You may or may not have heard on the grapevine that Manchester is an amazing city; beaming with fun, frivolities and awesome things to do. Without a doubt - choosing to study in Manchester is a fantastic decision. Whether you’ve had to up sticks to move to the cosmopolitan centre or if you’re already local - there is something for everyone to discover and we’ve got the ultimate student guide to Manchester to give you a nudge in the best direction.
With a rich and urban history, Manchester is famous for its trading and the Industrial Revolution. A once smaller town that dominated the cotton trade has now become home to thousands who share in its colourful culture and eclectic vibe. You are about to be a part of it (not the cotton trade especially); but for all the rest - we’ve got you covered on how to enjoy Manchester as a student.
Whether you will be attending the University of Manchester (UoM), Manchester Metropolitan (MMU), the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) or the University of Salford - welcome weeks start from the 19th September, where you'll be thrown into a frivolous Freshers' Week of social events, discovery and potentially a few awkward introductions. If you need a hand with where to start - check out our Freshers' Guide for all of your essential information, and for all the rest - look no further.
Manchester is a big place, and you will find others of your kind (students) everywhere. If you’re going into your first year, student halls can be a great option. Naturally, where these complexes are is where the student hubs tend to develop. So not only will it be easier to meet other students in halls, but they will include and also be located next to lots of useful amenities. With the option to go self-catered likely to set you back roughly £124.88 per week, and catered an additional £38 - accommodation with your uni can be a no brainer. Do check your individual university accommodation packages for the exact prices.
Main Manchester Student Areas
The City Centre
Both The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan have halls of residence in the centre - a lively choice - which will mean that you are closer to the campuses along Oxford Road and at the heart of city life. Private accommodation is generally more expensive in the centre, bearing in mind that you would save on travel so it could work for you. The centre is also a popular location for University of Salford students who wish to live off campus.
Students going to MMU can choose from cosy and contemporary rooms in halls of residence such as Cavandish Hall and Cambridge Hall that are situated just off Oxford Road. Whilst UoM student complexes include Opal Hall and Whitworth Park. If you are studying at Royal Northern College of Music, the Sir Charles Groves Hall accommodation is just off Oxford Road too.
If you're looking for a vibrant student hub, this the area for you. Situated just past Rusholme, about 2.5k from the Oxford Road campuses - Fallowfield is home to many student-friendly pubs, cafés and generally fun vibes.
Popular streets where accommodation is cheap are opposite the UoM Owens’ Park campus. Further down, towards Withington you can find big student houses to rent on and around Mauldeth Road. The further away from the main road (Wilmslow) you go, the cheaper. There is a big Sainsburys in Fallowfield plus lots of other convenience stores to get your groceries in.
Withington and Didsbury
Both locations are full of bars and restaurants whilst also being less student-heavy. Withington has cheap houses still, so is an ideal location if you like a bit less riff-raff; whilst Didsbury is very picturesque and caters more for the young professional.
Situated between the city centre and Fallowfield, just before you hit Rusholme, if you prefer quieter living then leafy Victoria Park is a safe bet. It's close to the universities on Oxford Road and with all the bustle of the Curry Mile yet very tranquil . This is ideal for medical students too as it's very close to the hospital.
There is a direct bus route to the main university campus on Oxford Road from all of these areas, and you’ll be sure to find a takeaway or two along the way!
A train ride or bus away from the centre, University of Salford students can find accommodation on campus at Peel Park or near MediaCityUK which will provide you with everything you need without burning a hole in your pocket. If you choose to live outside of campus in Salford, you can find quality and affordable accommodation with snugpads.
Private Student Housing in Manchester
If you opt for private accommodation instead as your personal preference or perhaps you haven’t been successful in finding something with your university, Manchester Student Homes is the official source of rented accommodation for the universities. Use their website to filter through some options or visit them in Fallowfield.
Salford students can look to iQ Student Accommodation for swish private halls that are conveniently located only 5 minutes from campus. They have stores onsite, other perks and as Salford centre is just 10 minutes away - it'll be easy to get to Manchester city centre too.
Easy Roommate, SpareRoom, Accommodation for Students and Gumtree are good websites to use if you want to find shared accommodation. Otherwise, Zoopla and Rightmove can also help you find a student pad on the market. Just beware of unreasonable agency fees, deposits and lazy landlords.
Travelling across Manchester and between campuses may seem daunting at first. However there is a great public transport network which is well-integrated, cost-efficient and easy to use. Whether you’re to and fro-ing from lectures or discovering another part of the city - you will never be too far away.
Buses are a no-brainer in Manchester; the 42, 142, 43 and 143 - operated by First and Stagecoach - connect Didsbury, Withington and Fallowfield to the universities (UoM, MMU & RNCM) along Oxford Road and right into the city centre. You will never have to wait very long, and with buses running until the early hours of the morning – a bus is a very convenient and student-friendly option.
For students at the University of Salford, the number 50 bus also operated by Stagecoach runs every 10-15 minutes from the city centre via the main Peel Park campus. You can also travel free around the main campuses on the university campus link bus using your student ID card.
Student fares are low with singles for as little as £1, but if you plan on using the bus frequently then take a look at investing in a Manchester student bus pass. Uniriders from Stagecoach are a great option for travel between Piccadilly Gardens and East/West Didsbury; use it anytime within your chosen zone to save on the price of countless day tickets. Choose from an annual pass, or you can get a weekly ticket.
If you opt for a weekly ticket, choose a Magicrider over the standard Megarider. Not only will you have an epic ride on a Magic Bus, but you will also save a bob or two.
When you’re living off beans on toast, taxis may seem a little bit of a luxury. However, safety first; whether you’re ending your night later/earlier than expected or perhaps you’ve only got 15 minutes left until your hand-in – sometimes a taxi is necessary. There are plenty of black cabs and taxi service providers around; but with any taxi service, make sure that you're riding with a licensed provider. For a standard car from Fallowfield to the Northern Quarter you'll be looking at about £9.80 in fare. Make sure you stay safe and take a look at these pocket-friendly, reliable options to get you where you need to be in a flash.
Street Cars 24/7 service offers 10% student discount. Plus if you end up spending your last bit of cash on a round of Jägerbombs (don’t tell them that), you can quote ‘Manchester SU Safe Taxi Scheme’ when making your booking and the driver will take your student ID card as a deposit. You can pay the next day when you pick it up from your student union.
Manchester Cars also offer an emergency taxi service for students with no cash to hand. You can have a trip for up to the value of £5 then leave you student ID with the driver as a deposit until you pay them back at their headquarters. Download the app for quick and convenient taxi services or call on 0161 228 3355.
There are three main train stations in Manchester connecting you both regionally and nationally. Manchester Piccadilly can get you to London Euston and the rest of the UK whilst Manchester Victoria and Oxford Road station offer services to the airport and more local hubs.
Trains are a great option if you’re attending the University of Salford as Salford Crescent station is located on campus with direct services to Manchester Piccadilly and Oxford Road, getting you there in roughly ten minutes.
If the train becomes your regular port of call for transport then invest in a railcard from National Rail to save 1/3 on your fares.
Manchester is becoming increasingly green and cycle friendly with more bike lanes around including one that links Fallowfield and Withington to the universities and city centre. As mentioned, buses are easy to come by and there is a lot of traffic on the roads so be vigilant and ensure you are fully kitted out with a helmet, lights and bright clothing for when it’s dark. You can find great bikes, many of which are vintage models (hopefully in working order), on Gumtree as well as at the following locations around Manch.
Bicycle Doctor is another reliable bike shop in Rusholme with plenty of bikes, parts and accessories at competitive rates. They have 30 years’ experience in the game and also specialise in repairs.
Popup Bikes is Manchester’s original cycle café, situated just behind Victoria train station, they are a cycle repair shop where you can also get a great brew. With indoor cycle parking available for up to 12 hours – these guys are community focused and aim to nurture the city’s cycling community.
Now you can even find them in the heart of Manchester at their Popup Piccadilly stand for when you need a quick repair or bike service on the go. Visit them every Friday from 10am – 6pm.
Driving is an option in Manchester, with free parking available around many of the student residential areas. There are some parking restrictions around where you will need a parking permit, and it can often be tricky finding parking spaces in the centre. With so many forms of cheap public transport available, it’s not a bad excuse to go green and leave your Chevrolet at home! If not, make sure you check out the Roads, parking and transport page on the Manchester council website as well as your own university's campus parking restrictions.
To turn those non-days into winning days of discovery and cultural enlightenment, take a look at some of these pocket-friendly options available around Manchester.
It can't all be drinking and shenanigans after all, can it?
Free Manchester Museums and Galleries
The Whitworth Art Gallery - gold prize winner in 2016 for Large Visitor Attraction of the Year, visit the urban sanctuary - recently developed alongside Jo Malone - alongside contemporary and international exhibitions, exploring different themes and often intertwining both nature and form.
Visit the Museum of Science and Industry for a great insight into Manchester and the Industrial Revolution, visit the oldest passenger railway station that is still standing in this city highlight.
On the bustling Oxford Road you will find The Manchester Museum, full of dinosaurs, mummies, rare rock collections and more. Home to a Vivarium, this museum boasts a leading role in conserving many endangered amphibians too. Have an outlandish experience in their Earth and Space display and discover it all for free.
At the Manchester Art Gallery you can experience art in a different and enlightening way; here you can connect with a beautiful and eclectic array of ever-changing collections for free. There is nothing better to inspire you creatively than exceptional showcases of photography, portraits and more which you will find at the Manchester Art Gallery.
In what is more of a concrete jungle, you can still find lots of green spaces dotted around the centre to park yourself when the sun is shining or when you are in need of some zen time. Find a moment to head on down to chill on some of these lawns:
Towards Fallowfield and Withington you can find Platt Fields Park which has always been a student favourite.
Whitworth Park off Oxford Rd (above image), has recently been reunited with the beautiful Whitworth Art Gallery so has been adorned with many important sculptures - the best things in life really are free.
The Garden in front of The Lawn Club of Spinningfields is a beautiful and very spruced up canopy where you can chill with outdoor heaters and maybe even grab some nearby street food.
The Vimto Park on the UoM's Sackville Street campus, easily identified by its own monumental soft drink on display. Read through your notes here at leisure and enjoy a cheeky Vimto perhaps in the very place where twas created back in 1908. Read more about the history of Vimto here!
All Saints Park is situated in the middle of the MMU campus, a nice bit of grass for students and university staff alike to enjoy.
Langworth Park in Salford is worth a visit, just for the view of lovely Chimney Pots due to its raised position. Here you can enjoy floral arrangments, a bowling green and there is a five-a-side football field too.
Peel Park is another great space for University of Salford students to relax between lectures. It features sports' pitches too alongside a couple of sculptures which play a part in the Irwell Sculpture Trail.
Whilst you won’t find tigers and bears roaming the streets of Manchester, you will find 20,000 animals from 500 different species at Chester Zoo. Situated just off the M56, you can drive, take the train or even a direct coach in as little as an hour and a half with National Express. As a student you can get up to 10% off your ticket to a wonderland of wild exhibitions and the most impressive animals. Book online for even cheaper tickets and if you cycle, as a thank you for being good to the environment you can get 15% off.
If you’re into your football or are just inquisitive about the history behind British club football’s largest stadium, then why not visit the Old Trafford? Go behind the scenes of Manchester United and discover more about its story and 130 years of football in the Museum. With student rates, it’s a no-brainer to book the tour of a lifetime.
For those all-important socks, pants and jazzy party outfits as well as serious things like bed sheets and stationary.
Didsbury and Withington
No need to go far if you’re in the Fallowfield area, as Didsbury and Withington are filled with lovely charity shops for you to rummage through. Ideal for any item of clothing you could imagine, and probably for less than a fiver; plus you will get a feel good feeling when your money is going to a good cause. Keep your eyes peeled too for bits and bobs around your room like lamps and mirrors – you’ll be surprised with what you can find when you look properly!
Shopping in Manchester City Centre
The Northern Quarter (NQ), otherwise known as Manchester’s creative quarter, which we've mentioned a few times (because it is very cool); head here to explore kooky charity and vintage shops for all your original pieces from eras you wish you were born in. Make sure you enter Afflecks Palace for one trip you won’t forget. This isn’t just a go-to spot for piercings; whenever you need some vintage gear, glitter or fancy dress in your life - here you’ll find an array of eclectic fashion and more to explore. From top-hats and trinkets to fudge and tattoos - Afflecks Palace is always worth a visit.
Manchester Arndale is home to all your favourite fashion stores, plus an amazing food court to keep you well fuelled.
You’ll find Topshop and Topman over two floors, H&M, River Island and lots more. With something for every taste and budget - this is a great shopping centre to keep your wardrobe fully intact. There is student discount in most places and keep your eye out for their yearly lock-in where you’ll grab yourself an even better bargain and maybe even a goody bag! They even have an offers page which will tell you where you can save at that particular time.
For the home or rather to liven up your student digs, you can check out BHS, Argos and Wilko who have a great selection of homeware (and everything else) too.
Shopping in Salford
For a solid discount of up to 70% on lots of different brands, visit the Lowry Outlet in Salford Quays for clothes, homeware, sports gear and more. There is also a Vue cinema here, lots of restaurants and a Virgin Active gym.
A little further afield perhaps for UoM and MMU students, but The Trafford Centre is only 5 miles and a bus ride away from the centre - even closer for students living around Salford. Here you will find more than 230 stores as well as an amazing food court, cinema and other entertainment. You will be guaranteed to find student discount available in most of the stores.
The IKEA in Manchester is also a little out of the way (classic IKEA move), however when you know that cheap bedding and meatballs will greet you on arrival then it’s always worth the effort. You can take a train to Ashton-under-Lyne from Manchester Victoria station or another and then it’s just a 6 minute walk on the other end!
On the back of shopping, let's talk student jobs. Making yourself a bit of pocket money on the side can be a really good option to make sure you don’t dip into debt. Having part-time work is also a great opportunity to build on experience related to your course to help you in the future. You can always speak to a careers advisor at your Uni to help point you in the right direction.
Otherwise, a part-time job in a pub or a bar can be a good option; just make sure that your shifts don’t interfere with your energy levels so much that you won’t want to make that lecture or trip to the library!
Big chain bars like Vodka Revolution and Walkabout are always keen to recruit and you can easily apply online. Otherwise, just go and speak to your local venues yourself with a smile and a CV.
When your culinary experiments aren’t working out so well or perhaps it’s the weekend and you want a break from catered food - we’ve got some cool places and budget eats to cure all serious cases of the munchies.
Where to get the Best Brunch in Manchester
Because we know you won't be waking up early enough for breakfast on the weekend. When it comes to picking the best place, that's up to you to decide!
Solomon Grundy, Withington
This chilled out café –bar is great for a catch up with friends over a hangover breakfast, live music and quiz nights. They also have a late night kitchen and some nice DJs too.
Moose Coffee, Centre (near Picadilly Gardens)
For the American Diner experience, think pancakes, coffee and really good eggs - these guys have an amazing menu stacked with big and small plates of eclectic eats all made with heart and from quality ingredients. Seriously reasonable too, you'll be full of beans for less than a tenner.
For when you need to fill a hole in your belly and between your lectures; with quick eats and some sit down with a pint ones, here are a few of our favourites.
Fuel Café Bar, Withington
Here you can find Mediterranean style dishes with a twist. This small café is the perfect chill- out parlour and great if you’re a veggie or a vegan. With open mic nights and quizzes too, Fuel Café is one to delight everyone.
The Footage, Oxford Road
Former cinema, now you can pick up a great burger with curly fries and a tipple whilst you watch the match or catch up with your mates. There’s something for everyone here, whether you want a cocktail or to play with the jukebox – pick up The Footage card to save on food, drink and fun.
Bakchich, Oxford Road
After much success is Liverpool, the Lebanese street food restaurant is now proving to be a hit with students in Manchester.
Pita Pit, Piccadilly & Deansgate
For your mezze and halloumi cravings, head to Pita Pit for very reasonable prices on epic food. There is one in both Piccadilly and Deansgate.
The Arndale Market, city centre
Shopping is hungry business, and at the market to the back of the top floor of the Arndale centre you can find lots of fresh produce and amazing lunch options. From Thai food to seriously hearty baguettes – you can’t go wrong here taste wise and it will only set you back a few bob.
For Your Dinner Dates
With tonnes of quirky places to eat in Manchester, we've rounded up a few not only for their menu and price point - but also for their location and funky vibes. Having a date, of course, is not a requirement of the following establishments.
Fuzion Noodle Bar, Fallowfield
This is a nice and bubbly hub for a fresh and authentic food from the Far East. You can also order from these guys through Deliveroo.
Further down towards town, Rusholme is the King of locations for an amazing array of authentic Middle Eastern and Asian restaurants. Here you can find Indian, Lebanese and even Greek food galore with lots of Halal options too. There is a real buzz down the Curry Mile, whether you want a quick kebab, falafel or a sit-down meal at a BYOB until the early hours- there are plenty of vibrant options to choose from.
Siam Smiles, China Town
If you’re a fan of Pan Asian food then visit China Town for a colourful selection of authentic restaurants with low prices and all you can eat deals on your dim sum. This is the UK’s second biggest Chinatown and certainly worth a visit. Siam Smiles on George St is a down to earth little kitchen that you’ll find in the basement of a supermarket with many a Thai delight.
Dough, Northern Quarter
Complete pizza perfection, these guys have nailed dough like never before. It doesn't stop at the Piccante or Wild Mushroom Neapolitan classics, you can find a delicious array of antipasti, steak and other delicious bready treats. With veggie, gluten-free and dairy-free options too - this will become a favourite for when you need a really cool carb.
Odd Bar, Northern Quarter
This inviting bar is great for a chill with friends and a nice place to go if your family come to visit. With lively décor and a food menu to suit everyone’s taste – you can indulge in their wall art whilst you enjoy some mean grub at a reasonable price too. Play on the jukebox or toddle over on a Wednesday to do their pub quiz.
Albers Schloss, Deansgate
When it’s time for a treat, there aren’t many places where you can wine, dine and then dance on the tables. Not only is the food ‘Wunderbar’ at Albert Schloss, but their line-up of live music and general disco funk is not to be missed. As Manchester’s first Tankovna, here you will find heritage brews, snazzy cocktails and with a ‘push for Prosecco' button on each table – everyone’s happy.
Where to go for an Epic Sunday Roast in Manchester
Because there's nothing nicer to remind you of home or to give you a helping hand with your hangover/homework - a good ol' Sunday Roast and perhaps hair of the dog is an essential part of student living.
The Didsbury (guess where it is)
For a Sunday Roast in a relaxed atmosphere, the traditional Didsbury pub is the perfect place to unwind with your mates in one of the locals. With home-cooked grub and thirst-quenching ales – Sundays are sorted.
Trof, Northern Quarter
This groovy den is a great place to chill with mates and get the party started on the weekend. Here you can get an epic brunch/Sunday lunch or dinner along with a great beer or perhaps their bourbon of the week. They are also never short of hosting a gig or frivolous night.
When you just need to eat, there are lots of student-friendly options in Fallowfield, Salford and the centre, including the go-to Revolution bars and cheeky Nandos. And if it’s one of those days when you’re not going to leave the sofa, don’t fret as JUST EAT will deliver to wherever you may be.
For every day out, there’s a night out to be had too. Manchester is home to some of the coolest venues that tick all the boxes for your evening’s entertainment. Whether you want an epic night on the town, a wind down to live music or to laugh yourself into a stitch, it's not all Champagne Supernova - you’ll be sure to find somewhere that’ll take your fancy in Manchester.
The Manchester Club Scene on Oxford Road
As the original Hacienda, this cult venue that re-opened in 2010 is perfect for music variety – swinging indie, rock, dance, funk and punk textures around its 3 floors of veritable madness.
The Deaf Institute
This independent bar and venue enraptures some of the best student discos. With 3 bars and roof terracespread across 3 floors – you can expect some seriously jammy nights and raucous beats in this institute. Comedians often take centre stage too – The Deaf Institute is home to talent and feel good times. With a kitchen too, this place has got all you need to make you smile by day and by night. Check out their calendar for some cool student sessions.
Steeped in musical history, Sound Control runs amazing club nights which will never cease to amaze their some 1000 visitor capacity. Spread over their 3 floors; enjoy live gigs and late night house sessions here with some of the biggest DJs around.
Canal Street & Princess Street
Canal Street, home to the original Manchester Pride and recognised as the UK's LGBT community outside of the big smoke - this is a hub of colourful bars and clubs for the LGBT community and friends to enjoy. With over 40 venues all within 100 meters, there is a lot of love on Canal Street. Visit Alter Ego, New York New York, Vanilla and more for dancing, cocktails and frivolous dress codes.
For all your classic indie anthems, head to fifth for great tunes and cheap drinks. With student nights galore, this is where the fun begins in Manchester.
Northern Quarter & Piccadilly
In the NQ you’ll find some real gems to serve you delicious cocktails alongside alternative music in kooky venues for a whole lot of fun.
The Warehouse Project
Every autumn is the dawn of a new season for The Warehouse Project, hidden in the underbelly of Piccadilly Train Station this is where you can dance and explore your senses to deep house, intergalactic techno, drum and bass and more. With past sets from Seth Troxler, Skrillex and Jamie Jones - new names take to the decks every year and tickets sell out fast. Make sure you watch the releases like a hawk for an underground experience like no other.
Black Dog Ball Room
With New York vibes, this basement bar is a popular destination for students on the weekend. Mixing beats with a VIP feel– you can even play a bit of pool whilst you’re there. With another one on just off Oxford Road, you can easily make way to some speak-easy nights.
Sankeys - a little past NQ (cab/ bus worthy from Fallowfield)
One of Manchester’s most iconic club venues – Sankeys is host to mesmerising DJ sets and a powerful atmosphere. If you like a lot of bass and dance music till the sun comes up then join the party in Ancoates.
The Printworks - opposite the Arndale Shopping Centre
Renowned for hosting a cheeky student night or two. Check out Tiger Tiger and Walkabout for a tidy bit of RnB and club classics.
The Birdcage - nestled in the Arndale Shopping Centre
For vegas style cabaret performances, teamed with epic club nights - The Birdcage has mastered evening entertainment in Manchester since its opening in 2006. With a bubbling weekly calendar, the Birdcage will keep you coming back for more. Their more recent addition is Voodoo student night, showering you with R&B, House and Indie every Wednesday - what a great hump day treat.
Revolucion De Cuba
This Latin-themed bar is full of flavour and sunny vibes. Enjoy cocktails and drinks whilst you listen to live music – this venue is also the perfect place for a fiesta. Open till 3am - it’s easy to see how this has become a go-to for Manchester party goers.
Home to many flavoured vodkas, these guys also have some epic student parties to serve up. With a huge capacity, there is a downstairs bar too with a social terrace overlooking 'The Locks'. This is a generally great place to get your groove on. With venues also on Oxford Road and in Fallowfield, check out their offers on food and booze throughout the week – there’s always a good time for Revs.
VC Top Tip:
Grab a revs card for 2-4-1 on cocktails and 25% off food (for the day after) - yes we've got you covered!
The Manchester Public House and Other Types of Beer Bars
For all your pub antics including pre-drinks, drinking under the table, awkward dates, playing scrabble and the likes – check out these wonderful venues.
Fallowfield & Withington
The Ram and Shackle
Good for: Booze and beats
Pub Quiz: Tick
Happy Hour: Tick
This quirky lodge is nestled en route to Withington where there is no end to their vibrant weekly events! Boogie on the weekend to Hip Hop, Bass, Garage, Disco and more with their resident DJs whilst during the week you can win big (booze wise) at their free pub quiz or sing your heart out to Bandoke – a new take on karaoke. With weird and wonderful inside décor as well as an enchanting outside area - this is a pub of delights which will no doubt enthuse you and your new found mates.
Wetherspoon (also known as Spoons)
Good for: Food and booze
Happy Hour: always
The Great Central pub is perfect for a hearty meal and a pint or two for a night on the cheap. Located on the main road, you can hop on a bus to reach your final destination too – making this a great venue for pre-drinks.
The Font, Fallowfield & Oxford Road
Good for: Food and booze
Pub Quiz: Tick
Happy Hour: Tick
If you like a good cocktail and a happy chill with your mates, make The Font bar your destination of choice. Whether you fancy a beer and a burger or a few social bevis – they have a great menu accompanied by seriously happy vibes. Weekends start early here with their Gin n’ Juice Club on a Thursday followed by funky DJ beats on a Friday. With open-mic Sunday, The Font Quiz on a Tuesday and Happy Hour Monday through to Friday, who are we kidding? Every day is a Font Bar day.
Oxford Road & Princess Street
Down Oxford Road you can find the UoM and MMU student unions which will have student prices on booze and food as well as a pool table and the likes to keep you entertained. The Salford SU is on the Salford University campus, also full of student deals and definite fun. Alternatively...
Good for: grooving
Dance floor: yes
Happy Hour: happenin’
Great for a babble, by day this is a nice bar with a lengthy selection of ales and by night, one of the best small spaces to shake your tail feather at. After all, it did play host to The Chemical Brothers first residency, just saying...
NQ & Town
Hula Bar (one in Didsbury too)
Good for: Wham classics and hulla
Tropical Fish tank: yes
Happy Hour: yessir (Monday - Friday 5 - 9 PM)
Welcome to club tropicana - 1950's inspired, this little slice of exotic beach heaven will warm the cockles of yer heart with wacky and colourful concoctions along retro beats. Have a Zombie, you'll have a great time. There's also one in West Didsbury for when you upgrade your student gaff.
Turtle Bay (there’s one on Oxford Street too)
Good for: rum and reggae
Happy Hour: obviously (Monday to Friday midday – 1900 then 22:00 till close)
Because rum and fruity cocktails make many things better; with sunny vibes and great jerk everything - this is the next best thing to the Caribbean that you will find in Manchester.
Manchester Comedy Nights
"Avin' a laugh" they might say up North - but no really, when you want to cackle at more than weird youtube videos, you know it’s time for a live comedy night.
The Comedy Store Manchester
Born in London, this venue came North in 2000 to host live stand-up comedy. Students get up to 50% off usual tickets, now you’re really laughing!
The Frog and Bucket
If you want to laugh until you fart, then check out The Frog and Bucket. For real slapstick comedy - this is your place to go. On Mondays, their "Beat the Frog" night is just £3 for students and they are not pulling your leg (last bad joke).
Film & Theatre
For all the latest blockbusters, you can visit the Cineworld in Didsbury or the Odeon cinema at the Printworks which is more central. They both have an IMAX theatre and lots of special screenings to make your experience that bit more exclusive.
Just off Oxford Road you will find the Home arts' centre that screens smaller, independent productions as well as foreign films and theatre productions. You will also find a bar and art gallery here, plus the opportunity to catch discussions and cultural exhibitions to feed your student mind.
The Palace Theatre is just a little further up the road towards town. Here you could catch a ballet, Shakespear play or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang esque production.
The Lowry Centre in Salford Quays is home to many a show worth watching like Wicked and more independent productions too - an ideal location for University of Salford students to reach. Check out the Manchester Theatres website for tickets and other venues around the city.
On the flip side of amazing food and eventful evenings - exercise as we all know - is a great way to stay generally fit and healthy. It’s also good for your mental health, helping to ease anxiety, stress and depression whilst even boosting concentration and improving memory. Basically, many good things come from working out.
If you’re going into your first year of university you will surely be embracing a vibrant new social life full of mean eats and bevvies. All that dancing and prancing about town to and from lectures, of course, forms part of an active lifestyle; however when you need to engage your glutes and really break a sweat – there are lots of student-friendly options around Manchester.
The Best Gyms for Students
When it comes to gym memberships, this is where the student perks really kick in. Most gyms offer so much more than solely a fitness suite; nowadays you’re more likely to find indoor and outdoor courts, spa rooms, classes and coaching advice too. You’ll be able to save lots on whatever kind of contract you go for and most gyms will give you a free day pass too just to test the waters.
MMU Platt Lane Sports Complex offers a fully equipped gym and lots of fitness classes alongside quality pitches to adhere to its football history. With a spin studio and coaching sessions available too – students and the public alike can make the most of their fitness amenities at great prices.
The Armitage Sports Centre in Fallowfield is a University of Manchester facility but still available to the public. With a fully kitted out and modern fitness suite; here you can also do tonnes of classes like Zumba, kettlebell fitness and insanity to name a few. Drop-in or get a semester’s pass – prices are low on all memberships, including on booking courts or the Astroturf for something a little different.
At the Sugden Sports Centre, just off Oxford Road, you can do loads of classes as well as use all the usual fitness equipment in their newly refurbished gymnastic suite. They have squash courts, a 5 a side pitch and other activity rooms available for more social sports too.
The UoM facility, the Manchester Aquatics Centre is just off Oxford Road. Built for the Commonwealth Games in 2002, this is an amazing community facility where you can swim in their 50m pool, use the health suite or partake in some intense fitness classes. With lots of memberships available at discounted rates, you could even get the chance to watch some major sporting events - this is a cool gym with lots of variety.
The Gym Manchester is open 24 hours a day and with amazing student rates; plus no joining fee when you have your NUS card. Located right in the centre of town, this one is very ideal for UoM and MMU students.
The University of Salford gym centre has something for everyone. Whether you want to use the fitness suite, take a swim or join a team sport – this is a nice and social spot in a seriously convenient location for Salford students. With a sauna, spa and climbing wall too, you can get fit and chill at amazing student rates.
Fancy Manchester Student Societies
At your university Freshers' Fair, as well as picking up lots of amazing Dominos vouchers you will also get to join different societies. These are not only a great way to get active on the cheap whilst having fun, but you’ll also meet new people and make connections whilst learning different skills. It’s easy to go over the top, but you never know – belly dancing could really be your thing!
Check out your university website for their Sports and Fitness pages to see the different kind of societies, activities and health advice they have on offer.
At the University of Manchester, you can go to different fitness classes, get involved in Parkruns or join in on wellbeing activities. From board games to bhangra – they have over 400 societies to choose from. Get involved with SKUM, the UoM Ski & Snowboard club to test your limits or you could join the women’s football team.
Manchester Met has over 100 societies and clubs to choose from where you can learn a new talent and maybe even compete in official leagues around the UK. With over 60 sports clubs to join, at all different levels and abilities, you will be sure to find your niche in no time.
You can also partake in HealthyU camps which are differently structured fitness regimes. As well as a focus on fitness, they’ll guide you through nutrition and general healthy living.
There are loads of Societies at Salford University too, so you could get in shape by doing Pole Fitness or if you’re a lover of the great outdoors – rambling could be for you.
General (and Very Important) Information
Cultural insights are just as important as anything else, after all...
We can confirm that up North it is cold and blustery; you will need an umbrella and a waterproof to hand all year round. There will be rays in summer, but still, take your wellies.
If someone asks you for 'chuddy' - they would like some chewing gum.
If something or someone is 'mingin' - quite the onomatopoeia for when something is a tad/very gross.
'Pull your 'keks' up.' Hopefully you won't hear too much of that - keks are trousers.
'Angin' - another term for something that is really quite revolting.
'Dibble' - the police , again, hopefully you won't be hearing much of that.
'Cock' is a term of endearment such as mate or dear - so don't panic but this is context dependent, obviously.
'Sound' - finally, a word for when something is A-OK.
'Buzzin' - when you are madly excited or bouncing off the walls as it were.
If someone says 'swear down' then they really are telling the truth.
'Nowt' - nothing.
'You're peckin' me 'ead' - you're pecking my head, translation, you're getting on my nerves.
From autumn through till summer, when post exam parties will be on the horizon; keep these dates in your diary to spur you on through the uni year.
The Manchester Literature Festival: 7-23 October 2016
Showcasing the best in writing from across the world, through MLF, writers from near and far can broadcast their work to engage folk around the city in their wonderful and creative works.
Bonfire Night: 5th November
Platt Field's Park in Fallowfield put on a great bonfire and firework display every year. It's free entry and there are rides, and candy floss, which means that it gets pretty packed; try to head there early and be prepared to get trodden on by wee kids.
Salford students can head to Eccles City Airport and Heliport where there are fireworks, a fun fair, licensed bar and food - yay hot dogs. Try and get tickets before hand.
The Manchester German Christmas Market: November - December
When the cold weather sets in, who doesn't want to clasp a cup of mulled wine and totter around kitsch artisan stalls trying lots of cheese and buying homey trinkets and sheepskin rugs? The Christmas Markets in Manchester are world famous - not kidding. The main event takes place on Albert Square from around the 10th November and well into the Christmas calendar, but you will find many clusters of trinket huts serving waffles and other goodies covered in Nutella all around the city. during this time too. We say, go as often as you can.
Pangea: June & September
A University of Manchester bi-yearly event, every summer and September a spellbinding theme will capture the hearts and minds of students who gather in nonetheless than imaginative attire, ready to be dazzled by great DJs, artists and seriously cool décor in the UoM SU.
Brought to you by the Warehouse Project, this festival captures the start of summer. Now hosted in Heaton Park - Annie Mac, Four Tet and Skepta are only a few DJs to have graced the stages here. Tickets sell fast, get in for the Early Birds, because it will be the best way to celebrate the end of exams.
Manchester Pride Big Weekend: August
Four days of colourful LGBT celebrations in the world famous Canal Street - it would be difficult to not get involved.
Useful Local Apps
Now with Citymapper Manchester you can get realtime bus departure times on all the First buses, download the app on your smartphone.
Download the Uber app for taxis on demand with cashless payment. Now if you’re lost, with no cash to hand – no worries as Uber can spot your location and safely get you to where you need to be.
With Getmethere you can go ticketless and use public transport by purchasing your fares on your phone. This is great if you want to use the Metrolink Tram. The Metrolink is another good way of getting around the city, it has lower rates for students too but it won't beat a bus!
Great for locating your nearest library to find high in demand books or a quiet space to do you work. You can gain access to ebooks too for libraries on the go! Download it for Apple, Android or Blackberry here.
Manchester Evening News
Save paper and download the daily paper here to stay in the know in your new city. It's likely you can hear about jobs here too.
Manchester City Guide
Download it here for general information on local attractions, events and more.
Manchester Maps and Walks
Find the best viewpoints or hidden city paths here without actually getting lost.
Gives you access to discounts on over 390 restaurants around the city every day.
Are you Buzzin?
With all of the above, we hope that you will settle well and thoroughly enjoy your time in Manchester, as a studious being. It's a lot to take in, and this really is just the beginning; the fun part will be exploring the city for yourself and potentially event putting us to shame when you find new places and spaces that we have missed off, because, we're only human. By the by, take each day as it comes (with a brolly) and everything should be 'sound' as it were. With so many things to discover and friendly people to meet, Manchester will feel like your home away from home in no time.