When my friends and I found ourselves with a free day in Manchester, we ran into a predicament. We are Londoners, and as such, we have many free publications and lists on the internet that tell us all of the fun (and free) things that we can do. We never have to search hard to find something to do, and we always end up doing the same thing anyway.
So after searching the Internet for ages, we decided that we would fall back on our usual for hanging out: we would explore street art and coffee shops. Luckily for us, most of the suggestions for what to do in Manchester listed several cafes in the Northern Quarter, the place most likely to find hipsters (and, somehow, us) in Manchester, so we put on our hats and fake glasses (okay, both of them are me, and I remain un-pictured) and hit the streets to walk across the city.
As previously stated, I am very inspired by magazine features, so when I found an alleyway next to the skate shop into which Joel had disappeared, I recruited Carrie to pose for some photographs. This somehow resulted in all of my friends creating a pose that they felt should be in a magazine (and which should never be created again), but luckily, we were far enough from the cafes that the hipsters couldn’t ex-communicate us from their neighbourhood.
The first cafe on our list was Takk, which was Courtney’s favourite cafe discovery in Manchester. It had minimalist decor and delicious baked goods, and the row of tables behind us boasted only Mac computers. We sat at a long, communal table and realised how quickly we turned to our phones, which led to a rousing debate on how to get our generation to stop putting smartphones before face-to-face friendship. I mean, we were Instagramming each other. Does that not count as social interaction?
After we left Takk, we went on a wander to try to discover more street art. The Northern Quarter is full of it, which lends colour to the grey, industrial atmosphere of Manchester. We ended up in Stevenson Square (my favourite place in Manchester, for obvious reasons), where we posed with various graffitis and wandered in and out of shops and surrendered our smartphones at lunch so that we could talk unencumbered by our social media.
So, in conclusion, if you find yourself in Manchester and need a place to hang out, Northern Quarter is your best bet. Seriously, it has cafes, pubs, restaurants, and novelty shops, and if all else fails, you can buy fake glasses at Primark and pose in the alleyways and make the locals believe that you are models.