Exploring Manchester’s Creative District: The Northern Quarter

Manchester’s Northern Quarter is a hub of creativity; the streets are lined with red-brick buildings that are coloured with fun street art and home to an abundance of independent shops and eateries.

Here is your #TeamCoco guide of where to visit when exploring the Northern Quarter.

What to do:
Manchester Craft & Design Centre is a celebration of local artists and makers. The beautiful old Victorian building, once the city’s fish market, now houses a number of studio spaces with artists selling their creations as well as pop-up exhibitions and a café. It’s the ideal place to escape the loud chatter of the Mancunian streets and relax with a coffee or a bite to eat while browsing the handiwork of talented individuals.

The brick walls of The NQ create the perfect canvas for street art and that is something the local artists have made the most of. Every corner you turn you will find another piece of intricate and impressive art. It’s easy to kill an hour walking the streets admiring the spray painted walls.

READ MORE: An Art & Design Enthusiast’s Guide To Belfast

Where to eat:
Mackie Mayor hosts an eclectic mix of food vendors, long communal tables and a bustling atmosphere. This vibrant indoor food market brought life back to a beautiful Grade II listed building that had been neglected for so long. The building still maintains some original features and has a quirky industrial feel. The varied mix of vendors caters to all tastes, whether you’re after pizza, bao, tacos, coffee, wine or beer – you’ll find it all here.

The Northern Quarter is not short of great brunch spots, but Ezra & Gil is a local favourite. The compact menu provides all the usual breakfast and brunch favourites (the classic breakfast, avocado on toast, granola, porridge) and some novel options like smashed pumpkin on toast and a caprese bruschetta with a poached egg. They also sell a small selection of ‘general provisions’, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs and cupboard essentials.

Where to stay:
The AC Manchester City Centre hotel is the ideal hotel for the creative individual. If you appreciate good design, then you will appreciate this hotel. The well thought out interior, minimal rooms and stylish lobby create the perfect environment whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure. The rooms are fitted with all the amenities necessary for a productive and comfortable stay; USB charging ports by the bed, reading lamps, a mini fridge, kettle and coffee machine, hairdryer and iron.

The lobby area and hotel bar has a lovely social atmosphere both day and night. Be sure to try the Signature AC Gin & Tonic made with local Manchester Gin!

READ MORE: A New Way To Hotel: Creativity By Day, Cocktails By Night

Where to shop:
The Northern Quarter is a vintage lover’s paradise, with charity shops dedicated to vintage finds and flagship branches of known second hand brands, such as COW. COW has stores all across the North of England and sells reworked pieces and a great selection of vintage garments. Their large two-floor Manchester store is a treasure trove for vintage magpies.

Oxfam Originals is one of The Northern Quarters best charity shops. It’s home to a carefully curated selection of donated clothing, shoes and accessories ready to be rehomed and given a new lease of life.

Affleck’s Palace is a three-floor bazaar of independent shops and service providers. You can find artists selling their creations, a barber, a vegan café, a bead shop, tarot readings, an ice cream shop, an abundance of vintage clothing and accessories and so much more. You could spend hours exploring the maze of fun stores and shops.

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