One Day In Manchester Itinerary

all timbre frame building and stone building

A city with a rich industrial past and creative present, Manchester is an exciting, thriving city. The northern rival to London, this sprawling, metropolis is a great place to visit, even for just a day. It has so much to offer for every visitor, as well as being a really friendly and welcoming city. Keep reading to find out my recommendations for what to do in a day in Manchester!

Manchester’s Northern Quarter

Begin your day in Manchester by exploring one of the city’s most vibrant and quirky areas – the Northern Quarter. Right next to the city centre, this is an easy area to navigate to and from. Walking around the Northern Quarter is a great way to get a flavour of the creative, innovative part of Manchester. There are plenty of streets filled with pretty amazing street art, lined with unusual and interesting shops to keep you occupied for the morning. One of the best examples of Manchester’s street art scene is the famous bees mural by the graffiti artist Qubek on Oldham Street,  which is a dedication to the 22 people killed in the 2017 terror attack. Worker bees have long been a symbol of Manchester, which makes this a touching and personal memorial to those who died.

22 bees mural street art

A very Mancunian brunch

While you are exploring the streets that make up the Northern Quarter, it’s worth exploring some of its quirky shops and boutiques like Magma bookshop, Fred Aldous, and the indoor independent market Afflecks. For local art and craftsmanship, browse around the various workshops in the Manchester Craft and Design Centre.

The Northern Quarter is also home to its fair share of brunch spots and coffee houses, which makes it a perfect place for a spot of late breakfast in between your exploring. Koffee Pot, Ezra & Gil, Evelyn’s, The Foundation Coffee Shop, Federal and Chapter One Books are all great choices where food is concerned. As is Mackie Mayor, an indoor foodies haven full of different stalls cooking up some Mancunian food mastery.

indoor food market

When the morning begins to draw a close (or you’re all shopped out), head over to Manchester’s Cathedral and the city’s oldest pub, The Old Wellington Inn. On a sunny day, this is the perfect spot for a drink. Plus, you are in the centre of the city’s shopping district, so it’s fantastic for getting a feel for the city while sipping on a pint!

old English pub

An afternoon of culture

At the start of your afternoon head over to the Manchester Art Gallery. You can easily spend an hour or two (or more) in the gallery admiring the collections of international art that is housed there, as well as some more local artists. After you’ve had your fill of priceless artworks, make your way to Manchester’s Town Hall in Albert Square. This rather impressive neo-gothic building is certainly worth seeing, even from the outside (it’s closed until 2024 due to an extensive renovation project).

view of Manchester town hall from below

If you’re still looking for things to do in Manchester to fill the remainder of your afternoon then head to the People’s History Museum. Here the city documents and exhibits the various movements towards democracy and equality in Britain over time. It’s a really interesting museum, especially because a lot of the protests documented there are very recent, so it’s events are likely to cover something you personally remember happening – which is quite rare for a museum!

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When the day starts drawing to a close, check out what evening entertainment Manchester has to offer (of which there is a lot). Dance along to some live jazz music at the Northern Quarter’s Matt and Phred’s Jazz Club. If jazz is not your thing, why not go to see a show at the Royal Exchange Theatre? For the party animals amongst us, check out Manchester’s gay village around Canal Street for an unforgettable night!

Want to see what else the UK has to offer? Head over to the Travel section for more inspiration on what to see in the UK. 


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