The first industrialised city in the world, the capital of the North, and my home for the last four and a half years, Manchester really is a great city. The Manchester day parade 2013 is taking place on Sunday 2nd June, and in celebration, here are just a few reasons I love my adopted hometown.
It’s not grim up North
The North has undergone a massive transformation in the last few years. Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool in particular have received a lot of investment and are undergoing redevelopment on a massive scale. In Greater Manchester, you only have to look to Salford Quays, MediaCityUK and the Beetham Tower (the Hilton hotel) to see how the skyline is changing. In fact, Beetham Tower is the tallest residential building in the UK, and the fourth tallest in Europe.
To do: Head up to Cloud23 on the 23rd floor of Beetham Tower for views that reach to the Pennines on a clear day.
A recent study by Manchester University found that Manchester was the most multi-lingual city in Europe, and suggested it was second only to New York in the world. The study confirmed that 153 different languages are spoken daily in the city. This ethnic diversity has had a huge effect on Manchester and can be seen in Chinatown, in the heart of the city, along the infamous Curry Mile in Rusholme, the self-proclaimed Italian Quarter, or in any of the city’s great world food restaurants – the Armenian Taverna on St. Albert’s Square being a personal favourite.
To do: Get the Magic Bus from Piccadilly to the Curry Mile and walk around to find the best deal. Most restaurants are BYOB – another plus.
Now, I might not be the biggest sporting fan – something that definitely hasn’t improved since moving to within a stone’s throw of Old Trafford – but there’s no denying Manchester has a lot to offer: both Old Trafford and the Etihad stadium host a lot of sporting events aside from their own matches, and Manchester is now home to the National Football Museum in the URBIS.
To do: Go see the match – just don’t try and use any form of public transport before or after.
Having already covered Manchester’s industrial heritage, it’s time to look to the city’s other museums. One of my personal favourites is the John Rylands Library on Deansgate – the building is pretty impressive from the outside, but absolute stunning on the inside. There’s a small permanent exhibit on the history of the library, which is mainly aimed at kids on school trips, as well as a few others, but the main draw is simply walking around and admiring the architecture. Another Manchester landmark is the Imperial War Museum, housed in Manchester’s arguably most interesting building. The temporary exhibitions are always worth a look, though the view from the top is not one for the faint-hearted, i.e. me.
To do: The John Rylands Library on Deansgate is still a functioning library, so take your pencil case and get some work done. Or not.
Manchester is full of hidden gems – cool bars are always popping up in the Northern Quarter and Chorlton is the place for pop-up gourmet burger vans – but my favourite by far is St. Mary’s Catholic Church, also known as the Hidden Gem. Found right in the centre of town, it’s not a particularly impressive building, save for the fact you’d never have guessed it was there, but it’s definitely worth seeking out.
To do: Check out VisitManchester’s list of the top 5 hidden gems in Manchester.
This list is by no means conclusive – what are your top reasons to love the capital of the North?