Castlefield is a laidback waterside scene enjoying something of a renaissance across the basin of Bridgewater Canal. It’s a wonderful mix of old and new, as this historic quarter houses the still crumbling Roman fort and the city’s former shipping canals, while the warehouses are converted into slick offices, trendy shops, lofty apartments and cool bars and restaurants. For visitors, it’s a relaxed place to enjoy a canalside meal or drink, plus the Castlefield Artisan Market is worth a snoop for fine food and vintage furniture.
A short walk from Manchester city centre, Salford Quays is a smart part of town with exciting new additions like The Lowry Gallery, The Lyric theatre and BBC studios in MediaCityUK. In the mode of many waterside developments, The Quays are neatly lined with loft-style apartments and equally stylish bars, pubs and restaurants. So that’s your eating and drinking taken care of. For daytime entertainment, head to Lowry Outlet for factory discount shopping or pop across the water to Imperial War Museum North.
Oxford Road leads you south from the city centre towards the famous curry mile in Rusholme, where you’ll find a string of Indian restaurants like Shere Khan and Spicy Mint. Oxford Road is also home to the University of Manchester, so it’s a big student haunt, which means plenty of drinking and dancing nightspots, from The Thirsty Scholar to Manchester Academy. Along the way, you’ll also find cultural venues like Palace Theatre near Oxford Road Station and Whitworth Art Gallery in Whitworth Park.