After living in Manchester for the best part of three years, it now feels like home. That being said, when I first moved to Manchester from Essex, I found the city very daunting. I have lived very central to the city centre and so it feels like the city never sleeps (not that I’m saying that Manchester is in anyway on the same scale as New York City). Fortunately for me, my partner is from Manchester and so when I met him, I became more familiar with what to do in Manchester. There are so many different areas in Manchester to explore. So, I’ve compiled a guide to living in Manchester for the people who are thinking of moving to the city. This way you won’t be as clueless as me on my first day in Manchester and you’ll know what to expect.
Everyone is extremely friendly
When I first moved to Manchester it was to study. From the first day at looking at universities I knew I wanted to move to the North of England. Everyone knows that northerners are really friendly and so why wouldn’t I want to move to Manchester? It was only natural really. I looked at other cities such as: Newcastle, York, Leeds but chose Manchester because of the course I wanted to study. I don’t regret choosing Manchester.
Before moving to Manchester, I never thought I was that shy, but after my first week of random strangers picking up conversations with me I decided I was. Sure, in my hometown people did talk to each other but not on the same scale as Manchester. The first time I was really surprised by a Mancunians generosity was when I was going home for the Christmas holidays. I had a suitcase taller than a child and when I arrived at the train station, the escalators weren’t running. Without a second thought, this guy carried my suitcase all the way to the platform for me, despite heading in the opposite direction.
Do not travel on football days – Especially the Derby
One thing I have learned the hard way whilst living in Manchester is to never travel across the city on football days. Just don’t do it. If you try driving, the traffic will never move and if you get the tram it’s equivalent to rush hour on the London underground. Lets not forget that the city isn’t just rammed with ordinary people. The city is rammed with football hooligans.
This also means that it isn’t always safe to travel after a match – especially after the Man United vs Man City derby. Violence breaks out everywhere. You want to stay far away from any pub – even if you’re not a football fan. There is nothing worse than an angry football fan who’s had a few pints!
It is rammed with students
After my second year of university I decided to stay in Manchester for the summer and it was just a much better city to live in. I don’t have a problem with students, but when there’s over four universities in one city, it’s bound to get a little crowded! So, when the semester ends and all the students go home, the city becomes a lot more peaceful. It also means there is less traffic down Oxford Road (where UoM and MMU are).
The Northern Quarter VS Deansgate
A guide to living in Manchester would not be complete without discussing the two main nightlife areas. Personally, I’m not big on ‘nights out’ but I do not turn my nose up to a glass of wine or two after a long day. There are two different areas of the city centre that are the main areas for a night out. They are Deansgate and The Northern Quarter. For me, they are both great areas to get merry, however, the two areas have different advantages.
The Northern Quarter is the more hipster area of Manchester. It is full with Jazz bars, vintage clothing shops, tattoo parlours, vegan restaurants and amazing quirky bars. Some places have cheaper drinks compared to Deansgate, however I wouldn’t say there’s a huge difference, it just depends on where in Deansgate you visit. One of my favourite places to visit in Quarter is The Frog and Bucket Comedy Club. Every Monday and Sunday (I believe) they host stand-up comedy night for up-and-coming comedians and it’s a brilliant, affordable night.
Deansgate, on the other hand, is a bit more up-market. During the day, it’s the business central hub and there will be suited people everywhere. In the evening, it comes as no surprise that there some really nice sophisticated bars. I can’t talk to much about these as unfortunately, they are a little out of my budget and so have not been. However, Deansgate also has average priced places. One of the best places to visit in Deansgate is the Peaky Blinders Bar – that is if you’re a Peaky Blinders fan, of course.
I could talk about the benefits to living in Manchester all day given half the chance. But, then that would turn into a novel, wouldn’t it? If you’re thinking about making the move, just do it. The worse that could happen is you want to move back to wherever you came from, which is easy enough to do. After all, you’ll only understand why Manchester is a great place to live after you’ve moved there! For more information on things to do in Manchester then check out my Valentine’s day ideas post for more inspiration!