Vibrant, bold and offering an absurd variety of things to do, Manchester would be the last one standing at a party if it were a person. The city is probably best known for its music legacy, having gifted the world the likes of the Stone Roses, the Smiths and (temporarily) legendary nightclub the Hacienda.
Designated an “Urban Heritage Park,” Castlefield is an excellent place to begin exploring Manchester, and a walk among the lovingly restored Victorian houses along the old canals or through the reconstructed Roman Fort is time well spent. Be sure to explore the Bridgewater Canal, constructed in 1761 to transport coal from the mines at Worsley to Manchester, and the many old warehouses that have been restored and turned into offices, shops, hotels, and restaurants.
When it opened way back in 1906, Victoria Baths was described as the “most splendid municipal bathing institution in the country”. It’s a swanky swimming pool alright and, when it closed in 1993, everything from the ornate Edwardian tiles to the retro pool-side changing rooms were perfectly preserved. Now, it hosts some of the best events in the city, the empty pools filled with antiques fairs and food festivals. The best of the bunch is the Independent Manchester Beer Convention, one of the country’s leading beer festivals.
Whitworth Art Gallery
Recently reopened after an extensive renovation project, the Whitworth is one of the best places in the city to view a collection of exciting contemporary art. Keep your eyes peeled on their exciting events calendar, pay a visit to their stunning restaurant with panoramic views of the surrounding park and pick up a picnic basket of art supplies to spark your own creativity.
National Football Museum
Home to two of Europe’s top football teams – Man City and Man United – Manchester is a great place to pay homage to the country’s favorite sport. First stop should be the National Football Museum. This football shrine features fascinating memorabilia related to the sport, including such gems as the very first rulebook, as well as historic trophies and clothing. A variety of great short movies show the history of the sport, while fun hands-on (and feet-on, for that matter) displays provide plenty of additional entertainment for youngsters.