Sunday, November 8, 2015

Manchester, UK, earned a spot on Lonely Planet"s list of top ten cities you
have to visit in 2016.
(Photo: ThinkStock / SAKhanPhotography)By Adam
Groffman /"Travels of AdamLonely Planet just released its annual Best in Travel awards, and its Top 10 list of must-visit cities for 2016 was full of surprises.
Kotor, Montenegro, earned the No.
1 ranking on a roundup thatincluded Quito, Dublin, Mumbai and Manchester? Slotted at a respectable
No.8, the northern English city outranked Nashville and even Rome."I first discovered" Manchester when I started binge-watching Queer as Folk."It felt like a rite of passage after coming out, a way to learn about the new queer life I soon found myself actively engaged in.
When watching the British version of the popular TV series (which originally aired 1999–2000), I was often more interested in Aidan Gillen"s shenanigans (and butt) than the
city scenery, but I guess the idea of Canal Street, the"center of the city"s"gay village, always stuck with me. When the producer and screenwriter of Queer as Folk, Russell T.
Davies, launched a trio of new LGBT series earlier this year (Cucumber, Banana, and Tofu), Manchester popped back up on my radar.Over the course of my weekend trips to Manchester this summer, I finally did get to discover the city. And it wasn"t just cool like I expected
it to be — it exceeded every expectation. The clubs were crazier than I imagined, the people friendlier, the food tastier, and the sheer amount of cool, hip places was honestly overwhelming.
Manchester"s Northern Quarter, clearly the "\hipster neighborhood of the Northern English city, wasn"t just another attempt at being cool — it was legitimately interesting.Sure,
gentrification is likely an issue, but Manchester still has that independence and authenticity so valued by locals, and by tourists.
The shops and restaurants aren"t just there to make a buck, and many of the local businesses
are actually contributing back to the society.
Even Manchester"s annual LGBT Pride operates as a charity, having donated £146,000 this year alone to LGBT organizations, and more than £1 million in the past decade.Manchester is an exciting, vibrant city with an eclectic variety of things to see and do — enough to fill an entire"Hipster City Guide. But here are the coolest hot spots to start your perfect weekend getaway:For Alternative Theater: Contact Theatre The Contact Theatre supports new and
emerging artists through a number of different events and festivals throughout
the year.
(Photo: Adam Groffman / Travels of Adam)The thing that attracted me
most to Contact Theatre is the fact that it purposefully looks to feature
young artists and new creative talent.
But then when I discovered that it also
host sa number of queer and LGBT artists for various performances, art shows,
and other events, I was instantly sold.
The website lists and categorizes
performances and plays by a number of different tags, making it easy to find
everything from dance shows to discussions, from comedy to cabaret.When I
visited Contact earlier this summer, I had the chance to meet Kate O"Donnell
who was performing in Big Girl"s Blouse (commissioned by Contact).
In the
performance, Kate used humor, music and costume to tell her story growing up
transgender (see the video below).In addition to the wide roster of events and
performances that take place at Contact throughout the year, the organization
puts on the annual Queer Contact festival each February during LGBT History
Month in the UK.
The 2016 Queer Contact festival takes place from February
4–13 2016.Related: The Weekender: The Perfect Three Days in London
For
cool movies, art and events: HOMEThe new HOME cultural center hosts a wide
variety of events and performances.(Photo: Adam Groffman / Travels of Adam)Two
local arts organization, the Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre, came
together and opened HOME earlier this year.
It"s a culture venue that bills
itself "for curiosity seekers, for lovers of the dramatic, the digital and the
deeply engaging; for radicals and reciprocators." HOME features two theaters,
five screening rooms, and art exhibitions throughout the building.
It also has
a restaurant, café, bar, and a bookshop.
It"s a place that welcomes
creatives, educators, young people, and families, all of whom are encouraged
to get involved by attending screenings, workshops, and study
sessions.Related: London"s Very Best Secret Streets
The new space, located
near the Manchester Oxford Road train station, makes art easily accessible, no
matter the format.
It"s one of those creative spaces that"s meant to be
multi-purpose, and actually achieves it.For any kind of shopping:
AfflecksInside shopping warehouse Afflecks you"ll find vintage clothes, wigs
and more.
(Photo: Adam Groffman / Travels of Adam)This alternative and rather
eclectic department store in the Northern Quarter sells everything: club and
fetish wear, clothing from new designers, accessories (like top hats!), henna
tattoos, piercings, and oddly enough, surfwear.
It"s certainly the best place
in the city to buy clothes for fun and wild nights out on the town!Back in
2014, Lady Gaga made headlines when she dropped £8,000 in a frenzied
shopping spree there one afternoon.
The store also offers a creative space for
you to paint, write, act, or even recite poetry.For the best hotel bed ever:
Hotel GothamAll rooms and suites at Hotel Gotham come with faux-fur throws and
intricately styled rooms.
My favorites were the Inner Sanctum suites —
no windows, but lots of style."(Photo: Hotel Gotham)
Situated in a former
bank building, Hotel Gotham is an opulent, art deco–styled boutique
hotel on King Street in the city"s business district, a short walk away from
the Northern Quarter.
The hotel"s design takes inspiration from 1920s
Manhattan and even Batman (hence the Gotham name), and its 60 rooms offer
bright and bold retro furniture and large king-sized beds with furry
throws.
It"s truly a fun place to stay, with Batman-themed "do not disturb"
signs on the room doors and binoculars to gaze out the windows.Opt for an
Inner Sanctum suite.
These five special rooms have no windows but are tricked
out with giant wall screens showing the Manchester skyline.
The rest of the
decor recalls the golden age of travel, with touches like steamer trunks and
hat boxes, and buckled suitcases artfully placed around the room.
While some
might find this "over-designed" or snobby, the Hotel Gotham maintains a sense
of calm and coolness without feeling pretentious.Related: Potterheads,
Rejoice! The Ultimate Tour of Harry Potter"s England
The sixth-floor Honey
Restaurant provides an unexpected dining experience no matter what time of
day, with appetizers like a prawn cocktail that"s served in a one-foot-high
glass and the same champagne served at the Academy Awards.
The restaurant"s
arched windows offer sweeping city views, which get even better when you
ascend to the rooftop bar, Club Brass (open only to guests and members), where
you can spy on the city from the balcony"s telescopes.For the best country
cooking: Home Sweet HomeFish tacos at Manchester"s hip restaurant Home Sweet
Home, where you"ll find American food classics — even
milkshakes.
(Photo: Adam Groffman / Travels of Adam)This American-themed
restaurant serves breakfast, brunch and dinner, seven days a week.
Think
pancakes, milkshakes, pulled pork sandwiches and loaded nachos.
It"s all about
the comfort food here, especially when it comes to cake, as Home Sweet Home
calls itself the "bestest little cake shop on the planet."For more Manchester
travel tips, read Adam"s full Manchester Hipster Guide.WATCH: How to Really
Irk the Locals in England
Let World traveling club Travel inspire you every
day.
"
Manchester, UK, earned a spot on Lonely Planet's list of top ten cities you
have to visit in 2016.
Kotor, Montenegro, earned the No.
1 ranking on a
roundup that included Quito, Dublin, Mumbai…and Manchester? Slotted at a
respectable No.
8, the northern English city outranked Nashville and even
Rome.  I first "discovered" Manchester when I started binge-watching
Queer as Folk. It felt like a rite of passage after coming out, a way to
learn about the new queer life I soon found myself actively engaged in.
When
the producer and screenwriter of Queer as Folk, Russell T.
Davies, launched a
trio of new LGBT series earlier this year (Cucumber, Banana, and Tofu),
Manchester popped back up on my radar..Related: London"s Very Best Secret
Streets
The new space, located near the Manchester Oxford Road train station,
makes art easily accessible, no matter the format.
It"s one of those creative
spaces that"s meant to be multi-purpose, and actually achieves it.For any kind
of shopping: AfflecksInside shopping warehouse Afflecks you"ll find vintage
clothes, wigs and more.
(Photo: Adam Groffman / Travels of Adam)This
alternative and rather eclectic department store in the Northern Quarter sells
everything: club and fetish wear, clothing from new designers, accessories
(like top hats!), henna tattoos, piercings, and oddly enough, surfwear.
It"s
certainly the best place in the city to buy clothes for fun and wild nights
out on the town!Back in 2014, Lady Gaga made headlines when she dropped
£8,000 in a frenzied shopping spree there one afternoon.
The store also
offers a creative space for you to paint, write, act, or even recite
poetry.For the best hotel bed ever: Hotel GothamAll rooms and suites at Hotel
Gotham come with faux-fur throws and intricately styled rooms.
My favorites
were the Inner Sanctum suites — no windows, but lots of style."(Photo:
Hotel Gotham)
Situated in a former bank building, Hotel Gotham is an opulent,
art deco–styled boutique hotel on King Street in the city"s business
district, a short walk away from the Northern Quarter.
The hotel"s design
takes inspiration from 1920s Manhattan and even Batman (hence the Gotham
name), and its 60 rooms offer bright and bold retro furniture and large
king-sized beds with furry throws.
It"s truly a fun place to stay, with
Batman-themed "do not disturb" signs on the room doors and binoculars to gaze
out the windows.Opt for an Inner Sanctum suite.
These five special rooms have
no windows but are tricked out with giant wall screens showing the Manchester
skyline.
The rest of the decor recalls the golden age of travel, with touches
like steamer trunks and hat boxes, and buckled suitcases artfully placed
around the room.
While some might find this "over-designed" or snobby, the
Hotel Gotham maintains a sense of calm and coolness without feeling
pretentious.Related: Potterheads, Rejoice! The Ultimate Tour of Harry Potter"s
England
The sixth-floor Honey Restaurant provides an unexpected dining
experience no matter what time of day, with appetizers like a prawn cocktail
that"s served in a one-foot-high glass and the same champagne served at the
Academy Awards.
The restaurant"s arched windows offer sweeping city views,
which get even better when you ascend to the rooftop bar, Club Brass (open
only to guests and members), where you can spy on the city from the balcony"s
telescopes.For the best country cooking: Home Sweet HomeFish tacos at
Manchester"s hip restaurant Home Sweet Home, where you"ll find American food
classics — even milkshakes.
(Photo: Adam Groffman / Travels of
Adam)This American-themed restaurant serves breakfast, brunch and dinner,
seven days a week.
Think pancakes, milkshakes, pulled pork sandwiches and
loaded nachos.
It"s all about the comfort food here, especially when it comes
to cake, as Home Sweet Home calls itself the "bestest little cake shop on the
planet."For more Manchester travel tips, read Adam"s full Manchester Hipster
Guide.WATCH: How to Really Irk the Locals in England
Let World traveling club
Travel inspire you every day.
"
Manchester, UK, earned a spot on Lonely Planet's list of top ten cities
you have to visit in 2016.
Kotor, Montenegro, earned the No.
1 ranking on a
roundup that included Quito, Dublin, Mumbai…and Manchester? Slotted at a
respectable No.
8, the northern English city outranked Nashville and even
Rome.  I first "discovered" Manchester when I started binge-watching
Queer as Folk. It felt like a rite of passage after coming out, a way to
learn about the new queer life I soon found myself actively engaged in.
When
the producer and screenwriter of Queer as Folk, Russell T.
Davies, launched a
trio of new LGBT series earlier this year (Cucumber, Banana, and Tofu),
Manchester popped back up on my radar.

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