The redbrick Piccadilly area pinpoints the middle of Manchester city centre. Just across the canal the aisles of the Arndale Centre shopping centre stock high street brands while vintage boutiques can be found in bohemian High Street and Tib Street in the Northern Quarter. South of Piccadilly, dragons and phoenixes guard the elaborate oriental archway to Chinatown, where eastern kitchens have taken over the Industrial Revolution’s old cotton mills.
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West of the city centre, the Salford Quays development now fills expanses left by once-prosperous warehouses along the Manchester Ship Canal. Contemporary architecture reigns over the waterfront – the silvery fronts of the Imperial War Museum North and The Lowry arts centre reflect each other over the footbridge. Families flock to the Lowry Mall for factory outlet bargains and films at the Manchester Lowry multiplex cinema.
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To the north of Piccadilly, the Manchester Evening News Arena plays host to huge-scale pop concerts. Wander down Victoria Street to see 19th-century restoration on medieval foundations at the Manchester Cathedral. Urbis, the state-of-the-art exhibition centre, looks over the serene Cathedral Gardens here in the city’s Millennium Quarter. Catch a graffiti, pop culture or photography display on the floors of this structure made of 200 glass panes. Next-door Printworks – once a newspaper publishers – houses avenues of bars, restaurants and the only IMAX cinema in the North West.
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Stretching south from Manchester Cathedral, the mile-long main road Deansgate is lined with restaurants. High-end shoppers turn on to King Street for Armani, Boss and DKNY, or pop into posh concessions at Harvey Nichols at the northern end. Deansgate Locks at the south of Deansgate attracts discerning drinkers to its exclusive string of archway bars. Across the locks from Deansgate, cobbled Castlefield is a canal village within a city with its quaint lock-side pubs.
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Just to the south of Salford Quays, Manchester flaunts its sporting prowess at Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground. Nearby Lancashire Cricket Club’s oval pitch hosts international matches at Old Trafford. The Alps come to north-west England near the M60 motorway – real snow is pumped on to the slopes all year at the Chill Factore snow dome.
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