Visit Manchester - home to top-level lFA Premier League pro football teams - Manchester City F.C.and Manchester United F.C.! Manchester is home to the famous Manchester United soccer team as well as a top city for business and shopping. Top attractions include Lowry, Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester Museum, Trafford Centre, Lyme Park, Printworks, Triangle, Kendals and Manchester Cathedral.
Although now best known for its football teams, Manchester was once one of England's greatest Victorian cities and was the birthplace of both rail travel and Rolls Royce. It is situated on the east bank of the Irwell River, in the north east of the country, and is the centre of a huge metropolitan area, which now encompasses the surrounding towns of Bury, Bolton, Wigan, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport and Oldham.
Liverpool is just 30 miles (48km) down river. The area has long had a reputation as a drab, industrialised sprawl, but Manchester has succeeded in reinventing itself, becoming a vibrant metropolis with nightlife second only to London. The city boasts more than 50 free museums and galleries, a world-class sports centre that recently hosted the Commonwealth Games, and plenty of parks, gardens and other attractions. The city's architecture is largely a reminder of its central role in the cotton trade and many of the original warehouses can still be seen, although modern-day Manchester is now very different from its heyday as an industrial hub.
When the city centre was badly damaged in an IRA bombing in 1996, much of the central area was beautifully renovated. Now renamed the Millennium Quarter, it is a marvellous contrast of splendid Victorian architecture and towering glass edifices, including the eye-catching Urbis exhibition centre. Manchester City and Manchester United are two of the biggest football clubs in England and Old Trafford (home to Manchester United) has become a huge tourist destination. For those more interested in arts and culture than football, the new Lowry complex in Salford Quays boasts a fantastic selection of art galleries and theatres.
The city also plays host to countless events, concerts, festivals and parades, is home to world-class bars and restaurants, and has plenty of shops and markets. Manchester is also home to the United Kingdom's largest Chinatown, and a vibrant and friendly Gay Village, concentrated around Canal and Chorlton Streets.