The cheaper, louder, merrier alternative to London
Always known as a tough town, just being from here was once enough of a resume to score bouncer jobs throughout Britain. But tough also means real, which guarantees that you’ll truly connect with down-to-earth “Mancunian,” likely the moment you enter your first pub. UK’s second-largest city is musical, affordable, and sporty -- plus, they love Americans who rock, whether it be pop, classic, hard, or punk. Our Civil War was their cotton famine, which is why our 16th president is a local hero memorialized by a huge statue in Lincoln Square. You’re in!
The world's first industrialized city is an encyclopedia of glorious architecture: An endless sea of converted, deep-red factories grace the skyline. Part charm and part utility, many of the buildings have ornate facades and functional rears -- a mink coat up front and no knickers on the behind, as they say. All over, you’ll find pubs: fun, ageism-free/you’ll-probably-hook-up pubs where the prettiest gal might sport either a royal hair-pin or a few tats. The smoke and fog have cleared over this metropolitan mischief-maker that invented its own brand of wild. Your primers: watching 24 Hour Party People, going on a guided music tour, and checking out It All Starts In Manchester. -- Bruce Northam, American Detour