Once a city on the forefront of the Industrial Revolution, Manchester is now edgy, hip, and many other adjectives that balk at categorization. From world-class sports teams to history aplenty, you could spend years in Manchester and still not experience all of its hidden gems. If you only have one weekend to explore, here are some of the major, not-to-miss highlights.
FIND YOUR BREAKFAST CLUB
27 PETER STREET MANCHESTER M2 5QR, UNITED KINGDOM
Already extremely popular with the lunch and dinner crowds, Albert's Schloss’ recently debuted breakfast and brunch menus features an option to satisfy nearly every palate, too. From grain bowls to bennies, sandwiches to donuts, Albert's Schloss is a must try for breakfast, lunch and dinner (we won’t judge you if you sample all their menus while you’re in town!).
THE UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER, OXFORD ROAD, MANCHESTER M13 9PL, UNITED KINGDOM
The Manchester Museum offers an overview of the area through a mishmash of exhibits about archaeology, anthropology and natural history. The museum features collections and galleries dedicated to animal and prehistoric life, plants, and rocks and minerals, along with a vivarium.
GRAB A BITE AT ALTRINCHAM MARKET
26 MARKET STREET ALTRINCHAM WA14 1PF, UNITED KINGRDOM
Artisanal food halls are one of our favorite ways to try a number of local specialities without missing a beat. Snack around, but be sure to hit up Honest Crust for a slice of wood-fired pizza and Hoke Pokey for homemade ice cream sandwiches for dessert. On the weekends, there are also jewelry, home décor, and fashion vendors, so you’ll have no problem finding a souvenir or two. Please note: Altrincham Market and many of its vendors are closed on Mondays.
PAUSE FOR TEA TIME
16 PETER STREET, MANCHESTER M60 2DS, UNITED KINGDOM
The Midland Hotel’s elegant Afternoon Tea has been a staple in Manchester since the hotel first opened its doors in 1903. Now serving its Afternoon Tea in the specialty Tea Room, The Midland puts a contemporary spin on an English classic. Afternoon Tea is served Monday through Friday from 1 to 4:30pm and Saturday from noon to 5:30pm. A reservation is recommended.
THE MANCHESTER ART GALLERY
MOSLEY STREET, MANCHESTER M2 3JL, UNITED KINGDOM
Continue your cultural tour at the Manchester Art Gallery. With over 25,000 pieces on display, there's a lot of art to be explored from sculptures to photography. Fashion lovers shouldn't miss the Gallery of Costume (15-minutes away), which features garb and dresses from the 1600s through present day.
MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY
LIVERPOOL ROAD, MANCHESTER M3 4FP, UNITED KINGDOM
A hub of innovation that puts all things science and technology on display, MSI highlights 250 years of discoveries and innovations that began in Manchester. Worth seeking out are the models of atomic theory, parts of the world’s first commercially available computer, and one of the world’s largest collections of working steam mill engines.
DINNER AT THE REFUGE
OXFORD STREET, MANCHESTER M60 7HW, UNITED KINGDOM
Housed within the beautiful surrounds of the Principal Manchester Hotel, the Refuge by Volta has been recently fashioned by two former DJs turned restauranteurs. Offering a small plate menu — think crispy lamb shawarma and slow-cooked ox cheek — and extensive drink options, the venue has become a must-visit destination restaurant and bar amongst locals.
1032 STOCKPORT ROAD, MANCHESTER M19 3WX, UNITED KINGRDOM
Brunch is our favorite meal of the week and Trove Cafe + Bakery is one of the best in Manchester. You’ll find an ever-changing menu of local, seasonal ingredients like black pudding pikelet with beetroot, horseradish, and a poached egg. But as good as the main courses sound, none will overshadow the freshly baked bread or flat whites.
OPT FOR A BREWERY TOUR
MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM
Craft beer is big business in Manchester, so you’ll find a good pint nearly anywhere. We say, there’s nothing quite like going straight to the source. Tip one back at the Robinsons Brewery Tour Centre, The Gasworks or Seven Bro7hers, or look out for a brew tap event where you can drinks straight from the source at the likes of Blackjack, Alphabet, and Cloudwater breweries.
ROOT FOR THE HOME TEAM
SIR MATT BUSBY WAY, STRETFORD, MANCHESTER M16 0RA, UNITED KINGDOM
Home to two award-winning soccer clubs, you’ll definitely want to catch a match if Manchester United or Manchester City is in town. The roar of the fans is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced and pulses energy throughout the stadium. For an extra special experience, you can take a behind the scenes tour of either club's locker room and field.
MAKE IT A SPLURGE MEAL
2 WATSON STREET, MANCHESTER M3 4LP, UNITED KINGDOM
Make your last dinner one to remember at James Martin with one of the most highly touted celebrity chefs at the helm. The a la carte menu changes seasonally, but the wagyu sirloin is a mainstay and a meal you'll remember for a long, long time.
GRAB A DRINK AT THE WASHHOUSE
19 SHUDEHILL, MANCHESTER M4 2AF, UNITED KINGDOM
One of Manchester’s best bars is found where you’d least expect it: inside a supposed Laundromat. To enter, guests have to ring downstairs (there’s a dial phone on a shelf) before walking through a cleverly disguised washing-machine-turned-door. Once inside, don’t be surprised when your drink arrives in a terrarium — this secret bar serves up whimsical craft cocktail concoctions unlike anywhere else in the city. Reservations are required to get into this gem (trust us, it’s worth it), and you should note that, aside from the address, its website is really just good for a laugh.
HOW TO DO IT AND WHERE TO STAY
40 DEARMANS PL, CHAPEL WHARF, SALFORD, MANCHESTER M3 5LH, UNITED KINGDOM
You can fly nonstop to Manchester from Las Vegas, Orlando, San Francisco, New York, Atlanta, or Boston via Virgin Atlantic. For an ideal base, opt to stay at The Lowry Hotel, which is conveniently located near many of the city's top attractions. Conveniently located near Victoria Station, the five-star property features trendy restaurants and some of the finest views of Trinity Bridge and River Irwell, too.