Manchester: A City Guide for the Football Fanatic

Football is the beating heart of Manchester, a city brought to life by its two world-class clubs and its community’s love for the game. The fortitude and strength of a team that rebuilt itself from the ashes of the 1958 Munich Air Disaster has endeared Manchester United to the world for over half a century, while the exponential rise of Manchester City into a worthy rival has won them fans across the globe.

Whether you are a Northerner on home turf or a visitor to this fantastic city, our football fan’s guide to Manchester will help you get the most out of match day. Gritty, passionate and more than a little proud, this is the city to make you fall in love with football all over again. And for any non-fans in the crowd, Manchester has you covered as well.

For the United Fan

Old Trafford Museum and Tour: For the ardent Manchester United fan, it doesn’t get much better than a visit to the Theatre of Dreams. Old Trafford itself is a fantastic way to start your football tour of Manchester, and with its own museum and guided visits available, you’re sure to come out feeling closer to the United greats than ever. As the museum is closed on match days, this is a great option to start getting you into the football spirit the day before the game.

Hotel Football: Recently opened by ex-Manchester United players Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville, what better place to warm up before the game than at Hotel Football itself? Just around the corner from Old Trafford, this exclusive venue offers everything the travelling fan might need, from accommodation to fine dining to luxurious match-day packages.

The Footage Pub: Complete with two huge screens and a cinematic set up, this is a unique place to grab something to eat before kickoff.  Serving traditional English pub grub as well as an impressive range of craft beers, this is also the place to go if you don’t have tickets to the match but want somewhere lively to enjoy it.

Sam Platts: Considered by many Manchester United fans as the place to be on match day, this typical Mancunian pub serves up cheap beer and a fantastic atmosphere. With singing, chanting and high spirits aplenty, you won’t be left disappointed.

Cloud 23: If you’re after something more glamorous for your pregame or postgame drinks, try Cloud 23. Situated at the highest point in Manchester, the top floor of the Beetham Tower, this elegant restaurant offers everything from afternoon tea to carefully crafted cocktails. 

For the City Fan

The National Football Museum: If you’re passionate about football, you’ll love the National Football Museum, especially as it’s a mere 10 minutes away from the Etihad Stadium. Displaying everything from vintage posters to trophies and awards and with informative, seasonal exhibitions, there’s something for the football lover in everyone. And as an added bonus, admission is free!

Etihad Stadium: When you get the chance to tour the Etihad stadium, you know your journey to Manchester is sure to be extra special. Learn about the players’ match-day experience, get behind the scenes in the dugout and find out more about the history of the club. With plenty of different tours to choose from, you’re sure to find one that’s right for you.

Mary D’s: With a reputation for an exuberant, if slightly boisterous, atmosphere, Mary D’s is a huge hit among City fans on match day. There is a resident DJ to help get supporters in the mood for the game and plenty of Manchester City memorabilia for you to admire. 

Curry Mile: An institution among Manchester’s students, Curry Mile on Wilmslow Road is the place to go for a hearty, pregame curry or much needed post-match kebab. You’ll find all kinds of restaurants and take-aways for every budget, as well as some of the best places for top-notch Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine in town.

For the Active Fan

If you’re in town for a few days and looking for a different way to stretch your legs, why not try a fun, football-inspired activity?

FootGolf Manchester is based at Burnage Rugby Football Club and combines the best of the two sports for a very different take on a day out in Manchester.

Or why not try Zorb Football, an entertaining style of five-a-side ideal for an afternoon kick-about the day after the game.

For the Non-Fan

Although football is a huge part of life in Manchester, there is plenty more to keep people who aren’t in love with the Beautiful Game entertained. History buffs will be in their element with the Manchester Museum, where the compact size is more than made up for with its range of excellent exhibitions specialising in the natural environment.Foodies flock from miles around to sample the delights of Manchester’s food scene. A range of international restaurants await including Tattu, which has a modern take on Chinese cuisine (and a stylish space to boot). Dimitri’s, opposite the Hilton on Deansgate is somewhat infamous for its mouth-watering Greek tapas. Or head to Stockport, 7 miles south-east of the city centre, to discover the burgeoning food and drink scene.

Enterprise is the official rent-a-car of the UEFA Europa League. Learn more about car hire in Manchester here.