Creative Tourist http://creativetourist.com/ – The UK’s original art and travel site and Manchester’s one-stop destination for the culturally-inclined visitor, this should be the first place you send people looking to get a taste of what’s new and noteworthy in town across visual art, theatre, music, restaurants and events. What sets it apart is the breadth of its cultural content, depth of its writing and criticism – and it’s recently branched out to cover more of the north for those interested in arty day trips.
Visit Manchester http://www.visitmanchester.com/ – Greater Manchester’s official tourist website is chock full of good information for visitors. It’s a great place to quickly find out what’s happening in town during a visit, from seasonal markets to parades, holiday celebrations and citywide events. A helpful series of top guides are best bets in terms of cheap eats, walks and trails, and shopping, and visitors can book a hotel through the site too.
Manchester Wire http://manchesterwire.com We like the simple, streamlined design of this site: Each entry supplies 150 words each on a well-curated selection of events happening in the next fortnight – so, a good one for planning ahead but less so for finding out what’s on tonight. It’s aimed at a young, hip demographic, so strengths include indie and leftfield gigs, beer festivals, street food fairs and niche film festivals.
The Skinny– http://www.theskinny.co.uk/ The Northwest edition of the popular Scottish listings magazine arrived here a couple of years ago and it’s been a godsend for anyone interested in keeping up with what’s going down eventswise, particularly in live music, where The Skinny folks really have no competition. If visitors want to hit a gig, grab a free copy at a shop or café and proceed immediately to the listings in the back.
Manchester Confidential – http://www.manchesterconfidential.com This site focuses mainly on dining out in the city. It’s a good place to come to find out about recent bar and restaurant launches, and their controversy-courting comments section always proves an amusing read.
Bloggers – the city’s unofficial, self-appointed cultural chroniclers shouldn’t be forgotten as useful sources of information. There’s review site Northern Soul http://www.northernsoul.me.uk ; city history treasure trove Skyliner http://www.theskyliner.org/, fingers-on-the-pulse(s) food bloggers Bacon on the Beech http://www.bacononthebeech.com/ and Hungry Hoss http://www.hungryhoss.com. A full list of the city’s bloggers by category can be found on the Manchizzle http://manchizzle.com site.