Life in Manchester

Manchester is internationally recognised as being a city with a great musical history thanks to the impressive list of bands that have called the city home, such as Oasis, Happy Mondays, New Order, The Smiths, Elbow, The 1975, Pale Waves, Blossoms, Pins, The Blinders, Slow Readers Club and rapper Aitch (who’s signed to the homegrown Northern Quarterz label).

Duncan Wallis, Dutch Uncles frontman, Super 8th radio show host and all-round top guy gives us a tour of his 5 STAPLES of the Manchester music scene.

Live music is very much a part of any night out in Manchester with several streets dedicated to live music. Manchester Academy 1, 2 and 3 are just a short walk from the City Centre, as are the O2 Apollo Manchester and Manchester Arena. Plus, venues such as Soup Kitchen, Gullivers, YES and Gorilla are the perfect places to catch the best new bands.

Download our Manchester City Guide (PDF)

Manchester is a highly creative city with a diverse cultural scene and a wealth of theatres, galleries, live music and cinemas. Some of the most popular music venues and hangouts include Manchester Academy, Ritz, The Deaf Institute, Manchester O2 Apollo, Manchester Arena, Jimmy’s, The Castle, Peer Hat and Gorilla.

Aside from the City’s musical hotspots, you can soak up some history, art and culture at key locations such as Manchester Museum, Manchester City Gallery, MOSI, The Imperial War Museum, The Lowry, Palace Theatre and Manchester Opera House, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester Craft Centre, HOME and Bridgewater Hall. 

But, don’t just take our word for it. Hear from Martha and her five reasons to live in Manchester.

Tony Wilson Place

An amazing cinema and gallery for independent films with consistently impressive free exhibitions.

Charles Street

A four-storey gem of the Manchester scene, featuring a club space, a pink live venue, bar and food hall.

Piccadilly Records
Oldham St

This amazing record store in the heart of the Northern Quarter is a must-see for any self-respecting music fan.

Matt & Phreds Jazz Club
Tib Street

One of Manchester’s most beloved live music venues, specialising in jazz, blues, boogie and jam nights.

Epping Walk Bridge
Princess Road

The location for the iconic image of Joy Division by photographer Kevin Cummins.

Manchester bees

“It’s such a diverse, buzzing and interesting city and I don’t think the atmosphere is quite like anywhere else.”
Kirstie Rawlinson, Songwriting

A quick glance down the long list of internationally renowned artists who call Manchester home, and it becomes clear that music has been a key part of this city’s identity for decades.

Classic indie lovers will love The Venue, 42nd Street and Factory. YES has a good variety of nights and has a basement venue attracting yet more famous names.  For metal and rock, gigs tend to be at the Academy venues up Oxford Road and try Satan’s Hollow for a late one.

You’ll normally find out what’s going on thanks to over-enthusiastic promoters bombarding you with flyers about town.


There’s a deep sense of pride running throughout Manchester’s live music and nightclubbing scenes, with the Warehouse Project attracting headline acts like Mura Masa, Jon Hopkins, Caribou and other big-name DJs. Manchester’s Gay Village caters for a vibrant LGBTQI+ scene.

With four universities, Manchester has a huge student population and there are plenty of student club nights and events going on throughout the year to suit all music tastes.

Emanuel J Burton - Drums - Manchester student

“I love the community spirit, the creative energy floating through the city, the food spots and the music scene.”
Emanuel J Burton, Drums

Manchester Festivals 

Mancunians love a festival. And in Manchester, big names flock to play at the likes of Parklife and Dot to Dot. It’s also home to Neighbourhood, where some of Manchester’s most prestigious music venues join together to host a one-day event. 

Over 100 artists and bands from all over the world perform at this friendly and diverse event and each April sees the smaller scale (but equally fun) When In Manchester festival, which was co-founded by BIMM Manchester Music Business graduate Miriam Rahimov. 


This biennial arts event is a magnet for creative talent from around the globe. A true highlight of the festival calendar, Manchester International Festival (MIF) is a must-see.

Sound Of The City

Taking place at Castlefield Bowl, this series of performances takes place over a week and a half in Summer. 2020 sees headline slots from Foals, Lewis Capaldi and DMA’s.

Be sure to visit ‘The Curry Mile’ in Rusholme (past the universities up Oxford Road) for affordable, good quality Indian food. China Town (just off Portland Street) has a wide choice of Chinese, Thai and Japanese places to suit any budget. Close by, there’s also a fantastic fish & chip shop called Portland Plaice

In the Northern Quarter, check out Sugar Junction for a quaint vintage tea-room. Almost Famous, Luck Lust Liquor and Burn are amazing for deliciously dirty burgers and quirky Mexican street food.

Almost famous, manchester

Manchester Arndale in the middle of town is the main shopping centre with all the big names. For top-end brands, try King Street, and for more vintage tastes try the Northern Quarter. The Trafford Centre, a short bus ride away in Old Trafford, opens until 10pm and has a huge range of shops and restaurants.

For food shopping, there’s a medium-sized Aldi supermarket on Bridge Street in the centre and a range of small Spar and Sainsbury’s shops along Oxford Road. Larger supermarkets are all around the outskirts of the city.

There are plenty of open spaces and green areas in which to grab a break and enjoy some fresh air in Manchester.

Just a short walk away from our Bank Chambers building you’ll find Piccadilly Gardens – a nice spot to hang out in the sunshine between lectures. A little further south, just off Canal Street, you’ll find Sackville Park, which is home to the Alan Turing memorial statue. 

Look a little further afield, and you’ll find Manchester and its surrounding areas are teeming with numerous wide-open spaces to enjoy like Heaton Park, Alexandra Park and many others. 

BIMM Institute Manchester is well connected to the rest of the city via public transport.


Manchester is very cyclist-friendly with accessible cycle lanes. If you live a short distance from the college it might be the most cost-effective way to travel. Find out more about cycling in Manchester at


The closest bus stops to Great Marlborough Street, on the main student route are located on Oxford Road, by the Dancehouse coming into the city centre, and by the Palace Hotel to leave the city centre. Bank Chambers is located a few minutes from the main bus station at Piccadilly Gardens. Buses at these stops run frequently between Manchester City Centre, and popular student areas such as Rusholme, Fallowfield and Withington.

Manchester has the busiest bus route in Europe due to the number of universities on the Oxford Road corridor. As a result, you will rarely have to wait more than a few minutes for a bus during the day. The majority of buses on this route go from Piccadilly Gardens to South Manchester straight down Oxford road.

  • 142 or 42 – Piccadilly Gardens – Universities– Rusholme – Fallowfield – Withington – Didsbury Village – East Didsbury
  • 143 – Piccadilly Gardens – Universities –Rusholme – Fallowfield – Withington – West Didsbury
  • 43 – Piccadilly Gardens to Manchester Airport
  • 147 – Manchester Piccadilly Train Station – Universities – Manchester Royal Infirmary and other hospitals


Manchester is well serviced by taxi cabs, UBER and other minicab companies. Always make sure to pre-book your taxi from a fully licenced taxi firm.


For those living outside of the city, BIMM is easily accessible from either Piccadilly or Oxford Road Station. Oxford Road station is the closest to Great Marlborough Street, and Piccadilly Station is closest to Bank Chambers.

Metrolink (Trams)

Manchester Metrolink has been expanding throughout the city, and is a quick and easy way to travel across Greater Manchester. Metrolink runs on several lines including Salford Quays/Media City and East Didsbury. 


The nearest major airport is Manchester Airport (MAN / EGCC). This airport has international and domestic flights and is 13 miles (half-hour train journey) from the centre of Manchester.

Any Questions?

For any questions regarding Manchester student life or if you’d like more information on how to apply to BIMM Institute Manchester please contact our Admissions Team on 0344 2 646 666 or email [email protected].


© 2023 BIMM Institute
All Rights Reserved