This month, I celebrated my 23rd birthday. Despite having travelled a lot and spending a semester in Canada, I have always managed to be at home for that occasion. I like to spend the day surrounded by family and friends, having a nice summer barbeque and eating lots and lots of cake.
This year however, I did not manage to go home. For the first time in 23 years, I spent my birthday in another country. It was sad and weird at first, but then I was overwhelmed by the amount of messages, letters, cards and even gifts I received through post and from my new friends in Manchester. I had a great time celebrating and spent the Sunday at Alton Towers theme park. Two of my friends even decided to visit me in Manchester and I was happy to show them around. I have made a list of my favourite spots in Manchester so when you arrive here in September or feel like you haven’t experienced the city enough yet this might be of help.
• The John Rylands Library is a must for everyone! The smell of old paper and impressive book collection captures everyone’s attention.
• Albert Square is always worth a visit to experience the authentic German Christmas Market, International Festival or fireworks during the Christmas Lights Switch on.
• Affleck’s Palace will bring you into a different world with its large amount of second-hand and vintage shops. Not to forget the huge milkshakes that are served with a cake on top at Black Milk on the second floor!
• For everyone who wants to see the stereotypical England, a walk down to Manchester Cathedral past the ‘Old Wellington’ pub will meet all expectations.
• Salford Quays is nice for everyone who likes football (Old Trafford) and water. At night, the Media City is lit up in different colours which reflects beautifully in the canals.
• The University itself is definitely worth a visit! And the best part about it: it has a museum and art gallery just around the corner and the entry is free for everyone!
• In case of very ‘rare’ bad weather, Manchester has lots of indoor activities to offer: bowling, ninja parkours, climbing centres, adventure mini golf, escape rooms and the second largest shopping centre in the UK: the Trafford Centre.
- Food and Drinks:
• Albert Schloss has it all: Great live music, a separate area for wild party nights or crazy bingo evenings, as well as a dining area with authentic Austrian sausage dishes and Schnapps.
• If you have a really special occasion and want to spend lots of money, Australasia might be worth a visit. The food and service are excellent and the ambience is very unique as you walk down to the restaurant through a glass pyramid.
• Personally, I really enjoy a nice English pub meal at one of the numerous Wetherspoon’s around town. Hint: Don’t forget to bring board games to make your night even more fun!
• Take-Away sushi from Nudo’s is the best for a quick study-break.
• Chilango’s is fun for the whole family with delicious Mexican food, huge sharing plates and a sombrero for everyone to put on during your meal!
• The Alchemist is a hip cocktail bar where the making of the cocktail is better to watch than your favourite TV show! Expect glittery, smoking and funky drinks!
• If you are looking for a place where you can enjoy a drink or two with your friends, do a Northern Quarter pub crawl. There are hundreds of unique bars with different themes and you can find itineraries online to inspire your planning!