A Day in Manchester’s Northern Quarter

Manchester's Northern Quarter - Welcome to the City Of Manchester Sign Northern Quartner

If you’re looking for something unique to do when you next visit Manchester, get yourself over to Manchester’s Northern Quarter. You’ll find an artsy sector of the city whose streets are lined with one off stores dripping with Northern character. For this post I was gifted spending money by who offer serviced apartments in Manchester. All views are my own.

Here I’ve rounded up a few of my favourite things about Manchester’s Northern Quarter.


There’s a slew of independent and quirky cafes and restaurants to choose from in the Northern Quarter, with something for every taste and mood. Everything from board game cafe’s like Fan Boy Three, the Cat Cafe where you can enjoy afternoon tea with some of the cutest kitties you’ll ever see (Liverpool has a Cat Cafe too if you’re in the city!), and places that sell sweet home cooked comfort food, like Sugar Junction.

The beautiful Grade II listed Mackie Mayors NQ food hall is packed with vendors serving up everything from wine bars to coffee shops to pizzerias. It makes for the perfect meetup place.

Cane and Grain is a cool New York style bar and restaurant on Thomas Street that serves up burgers, ribs and cocktails. They play a great mix of rock and indie music that’s perfect for aging millennial like myself. Their tiki salted House Fries and Deep South Chicken Burger alone are worth the trip to the Northern Quarter.


You’ll notice a strong connection between local art and retail in the Northern Quarter. Street artists have plastered the shutters, walls and window displays with their work. It’s worth taking the time to browse the works for yourself.


Probably one of the most alternative shopping centers in the country, Afflecks is a famous building known for its independent shops and stalls. It’s a lot like wandering Camden markets, but everything’s under one roof. You’ll find new age stores selling sage sticks and healing crystals, a boat load of band merchandise, a Japanese maid café and loads more spread across 3 floors.

My favourite store in the NQ is Oklahoma. A treasure trove of bright and colourful kitschy accessories and homeware with friendly staff. I could easily spend a month’s pay in this place.

Then there’s a special place called Manchester Craft and Design Center. This market hall houses two stories of independent artist studios that offer nothing but one of a kind items. Jewellery, glassware, embroidered art. This is where to head for unique and thoughtful Christmas gifts. There’s a cafe where you can sit and soak up the creative vibes from the artists and curators working there. See more here.

The Northern Quarter is also a nerds paradise. The Travelling Man is an inviting, friendly comic book store that sells books, clothing and games. And music nerds will find several vinyl stores including the 40 year old Piccadilly Records.


Gaming nerd’s are also catered for here. Tucked away in a basement behind Afflecks you’ll find a neon staircase that leads to a retro gaming bar filled with pinball and arcade machines. Their bar sells retro game-themed drinks, including E.T.ini and Bubble Bobble cocktails.

If you’re bored of the high street, pop over to Manchester’s Northern Quarter and try something new!

For more travel ideas click here.

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