Be warned: reading ahead will cause feels for Manchester.
1. The music scene
Manchester has a music scene to rival any city in the world. Yes, this is coming from a northerner, but I’m not biased – I swear. Visit the location of the Hacienda, formerly the UK’s most famous music venue, then stroll over to the Albert Hall or Deaf Institute for a night of indie rock. For more acoustic-induced euphoria, visit Band on the Wall or Gorilla.
2. At the heart of UK sport
If you haven’t heard of Manchester United, it’s time you got out more. The football club plays at Old Trafford, otherwise known as ‘The Theatre of Dreams’. A few streets away, matchday for the rival, Manchester City is raucous affair. And it’s not just football that Manchester is known for – Sale Rugby and Lancashire County Cricket Club are also based nearby.
3. Academic institutions
The University of Manchester is one of the UK’s most esteemed institutions. It’s the home of the first ever modern computer (see Alan Turing) and has produced 25 Nobel laureates to date. Around the block, you’ll find the highly reputable Manchester School of Architecture, the iconic Royal Exchange Theatre, and Manchester Art Gallery.
4. The people are friendly
Forget Winterfell and the white walkers. People from the north are friendly. Manchester is a perfect case in point; people actually talk to each other on the street! Share jokes with friends and locals over a ‘cuppa’ in the nearby cafe, and you’ll realize this is where you always belonged.
5. Manchester loves students
Student life in the UK’s third largest city is thriving. Fallowfield is the epicenter of this, just a bus ride from the heart of the city straight down the famous Oxford Road. There, you’ll find students on every corner, mainly studying in cafes or watching sports in the pub. (Don’t miss the EF Manchester Campus too, located right in the middle of this bustling community.)
6. It’s foodie heaven
Big on food? Get here. The Northern Quarter is a hive of alternative, cool places to eat – from Yard & Coop to Luck Lust Liquor and Burn. For fine dining, check out Australasia’s subterranean glass chamber. For a nice cup of tea and the best views in town, pull up a chair on the terrace at Manchester House.
7. Surrounded by nature
The great thing about Manchester is that if you need to take a break from fast-paced city life, the heart of the English countryside is just a short train or drive away. Arrive at the Peak District in 20 minutes and let the view of sweeping hills and rocky moors wash over you. The world-famous Lake District, slightly further afield, is a wildlife haven comprised of shimmering lakes and peaceful villages.
8. Marvel at the architecture
Some of the UK’s finest architecture is located in the city. Once a powerhouse for textile production during the Industrial Revolution, Manchester’s old red-brick mills and Victorian warehouses have been modernized with glass atriums and facades. Great examples of this fusion between old and new can be found in Deansgate arches, the Printworks, Victoria train station, and the Central Library.
9. Time for shopping
Shop ‘til you drop. Spend a full day out at the Trafford Centre, where you’ll find just about every brand. Looking for indy boutique shops? Check out the Arndale or Affleck’s Palace in the city centre.
10. Speak English, northern style
Mancunians have their own version of the English language, full of endearing slang terms like ‘our kid’ (which means brother). Visit Manchester and you’ll start speaking in dulcet northern tones. No doubt, your friends will be extremely impressed.