The dork tour of Manchester?
May 29, 2011 12:42 AM   Subscribe

I haven't been to Manchester, UK in like ten years, what's changed and what should I do?

Revisiting Manchester after a long time away, have the big tourist spots been upgraded, changed, demolished in any significant way to warrant another look? Best new performance venues or exciting restraunts or uttery strange, wonderful stuff you have to see?

We're two guys who like walking, quietish pubs, novel food, Hewlett and science ( massive engineering works are a plus ) and homosexual bonhomie.
posted by The Whelk to Travel & Transportation around Manchester, England (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The Northern Quarter has been gentrified like You Would Not Believe. Seriously. Mr Scruff has a freaking tea and cake shop now. The whole area, including the Ancoats area behind Picadilly where no one would go unless they were heading to Sankeys, is now worth a wander, and a wonder. Urbis has opened and closed in the time you've been away, I guess, but there's a new shopping centre (Triangle) nearby and the Cheethams' school of music is opened up because of the landscaping and easier to see & photograph.
There's a new Imperial War Museum, and the Lowry out in the docks. Not much to see in the latter although it's a good venue for a show - the former is pretty impressive/moving, and the tarted up industrial setting is, on a good day, glorious.
Both the Arndale and Piccadilly gardens have been revamped since you left, tho' I'm not sure they're worth a specific visit, and there's been a hell of a lot of work down Oxford road on the University's site.
posted by AFII at 3:56 AM on May 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

They dug a big hole at one end of Canal Street, surrounded it with aspirational lifestyle billboards, then ran out of money and went home. You could go and gaze into it and reflect on the hubris of man, I guess.
posted by emmtee at 4:00 AM on May 29, 2011 [6 favorites]

After admiring the big hole* near Canal Street you could sit on a bench with Alan Turing in nearby Sackville Park.

Definitely consider The Lowry and Imperial War Museum in Salford. It's tricky to think of other things that have appeared in the last ten years that would interest a visitor. I suppose I can't really say "The Apple Store"... There's a big wheel ride in Exchange Square (er, near the Apple Store). As AFII says you've missed Urbis, which was replaced by a Football Museum that isn't open yet. The Northern Quarter has a lot of great, unusual small shops, and is no longer scary (unless you fear hipsters).

There's a new skyscraper called The Beetham Tower (If you're lucky it will be windy enough to hear the unearthly hum it broadcasts over the city)

The Manchester International Festival has a lot of good events, but starts in late June.

There's a new Council-run tourist office in Piccadilly Gardens called Visit Manchester. They have some neat Surface table-screens as well as the usual leaflets, and helpful staff.

There's still a lot of good, much older places to visit: Manchester Art Gallery, John Rylands Library on Deansgate, the mummies in Manchester Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry which includes some of the first computers. The Victorians and Edwardians seem to have built most of the interesting touristy places in Manchester.

Ning in the Northern Quarter is an interesting option for food (Malaysian), and opened about five years ago. I like Tampopo for lunch. Bistro 1847 is a new vegetarian place with rather fancy, unusual, but tasty food.

Are you planning to go walking outside the city? It's possible to get to some lovely areas for hill walking in about 30 minutes by train.

* Visit Ancoats on the edge of the city for more of the Property Bubble experience: We have The Smaller Big Hole, The Tower With No Walls, and The Nice Waterside Park That Isn't Open To The Public!
posted by BinaryApe at 5:34 AM on May 29, 2011

Argh, recursive link mistake.

Beetham Tower.
posted by BinaryApe at 5:36 AM on May 29, 2011

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