A cool, contemporary metropolis
Manchester, in England's North Country, is one of Britain's coolest cities. This once industrial city has reinvented itself as a truly contemporary metropolis, with modern landmark buildings such as the Lowry Centre, a thriving art and culture scene, and world-class sport - its home to the world famous Manchester United Football Club. It's often cited as the world's first industrialised city, and elements of Manchester's industrial past can be found as you travel throughout the city. It's this dramatic mix of old and new that gives Manchester its unique character.
Culture and heritage
Manchester is now a thriving metropolis, but it's not hard to spot Manchester's past. Central Library, inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, is the largest municipal library in the world; and the magnificent Royal Exchange Theatre, formerly the Cotton Exchange, now houses the world's largest theatre-in-the-round.
The city's attractions - from the museums and galleries, to sports stadiums and music venues - offer something for everyone. Most of Manchester's 90 or so museums are free, including the galleries at the world-famous Lowry Centre. If you don't know where to start exploring Manchester, try an open bus tour from St Peter's Square.
Food and drink
Manchester's diverse culture mix means there's a great range of places to eat and drink. From award-winning restaurants to cosy gastropubs, you'll find something to suit every taste in every corner of the city. And if you want to pick up some great local produce to take home, there are plenty of farmers and produce markets around.
Manchester is a shopping destination in its own right, even rivalling the reputation of London. Manchester Fashion Market is the first dedicated fashion market in the North West; King Street is destination designer labels; the Arndale Centre is full of high street bargains; and Affleck's Palace is a labyrinth of independent boutiques.
When it comes to sport, Manchester is top of the league. Football is the city's big sport - the 2 local Premiership teams are Manchester City and Manchester United, one of the world's most successful football clubs. World-class sporting facilities were built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, including the City of Manchester Stadium and the Manchester Aquatics Centre.
Music and nightlife
The Manchester music scene is one of the world's most innovative, original and exciting places for both making music and going out to listen to it. The city is full of intimate music venues for live music fans, and if you want to experience Manchester's clubs and bars, head to the Northern Quarter, Deansgate and Castlefield.
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