Manchester the Offbeat guide!
Updated: Aug 29
1. Start with a walk down Oxford Road
The one road that takes you everywhere in Manchester! All the way from Piccadilly bus station past both the Manchester Metropolitan University & University of Manchester, & the Royal Northern College of Music, down the curry mile, and on to Fallowfield.
This is a rather long walk, (about an hour long), I used to do this walk every now and then in my first year in University. Don’t ask me why, I think I was just so in love with the city that I loved walking down the road on my own, taking in everything round me, whilst stopping for a snack in between(or grabbing a bar of chocolate that I usually have stashed in my bag).
I have a detailed guide to Oxford Road and everything there is to do on this long stretch-check it out!
Also check out my detailed guide to Manchester!
2. Go on a walking tour of the Northern Quarter
The Northern quarter is home to an eclectic mix of restaurants, cafes, boutiques, and book shops. Keep your eyes open for some colourful street art as well. You can do this walk on your own, or book a walking tour online, to get someone who knows about the history of the city and the landmarks you are passing by to guide you through it.
A tour that I would like to take when I’m in Manchester next, is by the skyliner-they seem to have interesting tours of places I have walked through so many times, but with a different perspective, and information that I may not know.
3. Head to the Maker’s Market
If you are in town on the 2nd Sunday of the month, head to the northern quarter to experience the Maker’s market. This pop up market brings together local artists, entrepreneurs, musicians, and food businesses that you may otherwise not have heard of.
Wondering where to shop in Manchester? Check out my guide!
Planning a trip to London, you have to see my guides!
I have great memories of eating with friends and family at Chinatown. The all you can eat buffet at £5 was a favourite for me, because it truly was value for money in my mind-it was good food for CHEAP! (I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, I happened to find it one day when I was roaming the area.) But I did try out some of the better/fancier restaurants which did not disappoint either. I think one of our favourites was called Pearl City, if I’m not wrong.
The Manchester Chinatown is apparently the 2nd largest in the UK, and the 3rd largest in Europe!
I also have to suggest having some bubble tea when roaming about Chinatown! (I prefer the bubbles to the tea)
For a sweet treat, there are a few bakeries that sell moon cakes, custard tarts, red bean buns, and many other treats that I don’t know the names of!
And yes, look out for the architecture as well, which tells you that you have indeed reached Chinatown!
5. Shambles Square
This is the picturesque square you need to stop by to get some fabulous pictures. The Shambles square was so named because it was once the butchers’ area. The word Shambles was derived the middle english word schamel, meaning a bench used to display meat.
The Shambes square is built around the heritage building dating back to 1552, which now houses the Old wellington Inn.
Stalls for the Christmas market are set up at Shambles square every year as well, and for pictures this Christmas market is a lot better than the one at Albert Square during the day. The Albert Square Christmas market is lit up more elaborately so, at night time, head there.
6. Eat & shop in some beautiful heritage buildings!
Sometimes we are all so preoccupied, that we fail to notice the things around us.
The Printworks & Corn Exchange are beautiful buildings, which house shops and restaurants, and I just wanted to mention them because they are worth standing outside just to admire for a few minutes.
7. Gay Village
In my first year, I stayed very close to the Gay village (on Canal Street), and I’m so glad that I did, because from the second year onwards this area was a little out of the way for me, so I never came back. There are some really good restaurants and bars here, and post evening, it is always a lot of fun.
To be part of some of the fun events, mark your calendars!
Manchester Pride Festival (August every year)
Sparkle (July every year)
I’ve been for the Manchester Pride Parade- it is colourful, the music is great, and there’s a lot of dancing-an absolute fun event to be a part of!
8. Ride the Manchester Wheel
This may not seem like an 'offbeat' thing to do, but I chose to feature it here only because, the Manchester Wheel is not what people come to Manchester to do. When I was in London, I went on the London Eye, so felt that this could definitely not beat that, so why try. But, I hear it makes for romantic dates, and fun birthday celebrations, according to some of my friends, and of course, you can see all of Manchester from it. So, give it a try, I'm sure you will have a great time, and be privy to an amazing view!
When you visit manchester, and you want to know what’s happening in town that week, check out https://www.visitmanchester.com/whats-on/events to be in the know.
9. Head out to the parks!
Manchester has so many parks, and the minute we see sunshine, we are all out in the parks! So it truly is a local thing to do! Why Mancunians get so excited about sunshine? Because we get so little of it! The weather is always cloudy, with rain, or hail, snowing! So if you are here on a particularly good day, don't waste inside a museum or pub, make yourself a picnic, and head to the parks!