It may be best known for its musical legacy, having gifted the world the likes of the Stone Roses, the Smiths and (however temporarily) legendary club the Hacienda. But don’t get hung up on the past – our pick of the best things to do in Manchester right now shows this city’s evolving at a staggering pace.
Always a city of great ambition, Manchester has seen huge changes in its development in recent times. Areas like The Quays have seen former derelict sites become thriving communities and workplaces and there hasn't been a shortage of cranes across the ever-changing city skyline for decades.
Now, 3 new developments are set to raise the stakes on the look of Manchester whilst adding to the fantastic attractions already here.
At last, the incredible structure that hangs above the Castlefield area, the Castlefield Viaduct, is getting a makeover via the National Trust. They plan to create a New York-style Highline urban park out of the Grade II listed space. The project forms part of the conservation charity's ambition to create more access for people to green space, history and nature where they live.
It means that the derelict space will be transformed into one of the most exciting developments that the city centre has seen for years.
The iconic structure will be transformed from a derelict space into a city centre oasis above the canals of the Castlefield basin. Planning permission is currently being sought.
Over on the opposite side of the city centre, Mayfield continues to expand. This once-abandoned space behind Piccadilly train station got a much needed boost when Manchester International Festival programmed some of its 2013 events in Mayfield Depot, including Massive Attack v Adam Curtis and, since then, the space has hosted club nights, gigs, dance and performance. It's also now the site of Freight Island, the music, entertainment and dining experience.
But the next part of the area's development is also the most exciting as Mayfield Park starts to take shape. There's long been a need for a large park in the centre of Manchester and, at last, it's on its way. This will be Manchester's first new public park in over one hundred years.
The 6.5 acre park is one part of a development scheme set to transform the area to the tune of £1.4 billion. There'll be new residential buildings and parts of the river Medlock will be uncovered to form part of the park itself.
As one of the biggest regeneration projects currently underway in the UK, the Mayfield development is set to create a brand new city-centre destination.
The Viadux Development
Another space in the city centre currently under development is the vast Victorian arches under Manchester Central. These Grade II listed structures will be part of a new residential and office area which includes leisure facilities like a stunning underground swimming pool and spa.
Viadux will see another high-rise building scraping the Manchester sky whilst making the most of the space underneath it all.
Together, these 3 developments are set to change the boundaries of the city centre and have a huge impact on where people will choose to spend their time, combining leisure facilities, outdoor spaces, heritage and job opportunities.
It's all exciting news for Manchester after over a year of lockdown, a period which has seen so many of its city centre venues and activities close down. And whilst we won't see these developments finished for some time yet, knowing they're coming certainly makes you want to go out and do something.
Talking of which...