The vibrant, cultural melting pot flying the flag for the north of England is an Instagrammer’s paradise. Between its cute cafes, architectural aesthetics and hipster quarter, Manchester knows what it takes to create the perfect post. The UK’s first modern industrial city is bursting with hidden gems for you to snap around every corner. Get out your map, mark the spots and get ready to spend the next few days posing as if your life depended on it. Here’s our guide to the best places to take photos in Manchester.
It’s impossible to walk more than ten steps without spotting some of the North Quarter’s impressive street murals. Don’t waste time and head straight to the piece de la resistance at Stevenson Square where an artistic collective known as Outhouse MCR have decided to share their iconic works. As some of the most photographed graffiti in the neighbourhood, the centre of the street has been covered in everything from the likes of David Bowie to the symbol of the city, the worker bee. Once you’ve finished snapping the street art, there’s plenty of restaurants and coffee shops where you can grab a bite. Also make sure to take some time to explore Affleck’s, a crazy labyrinth of a market that makes for another great photo opportunity.
Head to the late-Victorian neo-Gothic building for amazing architecture which will add a splash of sophistication to your feed. John Rylands Library was opened to the public in 1900 and looks more like a castle or cathedral rather than a place to loan out books. Venture into the Reading Room with its ornate wooden carvings and designs, for the best photos. With beautiful details scattered throughout the site, you won’t be stuck for inspiration. Let your eyes wander to the ceilings and appreciate the craftsmanship of one of the most Instagrammable spots in Manchester.
Visited most days of the week for the sole purpose of snapping the perfect shot, The Refuge in the Principle Hotel is literally what Instagram dreams are made of. The elegant hotel dining room with its ceramic pillars, atrium ceiling and botanic-style Winter Garden, is teeming during the evenings with local bloggers and the crème de la crème of the Manchester scene. Grab a coffee here during the day and get the ultimate Insta café pic.
Built in 1871, the Victorian-style shopping arcade is located between Deansgate and St. Ann’s Square. The idyllic structure of cast iron and glass is now home to luxurious shops and office buildings. Go here to take your pics against the backdrop of colourful tiles and impressive artwork. Grade II listed, the conservatory-like building is a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and provides the light needed for the ultimate selfie.
Easily reached by tram, the beautiful suburb of West Didsbury is a charming spot to take an afternoon stroll and a picture while you’re at it. Start at the heart of the action, Burton Road. The bustling main street is lined with a myriad of picture-perfect boutiques, independent bars, cafes and restaurants. Venture out and explore the rest of the area’s well-kept streets and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the locals. If possible visit in spring, when everything’s in full bloom, to truly understand why this neighbourhood is one of the best places to take pictures in Manchester.
Opened in 1858, this vintage food hall looks as good as its artisanal grub tastes. Housed in the shell of the historical Smithfield Market, the brick-walled space is Instagram goals with its communal tables, industrial design, glass ceiling and elegant black pillars. Offering up anything from steaks, sandwiches and pizza to local favourites, Fin Fish Bar and Baohouse, Mackie Mayor is the ultimate foodie paradise.
Located in the civic quarter, the square is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in the city. If you’re after a classic candid in front of some great architecture then this is the place to come. Pose beside the Central Library and Manchester Town Hall and drink in the historical atmosphere of one of the city’s most important areas. Once you’re done snapping hop on the Metrolink and continue your hunt for the best photo spots in Manchester.
Now a historical site, the Edwardian swimming pool is beyond photogenic with its retro feel, multi-coloured brickwork, glazed tiles and stained glass. The Turkish-styled bathing house has been closed for use since 1993, but is open to the public on certain days of the week for tours or seasonal events such as the gin festival. Climb down into the empty, green-tiled pool or get your shot inside one of the old changing rooms for a cool unique Instagram.
By now we all know that an Instagram guide is never complete without the mention of at least one ridiculously aesthetic cup of coffee. Arguably one of the most trendy cafes in the entire country, Foundation Coffee is an Instagrammer’s dream come true. Its slick black, white and wooden interior, monochrome floor tiles, booths and coffee that’s served on wooden trays combine to create an ultra-modern spot built for social media users – even the bathrooms are Instagrammable!
Heading to the city soon? Make sure to tag us in your photos of most Instagrammable places in Manchester using the hashtag #ryanairstories for the chance to be featured on Ryanair’s social media channels.
Flights to Manchester
- Lucy Norris