The 10 Best Areas To Live In Manchester

Choosing where to live in Manchester? Our detailed guide to Manchester's diverse neighbourhoods is the right place to start.

Looking for a new place to call home in Manchester? Well, you’re in luck because we are bringing you the ultimate guide to Manchester’s best places to live. This list is so good, it’ll make you want to pack your bags and move here faster than you can say “Coronation Street.” So get ready to discover some of the most charming, vibrant, and downright quirky neighbourhoods Manchester has to offer.

1. Chorlton, South Manchester

Chorlton-cum-Hardy, or Chorlton for short, is a suburban oasis just a stone’s throw (or a short tram ride) away from Manchester city centre. This charming neighbourhood perfectly blends creativity, culture, and community spirit.

Horse and Jockey Pub, in Chorlton, Manchester
Horse and Jockey Pub, in Chorlton, Manchester Photo by Greg Willson on Unsplash

You’ll find no shortage of organic delis, artisan coffee shops, and independent bars and restaurants here. And if you’re looking for sustainable lifestyle stores, you’ve come to the right place. 

Chorlton is home to numerous organic delis, artisan coffee shops, independent bars and restaurants, sustainable lifestyle stores, wholesome community spirit and Guardian readers. The name of the suburb has become a buzzword for all things lefty and middle-class and is often a subject of jokes on various social media sites. 

Chorlton is also known for having the biggest gay population outside the Gay Village in Piccadilly. So if you’re looking for a welcoming and inclusive community, you’ll feel right at home here.

Despite its proximity to the city centre, Chorlton has its own town centre with a range of shops, a leisure centre, a park, and a library. And if you’re craving some green space, you’ll be spoilt for choice with Chorlton Park, Longford Park, and Chorlton Ees. You can even hit the links at the local golf course or take a stroll along the River Mersey to Sale Water.

Chorlton is a great place for families, couples, and young professionals alike. The area boasts some fantastic schools, including Loreto High School, CHS South, and Chorlton High School.

But fair warning, living in Chorlton doesn’t come cheap. The average property price in the area is £375,374. If you’re on a tighter budget, you can always check out the ‘Chorlton borders’ or ‘ChoBo’, as the locals call the neighbouring Whalley Range, Firswood, and Stretford areas.

2. Didsbury, South Manchester

Another trendy inner suburb, Didsbury is considered one of the nicest places to live in Manchester. It was named the most sought-after place to buy a home in the country in 2021 by Rightmove.

Didsbury is a unique location encompassing three distinct areas: posh Didsbury Village, trendy West Didsbury, and charming East Didsbury.

This vibrant neighbourhood is a mere stone’s throw away from Manchester city centre and boasts excellent transport links, making it an ideal location for commuters. Trains from East Didsbury can whisk you away to Manchester Piccadilly in just 15 minutes, and it’s less than a 20-minute drive to the heart of the city.

Didsbury is also home to a fantastic selection of primary and secondary schools, including seven primary schools, two state comprehensive secondary schools, and Manchester College. So if you’re looking for a family-friendly location with excellent educational opportunities, Didsbury has got you covered.

But it’s not just the schools that make Didsbury a great place to live. This picturesque area is packed with amenities and green spaces. From the vibrant bars and restaurants on Burton Road to the first-class cinema and dining options in East Didsbury, there’s no shortage of things to see and do. And if you’re looking for some outdoor recreation, Didsbury Park, Parsonage Gardens, and Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden are all nearby and offer plenty of green space to explore.

One of the best things about Didsbury is how safe it is. Along with nearby Chorlton, it’s one of the safest parts of Manchester, so you can rest easy knowing you’re in good hands.

However, the cost of property and rent in Didsbury is higher than that of other Mancunian suburbs. You can buy anything from Victorian mansion apartments to period conversions and stylish, modern flats. The average house price in the area is £416,694.

3. Ancoats, North East Manchester

Ancoats is one of the coolest neighbourhoods to live in, not just in Manchester but in the whole of the UK, according to the Sunday Times, mainly for its distinct party vibe.

Ancoats is the place to be if you’re looking for a young and vibrant community with a diverse range of restaurants, cafes, and pubs. This superb location is just a 10-minute walk from the city centre, and you’re only a stone’s throw away from Victoria and Piccadilly rail stations.

The real magic of Ancoats lies in its proximity to the Northern Quarter, with all its eclectic bars, fine restaurants, clothing stores, coffee shops, and vibrant nightlife. You can have your cake and eat it too, as living in Ancoats feels quiet and separated from the noise, giving it a real sense of community.

Ancoats has been experiencing a revival boom, with new apartment blocks popping up alongside the conversions of the area’s historic cotton mills into trendy new homes. And let’s not forget about the trendy bars and restaurants that have taken up residence here. Lonely Planet names Ancots the best neighbourhood in Manchester for coffee and craft beer.

Ancoats is also home to the most Instagrammable streets in Manchester – Anita Street and George Leigh Street. These rows of council-built terrace housing are the perfect backdrop for your next Insta post. So if you’re looking for a fun and trendy place to call home, Ancoats is the place to be.

4. Castlefield, South West Manchester

Castlefield is great if you are after a bit of peace with a buzzing city centre on your doorstep. This charming neighbourhood is the dividing line between Manchester and Salford and is a mix of various lifestyles. You’ll find excitement and buzz here, as well as quiet residential corners with lovely canal views.

Castlefield, inner city conservation area in Manchester, UK
Castlefield is the inner city conservation area bounded by the River Irwell, Quay St., Deansgate and Chester Rd. in Manchester.

Castlefield sits in the city’s historic canal basin, where converted warehouses are now home to apartments and independent eateries. Trendy bars and restaurants, live music events, and charming canals make it a great place to live. And if you’re looking for a leisurely stroll, canal walks are abundant. You can even turn your canal walk into a pub crawl, as the area is famous for its fantastic canal-side pubs.

Despite its heavy industrial past and proximity to the city centre, Castlefield is a safe and fairly tranquil area, mainly because it’s the UK’s first Urban Heritage Park. This status protects the canals and cobbles and creates a largely traffic-free haven. So if you’re looking for a bit of peace and quiet with a buzzing city centre on your doorstep, Castlefield is the perfect location for you.

There’s plenty of action here too. The Castlefield Bowl outdoor music arena hosts the annual “Sounds of the City” series of concerts featuring big-name artists from around the globe.

Castlefield is also the location of the award-winning Science and Industry Museum, a hugely entertaining place for children and parents alike, hosting regular interactive exhibitions and events. 

The average property price in Castlefield is £229,952.

5. Prestwich, North Manchester

A few miles outside the city centre, Prestwich is fast becoming one of the most desirable places to be in Manchester.

Prestwich is one of the furthest areas in Manchester, and thanks to it is still affordable. It’s also very family-friendly.

It’s got the right balance of everything you need in a suburb.

There are good transport links, and the local tram takes you to Manchester city centre in just 20 minutes. 

The town has loads of green space. The town park with an animal centre, pitch and putt, and adventure playground is a huge attraction for children. And if you’re looking for some outdoor recreation, Heaton Park and Prestwich Clough are nearby and offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy nature. Heaton Park is home to the music festival Parklife, which attracts over 80,000 concertgoers per year.

There are also good places to eat and drink. 

The schools are good. The local library is a favourite hub for children and adults alike. And it’s a friendly and safe place with a great sense of community.

The average property price in Prestwich is £303,746.

6. Rusholme, South Manchester

Rusholme is a great place to live if you’re on a budget. It’s perfect for students, young families, and first-time buyers. The area is affordable and close to the city centre, making it convenient for anyone who wants to be near the action.

Rusholme is also home to good schools, which is a plus for families. However, the area has a reputation for not being the safest in Manchester.

The reputation is slightly exaggerated and outdated, and as one of the Reddit users pointed out: “The bad reputation is what keeps it affordable!” If you have concerns, check the safety of Manchester’s neighbourhoods on the Manchester police site.

One of the best things about Rusholme is its diversity. It’s a melting pot of Manchester’s many cultures, which makes it a vibrant and exciting place to live. Rusholme is also close to the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University’s All Saints Campus, meaning it has a vibrant student community.

If you’re looking for good food, Rusholme is the place to be. It’s home to the famous Curry Mile, which is packed with Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Indian restaurants, takeaways, and Shisha lounges. The area also includes the huge Platt Fields Park and The Gallery of Costume Museum.

If you get a place within walking distance from Wilmslow Road, getting everywhere else will be super easy. The only thing to be aware of is that the road itself can be busy and noisy almost all night. 

Rusholme housing options are as diverse as its population. You can find large Victorian villas, tower blocks, social housing and student accommodation here. The average property price in Rusholme is £177,111.

7. Salford Quays

If you’re a professional or young couple looking for a trendy waterfront area with everything on your doorstep, the Quays is where you want to be. Located just 15 minutes by train from the centre of Manchester, this buzzing and vibrant area has plenty to offer.

Media City Footbridge and the BBC buildings, Salford Quays, Greater Manchester
Media City Footbridge and the BBC buildings, Salford Quays, Greater Manchester.

With bars, restaurants, the Lowry Theatre, the water sports centre, seasonal markets, the Imperial War Museum North, the BBC (which you can walk around), and Old Trafford stadium all within a short walking distance, you’ll never be bored. And if you’re looking to shop or visit any activities around the Trafford centre (driving range, chill factor, sports pitches, indoor skydiving, etc.), taxis are quick and low cost.

The Quays is also a central hub for media professionals in film, TV, and radio. You’ll find a host of major employers here, from the BBC and ITV news and children’s TV favourites to a specialist media university and acting agencies.

Transport links are excellent, with the Metrolink offering a frequent and reliable service to all areas across Greater Manchester. And if you’re driving, Salford Quay is just minutes away from the M602 motorway, leading to the M60 and M62 network.

While the Quays has plenty of pros, some cons exist. It can feel a bit transient at times, and it’s probably not the ideal place to raise a family. The vast majority of people living on the Quays are between 20 and 40 years old, and professional, so there are few children around. But if you’re looking for a trendy and exciting place to call home, the Quays is the perfect location.

The average property price in The Quays is £200,200.

8. The Northern Quarter, City Centre

Are you looking for a buzzing neighbourhood and perfect for young professionals? Check out the Northern Quarter or NQ.

The Northern Quarter, Manchester
The Northern Quarter, Manchester, UK Photo by Jonny Gios on Unsplash

This trendy area is where you find the hottest brunch spots, vintage shopping, great nights out, and eventful weekends. It’s bang on in the centre of Manchester. Here flexible workspaces, managed offices and co-working spaces stand alongside bars, pubs and entertainment venues.

If you’re a young professional who doesn’t want to pay to travel to work and has an active social life, the Northern Quarter is the perfect location for you.

One of the most significant advantages of the Northern Quarter is how the area prioritises people over cars. Stevenson Square and some surrounding streets are pedestrianised, making it extremely attractive to come and hang out with friends. This, in turn, helps café and bar culture flourish, making it the perfect spot for a weekend brunch or a night out on the town.

The Northern Quarter is very popular with creative types and media professionals. If you’re looking to move here, your property choice is generally converted space above bars, restaurants, and shops. There are also purpose-built apartments in new developments.

But be prepared for a great deal of noise and busy streets. After all, the Northern Quarter has a staggering number of restaurants and bars and a vibrant nightlife.

The average property price in the Northern Quarter is £224,853.

9. Sale

In the Trafford borough of Greater Manchester, Sale and its neighbouring town of Altrincham is one of the most sought-after locations for families.

The main draw is Trafford’s seven high-performing grammar schools. Sale Grammar School, for example, is in the top 100 state schools in the UK and has excellent exam results at GCSE and A levels.

Sale is fantastic suburbia that’s perfect for families. It boasts pretty patches of greenery, a canal, and is close to central Manchester with great transport options, making commuting to the city centre super easy.

Sale also has a lovely town centre with lots of bars and restaurants. The recently renovated Stanley Square is the heart of the town, full of independent businesses. The high street and The Square Shopping Centre are thriving, which boasts more than 50 shops.

There’s a distinct community spirit here. A volunteer-run festival and a brilliant arts centre bring the community together.

If you’re looking for outdoor recreation, Sale Water Park is the perfect place. It offers 152 acres of tranquil countryside and parkland centred around a substantial artificial lake. And if you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a bike ride, the Bridgewater Canal weaves through Sale and is the perfect place to take an afternoon stroll or hop on your bike and follow the Bridgewater Way.

For golf enthusiasts, there are two golf clubs nearby.

You can expect everything from modern terraced houses and flats to Victorian homes. Properties in Sale had an overall average price of £381,530.

10. Altrincham

Voted one of the best places to live in the UK by the Sunday Times for the last five years, Altrincham is another very desirable place for families featuring great schools, plenty of green spaces and a quick and easy transport link to Media City and the city centre.

This suburb of Greater Manchester is just a 20-minute ride away by tram and is one of the most expensive places to live in Manchester, with an average house price of ££613,212.

It’s a thriving upmarket town with trendy restaurants and bars and good connections to the city centre and Manchester Airport. 

Altrincham is big enough to have everything you need within walking distance and small enough for everyone to feel connected.

It is a very sought-after destination for families. Some of the best schools in the region can be found here, including Altrincham Grammar School for Boys (AGSB) and Altrincham Grammar School for Girls (AGGS). AGGS is one of the highest-performing schools in the country. Both schools are non-fee-paying, fully selective, with admissions gained via a successful application.

It’s a thriving town with a vibrant high street. There’s something always going on here. Some of the most popular events include:

  • Altrincham Festival: This community event takes place in July each year. It features a parade, live music, food stalls, and fairground rides.
  • Altrincham Market: The market is open every week from Thursday to Sunday and offers a range of street food, artisanal produce, and handmade crafts.
  • Artisan Market: The Artisan Market takes place on the first Sunday of every month and features a range of local producers, craftspeople, and artists.
  • Altrincham Food and Drink Festival: This annual festival takes place in September and features a range of food and drink stalls, live music, and cooking demonstrations.

You can ice skate at Planet Ice Altrincham or catch the latest indie movie at the neighbourhood’s Everyman Theatre.

Living in Altrincham offers an excellent quality of life with a range of amenities and events to enjoy. Plenty of green spaces are nearby, including Dunham Massey and Stamford Park, which offer a great escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Final thoughts on the best places to live in Manchester

When it comes to finding a great neighbourhood in Manchester, you are spoiled for choice. If you love the hustle and bustle of city life, the city centre is the perfect location.

If you’re looking for a more relaxed pace of life, areas such as Didsbury, Chorlton, and Altrincham offer a great quality of life with plenty of green spaces, independent shops, and a strong sense of community.

Salford Quays and the Northern Quarter are great options if you want to be close to the water. Both offer a range of amenities, including bars, restaurants, and entertainment, as well as stunning waterfront views.

Whether you’re a young professional, a family, or a retiree, there’s a perfect neighbourhood for you in Manchester.

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