Urban Outfitters X My Manchester- Where There's Music And There's People

Last week the lovely gang at Urban Outfitters reached out to me and asked if I would give them/you guys a guided tour around Manchester. This excites me for two reasons. The first reason being Urban Outfitters is one of my favourite retailers ever! The second being Manchester is my home, my all time favourite place in the world and ridiculously close to my heart. Basically this is one of those posts you get really giddy to write! They suggested I show you round some of my top places to visit; from "non-touristy" hot spots to the best new restaurants and bars. They also asked the burning question of all questions, "what does Manchester mean to me?"...

As I'm sure you guys have worked out by now I'm born and bred in Manchester, which categorically means this city really is my world. My family, friends and memories are all mainly harboured in this on place so it's hard for me not to hold a lot of sentimentality towards it. No matter how many amazing cities I'm lucky enough to visit, none quite compare to Manchester! Ok so of course I'm completely and utterly biassed, I've no doubt everyone says this about their hometown... Proof that the saying "home is where the heart is" is all kinds of true one way or another.

What I particularly adore about Manchester is the people within it who really make it stand alone as a pretty charismatic place. I feel like Mancunian's dance to their own beat (literally- you can't fault our extensive music culture from Oasis, to The Smiths, to Joy Division... The list is endless) and whatever we do, we try and some how make it revolutionary. It's this defiant, gutsy attitude which gives the city it's vibrancy and in turn makes it a undeniably amazing place to visit. So let's get down to the details. Time to begin our guided tour courtesy of yours truly...

Where To Eat?

This is a newbie to the city centre... Well technically "new" anyway. It's Mackie Major's! Originally home to the Old Smithfield Meat Market over 100 years ago, this beautiful building has been lying dormant for the best part of a lifetime (mine and most likely yours too). Late last year, after a major facelift the market hall reopened its doors to reveal a super tasty place to brunch, lunch and supper! Yippee! The hall has kept a lot of the original features with just a few modifications such as a canteen style dining lay out. This is not somewhere to dress all fancy but it is somewhere you're guaranteed 100% food satisfaction. There's around 5 food stalls to choose from all of which use locally sourced produce... My personal recommendation would be Honest Crust Pizza. Dough so soft you'd think it was kneed by fluffy kittens on a bed of cotton wool.

Where To Drink?

Another "old meets new" location here- The Refuge situated right next to The Principal Hotel on Oxford Road. Once offices this building- like Mackie Majors- is insanely beautiful all thanks to it's original Victorian features. From tiled walls to stain glass windows, this building gets top marks on the aesthetics department. But it's appeal doesn't end just there, it's also home to a very fabulous bar which can make you a pretty mean cocktail. Personal bar recommendation? A High Voltage. It's basically a gin based tall glass of yumminess (i.e. Elderflower and Cucumber). This is the type of bar you could easily visit casually in the daytime or dressed all snazzy in the evening. It's an all round winner and one of my regular spots.

Where To Get Thrifty?

One of my favourite little hobbies- if you can call it a hobby- is aimlessly wondering round The Northern Quarter and browsing its many vintage stores. If you're partial to a bit of retro in your wardrobe than NQ is the destination for you! Northern Quarter is home to an abundance of thrift stores and independent shops (as well as most of the city's best bars). If you want to vintage shop but don't fancy the thorough hunting that often comes with it, here is a short breakdown of where to find what:
- Cow Vintage is ideal for denim, knitwear and leather goods i.e. shoes and bags. If your vibe is any where from 80s to 90s than you'll have a field day in Cow. Your new favourite Levis 501s or Lumber Jack Jacket is calling you.
-Retro Rehab is the place to find all the best pretty blouses and floral teadresses. It's basically my go to for the perfect summer wardrobe. Think lace collars and floaty chiffon.
-Oxfam Originals is not just a nice little way to give back, it also has one of THE best collections of true 60s and 70s vintage. Some of my all time favourite sixties shirts have come straight out of this store.
-Pop Boutique has an absolute treasure trove of interior in its basement I would highly recommend you check out if you want to give your home that mid-century make over. Vases, lampshades and sixties fabric cushions are definitely it's speciality.
-For the more avid vintage shopper there are two locations I would recommend, both about a 5-10 minute journey out of town so you have to put in a little bit of leg work. Stockport's Vintage Emporium and Failsworth's Old Mill Antiques. Believe me if you love vintage than these two will be your idea of heaven. They certainly lean more towards interior (Old Mill Antiques is just strictly furnishings) but worth popping by. I've yet to visit either and not find something I had no idea I absolutely 100% needed in my life. Extra little tip Stockport Market holds The Vintage Village Fair every second Sunday!

Where Is The Heart Of Manchester?

When I fancy a little "me time" I love to walk down to Albert Square/Saint Peter's Square with a coffee in hand and only my thoughts for company. Albert Sq is home to the Manchester's Town Hall and St Peter's Sq to Central Library- both are pretty awe inspiring buildings and worth a visit off their own merit. I however head to them just to sit and people watch. There's something about this side of town which relaxes me and makes me feel so at home. It's one of those silly little rituals you keep to yourself but it makes me happy all the same. It's the heart of Manchester which has an extra special place in mine.

Where Is The Best Of The Rest?

Like any city, Manchester has it's own "unofficial institutions" as approved by locals and which in my humble opinion are compulsory to visit. Here's the list:
- Night & Day Cafe- This bar/music venue is historical. Name a band and it's more than likely in their early years they played here. From Kasabian to Arctic Monkeys. This venue has literally showcased your entire Spotify playlist at one point or another. Worth popping by for a drink and who know's you might just catch the next big musical genius!
-Coffee Pot Cafe- If you're a little hungover and in need of a good old Full English, than this is probably the place for you. It's kind of like a greasy spoon meets hipster hang out complete with legendary red leather booths. 
-Rudy's- Now this is another new go to but as far as I'm concerned it definitely makes the grade. It's a sneaky little pizzeria located in the city's up and coming Ancoats area. Personally one of the best pizzas I've ever had, but please be warned it's walk in's only and the wait is normally on the lengthy side. Hope you're not too hungry... It's worth the wait promise.
-Corbieres- Self proclaimed home to the best jukebox in town and I can't disagree. If you're not from Manchester you'd most likely walk straight past this bar as it's tucked away, hidden just off St Ann's Square. 
-Big Hands- If you're heading to a gig in Manchester than this needs to be the place you stop by after for a drink or two. Super relaxed and always playing great music... Plus added bonus, you'll most likely to spot whoever it was you want to watch in here too! Don't fan girl too hard!
So one thing I discovered when writing this post was that it's actually really hard to describe Manchester in a nutshell because there's just so many, diverse areas to the city which make it the absolute gem it is! I kept remembering more and more great spots which definitely deserved a place in this post. In the end I've showed restraint with the above (still pretty sizeable) list of suggestions and I hope at the very least I've provided a good enough "beginner's guide" to last you a weekend.

To Manchester- I hope I did you justice

To Manchester Tourist Board- I await your job offer any day now...

To everyone else- Have fun and who knows maybe I'll see you in one of my favourite haunts very soon,
Sophia x

All Outfits courtesy of Urban Outfitters, full breakdown below:

Photography- Rosie Butcher
This was a sponsored post by Urban Outfitters


  1. As a person who loves to travel, one of my fav things is to read tour guides to cities that I want to visit. A trip to the UK is definitely on my wishlist! I really want to visit london, and manchester is also on my plans! And Liverpool because my dad is obsessed with the beatles.
    Love your post and the oufits! hugs from brazil <3