The jewel in the crown of the North, Manchester is a thriving city, and one that has firmly positioned itself as a hub of all things interesting. Home to all sorts of creative and boundary-pushing businesses, a trip to the city is always sure to be exciting, and if you're looking for places to eat and drink, and things to see and do alongside your go karting experience, you're certain to have a great time.
If you love shopping, the boutiques, second-hand retailers and internationally renowned stores of the Northern Quarter and the area surrounding both King Street and Exchange Square are hard to beat, and if you've had your prescribed dose of retail therapy there's loads to enjoy in the way of culture and history. Galleries, museums, festivals and attractions can be found around every corner, and all draw talent from across the British Isles and beyond.
Foodies are also very well catered for in Manchester. There are all sorts of fine dining opportunities for those with a fine palate, but whatever your budget, you'll find a plate to suit your tastes. The city's regeneration has spawned all sorts of independent eateries and street food purveyors – whatever the cuisine you've got a hankering for, it's probably served up somewhere.
If you're going to make a trip of your time in Manchester, you're going to need somewhere comfortable to rest your head, and the city has lots of rooms to choose from.
For those with a bigger budget or finer tastes, Hotel Gotham, King Street Townhouse and Hotel Football Old Trafford are all brilliant. Each has a suitably northern take on the luxury and boutique hotel experience, and if you're staying a couple of nights, they won't stretch your account balance too far.
For mid-range punters, Abel Heywood has a lovely range of boutique rooms, and the pub downstairs is one of the best in the city. INNSIDE Manchester, Motel One Manchester and Roomzzz Manchester City are all similarly great, with clean rooms, great service and decent price tags attached.
Budget rooms are also a-plenty, and the city has a number of budget hotels operated by Premier Inn, Travelodge, Hotel Ibis and Holiday Inn. Bed and Breakfasts and family-owned hotels can also be found across the city, tending to offer lower prices than those found at big-name budget hotels.
The closest hotels to our Manchester Arena track near Victoria Station are the Radisson Park Inn, Travelodge Manchester Central Arena, Ashton House Hostel and The Mitre Hotel, all of which are within easy walking distance.
Manchester is known throughout the UK as having an unbeatable selection of bars, clubs, venues and more. Whether you're seeing a top band play, catching some new and undiscovered music, or heading out for a night of ice-cold drinks and heavy bass rhythms, you'll find it here. What's more, the natives are famously welcoming – don't be surprised if you end up making friends while sat at one of the city's many watering holes.
If you want cheap drinks, loud music, and a great night out with the lads, you can't beat the bars and clubs in both Deansgate and The Locks. You'll find a good mix of classic chains and independents, serving up the hottest new tracks alongside a variety of tasty beers, cocktails and shots. Just make sure you're not booked in for karting the next morning!
For those who prefer something a bit quirkier, the bars and venues in the city's famous Northern Quarter are constantly showcasing the best local and national musical talent, so if you're wanting a bit of rock or a night hosted by cutting-edge DJs, this is the place you'll want to end up.
Whatever your favourite meal or tipple, chances are you'll find all sorts of memorably delicious dishes during your stay in Manchester. A bewildering selection of cuisines are represented within the city, stretching to every corner of the world, and the place is home to all sorts of breweries, cocktail bars and independent cafés – a food and drink-lover's paradise.
Even if you've never tasted all of the cuisines Manchester has to offer, exploring a few of them is a perfect partner to any trip. Vietnamese, Portuguese, Mongolian, Armenian, African, Vegan – walking down the city's streets, it's pretty difficult to stop your mouth from watering!
Of course, one street is bound to excite your tastebuds more than any other – the curry mile. Home to countless Indian, Pakistani, Bangaladeshi and Middle Eastern restaurants, this is the place to go if you love spicy cuisine – Shere Khan, Punjab Tandoori and Mughli are widely regarded as some of the best.
In terms of drinks, beer aficionados will enjoy sampling the creations of the countless breweries that call Manchester home, and brews are also pretty cheap in the city, compared with prices elsewhere in the UK. The same goes for cocktail bars – some of which are "hidden" speakeasies – and cool coffee outlets; in Manchester, the quality of the independent businesses is definitely of note.
Home to two of the biggest football teams in the UK, if not the world, Manchester boasts a lot of acclaim when it comes to sport. Even if you're not a fan of City or United, heading to a game at Old Trafford or the Etihad Station is a must if you're in town, and if there isn't a fixture to frequent, both stadiums offer tours for people wanting to find out more and learn about the teams' history.
Cricket fans are also well catered for in Manchester at Emirates Old Trafford (the other one), home to Lancashire County Cricket Club and the famous Freddie Flintoff, and if you like nothing better than to watch rugby players scrapping it out then you can see Sale Sharks play union rules, and both the Salford Red Devils and Wigan Warriors thrash it out in league games.
The city's also home to the National Cycling Centre and the Manchester Athletics Centre, alongside a breadth of other brilliant sporting events throughout the year.
If you prefer a more involved sort of sport, however, TeamSport's Manchester go karting track is a must-visit. Opening in late 2016, this multi-level track will see you and your party speeding around our 550m circuit, reaching speeds of 40 mph. Located underneath the Manchester Arena, here you'll find the purest sporting thrills in the city.
Want to have some fun with the family? Maybe learn more about this timeless northern powerhouse? Thankfully, Manchester has loads to offer in the way of days out, and many are usefully located right in the centre of the city.
History and society buffs will enjoy the Imperial War Museum North, Museum of Transport, Museum of Science and Industry, the Greater Manchester Police Museum, The Manchester Museum and The Peoples History Museum, all of which offer brilliant exhibitions, tours and sights to be soaked in. If you love a quiet afternoon surrounded by all things interesting, Manchester's ready and waiting.
Want to know more about the quintessential British game? The National Football Museum is a must-visit, being the biggest museum in the world devoted to the subject, and most of the city's stadia offer great tours.
There's also all sorts of spas, theatres, heritage areas, parks, manor houses and more surrounding the city, making sure that you won't run out of things to do.
The capital of the north, Manchester is one of the UK's prime stag and hen destinations – from the outskirts to the buzzing city centre there's a show-stopping selection of activities and hangouts for pre-ceremony celebrations, day and night.
Looking for excitement and adventure? There are loads of great goings-on to enjoy, including raft building on the Salford Quays, wacky and stress-relieving zorb football, city centre spy experiences, indoor snow sports, horse riding and that classic stag and hen weekend activity, paintballing.
If you'd prefer a quieter time, however, Manchester's wide range of luxury spas make for a relaxing start to any stag or hen weekend, and activities such as nude life drawing, whisky tasting, cocktail making, recording studio sessions and fine dining are all on hand to ensure every group's stay in Manchester is roaring success.
The city really comes into its own when the sun goes down, though. Manchester's nightlife is second-to-none, and for both girls and guys wanting to let their hair down, the city has it all. That's not forgetting the city's nationally renowned array of comedy clubs, restaurants and quieter venues, of course, all of which are ready to put a big smile on the bride or groom's face.
For even more high-octane thrills, make sure to head to TeamSport's Manchester track, the best place in the city to enjoy a spot of speedy action – perfect for a bit of squad bonding before a big night out!