This is the year when I start doing instead of saying or thinking “I should”. I have been thinking and saying for a long while that I should go back to Manchester for a day out. In January, I just went after deciding a couple of days before! It was a fabulous day! I love exploring on my own but also got a chance to catch up with lovely Gina, who lives there.
Manchester is huge but it’s only really the Northern Quarter I’m interested in hanging out in when there. For a days visit, there’s plenty to do in this part of the city. I arrived around 10ish am and stayed till 8pm. In that time, I ate a lot, went record and vintage hunting and had a general browse in cute shops. The main streets, Tib Street and Oldham Street are filled with independent shops, food places and lots of street art.
Shops in Manchester Northern Quarter
Manchester has so many more fun shops than Leeds. Both in the Northern Quarter but also in other parts and in the Arndale Centre. One of the reasons I wanted to go to Manchester is because they have a Monki store. I love all H&M’s and their sister shops but Monki is the most fun, so colourful. Spending a good time browsing, I came out with a couple of sale finds – win! I was not too impressed with Arndale though, no signs to help guide me where I wanted to go. I felt claustrophobic so much happier wandering around in Norther Quarter instead.
If only we had cute florist shops like northern flower in Leeds, and how cool is Paramount Books? Outside they blast out loud music from a speaker and inside it’s full from top to bottom of books in all genres and price class. I’m currently hooked on biographies but did sadly not find any of interest.
Oldham Street has a fair few vintage shops, which I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post. Blue Rinse is one of my favourites. We have it in Leeds too but this is bigger and the clothes are more spread out for an easier brows. I found really cheap leather gloves for mid season climate and the cutest polkadot playsuit. I can’t wait for summer to wear it!
Vinyl Resting Place
I love shopping for records, especially rummaging through sales and reduced boxes. I sadly missed out on the record fair which was held on this day, spotted it too late – boo! Of all the shops I went to, it was only on the top floor of Affleck’s, in Vinyl Resting Place that I bought a couple. Over the festive period I wanted a Christmas record but couldn’t find one of interest. Now I’m ready for Xmas 2019 with a 50p Elvis Christmas Special. Can it get better? Yes it can, for another 50p I picked up Culture Club’s album including the hit single, Karma Chameleon.
Oklahoma is a completely new shop to me. Already from a far you can tell it’s a fun and colourful shop which you could spend hours in. I loved browsing and wished I had so much more money than I do. I found a couple of things in the sale but the best investment is a single sheet wrapping paper which has a skull on it. In my opinion, too nice to wrap gifts with. I shall frame it instead. This is a shop I’d love to have in Leeds but luckily they have a website should I not make it back to Manchester anytime soon.
Restaurants and Bars in Manchester Northern Quarter
There are so many food places to choose from but one can only eat a certain amount in a day. I think I did well in finding (with the help of social media) a homely place for breakfast, a hip place for a mid-afternoon snack and a gorgeous and trendy venue for dinner with drinks.
Home Sweet Home
Quite a few people recommended I should go here for cakes. I had a look at their menu prior to going and instead decided to go for their breakfast/brunch alternative. So did the rest of Manchester. As I was on my own, I got seated straight away, at the bar tables alongside the window. Others had to wait to be seated and many left to come back later or another day. Clearly a popular Saturday morning shack and I understand why. Check out their menu!!! I had a difficult time deciding what to get but found the perfect match lower down on the menu, Eggs Cali. Smoked salmon, zesty tumbled avocado, peppers, onions, soft poached egg, chipotle crema, hollandaise on toasted sourdough. I love the chipotle crema, giving it a nice kick to get your morning started.
I was recommended to go to Siop for donuts from my suggestion question on Twitter. If I didn’t know about this place, I might not have found it. It’s at the top of Tib Street, with a big gap from any other shops or restaurants so easily missed if you don’t know the area. People clearly know about this place, I just about got a seat inside to enjoy my white chocolate & coconut donut and a refreshing rhubarb sparkling drink. The location is a bit off, and so is the style of the place but the treats make up for it and more. They also do healthy breakfast and lunch options. It seems a popular place for people wanting to get some work done whilst enjoying a treat.
If I say this is a street food court you probably wouldn’t think much of it. But if I say this is a trendy, hip and dare I say posh street food court, gorgeously decked out in an old meat market venue you have no choice but to go if you haven’t already been. I discovered it through Phoebe’s Instagram and knew I had to go. It’s even better in person, I promise.
At Mackie Mayors is where I met up with Gina. It’s a very popular place so you need to be quick on your feet to get a spot when seats become available. We sat upstairs, along the balcony, which gave us a great view over the food court downstairs. How beautiful is this place? If I lived in Manchester, I’d go all the time. It might look posh but it’s actually very affordable. You get a lot on your plate for the price you pay as well.
There are eight different street food options, everything from fish & chips to pasta. I decided to try Baohouse and it was amazing! The perfect sized pork bao bun with a side of kimchi when still being slightly full from breakfast and an afternoon treat. I paired it with a glass of rose from the wine bar. I was tempted to try a quirky beer from the beer bar but the queue was very long.
Have you been to Manchester Northern Quarter? If so, what’s your favourite place to eat and go shopping? If not, are you be tempted to go after reading this post?