The Complete Alternative Guide to Manchester 2018
This post contains sponsored content but all content is original and unbiased.
I may be slightly biased as a Manchester resident, but I genuinely think that Manchester is one of the best cities in the UK. Not only does it have everything you could possibly want from entertainment to great food to culture, but the people are fantastic - and that's something that really sets it apart. Having been born here, I'm more than qualified to share my take on some of the more unique things to do in the city - things that aren't typically easy to find on trip-advisor, and things that are all easy to get to, especially if you're staying in the city centre.
Pizza by the slice at Crazy Pedro's
A trip to the Manchester wouldn't be complete without some seriously good food, and a local favourite has to be Crazy Pedro's. There are two locations in the city, one tucked into the side of Afflecks Palace and the other located off Deansgate - but we took these pictures in the one by Afflecks. Crazy Pedro's does really reasonably priced pizza, that also tastes incredible! Because the pizza slices are so large, they sell them by the slice, which also means you get to try quite a few toppings! A personal favourite is the Summer B which is topped with mushrooms, spinach and truffle oil. It's incredible. We paired our slices with ice cold Crooked Beverage's in the flavours Midnight Stage (blood orange & passion fruit) and Mother Moon (Peach and Pomegranate). Both are so yummy and are perfect for the muggy, warm days we've been having in the UK! (Plus, can we take a moment for their packaging, which is so dreamy).
Explore Afflecks Palace.
You could easily spend hours in the meandering hallways of Afflecks Palace. From clothes shops to eateries to tattoo parlours, this is a treasure trove and absolutely worth an explore! If you really love quirky and unique pieces, then you're sure to find it! Even if you don't fancy a shop, it's worth exploring as there's so much happening and many a different thing to look at! Located in central Manchester, tucked behind the Debenhams, it's fairly central and easy to get to.
The outside is covered in mosaics of important Manchester figures so it's definitely worth having a walk past at the very least!
Take in the Northern Quarter's Graffiti
Manchester has a lot of incredible graffiti. But these aren't just an artist's tag - these are actual works of art. I'd genuinely suggest having a wander around the Northern Quarter to just see how much you can spot! Personal favourites include the graffiti that covers Tib Street, and the famous Manchester Outhouse located in Stevenson Square. This all changes quite regularly and with the 1 year anniversary of the Manchester Attack, you may notice a real bee theme to remember those who died. It's a lovely way of incorporating the urban street style of Manchester with remembrance.
Mooch through the Manchester Art and Craft Design Centre
With Manchester's industrial past, there has been a distinct attempt to repurpose Victorian buildings for more modern uses - one in particular being the Manchester Art and Craft Design Centre. Not only is the building fantastically airy, but it also has loads of independent artist studios that sell everything from ceramics to jewellery. If you just fancy a mooch, there's a lovely little coffee shop in the middle that has a great view of the two floor centre. It's in the heart of the Northern Quarter so absolutely worth a pass through.
Grab a bite at Mackie Mayor
Mackie Mayor is another repurposed Victorian building, and dates back to 1858. It's recently been repurposed into a food hall that houses food options from burgers to pizza to bao. Not only does it have a stunning interior, but it's ideal if you're eating with a large group of friends as the food places share a communal seating area. The food is great, and the building is fab - definitely worth popping in for a bite.
Catch a stand-up at Frog and Bucket
This was the hardest to photograph, so apologies for this, but the Frog and Bucket is probably one of the most famous comedy clubs in Manchester. Located on the side of Oldham Street closest to Ancoats, it doesn't look like much in the day time, but it's buzzing in the evening. It hosts new and established comics, but you rarely need to buy tickets in advance so it's a great place to visit in the evening. There's something on almost every night, but it's worth spending a bit of time to check what's happening, first! You may want to grab a slice and a can of Crooked Beverage Co can at Crazy Pedro's, and come here as some 'after dinner' entertainment?
Satisfy your sweet tooth at Black Milk Cereal Bar.
Despite the name, Black Milk has moved on from it's original cereal bar days. Where it once used to be a tiny cafe in Afflecks, it now has it's own location on Oldham Street, a stone's throw from the Frog and Bucket Comedy Club. Black Milk is definitely an essential place to visit if you have a bit of a sweet tooth. They have everything from waffle stacks (try not to drool over the S'more stack in the picture) to milkshakes to cereal cocktails - and they even have a few vegan options! The decor is simple and vaguely tropical, but the food is incredible. It's really rich and filling so definitely have a bit of a break from lunch or dinner, but it's worth it.
Rummage through records & Nab a vintage bargain
Manchester is home to an incredible street style aesthetic, so it's no surprise that vintage shops are a dime a dozen in the Northern Quarter. Personal favourites include Blue Rinse and We Are Cow - but it's definitely worth also hitting up the various charity shops. But if you'd rather not add to your wardrobe, I'd highly suggest visiting one of the many record shops - I like Piccadilly Records. Even if you don't have a record, all the records feature album descriptions so it's a great way to discover new music! The record shops often have bins of CDs and often feature local Mancunian artists - again, a great way to discover a new artist. Manchester has an incredible music history as it's home to Oasis, Elbow and The Smiths (to name a few), so many of these venues also have a historical significance!
And there you have it! A very long, and very comprehensive guide to my favourite alternative Manchester locations. They're all in the Northern Quarter but I genuinely think it's so full of hidden gems that you could easily spend over a week just exploring it! Have you tried any Crooked Beverage Co Drinks? My favourite is 'Midnight Stage' but I definitely need to try 'Dayglo Skies' - raspberry and lime? That sounds like my kind of drink!
Have you visited Manchester on a city break? Has anywhere on this list ticked all the right boxes? Let me know in the comments!
If you want the chance to get the chance to do all these things, pick up a can of Crooked Bev Co and enter the competition on the cans! Let me know if you enter!