… and on the sixth day, God created MANchester.
Recently, Manchester was ranked as a better city to live than London (seriously Google it). Predominantly in the shadow of the capital, in recent years Manchester has triumphantly shown and proven to the world that it is a powerhouse city, with its always-incredible music scene, its unbeatable nightlife, its edgy fashion, its unapologetic attitude and down-to-earth spirit.
I characterise Manchester fashion as having a bad attitude. While prim and proper is fabulous, and by all means encouraged, Manchester fashion is all about pissing people off, the mod mentality of the 1960s. The Northern Soul movement began here in the north, and the fashion that emerged from this era is still tremendously prominent today. The unashamed punk ultra-cool youths transformed the British fashion scene, inspired by the black American soul music of the 60s. If you want a modern take on it, Topman paid tribute to the movement for their spring/summer 2016 collection.
courtesy of i-d.vice.com
Get your leather jacket, high waisted trousers and bad attitude ready. However, fashion is not the only thing that sets Manchester a part from the rest.
I am proud to have hailed from Manchester, and know the city like the back of my hand. I do not deny that the UK possesses other glorious towns and cities, and I am by no means suggesting that Manchester is the best. However, I have concocted a definitive list of why Manchester is the coolest place to live right now. And remember, A little rain never hurt anyone.
- You can rent or buy amazing apartments without being a billionaire.
- The Curry Mile in Rusholme is a whole mile of middle eastern/Asian restaurants, fashion stores, etc. the list goes on and on. Whether you want to be transported to India or Lebanon, you are spoilt for choice.
- The Northern Quarter. I could ramble for an entire blog about how great the Northern Quarter is in Manchester. For me, it is THE place to be, no matter what your age, no where else will you find in abundance the quirkiest cafes, the coolest bars, the best vintage shopping experience, the edgiest fashionistas and adorable café’s to mention but a few. Personal favourites of mine are Afflecks Palace, a labyrinth of independent brands and shops, from records to gothic fashion to jewellery to tattoo parlours to hairdressers to cafes – it has everything and draws huge crowds daily. Lady Gaga closed it for a private shopping experience, so you know it has to be bonkers. Matt & Phreds is a beautiful jazz bar that has so much soul and delivers some impeccable jazz artists to perform for their guests. If you want delicious junk food, places such as Almost Famous and Home Sweet Home should be the first place on your list. The Northern Quarter never fails to satisfy.
- Transport is second to none in Manchester. The brand new Metrolink service gets you around all of Greater Manchester and continues to expand and grow. You can navigate around the city via metrolink, train or bus (the bus service is regular and accurately timed). The magic bus route is one of the busiest in the country from central Piccadilly to West & East Didsbury. You can catch a train to just about anywhere and it takes 2 hours to get to London Euston from Manchester Piccadilly.
- The German or Christmas Markets are an absolute MUST during the months of November and December. The hub is in Albert Square, with various stalls scattered all over the city such as St. Anne’s Square, outside of Selfridges etc. The markets are hugely popular and see thousands of people flock to them every single day of their residency. Fancy a warm mulled wine and a German hot dog then check out the Christmas markets and make sure you wear your best scarf, gloves and woolly hat.
- Manchester is one of the best cities to be a student in the world. The culmination of Salford University, Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Manchester makes it the most subscribed city to be a student in the country. More people apply to study in Manchester than any other city in the country. The list of student events and student nights around the city is incomparable.
- The nightlife in Manchester is incredible, offering some of the best clubs in the country. The Warehouse Project which runs from September till New Year’s Day coincides with the busiest of the student calendar, and is continually rated as one of the best clubs and raves in the world by music publications. Manchester is also the birthplace of the Sankeys franchise and boasts an elaborate and wildly entertaining array of clubs, bars, and is the home of the ever-popular Parklife festival, which comes to the city in June. Also, the city delivers an array of secret and underground bars that are really fantastic. The classier Spinningfields part of town is the perfect place to get dressed up and enjoy the ultra-chic modernity of the bars, restaurants and outdoor spaces that offer mouth-wateringly crazy cocktails.
- The music scene is unprecedented. The Manchester arena is one of the most attended music arenas in the world, even beating out the likes of London’s O2 arena and New York’s Madison Square Garden some years. Manchester gave us The Bee Gees, The Stone Roses, Oasis, the Smiths, Morrissey, Take That, Simply Red, The Chemical Brothers, Elbow, Hurts etc.. You can see new and emerging bands and singers play all the time in and around the city, and these events are not to be missed. You can impress all your friends when you’re older and say ‘I saw them before they were big’.
- The city is so intimate that you don’t have to worry about outrageous taxi prices. Heck, you could walk from one side of the city to the other in not that long a time at all.
- We all eat. We all need food. And Manchester boasts some incredible places to eat. You can grab a gloriously cheap grilled cheese sandwich from the outdoor Northern Soul Grilled Cheese in the Northern Quarter, or enjoy the most exquisite and ultra-posh Asian-fusion food from the likes of Australasia and Tattu. In addition, there are always food markets around the city, especially in Piccadilly Gardens, that are a must, from sizzling burgers to superb Caribbean food. There is something for everybody.
- There are some beautiful landmarks, two of which are the newly renovated Central library in St. Peter’s Square which is spectacularly beautiful, and of course the John Ryland’s library which looks like you’ve just stepped into Hogwarts. Both are a must if you fancy a cultural day about town.
- Speaking of cultural day about town, Manchester boasts some incredible museums and galleries. Manchester and Whitworth galleries are ideal if you love art, and museums such as the Imperial War Museum and the museum of science and industry will keep you occupied and more than satisfied for those who love a bit of history and fun.
- Salford Quays is a must if you want fabulous food, shopping, luxurious and affordable apartments and is now home to MediaCity UK and the new home of the BBC. If you want to get out of the city centre, but still feel as though you’re there, then Salford Quays is where you need to be my friend.
- Manchester is home to Manchester United and Manchester City FC. Take a trip to the Etihad stadium or Old Trafford for all things football, ground tours and try and grab a ticket to see a match, you will not be disappointed. Huge tourist attractions, the sport facilities in Manchester are not to be missed. Chill Factore provides us with huge indoor ski slopes and other snow based sporting activities, we have the Lancashire cricket ground and the National cycling centre, where many of our Olympic cycling champions train. Manchester is also home to the National Football Museum, located near Urbis, the perfect place to lay on the grass in the heart of the city on a sunny day.
- If you want a break from city life, then you can easily leave the city and spend time in the beautiful Lancashire and Yorkshire countryside with breath-taking views and the prettiest parks. Manchester itself has many parks, with fun fair events, firework displays for Bonfire night, tennis and golf courses and of course, Heaton park, the huge outdoor space that is the location of the Parklife festival.
- Lastly, the gay village. The location of the popular television series Queer as Folk, Manchester’s famous village – in which canal street runs through along the canal – sees thousands of people flock to it during gay pride during the last weekend of August, and is one of the most visited and popular gay pride events in the world. Manchester is an extremely gay friendly city, and is proud of that fact. On many streets throughout the city, you will find the LGBT pride flag mosiacally embedded in the pavement/sidewalk. The village offers clubs where people
an party till 10am, bars and restaurants where you can let your hair down, drink with your friends and lose your inhibitions in a safe and fun environment free of prejudice.