Making the Most of Student Life in Manchester

There are approximately 120,000 students currently enjoying an exciting student life in Manchester. This vibrant city truly has something to offer everybody. Canal Street is the hub of the LGBT nightlife scene, Chinatown is the third largest in Europe, and Greater Manchester is home to over 20,000 students from outside the UK—there is so much going on!

In this guide, we aim to provide you with the low down on the best budget-friendly experiences to be had as a student in Manchester, including the key amenities accessible to students to amplify student life. But first, let’s dive into the range of universities to choose from and their specialities.

Universities in Manchester

The University of Manchester 

The University of Manchester is one of the UK’s largest and most popular universities, ranked 24th overall. In 2019, it attracted more undergraduate UCAS applicants than any other university. Its esteemed reputation includes 25 noble alumni who studied at the university, including actor Benedict Cumberbatch.

Manchester Metropolitan University 

Boasting a fantastically diverse student community, Manchester Metropolitan University makes higher education accessible for those with the passion and drive to succeed. In 2022 a new centre of excellence for sports research was opened, just one of the factors contributing to its place in position 59 of the university rankings. So, whether you’re business-minded, a lover of STEM subjects, creative or a sporty student, you can develop your ideal career here.

The University of Salford 

The University of Salford, ranked 88th in the UK, equips its students with the skills needed to meet the challenges of an ever-changing world. What’s more, Manchester city centre is only a 20-minute walk from the stunning green Peel Park campus. 

University of Bolton 

The University of Bolton has been voted Greater Manchester’s number one university for student satisfaction since 2019 and is ranked 30th in the UK for its subject offerings, student satisfaction and career prospects, among other factors. It’s a great place to explore alternative careers such as motorsport engineering or animation, too.

Royal North College of Music 

The Royal North College of Music is an ideal spot for budding musicians to share their passion with other people who live and breathe music. Opportunities are around every corner, and world-class teaching with incredible support is on offer.

The different areas of the City of Manchester 

Choosing where to live as a student in Manchester can be tricky due to the abundance of choices. However, there is a place for everyone, with each area having its own unique charm. 

Fallowfield is a largely student-based population and is ideal for freshers. It’s only thirty minutes away from Manchester Uni on foot or fifteen minutes on the bus. From Manchester Met Uni it’s forty minutes on foot, or twenty minutes via public transport.

Hulme has a more chilled vibe than Fallowfield and is ideal for third-and fourth-year students; it takes only ten minutes on foot or eight minutes via bus to get to Manchester Uni, or twelve minutes on foot and ten minutes via public transport to get to Manchester Met Uni.

Rusholme is located on Manny’s famous Curry Mile. It is one of the most affordable areas for students, with over seventy restaurants available. It’s a great spot, and it is only ten minutes on foot and ten minutes via bus from Manchester Uni. From Manchester Met Uni it takes twenty-five minutes on foot and fifteen minutes on public transport.

Oxford Road is ideal for the ‘roll out of bed for lectures’ type of student, as it’s just down the road from Manchester Uni’s main campus. It takes less than five minutes on foot to get to Manchester Uni and Manchester Met Uni.

Cost of living in Manchester 

The great thing about living in Manchester as a student is that it is noticeably cheaper than other locations, making it the third most affordable city in the UK. One reason why Manchester is popular with students is that the average cost of a pint is £4.69, and the nightlife is absolutely buzzing, too!

The pros don’t stop there – student accommodation near the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University is affordable and usually within walking distance of all the top spots.

Even if you’re on a tight budget, you don’t have to miss out on exploring. In fact, most of the popular museums are free, such as the Manchester Art Gallery and People’s History Museum, where you can easily while away the rainy days – but we’ll get to that!

Key amenities in the city 

There is a range of amenities accessible for students to amplify each aspect of student life. If you’re a keen student who prefers a quieter atmosphere while you work, you have the choice of visiting one of Manchester’s scenic libraries. Check out Central Library if you want to study in a beautiful building. You should also head to the grand, circulating reading room on the first floor, with marble pillars to experience even more history.

Why not grab a coffee and a cake to boost your study power, too? There are a handful of delectable spots around Manny, but a few that we love are Chapter One Books, The Pen and Pencil, and Foundation Coffee House.

Fun things to do in Manchester for students

Just because it’s an affordable city, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t fun things to do in Manchester for students; in fact, the opposite is true. So, we’ve compiled a list of the best things to do in the city for every type of student, including the best nightclubs in Manchester, cafes, day trips, events, and experiences!

  1. Vibe to live music at iconic venues

Did you know that there are a range of different venues dotted around the city? If you prefer a more intimate setting for live music, The Deaf Institute, located at the heart of the Manchester Metropolitan University campus, is a great choice. Alternatively, the Manchester Arena, now named AO Arena, is Europe’s largest arena, with massive events such as comedians, bands and even Cirque Du Soleil!

  1. Explore the culture

Manchester was at the heart of the Industrial Revolution in the early 19th century, where it transformed from a small market town to a global network centre. You can explore this rich history by visiting one of the many museums such as the Museum of Science and Industry, an ideal spot to learn about the city’s industrial legacy. Or there’s the Whitworth Art Gallery,  part of the University of Manchester that houses concerts, art, a gift shop, a café, and grounds.

  1. Experience the buzzing nightlife

Known around the world for delivering diverse and addictive nights out, clubbing in Manchester ticks all the boxes. Whether it’s sell-out warehouse parties at The Warehouse Project, or hidden dive bars, you can bet that you’ll find some of the best student nightclubs in Manchester to take your partying to new heights.

  1. Shop ‘til you drop

As one of the biggest cities in the north of England, Manchester has some of the best shopping. Market Street is a great place to start. Right in the centre of Manchester, the vibrant high street is lined with shops and cafes broken up by buskers and street performers. Not too far away, you’ve got the Arndale Centre, your one-stop shop for all things fashion and beauty. If you’re feeling fancy, venture out of the city, and you can visit the Trafford Centre, a world-famous shoppers delight filled with high street and designer brands and food halls to relax and take stock when your feet can’t take it anymore.

And when ‘tis the season, embrace the German Christmas markets that roll into town to liven up the streets in the lead-up to Christmas.

  1. Participate in music festivals

Manchester is known for its music scene, being home to The Stone Roses, The Smiths, Oasis, Take That and many more. Parklife is the largest metropolitan music festival in the UK, and it takes place at Heaton Park in Manchester. But, if you fancy a festival on a slightly less chaotic scale, Sounds of The City has headline acts and a buzzing atmosphere to match but without the big crowds.

  1. Join the city of sport

Home to both Manchester United and Manchester City, their fans, and their equally renowned stadiums, you can share your passion for the beautiful game as a student living in Manchester. If you aren’t big into footie, you can see the Sale Sharks in a game of Rugby Union or visit the Aquatics Centre of Athletics.

  1. Make the most of Manchester’s connections

Manchester is extremely well-connected thanks to its buses, trains and trams, accessible from the various areas that students live in Manchester. So, if partying isn’t your thing, you can still have just as much fun by booking a day trip. If you’re a 60s classic rock music fan, you’ll love The Beatles Story tour located in the Fab Four’s hometown of Liverpool, which means you can also meet your mates from Liverpool’s unis too. 

  1. Take a wild day trip

For those who love nature, Lyme Park is easily accessible via the tram from Manchester, a scenic walk, and a great time to meet up with your parents if they are coming to see you. Not to mention, Manchester isn’t far from the Peak District, which contains the country’s best outdoor rock climbing and provides a welcome mindful break from study life.

So, if you’re looking for student accommodation in Manchester with access to a fantastic uni experience, you’ve come to the right place! Luckily, most of the best times to be had in Manchester are either within a reasonable distance from the uni campuses or accessible via Manchester’s many transport links. For more student tips, insights and city guides, check out our blog.