Manchester is a city of music. Many famous British bands started out here, including Oasis, The Smiths, Joy Division, the Happy Mondays, New Order and, at the poppier end of the spectrum, Take That. It won’t take you long to find out how the local scene became such an incubator of talent: Mancunians value good music, and it is everywhere in the city.
You can choose from any number of music venues around town (see our Manchester Tips), from small pubs to stadiums, via the Manchester Evening News Arena, which is Europe’s largest indoor arena with a capacity of 21,000. If you like electronic music, the Warehouse Project brings many of the world’s most credible DJs and acts to the city each autumn.
Manchester’s football clubs
You can take a stadium tour of Old Trafford (Manchester United) or the City of Manchester Etihad Stadium (Manchester City) and get behind the scenes of two of Britain’s greatest football clubs. The tours give a fascinating insight into the clubs’ histories and ambitions.
For a real taste of Manchester’s football culture, nothing beats a live game, but tickets can be hard to find. You will have to register online and, for Manchester United, probably join the supporters’ club. Tickets for mid-week Premier League matches or Champions League group stage matches against smaller teams are the easiest to get hold of, while matches against big English or European teams are almost impossible to find without paying a large fee to an agent.
During the summer months, when the football players are busy developing global brand awareness through tours of target markets (surely the essence of “the beautiful game”) the cricket at Old Trafford offers an experience of something quintessentially English.
The home of Lancashire County Cricket Club hosts Twenty20 matches, which are the most exciting version of cricket, and one-day matches. If you really fall in love with the game, you could check out a test match: international matches which last for up to five days, complete with breaks for lunch and afternoon tea. It is a good idea to bring a picnic and something to drink. A day at the cricket is an immersive experience and tickets are easy to find.
Oxford Road is known locally as Manchester’s Cultural Corridor, running from the Cornerhouse contemporary arts complex to the red-brick Whitworth Art Gallery (see below). One of the most exciting projects in the city is the launch of HOME (http://homemcr.org/) as an even bigger, even better arts hub. The University of Manchester’s neo-gothic buildings dominate the area, which is dotted with theatres and music venues.
Whitworth Art Gallery – Fresh from an extensive renovation, the gallery houses a rich, historic collection with work by some of the world's most exciting contemporary artists. Entry is free.
Oxford Rd, Manchester, Lancashire M15 6ER, whitworth.manchester.ac.uk
National Football Museum – A museum dedicated to the world’s most popular sport holds collections from both FIFA and the FA. Entry is free.
Todd St, Manchester, M4 3BG, nationalfootballmuseum.com
People's History Museum – In the city that helped inspire the Communist Manifesto, this museum looks at the history of British people and tells the story of democracy in Britain. Entry is free.
Left Bank, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3ER, phm.org.uk
John Rylands Library – Home to one of the world's finest collections of rare books and manuscripts, including the world's oldest surviving fragment of the New Testament. Entry is free.
150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH, library.manchester.ac.uk/rylands/
Manchester Monastery – If you like gothic design, take a tour of this spectacular piece of nineteenth-century architecture. Edgar Allan Poe would have loved it.
Gorton Lane, Manchester, M12 5WF, themonastery.co.uk
Museum of science and industry – It’s only fitting that one of the most important cities of the industrial revolution should have an excellent technical museum. Entry is free.
Liverpool Rd, Manchester M3 4FP, mosi.org.uk
Manchester Art Gallery – British and European paintings housed in a gorgeous building. Perfect if you need to hide from the hot sunshine in the summer months (or possibly the rain). Entry is free.
Mosley St, Manchester M2 3JL, manchestergalleries.org
Image credit: Paul Karalius