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Manchester Craft & Design Centre, Manchester
Photograph: Craft and Design Centre Craft & Design Centre, Manchester

Things to do in the Northern Quarter

Our pick of the best things to keep you busy in the Northern Quarter

By Rob Martin

The Northern Quarter's not just about all the trendy restaurants, bars and pubs - there's a lot more to keep you entertained. You can even keep it cultural, should that kind of thing tickle your biscuits. We've put together our favourite bits and bobs to do in the area, so take a look and walk straight past that inviting pub door... you'll be grateful, promise.

Northern Quarter things to do

Band On The Wall

Music Music venues

Band on the Wall represents a real musical success story for the city of Manchester. Funded by both the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Arts Council, the £4 million venue opened in 2009 after years in disarray; like many previously abandoned tenancies in the city, it has a rich history intertwined with the textile industry, but has always been a fertile ground for live music.


Restaurants Cafés

An Aladdin's cave of delights, Oklahoma is a gift buyer's dream shop, with the emphasis firmly on the kitsch. It's packed to the rafters with exotic homeware, fabulous things for the kitchen, toys, games, book and cards, plus jewellery. It's not huge but you'll find yourself getting lost as you browse.

Bundobust food platter
Bundobust food platter
Photograph: Bundobust


Restaurants Indian

This is the best Indian street food in the city and the menu, combined with some very drinkable craft ales, makes for a very popular whilst having to be in-the-know kind of feel.

It's entirely vegetarian or vegan and the combo platters are tremendous.

Manchester Craft & Design Centre, Manchester
Manchester Craft & Design Centre, Manchester
Photograph: Craft and Design Centre

Manchester Craft & Design Centre

Shopping Art, craft and hobbies

Awarded 'Best Independent Retailer' at the 2013 Manchester Tourism Awards, Manchester Craft & Design Centre boasts over 30 artists, designers and craft makers under one roof. MCDC lies in the heart of the Northern Quarter, offering an impressive array of quality goods that you won't find on the high street – handmade, bespoke and personal. 


National Football Museum

Museums Sport

Housed inside one of the most impressive of Manchester City Centre's modern buildings, the former URBIS museum, this four-floor monument to football boasts that it contains the greatest football collection in the world. It’s the permanent home to the FIFA collection, the Football League collection, the FA collection and many more, and it works towards the preservation and conservation of such memorabilia. 

Centre For Chinese Contemporary Art

Art Galleries

Formally known as the Chinese Arts Centre, the Centre For Chinese Contemporary Art works to bring Chinese art and visual culture to a UK audience. Working with a four-strong team of associate curators based in East Asia - each specialising in a particular strand of the centre's artistic programme - this Northern Quarter building brings exhibitions, artists in residence, engagement projects, festivals, talks and events.



Shopping Arcades

Established in 1982, Afflecks is a bit of a Manchester institution. And it's easy to see why, with an admirable indie spirit courtesy of some very cool shops, bars, tattoo parlours, skate shops, events and pleasant people. Definitely somewhere to seek out.  

Abode Manchester

Hotels Boutique hotels

Nicely placed for Manchester Piccadilly station and the shopping and drinking delights of the Northern Quarter, Abode hotel is housed in a nineteenth-century textile factory and retains some handsome period features. Bedrooms and suites are decorated in a quietly quirky, modern style; suites come with extras such as Nespresso machines and Bose sound systems. There are two bars and a modern European restaurant.


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