Of all the cities in Europe, Manchester is the most progressive and after London the most important city in England. In terms of society, Manchester has a motivational energy that is a social and cultural driver. Manchester has openly embraced the realities of social change in the 21st century. This is for two reasons. There are five universities and five colleges in Manchester, and the resulting youthful dynamism has a significant impact. However, this influence is in full harmony with Mankuk’s long tradition of challenging the status quo, being at the forefront of social change and being proactive in the field of civil liberties and civil rights. This created a completely different English city in tone, behavior and appearance than what the Americans might expect.
Due to extensive bombings during the Second World War, significant reconstructions were made, and Mankuński’s passion for innovation, instead of rebuilding the old ones, built buildings with a contemporary design. So Manchester resembles a dynamic city that is decidedly quirky, but also modern and impressive.
This dynamic was a magnet for creative young artists and musicians from all over the UK, which created a very active cultural climate in the fine arts and performing arts. Manchester is home to the “musical revolution” that brought the Hallé symphony orchestra and progressive bands such as The Stone Roses, Oasis, Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets, James and hundreds of others. Manchester’s musical revolution was even dramatized in the 2002 movie 24 Hour Party People, a 3-star digital video depicting the punk era until the late 1980s, “Madchester”. Manchester’s music scene is a source of local pride and represents the spirit of this great city.
With such a large and lively student population at Manchester University, that means a lot of student life and nightlife. If you want to spend the evening any night of the week, no problem. There is always a cheap club to enter without a dress code, overcrowded happy hour pubs, lots of cheap food including take-out and places to meet girls, places to meet guys, places to meet girls and guys whatever you want.
First, go down to the part of town called Studentville. This is the Oxford Road area, full of pubs, bars that are less fussy about dress and active most of the time.
North District located in the center of Manchester, between Shudehill and Victoria Station. It is an artsy and unconventional alternative lifestyle district with many cafes, pubs, bars, music stores, art galleries, clothing boutiques and shops. You can find all kinds of strange, delightful and wonderful things in the Northern Quarter. Pubs and bars are located mainly on High Street and Oldham Street. There is also a bazaar in Affleck’s Palace, which was once a department store. Some cafes transform into nightlife with various music venues.
Gay village is a unique hub for a large and thriving gay community. Gay Village is located in the Canal Street and Chorlton Street area, and includes Sackville, Whitworth and Princess Streets. Across the canal are Sackville Gardens and Manchester College. Canal Street is a pedestrian street with many gay bars and restaurants.
Manchester Pride is an annual 10-day LGBT event that runs from mid to late August. It includes the Pride Fringe festival, film screenings, a colorful parade that traverses the city and ends in Gay Village, and a weekend celebration known as “The Big Weekend”. This is the ticketed three-day outdoor entertainment program at Gay Village over the August holiday weekend. It all ends with a candlelight vigil at Sackville Gardens.
Free things to do
Here is a partial list of free attractions in Manchester.
- John Rylands Library at the University of Manchester at 150 Deansgate, south of Bridge Street, it is remarkable and beautiful inside. It’s a masterpiece of Victorian Gothic (or Neo-Gothic) architecture. The library houses a collection of great medieval manuscripts.
- Museum of Science and Industry or MOSI, on Liverpool Road, aims to make science and industry inspiring and fun. It depends on what part of this huge museum you are in. However, there are trains you can actually drive, a planetarium and a 4D cinema (you pay for a fairly old short film, around £ 5.50 which is generally judged to be fair). The aircraft display is close to the end of the entire exhibition area and as the venue is really big don’t wear out too early as the planes are rather cool. Just quickly walk past the boring board exhibits. Some people go crazy about this place. I don’t know why, but planes, planetarium and trains are definitely there. The museum has a decent restaurant and cafe.
- Heaton Park, four miles north of Prestwich city center, offers huge green lawns with a good view of Manchester, rowing boats on the lake, walking paths through the woods, as well as bike paths, a beautiful and quirky 18th century Smithy Lodge residence, open to the public from period furniture and a farm with livestock and beekeeping to watch.
- Whitworth Art Gallery on Oxford Road next to Whitworth Park at Manchester University, it is particularly famous for its collection of British watercolors and modern and historical prints. Of course, there are also drawings, paintings and sculptures. There is a summer program of events to check.
- City Airport & HeliportThe Art Deco control tower is open to the public, free of charge, and you can watch planes and helicopters landing and taking off. The City Airport is on Liverpool Road in Eccles and should not be confused with Manchester International Airport across the city.
Other places to visit include Manchester Art Gallery, The Lowry, National Football Museum, Peoples History Museum, Manchester Museum and Manchester Cathedral.
As in the rest of England, there is a list of festivals as well as local Manchester events that take place during the warm months. These include a picnic in Manchester, various screenings and “thought-provoking experiences” in Tatton Park, a movie on the water, Harry Potter Day and the Canal Festival. Check your local tourist office for details of the festivals taking place during your visit.