The neo-classical Royal Exchange was the commercial heart of Manchester's and therefore the world's cotton trade. The main trading hall, essentially a neo-Roman basilica, was at one time the largest commercial room in the world. It fell into disuse in the 1960s, but was rescued in the 1970s by the restoration of the building and the addition of an ultra-modern theatre in-the-round for Sir Robert D.H. Scott's '69 (now Royal Exchange) theatre Company. It stands in the centre of the main trading floor, squatting like an alien invader's spaceship, but is actually supported on the hall's load bearing columns. Ill-disposed members of the audience sitting in the theatre's surrounding on-stage banquette seats are well-placed to trip the actors up physically. Extensive wine merchant cellars have now been converted into a shopping centre and the wings surrounding the theatre hall contain offices and Barristers' chambers. Pop in during the day for a coffee or something stronger at the tranquil and elegant licensed cafe in the main hall: the entrance is up the stairs in St. Ann's Square or on Cross Street. As well as the wonderfully-restored interior and three dramatic coloured-glass domes, you can admire the trading board, which still shows the price of cotton around the world on the last day of trading in 1969. There is also a small, expensive craft shop inside.
Mosley Street. Tue-Sun 10AM-5PM and bank holidays except Christmas, New Year, and Good Friday. The principal wing is the work of Sir Charles Barry, also architect of the House of Parliament. Manchester's central art gallery is home to a huge collection of 19th Century and earlier works, including paintings by Canaletto, Constable, Turner, and Burne-Jones, as well as more complete collections by other artists. It has also been home to a number of original exhibitions over the last few years and the city's own art from all ages is well-represented within. There are important collections of world ceramics and English silver.
Cathedral Yard (Visitor Centre at 10 Cateaton Street, around the corner). Cathedral Mon-Fri 8AM-7PM, Sat 8AM-5PM, Sun 8:30AM-7:30PM, check web site for service times and events; Visitor Centre is open Mon-Sat 10AM-4:30PM, Sun 11:30AM-4PM. One of the few surviving medieval buildings in Manchester, the cathedral is a beautiful, dark Gothic building inside and out. In recent years, it has acquired a modern interactive Visitor Centre built around the excavations of the medieval 'Hanging Bridge' with an excellent licensed restaurant and gift shop. Entry to all attractions is free.
Long Millgate. Library Mon-Fri 9AM-12:30PM, 1:30-4:30PM, closed Bank Holidays, call in advance; School is closed to general public. Chetham's is an independent private school of music and public library housed in the medieval priests' college next to the Cathedral. The library is the oldest public English library in the world. It is possible to look around without an appointment, but if you want to take a look at any of the collection, you will need to arrange this with the librarian beforehand.
Set around a sushi counter, this eatery serves a variety of mainstream Cantonese (Hong Kong), Thai, and Japanese dishes. The Hong Kong style roasting dishes are particularly good value and well-made. Typically any mixture of Char Sui, Duck, Pork Belly, Jelly Fish, and Cold Cuts can be paired with Rice, Soup Noodle, or other fried noodles, typically for around £4.50 for a very large and filling bowl/plate. Teamed with a bottle of Asahi Beer, the bill per person will be well under £10.
Entrances on Withy Grove and Thomas Street. Attraction opening times vary. Originally the home of Manchester's newspaper offices, the Printworks is now a covered street where it's night time all day long. It is the home of several well-known restaurants including Hard Rock café Manchester (the only English Hard Rock outside of London) and drinking establishments, as well as a large Odeon cinema, home of Manchester's IMAX screen.
St Ann Street, (verger (''parish office''). Sun-Sat daytime, check web site for service times. St. Ann's Church is the main parish church of Manchester and one of only two surviving Medieval churches in the city centre (the other is the cathedral). It is also a venue for many sacred and secular classical music events. A small shop selling books and gifts is open at all times except during services.
Home Sweet Home is a trendy hipster restaurant in the Northern Quarter. Don't come here if you want a quiet meal - it's busy and brash, but the food is great. All the food is loosely American and very tasty. Try the cheeseburger toastie or the humongous chicken and chorizo sandwich and wash it down with the Oreo milkshake.
A popular youth hostel which is part of the 2nd most popularly rated hostel chain worldwide. Their accommodations include 24-hour check in, wifi, a guest kitchen, TV, common area, and a continental breakfast included in the rate. They also have a BBQ on the rooftop deck.
Good little tucked away jazz club! Also serves up good pizza. They have jazz bands every night except Mondays (when it's closed) at 10PM. There is free entry before 8PM. If you want to enjoy the jazz seated, seats have to be booked at least a few days beforehand.
Located right in the heart of the shopping district in Shambles Square, moments from the Arndale Centre and Victoria station, the Mitre Hotel offers pleasant accommodation in a period building. En-suite and shared bathroom tariffs available.
Afflecks Palace is a shopping arcade in a five-story Victorian building, featuring a range of 50+ independent stalls catering to a young alternative crowd. It's a lot of fun: strange costumes, lots of goths, punks, and teenagers.
The multi-million pound Manchester Arndale shopping centre lies at the heart of Manchester's shopping district and offers retail therapy on a grand scale: from high fashion to high tech, it can all be found here.
A traditional English pub situated just off the Rochdale road, Manchester city centre. The pub serves real ales, fine wines and highly acclaimed food prepared by award winning celebrity chef Robert Owen Brown.
Situated next door to Night and Day, and also offers good quality music from bands from around the North West and the UK. Larger and less claustrophobic (and cheaper!), but less prestigious than Night and Day.
One of the chain of Japanese restaurants popping up all over the country. Wagamama's serve the best ramen, ebi gyoza, and many other different Japanese cooked dishes... perfect with a hot flask of sake!
The venue to see bands before they make it big! Bands such as Oasis and Badly Drawn Boy have played here. Well worth a visit. Can be a little bit pokey inside, as it's not the biggest venue!
A well-priced French brasserie with a wide selection of dishes, served in a pleasant setting. Be sure to get there before 7PM for the pre-theatre menu - 2 courses for £9.95.
The Britannia Sachas is a popular hotel located near Manchester city centre. Its Tripadvisor reviews page makes for famously entertaining reading.
Long established and in the city centre just off Deansgate. A regular stop for Manchester United's Korean football star, Ji-Sung Park.
Offers good priced pan Asian food with quick, friendly service in a modern, clean restaurant environment.
A tiny little curry house with real charm. They serve a range of delicious curries and kebabs for £3-£4.
Authentic family-run Chinese restaurant. Excellent reputation and well established. Licensed.
Great sushi from the conveyor belt in a fun atmosphere. Needless to say, you will be full!
The award winning Frog & Bucket comedy club provides rib(bit)-tickling entertainment.
A pleasant place to while away an hour or two, with very honest and tasty Greek food.
Latino bar/club serving up salsa and sangria.
Five star hotel - the best in Manchester.