The city centre consists out of following areas; Piccadilly Gardens and main train station, nearby Chinatown, The Gay Village and Canal Street, Castlefield, Spinningsfield in the west, The Northern Quarter, and The Millennium Quarter around Manchester Cathedral. In this area you can find also Shambles Square, Exchange Square, and Cathedral Gardens.
Museums worth considering in Manchester are the Manchester Museum, the Manchester Jewish Museum, The Manchester United Museum, the Museum of Science and the Imperial War Museum.
The city center is actually quite pretty. The thing to do is not to look just at what’s in the shop windows but just above; the buildings come in all styles and many different colours and stone types. Make sure you see the the spaceship style Royal Exchange Theatre- a modernist building right in the middle of the the former large Victorian building used until 1968 for cotton trading. Apart from the theatre there’s a great cafe a craft and bookshop and, often, exhibtions, An oasis of calm in a vibrant city.
Even better is the town hall, in a neo-gothic’;style with little arches, corners, bridges, alleys, and lots of beautiful masonry. If the Great Hall is not in use you can look at the wall paintings depicting events from Manchester history.
A favourite spot for outside architecture is Castlefield, named after the remains of a Roman fortress (minimal), but is has old bridges and buildings in red brick and cast iron all from the haydays of the industrial revolution. There’s a terrifc, hands-on museum of science and industry here – great for kids and grown-ups alike. Nowadays it has a lot of night life too.
Relevant internet information
www.manchester.com — Manchester Chinatown
www.canal-st.co.uk — Canal Street in Manchester, Gay Village