferris wheel on Exchange Square.
Caution: If you want to snap pictures outside the stadiums of Manchester United or Manchester City, avoid match days - things get crowded and chaotic when there's a game on.
Hot Tips: Culture vultures are well catered for here - there are numerous museums and galleries in the city, and the Lowry, in neighboring Salford, is a fascinating tribute to the great Manchester artist LS Lowry.
Places to Party
Manchester's nightlife is legendary, and the city has a musical heritage that is the envy of many a larger metropolis. Scene-defining bands such as the Smiths, New Order, Stone Roses and Oasis all hail from the rainy city, and Manchester´s fixation with live music is alive and well - check out Night and Day and the Roadhouse, both in the hip Northern Quarter, to catch up-and-coming acts. Late-opening bars also abound here, while clubbers are spoilt for choice for all-night dancing options in Manchester.
Take It or Leave It: Deansgate Locks - the strip of bar/restaurants here appeals to an impeccably-dressed crowd keen to rub shoulders with footballers and soap stars, and willing to pay through the nose for the privilege.
Hot Tips: Oxford Road is a good place to start a night out - it's lined with hip, but budget-friendly spots for casual drinking and dining.
Where to Shop
Whatever your shopping style, Manchester has something to offer. Hipsters can head for the alternative-clothing mecca that is Affleck´s Palace in the Northern Quarter, while fashionistas can head to Exchange Square and visit the sleek designer department stores Selfridge´s and Harvey Nicholls. The high street abounds with affordable fast fashion, as does the Arndale Centre, the city centre's vast shopping mall.
Take It or Leave It: The Trafford Centre is one of the largest shopping centres in Europe, but it's a Metro or bus ride away from the city centre.
Hot Tips: Hot-foot it to the area around Exchange Square if you are in the mood for a splurge. Designer stores abound here.
Best Local Souvenir: For soccer fans, a Manchester City or Manchester United team shirt is a must.
Located in northwest England, Manchester is often referred to as England's "second city" (after London). In the 1800's, the city was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution and, for a while, suffered from post-industrial squalor. In recent years, however, the rejuvenated city has made great strides in the arts, education and technology. As testament to this rebirth, Manchester was chosen to host the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Visitors to the city will find a varied cultural scene — with many theaters, galleries, nightclubs and sporting events — plus a number of interesting sights. The Visitor Center is located at Town Hall in historic St. Peter's Square. Other points of interest include Barton Arcade, the festive Boardwalk area, Piccadilly Gardens, Granada Studio, and the Museum of Science and Industry. For a break, grab a Boddingtons Cream Ale, the pride of Manchester since 1778.