But if you’re new round here, finding somewhere to have a good time whilst staying out of your overdraft can be a bit of a challenge.
So we’ve done you a favour and put together a little list of things to do that won’t cost a fortune so you don’t have to worry about spending all your student loan money. You’re welcome.
Manchester is famous for its parties. After all, it was once home to the Hacienda club, one of the most iconic venues in the city. And with so many fabulous bars, restaurants and venues around, it’s no wonder there’s so much going on. Here’s some of the festivities coming up especially for the fresh meat arriving in Manchester this year.
Lost Freshers Festival @ Hidden
On Wednesday 18th September, Hidden will play host to the Lost Freshers Festival. Setting up shop in the old Downtex Mill, Hidden has a reputation for throwing quite a party. With all sorts of greenery crawling up graffiti-covered walls, this is the place to be if you’re after a mad one.
Part of a 10-city tour, it promises to be even bigger than the last one. Delivering a blend of house, tech and disco tunes will be resident DJs Liam Ross and Dan Fresco. So grab a drink, get glittered up and have a boogie.
First and second release tickets have sold out already so get yours before they all go. Dress code: funky fresh.
The Big Freshers Silent Disco @ Gorilla
Venue-slash-cafe bar Gorilla serves up some of the best brunch in town and has played host to some of the biggest parties, too, with artists such as Lily Allen, Bloc Party and even Kylie Minogue playing here.
Coming up on 20th September, however, is something completely different: The Big Freshers Silent Disco.
Dance like no one is watching, because nobody probably is. And there’s three different genres to choose from. Opt for cheesy chart classics, a hip hop and R&B channel, or a Grime and Drum n Bass channel. But most importantly, get dancing.
Tickets start at just £2 and are selling out fast.
Girls on Film Freshers Welcoming Party @ Deaf Institute
Girls on Film returns to Deaf Institute on 21st September to celebrate the start of the academic year with Hits Radio DJ Hattie Pearson playing retro tunes throughout the night.
Expect glitter makeovers, confetti cannons and lip syncing drag queens. What more could you want from a night out?
Tickets are on sale for as little as £1. Bargain.
Things to see and do
There’s a reason Manchester is called the capital of the north. There are tons of interesting attractions from vintage stores to museums for newbies to check out. Time to tick a few off your list.
Northern Quarter street art
Why not explore the city’s most diverse area and have a gander at some of the coolest graffiti and wall art in the north? The walls are covered in paint, with bees flying across many walls, and the streets shine bright with colour.
Each time you walk by you will spot something different, from murals of Mancunian musicians to sassy slogans sprawled across the kerbside.
And, of course, most famously, the Northern Quarter is home to some of the greatest works by the artist Akse P19, who has created images of Ariana Grande, David Bowie and even Arya Stark. He knows his crowd for sure.
Take a stroll – but don’t forget your camera.
You can’t say you’ve been to Manchester till you’ve visited Afflecks. The iconic building has stood as a stylish shopping emporium in the Northern Quarter since 1982, and remains a must visit destination for tourists and newcomers.
Four floors of vintage fashion, cafes, quirky clothes stores, accessories, piercing studios. Anything you could possibly think of, it’s there. This place really is an indie kids heaven.
Check it out and grab yourself some quirky bargains. Or maybe a tattoo. Who knows how daring you can be?
Science and Industry Museum
For anyone more interested in the history of the city, the Science and Industry museum on Liverpool Road offers an interactive and super enjoyable experience as you learn about how the city contributed to modern science.
From the discoveries of Alan Turing to modern medicine, you can learn about it all here – and get something cute from the gift shop, too.
Time to get active, grab some drinks and make some new friends. And where better to do it than…
Treetop Adventure Golf
With the amount of rain we get in Manchester, you’d think we live in a topical rain forest. Well, the weather here isn’t quite the same, but we do have something similar – and it’s indoors.
Treetop Adventure Golf is Manchester’s version of a tropical rain forest, with the entire venue completely decked out with trees, leaves and all things green – and a few animals in there, too. (Don’t worry, you won’t get bitten by anything).
Students pay just £8 for 18 holes, or £12 for 36. And what’s more, you can get a free beer, cider, soft drink or small glass of wine for free. Open seven days a week until 10pm at the earliest. No need to book, just pop in and play.
All Star Lanes
All Star Lanes is the biggest bowling alley in town. And probably the best. With 10 lanes, table service, and a menu full of delicious cocktails, there’s really not much left to desire at All Star. And that’s not all. This stylishly chic venue in the Great Northern has its very own kitchen serving up up both veggie and vegan options. Because all that exercise can work up a bit of an appetite, y’know.
Bowling is a fab way to make new friends – and fish out the competition – so why not book a game for just a fiver each? Book in Sunday to Wednesday and you can get a pint of beer, glass of wine or a spirit and mixer for just £2.50. All hail student discount.
Manchester Arndale Student Social
On 24th September, Manchester Arndale’s Student Social returns for another year. It’s every student’s dream, and with up to 40% off various stores and 50% off food and drink throughout the Arndale, you’ll have discounts coming out your ears. What a way to break in the student loan. Running from 12-8pm, you have a whole evening to splurge, so it’s time to pick out some decor for your room, grab some stylish garms and stock up on stationery, because you definitely don’t want to miss out on this.
Keep an eye out for Manchester Arndale’s twitter and facebook pages to see which stores are offering a discount – and don’t forget your student ID.
If you’re looking to get really active, why not try your luck at a bit of baseball? Base is home to the only baseball batting cages in the north, each named after the most famous baseball playing fields in America. But it doesn’t matter if you’re not a hardcore fan, you’re more than welcome to just bat a few balls about and score a few points. Go head to head with friends, smash out some home runs on your own, or simply just watch your pals play. Not everyone has the best aim, it’s okay.
Base also serve snacks and drinks, so you can munch on hot dogs, pretzels and even twizzlers – whatever gets your head in the game. Maybe a beer? Or how does ‘2 for 1 cocktails’ sound?
Even better, just pop in the code STUDENT18 when booking online and you get 25% off – if you bring your student ID with you, of course.
Ey badda badda ey badda badda swing.
What was once a commodities exchange is now a shopping emporium full of some of the finest brands to be found in Manchester. The beautifully historic building is home to stores such as Lush, Lanigan and Hulme, and Swarovski. We hear what you’re saying… ‘I can’t afford luxury!’. Fret not, dear freshers, for a whole range of shops in the Exchange will be offering discounts for students throughout freshers week.
Students get 20% off everything in store (apart from stamps, carrier bags and sale products) at Scribbler for two weeks only. Prepare for the winter months with 10% off everything at Whittard of Chelsea, or grab yourself 10% off a school bag from Fjallraven. Funky shoe store lululemon and designer-fashion brand French connection will also be offering a 15% discount during freshers week, so you can get a whole swanky new wardrobe for a fraction of the price. Last but not least, on 24th September, The Body Shop will be hosting their very own Student Event, offering 25% discount alongside skin care advice, makeovers, and free goodie bags for the first 100 customers. Time to get your shopping pants on folks.
Often described as Manchester’s creative village, mini-market Hatch is something you must tick off your to-do list. It’s got loads of independent food stalls, clothing stores and the cutest plant shop you ever did see.
The Mindful store showcases some of the most innovative and sustainable products for environment junkies, and Beer Box sell, well, beer. And some pretty good beer too.
But Hatch isn’t just a market, it’s a community of creatives and a host too. Coming up in September: an all-day disco party with free entry and some of the best upcoming DJs on the Manchester music scene, pilates and yoga sessions for you to stretch out that stress, and an open mic night on 25th September. Go on, get your karaoke on.
And, most importantly, on 15th September Hatch will be hosting its very own Student Sunday, offering starter packs for students, freebies and a whole range of student discounts from selected Hatch traders, alongside DJ sets and a live performance from Ramona Rose. And it’s FREE. Check out their facebook page for more information.
If drinking isn’t really your thing, don’t fret. Manchester has the perfect treat for you. Funzing offers a whole range of events from baking workshops and educational talks to independent film festivals and food markets. Or if you are setting up your own society, you can use Funzing to host your own event too.
This September in Manchester, you can sign up for a tealight and henna class to exercise your crafting skills, a talk by Michael Brooks called Quantum Physics for Beginners or sign up for a hot wing festival. Check out their website to see what else is coming up this month. All you have to do is buy tickets online and show up. Easy peasy.
Manchester River Cruises
If you really want to push the boat out (pun intended), why not set sail on a Manchester River Cruise and see Manchester and Salford from the water? You can jump on the soul cruise, 90s throwback cruise, gin cruises (yum) or just have a general tour of the riverside. No matter the theme, it’s the perfect activity to share with your family before you bounce off and leave them for three years. Visit their website to see what special trips they’ve got coming up in time for freshers.
Shakespeare in Salford
The Lowry is one of the best places in Greater Manchester for top class theatre and exhibitions, and if you’re under 26 you can get stupidly cheap tickets to brilliant shows there. We’re talking drama, musicals, circus, dance and much more for no more than £10.
This month, the Royal Shakespeare Company is returning with a short season of three very different plays which originally ran at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon earlier this year.
The plays are particularly relevant for modern audiences – As You Like It, a full-on comedy set in a festival atmosphere; Taming of The Shrew, gender swapped so that it’s the women who are in charge; and Measure for Measure, a play about about one woman’s mistreatment by men which addresses the #MeToo movement.
This is a rare opportunity to see Shakespeare performed in Salford by the RSC. Save 20% by booking for 2 shows for just £53.50 Save over 35% by booking for 3 shows for just £63.50. Packages can be booked online, in person or over the phone via the The Lowry Box Office on 0843 208 6010. And don’t forget the £10 tickets for all RSC shows through the under 26 scheme.
And finally, whether you were born here or drawn here, if you need somewhere to store your stuff whilst you’re up and about taking part in all of these wondrous activities, check out Manchester Self Storage. With their fabulously handy students packs, you can get the boxes delivered to and from your house, at whatever date you need it. Store as little as one box for up to 26 weeks, and get it delivered right to your door when you’re done. Check out their student offers here. They’ll see you right.