What is it that brings millions of visitors to Manchester every year?

Manchester, UK. The home of British dance music, modern computer science and the world’s best soap, Coronation Street.

In our opinion, Manchester is the greatest city in the country. We might be biased, but it wasn’t named the best UK city to live in last year for no reason.

So, it appears that we share our opinion with many other knowledgeable people who agree that Manchester offers everything you could ever need, in an almost less-busy, more compact version of the UK capital, London.

With its colourful history in science, culture, music, sports and politics, Manchester has a certain appeal to it that attracts millions of visitors every year.

Having so much on offer means that people from all over the world choose to visit Manchester for a number of different reasons. Whether it be to visit the impressive football stadiums of Manchester City and Manchester United, or to explore the birthplace of some of the world’s most famous bands who started out right here in the city – there’s something in Manchester for everyone.

The Smiths, The Stone Roses, Oasis, The Happy Mondays and many more – there’s a whole world of music history that was born in Manchester, and we’re still left with their musical footprints right on our doorstep. The Salford Lads Club, for example, featured on the sleeve of The Smiths’ “The Queen Is Dead” LP, and there’s now a special room inside the building dedicated to the band alone.

That’s what we do in Manchester. We’re proud of what we’ve brought to the world and the talent we have produced, and we like to show it off.

Talking of what we’ve gifted the world… if we dive even deeper into our history we can remember some monumental events such as the splitting of the atom at Manchester University in 1919, Alan Turing’s revolutionising computer work at the University of Manchester, and moss-side born Emmeline Pankhurst who led the British suffragette movement, helping women win the right to vote.

Manchester has managed to retain some of its heritage, as among the new modern architecture of buildings such as Urbis and Beetham Tower, the city is scattered with Grade II listed buildings from St Ann’s Church to Manchester Town Hall.

So, behind all of the urbanisation of the city there’s a fascinating history which makes it such an endearing place. This is part of what makes Manchester a tourist hotspot, as it appeals to sightseers wanting history, culture, and a bit of modern life.

Aside from its heritage and beautiful architecture, what else is it that brings people to Manchester?

We posed two questions; “what is your favourite thing about Manchester as a city?” and “where is your favourite building/place to visit in Manchester?” to a number of travel bloggers and local Manchester business people. Here’s what they had to say…

Becky Want – BBC Radio Manchester

Presenter on BBC Radio Manchester lunchtime show, ex Granada TV, Piccadilly Radio and Key 103 – it’s always been in and about Manchester in my career!


What is your favourite thing about Manchester as a city? So many things, but I would say its spirit – “This is Manchester, we do things differently here”. The humour, the friendliness, the passion, the civic pride – my list is very long!

Where is your favourite building/place to visit in Manchester? Love Exchange Square with the merging of the old and the new and created with pride after the IRA 1996 Manchester bombing..

Turn 360 degrees and you see the steel and glass of Selfridges and Harvey Nichols  (this shopaholic’s heaven,) the historical exterior of the newly refurbished Corn Exchange, the Printworks and the magnificent structure Urbis, that houses the National Football Museum. They all nestle alongside the half-timbered Old Wellington pub – what more could you ask for?

Marketing Executive at Hotel Football Old Trafford – I have lived, studied and worked in Manchester for a decade now, and very much refer to the city as my home.


For such a large city, Manchester has a true communal feel to it. A proper constellated community with a shared interest of making Manchester the best it can be for locals and tourists alike. It has the perfect blend of a ‘big city’ vibe with humble surroundings.

Manchester Art Gallery is my most visited venue. It has constantly changing exhibitions and old favourites. It’s big, beautiful, in the heart of the city… and free!


I love the vibe of Manchester – the Northern Quarter has this independent spirit which really makes the city feel special. Cool shops, trendy restaurants and great music really make the area stand out. My favorite building in Manchester is Afflecks. The alternative and rather eclectic department store in the Northern Quarter sells everything from club and fetish wear, clothing from new designers, accessories (top hats!), henna tattoos, piercings and oddly enough, surfwear. There’s even a cereal cafe inside!

Jason Leach

Business Development Manager at the Manchester United Museum & Tour Centre. I have worked for United for almost 13 years. I am a lifelong fan growing up in the Red heartland of Salford. I also sing in a Rock n Roll band & have done since I left school. Music & Football are my 2 big loves in life.


Difficult to pick but it has to be either MUFC the greatest football club in the world, or Manchester Music which for a City the size it is, has continuously put its Rock n Roll footprint on the Music world in every era! I could talk endlessly about both these as they are the 2 biggest reasons I exist.

Old Trafford followed closely by The Apollo. The greatest Football Stadium in England & one of the most Iconic Venues to host the greatest Rock n Roll artistes of the last 50 years!

Becci Johnson

I’m Becci and I’ve lived in Manchester for 10 years. I’m not sure it’s long enough to make me a local but I love it here and I have no plans to leave. I write about things to do in Manchester on my blog, where I aim to inspire both residents and visitors to get the most of this exciting city.


My favourite thing about Manchester as a city is its ability to host a spectacular celebration. Unique events such as Manchester International Festival, Chinese New Year, the Great Manchester Run, Pride Weekend and Manchester Day, draw crowds of people to the city centre and create an incredible atmosphere. They bring people together and show the city at its very best.

My favourite building in Manchester is the Town Hall. I got married there so it has a special significance for me. It’s such a beautiful example of gothic architecture but many people don’t realise how lovely it is inside. Much of the building is closed to the public, although some events do present opportunities to view the stone staircases and bee mosaics. It’s also possible to tour the clock tower for stunning views over the city. In my view, the best way to enjoy the building is to drop in for afternoon tea. It’s served in the Sculpture Cafe amongst sculptures of various Mayors and people of note in Manchester’s history, including Charles Hallé, founder of the Hallé Orchestra.

Mick Cookson

My name is Mick Cookson and I’m a professional wedding and commercial photographer living in North Manchester. Originally from Morecambe, I moved here in 1985 to work in the Film & TV industry – which I did for 20+ years. But now I fill my diary with wedding and corporate shoots…less stressful than Directing & Producing TV Commercials!


My favourite thing about Manchester as a city is its ‘buzz’. The city is thriving with fantastic bars, eateries and traditional pubs. Media City is a real bonus too….stunning area to work or play. Not to mention the art galleries, museums and plethora of historical locations in and around Manchester. Mix that with the diverse culture living ‘In Town’ and you have a perfect mix for a city that (almost) never sleeps. I can see why it’s a big tourist attraction these days…

Without question – Manchester Town Hall. As a wedding and ‘people’ photographer I get to work at the venue a lot throughout the year. It never ceases to ‘wow’ me with it’s stunning architecture. The light changes inside too as the seasons change, so it never looks quite the same every visit. I like that.
(My second favourite place is a certain football stadium over in the Bradford area of town…)

Lola & Fikki

Pastime Bliss (Lola and Fikki) are lifestyle and travel bloggers who have called Manchester their home for the last 8 years. We love finding new haunts around the city on the weekend and are extremely partial to the cocktails in Spinningfields.


Our favourite thing about Manchester is that it is a city with a vibrant atmosphere and so many exciting developments in the past few years. We love that you don’t have to be in London to experience that big city vibe with a great music scene, some of the friendliest people you will ever meet and amazing locations right on your doorstep.

Our favourite place to visit is the Northern Quarter area because of the artisan food, quirky independent shops and an abundance of great bars. In particular, the street art around the area is unlike anything you will see in any other big city. We love how the street art regularly changes and it is a treat to visit every other week to see what new piece has been put up on a wall. Most of the pieces tend to draw attention to social issues or comments on popular topics like a recent Breaking Bad mural. It is fun to find them when you wander around and definitely make the Northern Quarter a beautiful place to hang out.

Helen Hipkiss

I am the PR & Marketing Manager at The Lowry Hotel, I moved to Manchester in 1992 to go to university and have never left !


“What is your favourite thing about Manchester as a city?” The people, the music but certainly not the weather ! Manchester has so much to offer you can walk out of your front door and pick from about 20 different cuisines, you can go and see a small band playing in a small venue or the world biggest superstars and that’s without mentioning the sport !!

“Where is your favourite building/place to visit in Manchester?” – My favourite area is the Northern Quarter where I have lived for many years, watching it come from nothing to a buzzing vibrant area where everyone wants to visit.

Paul None

Director and owner of Citrus Rain a Manchester based textile printing company proudly manufacturing textile products in Manchester. I graduated from the University of Manchester with a textile degree in 1995 and have helped to develop and build Citrus Rain, today we print Synthetic, Cotton and silk fabrics which we subsequently manufacture in to a variety of textile products for our customers, including cushions, scarves, ties, printed roller blinds to name a few. And as a Manchester based textile printing company we are proud to say “Made in Manchester”


Favourite thing about Manchester – I love the fact that we helped industrialise the world – The first industrial revolution started here as we industrialised textile production and we’re still surrounded by it today, from the ship canal and Salford Quays to the surrounding mill towns surrounding the city.

Favourite Building – Has to be either the Central Library or Jacksons mill, the library for the whispering gallery and the history of Jacksons mill with its links to Karl Marks – we had and have it all going on.

New York – Paris and MANCHESTER


Victoria is the author of Pommie Travels, a travel blog offering tips and advice for travelling the world solo. After graduating from university in 2008, Victoria packed her journalism degree into her suitcase and left the UK to travel the world solo. Since then she has visited over 45 countries including Madagascar, Iceland, Brazil and Myanmar to name just a few.


I love the fact that it’s easy to get around Manchester overground using the tram and the city’s size makes it easily walkable. The people are friendly and Manchester has a fantastic food and drink scene. There are lots of independent eateries popping up in the Northern Quarter so there’s always somewhere new to try.

Personally I love heading down to Spinningfields, which is a modern area with plenty of open space. There are some great restaurants here and one of my favourites is Australasia, which is hidden under a ‘Louvre’ style glass pyramid. I also love popping into The Oast House for a pint or sunbathing on the lawn in the summer months.

Heather Cowper

Heather Cowper writes at Heatheronhertravels.com about authentic travel experiences with a little luxury for the 40+ traveller.


I love the blend of Manchester’s industrial heritage and vibrant atmosphere on the streets – it can be seen mix of solid, confident Victorian architecture and modern developments such as the Salford Quays as well as in the museums and galleries.

I always enjoy a visit to The Lowry to see the permanent exhibition of Lowry art works and understand Manchester and Salford through the artist’s distinctive perspective.


Manchester has a great musical history and stands proud of this on the world stage. Around every corner you can hear a musical story from a rich musical tapestry from all areas of the city. Rock, Pop, Jazz, Classical and Dance all influenced by the Mancunian musical history. The Manchester Camerta, The Halle orchestra, the Royal Northern Collage of Music, Chesham’s school of music, Manchester Arena, Manchester International Festival, Manchester Jazz Festival, The Park Life festival fill the musical calendar month after month. Manchester is a city worth visiting on any day of the week with some of the best shopping, nightlife and live music in the North of England. The centrally located Radisson Blu Edwardian makes the perfect base for a great stay throughout the year. Guests can also indulge in relaxing pamper days at Sienna Spa & Health Club, or enjoy a dining experience in one of the hotel’s restaurants: Steak & Lobster or the award winning Opus One.

The Free Trade Hall itself still stands proud today as a famous point for some extremely important musical history dates, such as the famous Sex Pistols gig which celebrated 40 years this year. Now as the Radisson Blu Edwardian, today you can sit and enjoy afternoon tea in the very entrance hall.

What are your favourite places in Manchester? Share your thoughts below.

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