Manchester is a thriving center of science, technology and media. Heritage buildings provide a snapshot of the past in this otherwise modern city. Between international football matches, concerts, festivals and exhibits, there is always a reason to visit this entrepreneurial and cultural city. “Mancunians” (or “Mancs”) are fond of shopping, partying and dining so there is no shortage of retail and nightlife either.
In the 1990s, the Manchester City Council started to reshape the city in a bid to host the next Olympic Games. However, it was another sporting event that inadvertently led to the rebirth of Manchester. After the destructive IRA terrorist bomb blast during the Euro ’96 soccer tournament, there was space for better city planning and modern facilities. Today’s bustling city center is best explored by public transport, which includes the free Metroshuttle buses, or on foot.
You can see traces of the city’s past in the converted old warehouses, Victorian Gothic halls and Manchester Cathedral. If you are interested in historic architecture, visit the Manchester Town Hall on Albert Square and the impressive John Rylands Library on the main road of Deansgate.
Manchester is known as a rainy city, but you will find enough indoor attractions to keep you entertained when the sun hides behind the clouds. The Museum of Science and Industry, for example, will show you how Manchester, the place where scientists first split the atom, played an important role in the Industrial Revolution. Acquaint yourself with local textiles at the Whitworth Art Gallery or let the children get creative at the Manchester Art Gallery.
To experience the city’s social scene, go to a cozy English pub, international restaurants, or New York-style bars. For musicals and theater, visit the intimate Manchester Opera House.
Manchester is 200 miles (320 kilometers) northwest of London and less than an hour away from Liverpool by car. The city is within easy reach of famous estates, such as Arley Hall and Gardens, and is a good base for exploring the charming English countryside.