The Weekend Post: A Daytrip To Manchester - Where To Shop, Eat & Drink #VisitManchester

Saturday 31 August 2019

A Daytrip To Manchester
Manchester is by far one of the most interesting and vibrant cities in the whole of the UK. With an ever-growing student population, streets of independent shops, artisan cafes and cocktail bars, and a local community that embraces diversity, it's no wonder why it's on the top of many young people's places to visit.

Planning a trip is easy with accessible transport links and countless serviced apartments in Manchester for those who want to stay for a night or weekend, so if you're thinking of visiting, I've compiled a list of some of my favourite 'hidden independent gems' to shop (second hand, on a budget and zero waste), eat and drink.

Northern Soul Grilled Cheese manchester
Northern Soul Grilled Cheese manchester
Where To Eat: Northern Soul Grilled Cheese [Manchester Picadilly, Station Approach, M1 2GH & Northern Quarter, Unit 10-11, Church Street, M4 1PN]

Manchester is truly a foodie's dream come true with scores of independent and artisan businesses dishing up every kind of cuisine that you can think of. Cheese lovers should head for Northern Soul Grilled Cheese, which specialises in gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, oozing with their special three-blend cheese mix that's toasted on locally sourced Sourdough and filled with additional ingredients such as Mac 'n' Cheese, Pulled Pork, Pastrami and more. Extra sides on offer include Loaded Fries, Mac 'n' Cheese bowls and the popular 'Frickles' - deep-fried pickles.

Northern Soul Grilled Cheese - Mac Attack manchester
Northern Soul Grilled Cheese - Mac Attack

Perfect for a hungover brunch with friends, I opted for the 'Mac Attack' which really is cheese heaven thanks to its combination of three different types of cheese melted together with a generous amount of mac 'n' cheese. The grilled cheese sandwiches come with half a chunky pickle and your choice of homemade slaw or crisps, with condiments such as French's Mustard and Encona Hot Pepper Sauce at the table to dip your toastie into.  Mmmmmmm!

Siop Siop Manchester
Where To Eat & Drink Coffee: Siop Siop [53 Tib Street, M4 1LS]

If you're after a cup of high-quality coffee, Manchester is full of independent coffee shops so there's no need to buy your latte or espresso from a chain when you're visiting the city. Siop Siop is a fantastic coffee shop with a small outdoor seating area and communal tables inside for a cosy get together. As well as mouthwatering blends of proper coffee, you'll also find an equally enticing menu of homemade Pancakes, Sandwiches, Salads and Cakes, with vegetarians and vegans catered for.

Siop Siop - Doughnuts
Siop Siop - Rhubarb & Custard, Coffee Glaze, Millionaire's Doughnuts and Chocolate & Coconut Snickerdoodle

You can't visit Siop Siop without trying at least one of their famous handmade doughnuts though, and these are truly something special. The flavours change regularly so it's always exciting to see what's new and if there's no seating available, I would recommend ordering a box to go, you won't regret it.

Where To Shop: Vintage Kilo Sale
Where To Shop: Vintage Kilo Sale
Where To Shop On A Budget: Vintage Kilo Sale [pop-ups throughout the city]

As you may expect from a city that's full of students, vintage clothes are incredibly popular and coveted, so if you're a fan, you'll love the numerous 'pop-ups' that are easily found across the city. In the centre, you'll find several 'kilo sales', stores of vintage clothing where you can spend hours rummaging through the clothes rails. Once you have found your perfect 90s check shirt and 80s denim jacket, you simply take them to the till to be weighed, with most shops charging around £15 per kilo.

Where To Shop On A Budget: Oxfam Emporium
Where To Shop On A Budget: Oxfam Emporium
Where To Shop On A Budget: Oxfam Emporium [8-10 Oldham Street, M1 1JQ]

Charity shops are another place to find second-hand bargains for a cheap price (that also benefits the chosen charity so win-win for everyone!), and one of the best in Manchester is the Oxfam Emporium. This well-organised and tidy shop has a regular amount of newly donated stock coming in so I always seem to find something to take home with me whenever I visit. This time around, I found a nearly new Urban Outfitters Playsuit for £6.99, a vintage button-up denim skirt for £4.99 and a second-hand Marc by Marc Jacobs Bag for £6.99. What a bargain! And of course, if you're local, this is a brilliant place to donate your unwanted clothes, shoes, accessories, books and CDs.

Where To Shop Zero Waste: McCall's Organics
Where To Shop Zero Waste: McCall's Organics
Where To Shop Zero Waste: McCall's Organics
Where To Shop Organic & Zero Waste: McCall's Organics [Unit 6, 7 Church St, M1 1PN]

Eco-friendly and zero waste shoppers can happily support McCall's Organics on Church Street with an easy conscience. This small but expertly curated shop is your one-stop destination for fresh organic fruit and veg, chilled organic dairy, healthy drinks (they have Kombucha on tap!), and of course, it's the perfect place to stock up on your cupboard essentials such as rice, lentils, beans, pasta, dairy-free milks, gluten-free flours, soups, sauces, tea, coffee, canned goods and plenty more.

Customers are encouraged to shop zero waste by bringing their own containers, plus there's a refillable section of eco-friendly laundry products and cruelty-free toiletries. If you get to the shop early, you can take advantage of locally sourced fresh bread and a tasty selection of vegan cakes too.

Where To Drink: A Place Called Common
Where To Drink: A Place Called Common manchester
Where To Drink: A Place Called Common [39-41 Edge Street, M4 1HW]

You'll never be thirsty in Manchester with its plethora of cocktail bars, clubs and pubs on every single street, and I could have written a whole blog post dedicated just to popular drinking spots in the city! However, I decided to focus on A Place Called Common because it has such a cool and friendly vibe, plus it's one of the rare places that does a decent range of Happy Hour cocktails every single day (most don't do HH on Saturdays) from 3-7pm for just £5 each.

A Place Called Common - Bramble Collins, French Martini, Passionfruit Daquri & Espresso Martini

Sitting outside in the sun with a cold drink is one of life's simple pleasures and here there are plenty of tables for you to enjoy a catch up with your friends. It does get incredibly busy though, but there is seating inside and well-behaved dogs are also welcome. Whilst it's mainly popular for its delicious cocktails, it's worth mentioning that Common has some brilliant food on offer as well, with a range of burgers, salads and bar sides to soak up all of that booze. There are several vegan options too so everyone's included.

Crazy Pedros Manchester
Crazy Pedros Manchester
Crazy Pedros Manchester
Where To Eat Late: Crazy Pedro's [Short Street, Northern Quarter, M1 1JG & 55-57 Bridge Street, Deansgate, M3 3BQ]

Manchester is a city that doesn't seem to sleep, making it a popular destination for partygoers and students alike. Just like any other city, it has its fair share of kebab shops and local Chinese takeaways, but the place to go for your post-drinks, late-night grub on a Friday or Saturday night is Crazy Pedro's.

Tucked down Short Street in the Northern Quarter, this basement bar is home to the best pizza that you'll find in the whole of Manchester. The quirky colourful ambience of Crazy Pedro's adds a youthful feeling throughout the establishment and with free Beer Pong, pinball machines and more Tequila than you can shake a stick at, you know you're going to have a good time here!

Crazy Pedros Manchester
Crazy Pedro's - Summer B (Vegetarian) and Pepperoni

Back to the pizza and Crazy Pedro's has become famous for its unusual flavours and weird toppings (the Big Mac and Chicken & Waffle pizzas are popular to give just two examples), but you'll still find the tried and tested favourites such as Margherita and Pepperoni, and they even do vegan pizzas with dairy-free cheese and mock meats. A menu at the bar shows that day's slices which are available from £3, or you can order a whole pizza to enjoy now or takeout. Open until 4am, Crazy Pedro's has two venues in Manchester for punters to pick and choose from depending on where their night out is starting or ending ;)

[This is a collaboration post - the spending money was gifted by, but all views are my own]

Have you visited Manchester?

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