Having produced some of the world’s most iconic bands from The Stone Roses to New Order, it’s easy to see why Manchester carries that little bit of a swagger. Discover the city’s musical heritage and explore its gig venues, bars, concert halls and musical landmarks.
Start your Mancunian musical odyssey on a Manchester Music Tour (approx. 3 hours). Whether you’re a Smiths fan or Oasis devotee, your tour guide Craig Gill (Inspiral Carpets) is a veritable encyclopaedia of Manchester music. Discover the old haunts, hangouts, and gig venues across the city that your favourite Manchester bands made their own.
Then head to Manchester’s beating urban heart, the bohemian Northern Quarter, to explore a lively array of vintage shops, cafes and alternative bars, such as the Afflecks emporium, a retro institution of everything indie from punk clothing to Banksy prints, and Dusk til Pawn, a modern day speakeasy.
You’ll find plenty of lively places to eat in the Northern Quarter such as Matt and Phreds, renowned for their pizzas as much as the cool jazz groups that play there. A favourite place for a laidback evening drink is the Dry Bar, legendary hangout for the likes of the Happy Mondays.
Round off your day with some live music in one of the city’s numerous gig venues such as Night and Day Café. Elbow’s Guy Garvey called it ‘the jewel in Manchester’s crown’. Or see some live music over frozen cocktails at The Deaf Institute. The spirit of the Hacienda lives on in venues such as The Ritz, which hosts underground rock, electronica and club nights, live bands and artists.
Continue your education of Manchester’s music scene on a self-guided walking tour of its musical landmarks. It’s an easy city to walk around and while some of the legendary venues are long gone, it’s a great way to soak up the city’s famous musical heritage.
Grab some lunch back in the Northern Quarter and take your pick from healthy and affordable food at Soup Kitchen, delicious home-cooked pies from Pieminister, or one of Pancho’s Burritos near the Arndale Centre.
Situated in the heart of the city is the Royal Northern College of Music, a leading international conservatoire which attracts students, teachers, conductors and composers from all over the world. Discover the next musical stars at one of the - often free - lunchtime concerts.
Take a break from your musical excursions with visits to Manchester icons such as the grand neo-Gothic John Rylands Library on Deansgate – home to a treasured first edition of Shakespeare’s sonnets, and The Whitworth Art Gallery.
No trip to Manchester would be complete without sampling the culinary delights of one of the many restaurants in Chinatown. After you’ve finished your Chinese banquet, head to the small but perfectly-formed The Briton’s Protection, favourite pub of local musicians, and a must-visit for whisky connoisseurs and real ale fans.
Across the road is the iconic Bridgewater Hall, home to the city’s beloved Hallé Orchestra. With a packed programme of classical concerts and contemporary performances, a concert in this grand setting is the perfect end to a Manchester city break.
Every July the Castlefield Bowl in Manchester city centre hosts a series of great outdoors gigs. 2016 headliners include Guy Garvey, New Order and The Last Shadow Puppets.
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