Manchester might be locked in a never- feud with Birmingham for second city status to London, but while it loses in the population-stakes, the unofficial capital of the North stands in its own right as a world-class city. Both cities offering a lot of allure to host a great stag do. Manchester is the city that birthed the Industrial Revolution and along with it capitalism, but also proved fertile ground for Karl Marx and Frederich Engels to discuss their burgeoning socialist political philosophy.
But Manchester's legacy isn't limited to industry and political thought, the city has nurtured some of the most influential musicians and bands of the last 40 years including The Smiths, The Buzzcocks, Joy Division and New Order all the way to Oasis and even Take That – and their influences are still strong today.
The city is also home to two of the biggest football clubs in the UK and therefore on a Saturday can get particularly congested and expensive. So if you don’t want to break the bank it is probably a good idea to avoid these home games.
The GMPTE oversees Manchester public transport and sells tickets for multiple operators. They also sell day saver tickets for different combinations of bus, train and Metrolink tram services for between £3.50 and £7.
Walking around the city centre is a great way to see the sights without having to brave traffic but keep an eye out for the pedestrian street-maps throughout the city, helpful if you get lost.
Must See/Must Do:
Chow on cheap Chinese at any Chinatown restaurant
Shop for local art at the Craft and Design Centre
Party at The Factory, the club opened in former HQ of the legendary Factory Records label.
Get lost at the 'temple of consumerism', the Trafford Centre mall.
Get picked up from your hotel in a stretch Hummer and get taken to one of the premier strip clubs in Manchester, Silks.
History and Culture:
A tiny cotton processing city that became the centre of the Industrial Revolution, Manchester became synonymous with industry and capitalistic progress throughout the Victorian era. Poor working conditions led to labour riots which, together with the extreme poverty created by the new economy, led to the ideas of proletariat revolution at the heart of Marxist philosophy. Marx and Engels both spent time in the city and met often at Cheltham's Library, where the economy book Marx was first reading when he met Engels is still housed. The city's decline as a cotton processing centre coincided with its rise as a financial centre and it retained a healthy economy through to the Great Depression. In the last part of the 20th Century, Manchester has earned its place in music history as the home of Factory Records, The Smiths, Joy Division, Oasis and more. Its Manchester Evening News Arena is the busiest indoor arena in the world, surpassing even Madison Square Gardens in New York and London's O2 Arena.
There's something for every taste in Manchester's nightlife scene. Dance music fans should head straight for The Factory, which former New Order member Peter Hook runs in the old Factory Records HQ. Its three floors offer a variety of styles, from dubstep to hiphop and more. Other venues that are worth Commercial dance purists (pun intended) should head to Pure for the latest contemporary club music. For something a bit different, check out burlesque at Mint or indie night at the Star and Garter, or on a spur-of-the-moment night out, just walk up Oxford Road at night to find an indie venue to suit your style. With a student population of 86,000 students there is never a dull day in Manchester and a great night can be had one a large range of budgets. With the Manchester answer to Soho, Northern Quarter is an interesting evening to check out.
Eating and Drinking:
If you have time, head out to surrounding areas in West Didsbury, Chorlton and especially Ramsbottom – all noted for a great selection of particularly good restaurants.
The best Indian food is to be found on the Curry Mile, which, as its name suggests, has a great selection for those late night feeds.
Standouts from the norm in Manchester include This 'n' That, a cheap but good curry joint in the Northern Quarter, Panchos Burritos for real Mexican food at a reasonable price and Red Chilli for spicy Sichuan Chinese. If you're in town at Christmas, check out the Christmas Markets for a huge range of international cuisines.
The traditional pub experience of many smaller towns in England has by and large been taken over by more contemporary venues, but try The Old Wellington Inn, Manchester's oldest, or The Marble Arch Inn for some good, solid pub grub.