Best Places to Live in Manchester: Your Guide to the City’s Top 10 Neighborhoods
Looking for the best neighborhoods in Manchester? In this guide, we’ve brought you our ten favorite districts in the city, along with lots of useful details on them all.
One of the most exciting, alluring and vibrant cities in the United Kingdom, Manchester is a great place to live. Famous for great nightlife, a diverse mix of residents, and an incredible musical heritage, there’s plenty of stuff to love about the place. Once an industrial epicenter, it’s now a cultural hotspot, and people come from all over the world to lap up its atmosphere.
It’s a brilliant place to start a brand-new life, and lots of people flock to the city—one of the biggest settlements in England, Manchester has residents from all over the planet, with almost 600,000 people living in the place.
But if you’re planning a move to Manchester, you have lots of options. The city is home to various neighborhoods, and all of them offer different atmospheres and attractions. Because of that, it can be difficult to know where to move, especially if you’re not familiar with the city. So in this fact-packed guide, we’ve brought you the 10 best neighborhoods in Manchester, along with helpful details on each one.
Whether you’re looking for nightlife, hip hangouts, green spaces, somewhere to raise kids, or something else entirely, we’ve covered it all in this guide. We’ve brought you details on the following ten areas:
10 Manchester neighborhoods at a glance
Rusholme and Fallowfield
Best for: Tourist sites, doing lots of partying, and living right in the center of the city
No-one’s quite sure where Manchester Piccadilly begins and ends. But there’s one thing we can all agree on—it’s the heart of the city, and it’s where lots of the city’s residents spend a massive amount of their time.
So if you want to be part of all the action, this is one of the best places to live in Manchester. You’re close to lots of famous attractions, including Chinatown (more on that later), Piccadilly Gardens, Afflecks Palace, the Warehouse Project, lots of the city’s great shopping opportunities, some great museums, and plenty more.
It’s also an excellent spot for nightlife. Unsurprisingly, the district is packed with venues for eating, drinking and dancing.
That said, it’s very expensive, very noisy, and always very busy. This isn’t a place to raise kids, have a quiet life, or enjoy leisurely weekends. But if you want to party every night, and spend your life hopping between bars, restaurants, cafes and nightclubs, you’ll probably love the place.
And if you travel a lot, it’s one of the best neighborhoods in Manchester—the area is (unsurprisingly) home to Manchester Piccadilly railway station, and both the Megabus and National Express bus stations.
Best for: Endless gentrification, lots of quirky hangouts, and living close to canals
The north-eastern side of Manchester’s city center, Ancoats is great.
Hip, happening and trendy, it’s only a small neighborhood, but it’s rapidly becoming a very sought-after place to live. For a long while, Manchester has been undergoing some pretty heady gentrification—and Ancoats is one of the epicenters of this gentrification, home to lots of bars, eateries and tucked-away venues.
Often voted as “one of the coolest neighborhoods in the world,” it’s a hipster haven for people who are always looking for their next serving of street food, avocado-based brunch, or wittily-named craft beer.
It’s also very close to the Northern Quarter (more on the place later), another of the city’s trendiest areas.
Ancoats is one of the best places to live in Manchester if you’re young and trendy, and want to spend your days rubbing shoulders with happening bohemians. But if that’s not your vibe, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.
But aside from all the Ancoats stuff we’ve already covered, the district is also home to much more. Which brings us to…
3. New Islington
Best for: More cool hangouts, a beautiful waterside area, and lazing around in the sun
Inside Ancoats, you have New Islington (which is actually part of Ancoats, even though it’s also a neighborhood of its own. Confusing!).
A cute little place with canals and quays, it’s one of Manchester’s most alluring areas in summer. On a lazy weekend, you can sit here with a picnic and some beers, and lie around all day in the sun. Or if you prefer, there are loads of cafes and bars dotted in and around the canals.
For chilling out, finding hip venues and spending your time socializing, it’s one of the best neighborhoods in Manchester. And because it’s not right in the center of the city, you can also find some pretty quiet areas here—if you want to live centrally without having to endure endless bustle, it’s a great option.
A modern neighborhood, it’s a little more upmarket than other areas of Ancoats, making it more laid-back and family-friendly. It’s pretty small, it has a nice community feel, and it has one of the nicest green spaces in the city.
If you’re a young professional, or in a young couple (with or without kids), New Islington can be a great home. But be warned—finding an apartment here can be an expensive endeavor.
Best for: Living in a Asian enclave, eating and drinking diverse food, and finding a unique neighborhood
A tiny neighborhood right inside of Manchester’s central sprawl, the city’s Chinatown is made up of only a few small streets. But because it’s so unique and atmospheric, it feels way bigger than it really is.
The second-biggest Chinatown in the UK, and the third-biggest Chinatown in Europe, it’s a good spot if you want to chow down on food from China, Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, and many other east-Asian nations. You get buffets, cafes, classy restaurants, family joints, eateries inside of supermarkets, and more bubble tea places than you’ve probably ever seen in your life.
If you want to live in an unusual part of town (or if you really like east-Asian food and east-Asian culture), this is one of the best places to live in Manchester. And of course, if you’re from eastern Asia, and want to find a little enclave where you’ll feel at home, this is a perfect solution!
Because Chinatown is a very small area, it can be difficult to find an apartment here in the traditional way. For that reason, getting a serviced apartment or a serviced flat in this part of Manchester is often a logical choice.
Best for: Laid-back living in the city center, lots of great arts venues, and some lovely canalside strolls
The south-western pocket of central Manchester, Castlefield is a beautiful place to live—and in many ways, it’s a good compromise between many different types of life. It’s exciting, interesting, and packed with things to do… but it’s also home to quiet pockets, charming canals, and lots of places to relax.
In some ways, Castlefield is pretty similar to New Islington, but it’s less modern, less upmarket, and often less expensive. While New Islington feels gentrified and polished, Castlefield feels warm, welcoming, and ‘real,’ but rough around the edges.
For artistic venues, this is one of the best areas in the city. It’s home to Castlefield Bowl (an open-air arts space with great live music), HOME (an artistic hangout with film screenings and unusual events), and Mamucium (a famous Roman fort).
Because Castlefield is very diverse, many different types of people live here, including young couples, young professionals, and some of Manchester’s older residents. Much like New Islington, rents here can be pretty expensive—but if you can afford it, it’s a great place to live.
6. Northern Quarter
Best for: Hanging with hipsters, constant partying, and lounging around in some very quirky establishments
The trendiest part of Manchester, the Northern Quarter is a hipster’s dream—if you like exploring quirky stores, galleries, eateries and bars, you’ll love living in the place.
In and around the neighborhood, you’ll find bagel stores, soup cafes, speakeasy-style bars, pay-by-the-minute cafes, food courts, artisan coffee shops and plenty more weird and wacky places to spend your time.
The Northern Quarter also has lots of great record stores, where you can fully immerse yourself in the city’s incredible musical heritage. Few places on earth love music as much as Manchester—and few of Manchester’s neighborhoods love it as much as the Northern Quarter.
Famously, the district is also home to lots of canteen-style Indian eateries, where you get cheap, filling, and healthy portions of curry and rice, all in the most informal atmospheres you’ve probably ever seen. The best of them (and the most famous) is This & That, which has been serving up super-authentic stuff since 1984.
For having fun, the Northern Quarter is absolutely one of the best places to live in Manchester. If you’re young, hip and sociable, you’ll completely fall in love with the place. That said, if you’re raising a family or moving with kids, you won’t want to live here—the entire neighborhood is geared towards good times and trendy venues.
Best for: Classy times in classy venues, throwing your money around, and enjoying some history and heritage
The western part of central Manchester (and just north of the Northern Quarter), Spinningfields is one of the most elegant and upmarket parts of the city. Crammed with cocktail bars, classy hangouts, young professionals, sophisticated couples, and lots of pricey apartments, many of the city’s upper-class residents call this place home.
It’s home to Manchester Opera House and the People’s History Museum, two of the city’s most popular venues. The latter of the two has some great insights into the history and heritage of the everyday people of Manchester (both past and present!).
Because Spinningfields is central and classy, it’s a pretty expensive place to live, and it’s often difficult to find a place to call home. But if you look for a serviced apartment or a serviced flat, it’s often a much less stressful experience.
If you like living in a nice space, you’ll enjoy living in Spinningfields—many of the neighborhood’s apartments are mega-modern, with lots of sleek and swanky apartment blocks.
If you like the finer things in life, this is one of the best neighborhoods in Manchester. But if you’re planning to live on a budget, you’ll want to look elsewhere—it’s very difficult to live here without spending lots of money.
Best for: Living just outside of the city, a quiet family life, and exploring lots of great green spaces
The most leftfield option on our list, Sale isn’t actually part of Manchester proper. Instead, it’s part of Greater Manchester, and it lies around 5 miles (8km) southwest of the city center.
Admittedly, it’s not the most exciting part of the region. If you’re looking for nightlife, cafe culture, and lots of kooky hangouts, this is not where you want to be.
But if you’re raising kids, or if you want a quiet life, Sale is one of the best places to live in Manchester. Separating Sale from the city, you have a huge number of green spaces, made up of meadows, water parks, playing fields, woods, forests, and golf clubs.
In and around Sale, there are lots of places to walk, cycle, swim, and enjoy the outdoors. If you prefer to spend your weekends exercising rather than partying, you’ll probably love living in the area.
There are also lots of good schools in and around Sale. In the city center, you understandably won’t find a massive number of top-quality educational establishments—but you’ll find plenty of them here.
And last of all, living in Sale is (unsurprisingly!) much less expensive than living in central Manchester. Great if you’re on a budget!
Best for: Lots of variety, a (relatively) affordable life, and living in a different city
Okay, okay, we know—Salford is actually a city of its own… and Salford locals (understandably) hate it when people claim that Salford is simply another part of Manchester.
But because the two are so close to one another, and because they’re so intrinsically linked, we couldn’t put this article together without recommending living in Salford.
Just west of Manchester, you can easily walk between the two cities—and by living in one, you can easily enjoy the other.
Because it’s a city of its own, Salford is massively diverse, with lots of stuff on offer. You get Salford Quays (an attraction-packed mega-modern waterfront area), MediaCity (a multi-faceted media space), and the excellent Lowry (a brilliant arts venue with two theaters, some galleries, and the world’s biggest collection of LS Lowry paintings).
If you’re a fan of The Smiths or Morrissey (or both!), make sure you visit the iconic Salford Lads Club, where there’s an excellent exhibition on all their great music.
All in all, Salford is a great place to live. Half-gritty, half-modern, it’s a perfect mix of different atmospheres, it’s swiftly becoming a very popular place for relocation, and it’s one of the most up-and-coming neighborhoods in the UK.
And as a nice bonus, living in Salford is a lot more affordable than living in central Manchester—so it’s a good choice if you want to live in the area without paying exorbitant prices.
10. Rusholme and Fallowfield
Best for: Living on a budget, hanging around with students, and eating massive amounts of Asian food
Rusholme and Fallowfield are two separate districts, but they’re next-door neighbors, and they both offer pretty similar experiences to one another.
Rusholme is most famous as the home of the Curry Mile, a lengthy road brimming with ethnic restaurants, cafes and supermarkets. While most of these hangouts were once all Indian, Bangladeshi, and Pakistani, the place is now even more diverse. Looking for Afghan cafes? Turkish supermarkets? Lebanese canteens? Along the Curry Mile, you’ll find it all!
Generally, the whole area is a great place for finding inexpensive eateries. If you want to eat food from around the globe without spending lots of money, Fallowfield and Rusholme are great places to live.
The neighborhoods are home to huge numbers of students, because there are lots of affordable houses and apartments in both areas. Residents from around the planet live in these two districts—so if you want lots of multicultural buddies, this is a great place to be.
The two neighborhoods are also home to (and close to!) some of the city’s best green spaces, including Platt Fields Park, Birchfields Park, and many more.
Admittedly, Rusholme and Fallowfield aren’t the safest parts of the city—but people who say they’re very dangerous are massively exaggerating. Yes, some small corners attract shady characters at night… but if you exercise the same cautions you’d exercise anywhere, you’ll be absolutely fine.
If you’re on a budget, or want to live with students, Rusholme and Fallowfield are two of the best places to live in Manchester.