Manchester is a creative hotbed that’s home to world-class murals, graffiti and other artworks. The Northern Quarter has center stage, but projects in places like Withingon are adding to its reputation. Find out more with the Street Art Cities app.Less
This majestic mural is located in the heart of Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Taking up the gable end of a building, it depicts a West Papuan holding a rose and was painted for the Cities of Hope street art festival in 2016. The vibrant red wall is a beautiful burst of a colour and something of an anchor in a rapidly-changing area, with buildings being taken down and built up all around it. While you’re here, why not pop into one of the many independent eateries, coffee shops and bars?
Manchester is now one of the UK’s cultural and creative hubs, but its history is also constantly on display. This mural by female street art duo Nomad Clan harks back to the area’s heritage in the rag trade. The phrase ‘Make Do and Mend’ stems from a UK government campaign during World War Two, when clothes were rationed. People were encouraged to repair and repurpose garments, rather than buying new ones. This artwork is a cornerstone of the area’s regeneration and redevelopment.
This monochrome mural of Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford has gained global attention - and not just because it’s an excellent artwork. It represents a successful campaign to provide free meals for children who need them outside of school terms during the Covid-19 pandemic. Rashford spent the first few years of his life in Withington and was the figurehead of this campaign. The mural provides inspiration for anyone who visits the area to see this and other artworks.
This wraparound mural from Tea One is part of the Withington Walls project. This street art-led regeneration initiative is breathing new life into the south Manchester district and providing some much-needed colour to walls and shutters in the area. Come for the art, stay for the food and drink!
Located at the well-established Spirit recording studios, this mural by Trafford Parsons depicts the late singer/songwriter Nico. Nico is perhaps best known for her work with iconic rock group Velvet Underground and spent her final years in Greater Manchester. This is a good starting point to wind your way into the city, perhaps stopping for coffee and cake at Projekts MCR Skatepark?
This mural depicts Akse’s friend, the entrepreneur and visual creative Ste Wing. It speaks to the pair’s shared Vietnamese heritage and also to Manchester’s place as a diverse melting pot of cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds. It was created for the ‘50 Windows’ art project in 2020 and is nestled in Stevenson Square, which is home to countless food and drink places...and of course lots of street art and graffiti!
As one of Manchester’s most prolific artists, Akse has created so many masterpieces it’s hard to keep track sometimes! But this portrait of the late Joy Division singer Ian Curtis in the far reaches of the Northern Quarter became an instant classic when it was painted in 2020. The mural is raising awareness of men’s mental health through Ian’s image and is just a few steps away from Ancoats, which has fast become a go-to destination for food and drink.
Lei-Mai’s artistic style is instantly recognisable, with her smiley-faced character ‘Gary’ a firm favourite on the street art scene. With a typical sense of fun, her interactive mural references 1990s acid house (rave) culture. Situated just off Edge Street, which is home to some of the city’s best cafes, bars and restaurants.
This beautiful bird is the creation of Brazilian Artist Mateus Bailon. He first brought his fantastic beasts to Manchester in 2016, but when the building housing his ‘Guardian of Ancoats’ was demolished a couple of years later, he simply (with thanks to the Matthew Ludlam Foundation) brought his spray cans to Burton Road, West Didsbury, and found the bird a new home in one of the city’s most popular destinations for dining, drinking and dancing - if the mood takes you!
Marking the start of Manchester’s famous ‘Curry Mile’, this mural by Lei-Mai was commissioned by Mughli restaurant, which is consistently rated one of the best Indian dining destinations in the city. It’s a lively area with bags of character, countless restaurants, shisha bars and a reputation to match. Grab a coffee or chai and maybe pick up some fresh ingredients during a daytime stroll...then watch it come alive at night!