Congratulations to my “Home away from home”. Time Out ranked Manchester the 3rd best city in the world in 2021 and National Geographic Traveler (UK) has named Manchester, the UK’s most exciting cultural hub.
To celebrate this accolade for Manchester; the city I currently call “home”, I’ve crafted my 2021 top 3’s in Manchester. Categories include grub, entertainment, staying fit and everything else in between.
Being an expat in Manchester, who also loves to wear the tourist hat whenever possible, my picks are perfect for someone new to Manchester, someone visiting Manchester or someone who lives in Manchester looking for inspiration.
Don’t miss seeing what other cities made Time Out’s list by reading the full Timeout article HERE, check out National Geographic’s article HERE and go back in time to read about my first visit to Manchester Here.
2021 Girl Takes Mundo Manchester City Guide
Top 3 Places For Food
- Ramona – Serving up delicious Detroit style pizza and margaritas in a lively environment that includes daily Dj sets and performances.
- Sugo Pasta Kitchen – By far my favorite Italian restaurant in the city. The food is authentic and tastes beyond what you would expect.
- Doner Summer – Perfect for vegetarians and vegan. This 100% vegan friendly spot is located inside of YES, a multi-level bar, and is my go-to when I’m craving buffalo chxn and berlin style snacks.
Top 3 Bang For Your Buck Grub
- Piazza MCR – One of the tastiest and most filling meal-deals you will find in Manchester. Located in Arndale Market, this food stall is serving fresh cooked pasta and a drink for £7.50.
- Fry-By – Loaded fries reminiscent of Belgium’s iconic frites. With it’s endless choice of toppings, there is a reason their is always a line/queue for this place on the weekends.
- Rustica – Delicious takeaway sandwiches or “butty’s” as Mancunians call them. The women working here make you feel like your mum is in the kitchen treating you to your favorite lunch.
Top 3 Places To Grab Drinks
- The Oast House – My go to place to grab drinks in Spinningfields on a night or day out. It’s outdoor patio is perfect when the weather permits.
- Junior Jackson’s – I love a bar that has character and this place most certainly does. This American style bar will provide the tunes, nibbles and super friendly customer service.
- Sammy’s Cocktail Bar – Funky retro bar in Ancoats offering tasty cocktails, atmosphere and Sammy. You will love Sammy!
BONUS – If you are looking for a good time/night out then be sure to visit Manchester’s Gay Village, it never disappoints.
Top 3 Places For Coffee
- Federal Café Bar – A top favorite for brunch and coffee. Grab for take away or sit down. Big plus, it’s easy to get to as they have locations on both sides of the city.
- Factory Coffee – Manchester loves multipurpose spaces and this coffee shop situated in a tailor shop has found a beautiful venue for its tasty coffee beans.
- Popup Bikes – A hidden gem that kills two birds with one stone; fuel up on caffeine while your bike gets looked at. (Locals love to cycle here.)
Top 3 Places For Dessert
- Crumbled – Custard is definitely an iconic English dessert and this spot has turned ordinary custard into extraordinary custard.
- Gooey – As the name hints, these are the gooiest donuts and cookies in the city and located in the amazing Ducie Street Warehouse, which is a great place to hangout and work from if you work remotely.
- Just Natas – Located inside of Manchester’s Arndale market, this food stall is dedicated to the Portuguese dessert, “Pastel De Nata”. It’s been taste tested and approved by many Portuguese who consider this the best place in Manchester for this treat.
Top 3 Places To Workout
- Blok – Offering a variety of disciplines from sound yoga to calisthenics with instructors that will push you to your limits.
- Fighting Fit Manchester – Workout with the pro’s of England. This is a niche mixed martial arts gym that is home to top athletic talent in England.
- Hero Training Clubs – Another fantastic option if you are looking to break a sweat. This gym offers HITT classes and personal training in an amazing space.
Top 3 Must Do’s
- New Islington Marina – This little patch of heaven in the middle of an urban jungle is the perfect oasis to enjoy the rays (when they come out), people / geese watch and unwind.
- Cycle from Castlefield Basin along the Bridgewater Canal – I love the canal systems in Manchester and some routes are beautiful to walk along. This one is by far one of my favorites in the city. This path stretches 14.6 miles but you obviously don’t have to do all of this.
- Manchester Central Library – Even if you aren’t big on reading books, the architecture in the library is breath-taking and worth visiting while you are here.
Top 3 Neighborhoods In the City Center
- Ancoats – Located in the northern part of the city center and once home to the cotton mills, this renovated area is a trendy hotspot and a hop skip away from New Islington Marina.
- Northern Quarter – This bohemian neighborhood is lined with beautiful street art and filled with independent shops, bars and restaurants.
- Spinningfields – The perfect place to play dress up and be posh in the city of Manchester. Perfect for a fancy night out.
Top 3 Neighborhoods Oustide Of The City Center
- Chorlton – Short for Chorlton-cum-Hardy and reason why everyone in Manchester simply calls it “Chorlton”. This hipster neighborhood offers plenty of mom and pop eateries, bars and shops.
- Media City – An area right outside of the city geared for young professionals, it’s the perfect place to grab scooters or walk around their marina.
- Altrincham – Quaint English suburb offering nice walks in Dunham Massey and giving you a nice glimpse of English countryside without traveling too far.
Top 2 Places NOT To Visit
Only 2 as I simply couldn’t think of a 3rd, which further confirms how wonderful Manchester truly is.
- Piccadilly Gardens – If I can avoid this place that sadly is smack in the middle of the city center, I do…by all means necessary.
- Escape To Freight Island – Over rated and has a complete lack of customer service due to being understaffed. You also may or may not get the food or drinks you ordered. Need I say more?
Picture yourself in the 3rd best city in the world!