UMASS Blog

My top 3 things to do in Manchester

For me, Manchester has always been a bus ride away. Growing up, it was great to go at the weekends and enjoy a place that was big and busy with great food and LOTS of shops. However, it has only been since starting university that I have come to really appreciate Manchester for all its wonderful and quirky glory. I have been able to explore and fall in love with this stunning city, find its hidden treasures and appreciate all of its sites. There is almost too much to talk about, but here are my three things that everyone who comes to Manchester should see and do.

  1. People watch in Piccadilly Gardens

I love watching people go about their day, listening to their conversations, wondering what they’ve done and where they’re going. Okay, I get that this probably doesn’t sound like the most exciting thing to do in this huge city but trust me on this: Manchester is GREAT for people watching. Piccadilly Gardens is a lovely place to sit and eat lunch, read, browse social media and experience the buzz of the city. It is close to the shops, restaurants and the train and bus station. As a result, it has a very high footfall, making it the perfect place to watch the world go by! You can also enjoy the buskers: I have seen everything from heavy metal bands to professional whistlers, and all of them have been extremely entertaining. Piccadilly Gardens is a great place to take a breath in the middle of a busy day, especially in the summer time.

  1. Try out a museum… or 5…

Before university I had always known about the museums and art galleries in Manchester but I never thought they would be something I would enjoy. When a friend expressed her complete outrage that I had never been to the Manchester Museum – especially since it is right in the middle of campus – she immediately dragged me there. I quickly realised how great the museum actually was:  it has a dinosaur – do I need to say anymore!? Going to Manchester Museum whetted my appetite and so I went to the Whitworth, which is full of really fascinating and remarkable pieces or art. There  is always a new exhibition/workshop/event to go see and join in. Manchester also has the People’s History Museum, the Science and Industry Museum, the Manchester Art Gallery and much more, all of which frequently offers new and exciting exhibitions and events that cater to a wide range of interests. I definitely recommend giving them a go – you never know what you might find.

  1. Get a drink

Manchester is full of interesting places to have a good night out. If you are looking for a bit of a different experience, the Northern Quarter is packed full of colourful and eccentric bars and cafes that offer something a little different from the mainstream. I personally love Matt and Phred’s which serves great food and cocktails in a comfortable and intimate atmosphere, helped by the live jazz music that’s played in the evenings. Manchester has great bars all over the place – The Blue Pig and Trof being particularly good. However, my favourite is undoubtedly the Fab Café. As an honorary nerd, I find any place that has a Tardis in the corner extremely exciting. Memorabilia, ranging from Doctor Who to He-Man, cover the walls and old television shows are shown around the room to make this bar a really unique and fun experience for anyone who needs to geek out a little bit.

These are my top three things to do and see in Manchester but I’ve barely scratched the surface of the many brilliant events and activities you can do around the city. I encourage everyone to get out there and look a little deeper into the secret places in and around the city centre because these are what turn Manchester into one of the greatest cities you will ever visit.