Where to Stay in Manchester: Top 10 Best Areas

Do you know where to stay in Manchester? If not, look no further. This blog will tell you all about the best areas to stay in Manchester and what benefits they offer. Let’s get started!

Manchester is a large city in North West England. It is home to two of Europe’s top soccer clubs, City and United. They have huge local support and plenty of followers worldwide. You would not go to Manchester for its weather because North West England gets plenty of rain. You may well go there for soccer, but there is much more to the City than sport.

It has always been an important commercial center with the Ship Canal due west to Liverpool and the Irish Sea a route for imports and exports. It is an important educational center in the UK as well as the best city in the north for shopping.

Where to stay in Manchester: Tips & Info

Manchester’s International Airport is to the South of the City.  Direct flights from Manchester include those across the Atlantic as well as most major European destinations, both scheduled flights, and low-cost airline routes. There are excellent regular connections into the heart of the City.

The railway is probably the best option and certainly the quickest way to get to the city center. Manchester’s public transport system is good but the speed of travel is dependent upon the volume of traffic. That can be heavy in the morning and evening. 

Your decision on where to stay within Manchester is usually guided by what you intend to do with your time. The main shopping district is in the middle of the City yet there are some nice neighborhoods elsewhere in the City. The most affluent districts tend to be south of Manchester.

Motorways give Manchester access to other parts of England, including east-west on the M62. The ring road west of the City then heads south. If you are traveling from Manchester, you may decide to stay close to these motorways.   

Where to Stay in Manchester – 10 Best Areas to Stay in Manchester 

There is a good range of accommodation in Manchester. It caters for businessmen as well as visitors wanting to enjoy the City for a few days. You will certainly be able to get something to suit your budget with the top quality hotels more likely to be central than in other districts in the City. To help you decide, here are the districts that you might like to use as a base.

Best Areas to Stay in Manchester Map

To see more detail of where to stay in Manchester map, go to Google Map;

1. City center, where to stay in Manchester for first time visitors

Where to Stay in Manchester: City center

Manchester city center is the city’s business district with office blocks, hotels and fine shopping. The cotton trade in the 19th Century was one of the main reasons for its growth. It was the main reason why today’s tourists will see the impressive Victorian architecture at every turn.

Buildings such as the Royal Exchange, the Corn Exchange and the Free Trade Hall were built during those prosperous times. Manchester’s economy shrank as traditional industries declined yet the City center has certainly survived that decline. The center is the transport hub of Greater Manchester whose population runs into the millions.

Manchester is a good place for a weekend’s shopping and a reason why visitors tend to book for a weekend. The Arndale attracts over 40 million shoppers each year, thereby being the largest city center shopping development in the United Kingdom. 

The main thoroughfare in the center is Deansgate which has a number of good shops. Spinningfields runs just off Deansgate. It is not just the financial heart of Manchester because it has some excellent bars and restaurants.

There are plenty of hotels in the city center. The best quality ones tend to be here but there is plenty of cheaper accommodation as well. 

Manchester City Centre is the best area to stay if:

  • You have primarily come to go shopping 
  • You want plenty of transport options to get elsewhere in Manchester
  • You are looking for a good quality hotel
  • You are attending a concert or theatre performance.

2. Northern Quarter, the best area to stay in Manchester for bohemian culture

Where to Stay in Manchester: Northen Quarter
Northen Quarter/Heather Cowper

This sprawling area of narrow streets and alleys neighbors the City center and is regarded as the heart of Manchester’s bohemian culture. There are many small businesses within these streets. Some are boutiques while others are bars and cafes. If you enjoy craft ales or good coffee, you are sure to find it in the Northern Quarter.

In years gone by, the old warehouses in this district were busy places. In more recent years,

they have been redeveloped to offer the small units of today. The impressive architecture in general dates back to the thriving economy of the 19th Century.

The boutiques are an alternative to shopping in the Arndale or along Deansgate. Specialist shops are found in the Northern Quarter. If you love music on vinyl, this is the place for you, and if you want a quirky present, who knows what you might find? 

There are several restaurants in the Northern Quarter which is also the place where you can find nightclubs that stay open until late. 

The Northern Quarter is regularly used for TV and film locations. The ‘’plot’’ does not need to involve Manchester because the Northern Quarter could pass as a neighborhood in many cities, or even English speaking countries.

Northern Quarter is the best area to stay if:

  • You wish to be central but don’t want a city center atmosphere
  • You enjoy spending your time in small independent establishments
  • You like exploring small shops and boutiques

3. Ancoats, where to stay in Manchester for nightlife

Where to Stay in Manchester: Ancoats
Murray’s Mill, Ancoats, Manchester/Robert Cutts

In many ways, Ancoats is similar to the Northern Quarter which is its neighbor. Ancoats is still developing. Visitors can wander its streets and find things that were not there a few months ago. There is an artistic element to Ancoats with independent theatre and art studios on offer.

Even though Ancoats is developing, the rents are still relatively low for its central location.  This district was also known for the textile business that was once so flourishing. Its former nickname was ‘’cottonopolis.’’ Other industries developed because of Ancoats’ commercial activities with glass and machinery manufacture emerging but all have now gone. 

No longer are any of the buildings empty. Businesses have taken some of the property while conversions have led to trendy apartments for purchase or rent

Bars and coffee shops have a ‘’hippy’’ feel while there are some excellent restaurants in Ancoats as well. If you are looking for plenty of choices in one district, Ancoats is worthy of consideration. There is cuisine from a variety of places as diverse as Vietnam and Japan, Mexico, and Scandinavia.

Craft beers are readily available and many of its bars have a real atmosphere.

Ancoats is the best area to stay if:

  • You enjoy vibrant areas, especially those that are still developing
  • You want to be fairly central without being in the center itself 
  • You don’t mind taking local transport to get you around.

4. Chorlton. a great area to stay in Machester for quiet holiday

Where to Stay in Manchester: Chorlton
Chorlton/Adam Bruderer

The districts south of the City center are all popular. Manchester has a huge student population and most of the seats of learning are south from the center of Manchester. That includes the Halls of Residence and plenty of private rental accommodation.

Chorlton is one of those districts which has small shopping blocks, neighborhood bars, and plenty of places to eat. It is a liberal bohemian neighborhood that will certainly appeal to young travelers.

At one time, Chorlton was countryside and it developed as those benefiting from the textile boom sought to live outside the city with the newly laid railway their means of ‘’commuting.’’. 

The 19th Century properties have been ideal for conversion for modern day living although passenger rail services are not available to today’s inhabitants. Subject to traffic flow, it is still fairly easy to get into and out of the center. 

There are still green spaces and Chorlton Green has been designated as a conservation area. 

Chorlton is the best area to stay if:

  • You want all the facilities of a big city but prefer a suburban base to go back to  at the end of the day
  • You like the feel of neighborhood bars
  • You enjoy community activities. There is an annual Arts Festival each May over 9 days, an Autumn Books Festival, and Chorlton plays a role in the October City Food & Drink Festival. 

5. Whalley Range, one of the best areas to stay in Manchester on budget

Where to Stay in Manchester: Whalley Range
Whalley Range/Donald Judge

Neighbouring Whalley Range is another district that appeals to the younger generation. There is plenty of private rental accommodation hence a decent proportion of its population are students. Many of the Victorian buildings have been converted into smaller units.

It is not purely a residential district. Visitors will find relaxed bars and good food alternatives. It is limited in terms of shopping because its residents are seen as mobile and hence will travel to shop. There are no ‘’streets’’ in Whalley Range which indicates the class consciousness of Victorian times. Instead, visitors find tree lined roads, lanes, and avenues.

Whalley Range is just a couple of miles from the middle of Manchester and history tells us it was one of the City’s first suburbs. It gets its name from the town in Lancashire where the wealthy businessman, Samuel Brooks who developed the district towards the end of the 19th Century, originated.

An interesting piece of historical records that wealthy women and spinsters in Whalley Range were some of the first females to get the vote. (Married women’s rights were subordinate to their husbands.)

Whalley Range is the best place to stay if:

  • You want access to the middle of Manchester but prefer your base in a quieter environment
  • You are looking for apartment accommodation.
  • You are happy with good bars and eating options without being interested in club life.

6. Didsbury, where to stay in Manchester for families

Where to Stay in Manchester: Didsbury
Didsbury/Adam Bruderer

The main road running through Didsbury en route to Chorlton is home to many independent bars selling craft beers and small shops selling a huge variety of products. If you prefer a quieter environment that ordinary pubs offer, you might like to try the cocktail bars that you will also find. 

It is another district which the younger generation enjoy. The vegetarian cafe in Withington has earned a good reputation while another cafe, Fuel, is known for its music 

Didsbury is another district that was originally rural before the Industrial Revolution saw the rapid growth of Manchester. Its church was built in the 13th Century but today’s building is primarily 17th Century. It was named St. James in 1855 and the buildings in its immediate vicinity form the biggest concentrations of listed buildings in Manchester.

People tend to associate the River Mersey with Liverpool but it actually flows through South Manchester, Didsbury included, westwards to this City which is Manchester’s greatest rival, especially on the soccer pitch.

It is an affluent suburb with an unemployment level well below Manchester’s average. There is some employment within Didsbury itself but many locals head into the City center each day.

Didsbury is the best area to stay if:

  • You want a base away from the middle of Manchester but with good transport links
  • You like neighborhood pubs with craft beers
  • You are not worried about being close to large shopping areas

7. Levenshulme (Chorlton), a great area to stay in Manchester with good transport links

Where to Stay in Manchester: Levenshulme
Levenshulme/JuliaC2006

Levenshulme is often referred to as the ‘new Chorlton’. House prices remain lower in Levenshulme than some of these other neighborhoods in South Manchester. That has appealed to first time buyers, and by definition the younger ‘’set.’’ This district is due south of Manchester, halfway towards Stockport and its station is on the route to London. 

As Levenshulme has become more popular so has the choice of places to eat and craft beer bars. The Saturday Market attracts large numbers of people each week looking for a bargain. You may be looking for something different but not have fixed ideas on what. Levenshulme Market could be the place you find it. 

Dick Turpin was said to be a regular visitor to the Blue Bell Inn in Barlow Road. There has been an inn on that site for 700 years but German bombing destroyed the one standing there before the outbreak of the Second World War. Despite there being people living here for many centuries, there was minimal development until the late Victorian era. No fine buildings, just rows of terraces define Levenshulme.

The annual ‘’Levenshulme’’ Festival has established itself over the last couple of decades. It is very much a multi-cultural event with plenty of different activities including music concerts. While there, make sure you visit ‘’The Street with No Name’’ that has been there for 160 years, with no name.

Levenshulme is the best place to stay if:

  • You want good transport links to other parts of Manchester
  • You want some cheap accommodation
  • You have no need to be in the City center

8. Sale, staying in Manchester to get a rural feel with good amenities

Sale is less than 6 miles from the heart of Manchester. While administratively it has borough status, visitors to Manchester often choose to stay in Sale to get a rural feel with good amenities. 

The M60 which runs down the west of Manchester passes Sale. It follows that there are good transport links making it simple for commuters and tourists to go backward and forwards, The Metrolink into Manchester City center means even first-time visitors can get around easily.

Sale is located on the Mersey which is perhaps a reason why evidence of settlement goes back many centuries. An old Roman road ran between Chester and York. Today it is the A56.

There is quite a variety of architecture with old buildings, 1930s developments and new estates found in Sale. At one time it was strictly working class but now it is perceived as very much middle class. From a crop growing and livestock area it is now service industries and commuters.

Sale’s Shopping center is thriving despite competition, a result of a very low unemployment rate. One of Sale’s real attractions is green space. There is a water park, a nature reserve that attracts migrating birds, and Woodheys Park with several activities and amenities.

There is plenty to do day and night with good pubs and restaurants readily available. 

Sale is the best neighborhood to stay if:

  • You want to see Manchester but are reluctant to stay in the busy center.
  • You enjoy the rural feel that Sale can provide
  • You are looking for a choice of restaurants at night
  • You seek open spaces, and the natural environment

9. Trafford, best area to watch a sporting even

Where to Stay in Manchester: Trafford

When people hear Trafford, many immediately think Manchester United because its iconic ground is called Old Trafford. Shoppers with no interest in soccer know the Trafford center which opened in 1998.

It is a metropolitan borough that was formed during local government reorganization over 40 years ago.  For the purposes of areas to stay, the area under discussion is around that Shopping center and Trafford Park Industrial Estate. The name ‘’Trafford’’ was a compromise as the name for that Metropolitan Borough which absorbed small towns. Each was keen to maintain its identity and not be absorbed by a neighbour.

Almost 50,000 workers are employed at Trafford Park. Over the years agriculture was replaced by the textile industry then the Business Park opened. Business activities require a good infrastructure and that includes hotel accommodation. 

Trafford may not be the first place a visitor thinks of if intending to visit Manchester. However, its name, the proximity of Manchester United and Old Trafford as well as the Test cricket ground make it worth consideration.

Trafford is the best area to stay if:

  • You do not want to be in the middle of Manchester but want good shopping alternatives
  • You intend to watch a sporting event or concert and want to be close to the venue
  • You have business at Trafford Park

10. Salford, in the west of Manchester City center

Where to Stay in Manchester:  Salford

In recent years, the development of Salford Quays and the Lowry center have raised the profile of Salford. Lowry was Manchetser’s artist who depicted local life. His name means alot to Manchester people.

Salford is west of Manchester City center. It developed during the prosperity that the textile industry brought to the City. It’s location on the Manchester Ship Canal guaranteed that while the textile industry and trade thrived, so would Salford.

Salford has its own university, separate from Manchester’s institutions. As a result, there is a significant student population which makes the area youthful and vibrant. It has reversed the decline that came as the textile prosperity waned. At that point, Salford was seen as an area with significant slums and crime.

Salford has seen major investment with much of the old terraced properties demolished in regeneration. There remains a number of important buildings that were constructed in the 19th Century when Salford prospered. They include the Museum and Art Gallery. The park is named after Sir Robert Peel while Salford had the first free library in the UK.

‘’Coronation Street’’ is the longest running soap on TV anywhere. While its location is ‘’Weatherfield’’, it really represents working class Salford before its regeneration. Ewan McColl’s ‘’Dirty Old Town’’ represented Salford very well. However, these days, the place has changed and is well worth visiting.

Salford is the best area to stay if:

  • You enjoy the atmosphere that you get within a city
  • You time in Manchester is intended to show you typical daily life and teach you a little about its history
  • You want easy access to Manchester City center.
  • You are looking for a modern infrastructure and plenty to occupy yourself in the evening.

Best Places to Stay for Manchester Christmas Market? 

The tradition of a Christmas Market began in Manchester in 1998 running throughout December up until a few days before Christmas Day. The Market is held in Albert Square in the heart of the City.

If you intend to buy plenty for your family’s Christmas, it makes sense to stay nearby just in case you have some heavy shopping to carry. Remember thousands of people attend so getting transport is not easy. Likewise, parking nearby poses a problem.  

Best Places to Stay in Manchester City center? 

By definition, the center of a city is where there is plenty of activity. Business travellers often need to be in the heart of the City so good quality accommodation is found there. 

  • Stock Exchange Hotel is 5-star accommodation a minute’s walk from the Royal Exchange Theatre. Popular points of interest near Stock Exchange Hotel include John Rylands Library, Canal Street and Opera House Manchester.
  • The Lowry is a large modern hotel on the banks of the River Irwell offering great views of the City. Manchester Cathedral and The People’s History Museum are both just a 5-minute walk away. 
  • The Edwardian Manchester Radisson Collection next to the Convention center is a two-minute walk from all the main attractions in the City center. The hotel is a 2-minute walk from Manchester Art Gallery, Central Library and Deansgate. Manchester Oxford Road and Manchester Piccadilly rail stations can be reached in a 20-minute walk. 

You can certainly find good value for money accommodation in the center as well.

  • Motel One Manchester Piccadilly is located a 5-minute walk from Manchester Piccadilly train station, offering a central-city location, close to Piccadilly Gardens, free WiFi, and use of on-site bar One Lounge.
  • ibis Manchester Centre Princess Street is in Princess Street and within walking distance of the center’s main highlights.  bis Manchester Princess St is ideally located 200 m from Manchester Conference Centre and 900 m from Manchester Central Convention Complex, a 5-minute walk from the nightlife of Chinatown and Canal Street and Manchester Arena is just over a kilometer away.
  • Holiday Inn Express Manchester City center is a modern hotel with contemporary furnishings in its en-suite bedrooms.  Just 500 m from the Arndale Shopping Center and main shopping areas. The Holiday Inn Express is situated in the vibrant Northern Quarter with hundreds of restaurants and bars to choose from.

Best Places to Stay near the Etihad Stadium Manchester?

Manchester City took over the City of Manchester Stadium that had hosted the Commonwealth Games. In 2011, as part of a sponsorship agreement it took the name of Abu Dhabi’s Airline, Etihad. It is in the East of Manchester but just 10 minutes by regular tram on days when there are events taking place, usually a football match. If it is a nice day and you want to walk, you will get to the Etihad Stadium from the city centre in 25 minutes.

It does mean that it is not essential to stay close to the Ground itself.  

Best Places to Stay near Manchester Airport?

Manchester Airport is just 8 miles south west of the city centre but it is often more convenient for those landing in Manchester or departing elsewhere to stay close to the Airport for at least a night.

These four hotels are all within walking distance:

There are other 3-star options just a short distance away by taxi. 

Best Places to Stay in Manchester for Nightlife? 

The City centre is the obvious place to look for good nightlife, starting with pubs, good restaurants and late-night clubs. However, the huge student population tends to enjoy nights out on places along  Oxford Street which heads south out of the City. Student Halls and private rental accommodation tend to be in that district. The Northern Quarter is very central and has plenty to entertain by night. 

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Conclusion

Visitors to Manchester can expect a warm welcome. Locals are happy to help with directions and the transport infrastructure is good. First time visitors can be confident of finding what they are looking for even if they choose a base well away from the city center. There are times when the traffic is busy but that applies to every city. 

Soccer fans can see the best of club football at the Etihad and Old Trafford. Old Trafford cricket ground close to the soccer stadium hosts Test cricket as well. When the Australians visit, it will definitely be a full house. 
There are regular live music events in a city that is home to many talented pop musicians. There are many cultural and entertainment events in Manchester every month of the year. Look at the calendar and decide which month you want to see this great city.

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