It's that time of year again! Thousands of students will be heading off to University including me!
I thought I would put together a mini series to welcome any University Fresher's of 2011 to the city of Manchester (and surrounding areas) So if you're going to be starting at Manchester Uni, Man Met, Salford or any other colleges or schools in the Greater Manchester area then the following may be helpful...
I'm writing these posts to those who are not so familiar with Manchester. If you were born and bred here like me you probably have already heard of all of the following. But if you're new to the city, perhaps moving a fair distance to be here it's handy to know about some cool places to visit, where the best shopping is and where to go for a decent coffee.
First up is Manchester's Night Life! I'm guessing this is fairly important to the majority of Freshers, after all that's what Uni is all about right? To be honest I'm not a huge party-animal and I actually like learning and being awake for my lectures (yes yes geek) but I do enjoy a really good night out with my girls and having a wee drink and a dance!
Night-life in Manchester...
But where should you go?
My first piece of advice is to avoid The Printworks selection of clubs and bars like the plague. During the day The Printworks is a great place to go if you fancy something to eat (Nandos, Chiquitos, Hard Rock Cafe, Wagamamas...) or if you fancy catching a film at the Odeon. But at night, out come the creeps and the weirdos....
Good clubs and bars to visit however include, Sankeys, 5th Avenue, 42nd Street, Tiger Tiger and The Birdcage or Rock Box and Moho Live if you're more into Indie and Rock/Punk music.
Fallowfield has a huge student population and is full of great bars and pubs. I've heard about great comedy lounges and generally the atmosphere is more laid back and friendly. (Fallowfield Hillbilly - The Courteeners anyone?)
The quirky delights of The Northern Quarter are becoming much more mainstream now. It's confusing signs and crossing streets host a range of independent unique bars and secret clubs. You'll probably wander in somewhere one night and never find the place again.
Deansgate is not really for a student budget and you won't find an alcoholic beverage for under £3.00 but if you fancy a fancy night out Deansgate is the place to visit.
The Living Room (the one full of footballers) and Cloud 23 are but-a-dream to poor little me but I've heard fantastic things if you've got the money to burn. Cloud 23 as it suggests is 23 floors up in the Hilton Hotel and serve posh cocktails with an amazing view. I'm saving it for my 21st Birthday I think!
Then there's Canal Street or 'The Gay Village' - I don't think I've ever had a bad night out on Canal Street! If you like cheesy dance beats and a busy atmosphere head down to Canal Street and dance the night away! Most clubs are free entry and some stay open until 4 in the morning. Just check you don't have a lecture the next morning!
Your University will more than likely have a campus bar and certain Student Union's can deliver a good night out. It's also the best way to meet people that actually go to your university or socialise with people on your course. Pubs local to your campus will become your local if you find yourself heading there every lunch time or free period.
Oxford Road is full of student bars and mini clubs, and also is home to Manchester Academy 1, 2, 3 and Club Academy where you can see a wide range of bands. In the smaller Academy 3 or Club Academy often have unsigned band nights where the tickets are usually very cheap and gives you a chance to sample some new music or maybe the next big thing.
Where ever you go or whatever you do I find the best nights out are those spontaneous ones. And of course it makes a huge difference who you're with. You can probably tell from the photos above I've had some amazing nights right here in Manchester with my best friends.
Enjoy you're Fresher's Week you only get the one, unless your like me and decide to change your course and take a impromptu gap year, then you get two!
Pretty soon you'll have to start taking studying seriously and Uni's don't expect you to work to your full capabilities in the first week, everyone is settling in and there won't be much work to do. Make the most of it.
I'm living at home which makes things a bit more difficult for nights out but if you're staying in halls you'll probably find yourself out every single night. Drink responsibly guys!
Next Up in my University Fresher's series is Shopping in Manchester. All the best areas to visit and places not to be missed! If you have any ideas for future posts, or questions you'd like to ask about starting University or coming to MCR, leave me a comment!