Almost everyone I meet and tell my story and where I come from, asks me the same question: “Why Manchester?” Most of them expect a story, but my answer is quite simple: “I just fell in love with the city!” And that is completely true – I decided to move to another country and push a reset button on my life because I felt like I belong here and would really enjoy living in Manchester.
This summer I had the amazing opportunity to visit Manchester a few times, and in total, I had spent here nearly a month. I think that’s quite enough to be able to say if you like a city or not. However, I got this feeling right from the very first moments here. I just fell in love with it.
So what is that I love so much about this city?
1. The Architectural Blend Of Old And New
Many cities have buildings that cover different architectural periods, however, not all of them make it work. Manchester does, well, mostly. There are some buildings that do no good around here too, but in general, it’s hard not to look up in admiration whenever I’m in town. And this city makes me want to know something more about architecture! I never thought that might happen…
2. It’s Small Enough, Yet Big Enough
Manchester has a population of around half a million, which is actually less than Riga where I come from (it’s 650,000 there). However, even if it’s technically ‘smaller’, it’s in the UK and provides so much more opportunities yet is small enough to not get or feel lost.
3. Multicultural Mix
If you ask me what Brits or Mancunians are like, I don’t think I can answer as I know only a few of them. Sure, with time I will get to know more, but I will also get to know all the other cultures and nationalities that are present here. While exploring Manchester I am in a way exploring the world. And this is something that Riga obviously lacks, but you can’t blame anyone for that.
4. Nature In Town
I grew up in a forest and I’ve always lived in green(ish) cities and I need to be close or in nature once in a while. And luckily enough, Manchester has so much to offer as the city is full of amazing and wonderful parks. Loads of opportunities for energising runs!
5. So Close To The Peak District And The Lake District
And just an hour or hour and a half away from Manchester you have the Peak District and the Lake District. The first is an upland area which forms the southern end of the Pennines, while the latter is a mountainous region famous for its lakes and forests. I am quite lucky to have been to both these natural wonders, and I will go there more and more to explore new hiking trails and discover breathtaking views.
6. So Close To Wales
Though I still have so much to see in Wales, I was left speechless the first time I was there. Yet another wonder of nature! I’ll be back soon for more of this beauty!
7. The Train Stations
Manchester has quite a few of them – Victoria, Oxford Road, Deansgate and my favourite Piccadilly. The building is massive and always impresses me. By the way, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway was the world’s first inter-city passenger railway (opened in 1830). You can find out all about it at the Museum of Science and Industry.
8. The Amazing Libraries
I wish I was a student here in Manchester! The city has so many amazing libraries, and a couple of them are quite historical. If you’re ever in town and are keen to see libraries, I suggest you check out the Central Library, John Rylands Library, and Chetham’s Library. It’s free and you don’t have to make appointments!
9. The (Free) Museums And Art Galleries
The Imperial War Museum North, The Museum of Science and Industry, The Whitworth Art Gallery, The National Football Museum, Manchester Art Gallery, People’s History Museum… are the few I can name without giving much thought, but there are more! If you’re on a low budget, this is a great way to entertain yourself when in Manchester.
10. The Comedy Clubs
Oh, the Brits have some humour! And if you’re trying to make it in comedy, Manchester is one of the places to be. I’m not that confident about my jokes, but I like to laugh at others’, therefore I enjoy a good comedy show. The top places to go is The Comedy Store and Frog & Bucket, but there are many other opportunities to enjoy a good laugh on every night of the week.
11. The Vibes Of The City
I guess this last one isn’t something I can easily describe and put in words. You have to be in the city to feel its vibes. And I love the ones that Manchester is giving me.
Note: This post originally appeared on Expat in MCR (expatinmcr.com) blog which has since been renamed to Dream Chaser (dreamchaserwrites.com).