The Northern Quarter is one of the most interesting areas of Manchester, with many fun and quirky places for the traveller to explore.

Most visitors to Manchester are too busy viewing the popular tourist attractions to discover the Northern Quarter, a funky and alternative neighbourhood with a fun and lively character. Don’t make that same mistake, because this creative corner of the city is definitely worth checking out. It was actually voted the Best Neighbourhood in the UK, and is the ultimate hangout for the arty, the trendy, the creative, and those who enjoy thinking outside the box.

The Northern Quarter can be found just north of Manchester city centre. As soon as you walk into this part of town, you feel a different atmosphere in the air and the streets become filled with small, independent shops with cute and quirky treasures inside. If you are looking for a vintage record, a pair of punk-style leather boots, a cool place to get a tattoo, or some handmade jewellery, the Northern Quarter is the place. In this neighbourhood you will find designer shops, tons of vintage gear, and welcoming one of a kind coffee shops, restaurants and bars playing late night jazz music.

If you are heading out to explore the kitschy and fascinating wonderland that is Manchester’s Northern Quarter, here are a few tips:

•    Start the day off with breakfast at Koffee Pot. This kind of grungy, earthy coffee shop has a real down to earth feeling, and you will be fully satisfied by their delicious fried breakfasts. The Northern Quarter is filled with comfortable, friendly independent eateries with food that tastes just like your mother made it.

•    Do you feel more attracted to the styles of yesteryear? Do some serious vintage shopping on Oldham Street, which has some of the best vintage clothing stores in the city.

•    Mp3s? What are those? Everything sounds better on a record player and analogue speakers, so search for that elusive album to add to your vinyl collection at Piccadilly Records, Beatin’ Rhythm or the Vinyl Exchange.

•    The best place to shop in the Northern Quarter is Affleck’s Palace. This is a massive shopping arcade made from a five-story Victorian era building. It is an alternative marketplace, filled with over 50 unique stalls selling everything from bright pink leggings to studded bracelets to silk corsets. The styles cater to the Goth, punk and indie crowd, but no matter what your personal taste is you are sure to find something cool at Affleck’s Palace.

•    If it is a sunny day, grab a drink at KRO Piccadilly which is an upscale Danish bar right at the centre of the action in Piccadilly Gardens. The outdoor patio is a great place to sit and people watch.

•    Later in the evening when you want to catch some sweet live music, the place to go is the Night and Day Café. This tiny hole in the wall venue was where bands like Oasis and Badly Drawn Boy played before they made it big.


With major international airlines now offering flights to Manchester the world is set to take notice of this hot fashion city. Have fun exploring the alternative and quirky side of Manchester, in the super-cool Northern Quarter!