Manchester is one of those cities that surprises you at every turn. From new pop-up eateries to freshly painted street art, you could stay for a month and still find something unexpected around the next corner. Don’t worry if you’ve only got 48 hours in Manchester though. We’ve put together an itinerary of some of our favourite places to eat, drink and soak up the city, so you can get a real feel for its unique culture, people, history and vibe.
Day One: Art, history and footie
Breakfast: Ducie Street Warehouse
(On the ground floor, underneath Native Manchester aparthotel)
The ground floor of Ducie Street Warehouse is home to Manchester’s newest hangout. Grab some breakfast from the Lounge from 7am on weekdays and 8am on weekends.
After breakfast: Manchester Art Gallery
(11 minutes from Ducie Street Warehouse)
Spend a couple of hours perusing over 25,000 works of art over three floors. More than a collection of artworks, Manchester Art Gallery celebrates local craftsmanship alongside its big-name pieces from around the world.
En-route to lunch: Central Library
(2 minutes from the gallery)
This exquisite Grade II listed landmark plays host to a vast collection of literature and a wide range of events. Check out the magnificent Wolfson Reading Room before taking in a workshop, concert, comedy gig or lecture.
Lunch: Rudy’s Pizza
(2 minutes from the library)
A laid back lunch in the heart of town calls for pizza. But not just any pizza. Rudy’s is a neighbourhood favourite, serving brilliant Neapolitan food alongside a lovingly selected craft beer and wine list.
After lunch: The National Football Museum
(13 minutes from Rudy’s)
This is the world’s biggest museum dedicated to the beautiful game. Not just for full-on fanatics, this museum is enjoyable for anyone with a passing interest in the sport. You can even test your skills at everything from penalty kicks and tricks to goalkeeping and commentating.
(12 minute from the museum)
Voted Britain’s favourite restaurant two years running, Dishoom’s London reputation precedes it. Here, in its first home outside the capital, you’ll experience a whole new take on Indian cuisine, inspired by the Iranian cafés of old Bombay. Unmissable.
(18 minutes from dinner – perfect for walking off that pudding)
Named in honour of Manchester’s cotton-trading heritage, Cottonopolis is the place to go for Asian-inspired cocktails, beers, teas and sakes – the perfect bar for toasting a brilliant day in the city centre.
Day Two: Shopping, design and street food
Breakfast: Ezra & Gil
(5 minutes’ walk from Native Manchester)
If you love locally roasted coffee and wholesome, seasonal food, you’ll want to kick start your day at this friendly, communal and welcoming coffee shop.
Post-breakfast retail therapy: The Arndale Centre and New Cathedral Street
(7 minutes from Ezra & Gil)
Manchester’s famous Arndale Centre is home to over 200 shops, boutiques, eateries and cafés, so there’s no end of opportunity to work that credit card. And, if you’re in the mood to treat yourself, you’ll find New Cathedral Street, the luxury shopping district, right opposite.
Lunch: El Gato Negro
(5 minutes from the shops)
Mancunians swear that this place serves the best tapas outside Spain. If you’re organised, you can book the chef’s table, where you’ll enjoy watching the open kitchen at work while you lunch.
Post-lunch tipples: The Oast House
(5 minutes from the restaurant)
A trip to Manchester wouldn’t be complete without a visit to one of its breweries, so take a moment or two to sample little something at the Oast House. With its impressive ale inventory from around the world, it makes a perfect afternoon detour.
Northern Quarter shopping
(17 minutes from the pub)
Looking for something quirky and crafty? Head to the Northern Quarter for shops like Fred Aldous for artsy things, Fig & Sparrow for lifestyle design, Affleck’s Palace for indie eclecticism and much more.
Manchester Craft and Design Centre
(4 minutes from Fred Aldous)
Manchester Craft and Design Centre is home of the city’s artistic community, here you’ll find 16 retail and studio spaces filled with makers and crafts, a top-notch café and a busy and varied programme of exhibitions.
Dinner: Mackie Mayor
(6 minutes from the Northern Quarter, 12 minutes from home)
A gorgeous Grade II listed indoor food market, Mackie Mayor hosts ten exceptional eateries under its brand new glass roof. There’s everything from pork belly stuffed bao to fresh, handmade pasta, as well as plenty of tipples, so you can raise a glass to the city before you go.
And that’s it! 48 action-packed hours in Manchester – the UK’s beloved second city. If that doesn’t leave you itching to return, we don’t know what will.
Book your whirlwind tour of Manchester with a stay at Native Manchester.