For a city centre covering just over two square miles, Manchester offers renters everything from tranquil waterside homes to apartments directly above buzzing bars.
It’s home to 60,000 people, a figure expected to hit 100,000 by 2025. Which is no surprise when you see how many cranes there are on the Mancunian skyline, building more and more high-rise residential buildings.
Wherever you choose to live in ‘town’ – what Mancs call the city centre – you’ll be within walking distance of more bars and restaurants you could ever dream of, world-class shopping areas and fascinating history stretching back to Roman times. And of course, you’ll be living alongside its friendly, down-to-earth residents.
Here we explore five great places to rent in Manchester city centre. Take your pick from glossy skyscraper developments with all mod cons to beautifully converted warehouse lofts. Manchester has them all.
Deansgate can be described as the city centre’s spine. It runs from Manchester Cathedral in the north, close to Victoria Station, to a major roundabout which connects to suburbs in the south and west.
Traditionally a busy thoroughfare for traffic, drivers are being increasingly discouraged to use it as a route through the city with further pedestrianisation planned. It’s a hub of activity with redevelopments on many corners.
Walking its one-mile length, you’ll go past historic buildings like John Rylands Library, contemporary office developments, high street name shops, independent bars and restaurants and a major department store.
It’s also where you’ll find the Grade II listed Great Northern Warehouse, the last and largest of the city’s railway warehouses. It’s now home to a cinema, casino, exhibition and performance space, and places to eat and drink.
It’s a more sophisticated part of town with top-end designer shops and stylish bars around Spinningfields. And all within easy reach of the rest of the city.
Deansgate’s southern end is fast becoming the home of high-rise luxury living. When the Beetham Tower opened in 2006, it was the tallest building in the city at 47 storeys. That height has now been eclipsed by the Deansgate Square development: the highest of these four towers stands at 64 storeys.
Both house high-end, high-spec apartments with amenities such as swimming pools, 24-hour concierge services and swish bars. If you fancy your own internal winter garden, several penthouses come with their own trees, and of course incredible views for miles around.
Expect to pay £1,000 pcm for a one-bed apartment in these dazzling skyscrapers, £1,500 pcm for a 2-bed or an eye-watering £8,000 pcm for a penthouse at Deansgate Square.
You’ll also find more modestly priced apartments around the Great Jackson Street area which will save you £2-300 a month compared to the prices above.
Choose to rent here and you’ll be a few minutes’ walk away from Deansgate Station with access to the mainline train service and Metrolink trams across the city and beyond.
You’ll also have a quick escape route out of the city by car. The M602 linking to the M60 outer ring road is just five minutes away. So if you work outside the city, you can head out in the morning and drive against the flow of traffic coming in.
In sharp contrast to the glamour of Deansgate, the Northern Quarter is a buzzing, diverse and uber-cool corner of town. You’ll find it just a few minutes’ walk from Piccadilly Station, to the north-east of the city.
The heart and soul of Manchester’s music and fashion scene, its narrow streets are packed with hip bars, quirky independent shops and laidback restaurants. This isn’t the place to get too glammed up. Instead, get your comfiest (but still cool) trainers on and enjoy exploring its charms.
If you love the idea of stumbling across a hidden gem, browsing through vintage clothes stores or supporting a stylish start-up, the Northern Quarter will suit your vibe.
Students and young professionals in particular make this quirky place home. Redevelopment is centred on converting existing buildings and there are few big shiny apartment blocks here. Instead, think old commercial buildings and spaces above shops and bars.
You could even live in the former ‘Harrods of the north’. The Smithfield Building once housed Affleck and Brown department store and was one of the first residential developments in the area back in 1996.
These conversions house some of the most architecturally unique apartments in the city. Some come with price tags to match. As a guide expect to pay between £800-£1000 pcm for a 1-bed Northern Quarter pad and between £900-£1200 pcm for a 2-bed.
You may not want to leave the Norther Quarter once you’re settled in. But you’ll find everywhere in the city within easy walking distance or you can catch a train from nearby Piccadilly Station whose 14 platforms greet services from across the UK.
An apartment with a parking space may be trickier to find than other parts of the city, so keep that in mind.
Fancy living in the 13th coolest place to live in the world? Step forward Ancoats, which was awarded this accolade by Time Out magazine in 2018.
Just ten years ago, this part of town was a run-down former industrial zone crying out for some TLC. Now it’s a rapidly expanding area bursting with residential developments, inspiring office and co-working spaces, stylish bars and independent art venues, many of which lie in the distinct New Islington area.
Just a five-minute hop across the inner ring road from the Northern Quarter and within walking distance of Piccadilly Station, it’s no longer just up and coming. It’s well and truly up and come.
Think sympathetic warehouse conversions, stylish new-builds and an injection of gritty industrial heritage. There are wide areas of open space and a chilled-out marina with colourful canal boats housing homes and even offices.
If buzzy waterside living floats your boat, Ancoats and New Islington will tick the boxes. You’ll get a similar vibe to the Northern Quarter with a slightly more affordable price tag.
Choose from an apartment in a vast converted mill with original features and large windows. Or opt for the cutting-edge architecture of a new-build development overlooking the water. There’s even a development called Chips designed to look like, you guessed it, a stack of thick-cut fries.
Expect to pay between £750-£900 pcm for a one-bed apartment and between £850-£1100 pcm for a two-bed.
Your walk into the centre of town will be marginally longer here but you’ll also be close to major bus routes out of the city for a comparatively traffic-free escape.
Piccadilly Station with its trains and trams going in every direction possible is just down the road and, as space here isn’t at premium, you’ll easily find somewhere to park your car.
If you’re looking for a peaceful place to rent, Castlefield, to the south-west, has a distinctly different feel. Surrounding the basin of the Bridgewater Canal, it’s as tranquil as it gets in the city centre.
Waterside apartments sit alongside a selection of bars and restaurants while canal boats bob on the water and geese swim by. This quiet enclave is also where you’ll find the world’s first urban heritage park which homes the remains of a Roman fort.
This ancient architecture sits alongside reminders of the city’s industrial revolution heritage, converted warehouses and churches, and more modern commercial and residential buildings.
It’s a laidback mix that gives you the best of both worlds: a quiet haven away from the busy city streets but just minutes away from the southern end of Deansgate.
Apartments can be found in two main areas: Castlefield to the east of the A57 and Castlefield Locks to the west.
Around the canal basin you’ll find original warehouse conversions and more modern blocks, many dating to the 1990s when redevelopment of this formerly neglected area picked up pace.
Across the road in Castlefield Locks, there’s a similar mixture of old and new centred around Ellesmere Street. You’ll be slightly further away from the water here but it retains the same laidback vibe.
Expect to pay between £750-900 pcm for a 1-bed apartment and between £800-£1200 pcm for a 2-bed.
Sitting outside a bar next to the canal, you won’t see or hear much traffic. But walk a few minutes and you’ll be at Deansgate Station and its regular trains and trams.
If you have a car, Castlefield is directly adjacent to the inner ring road and just a five-minute drive to the M602 motorway.
Manchester is home to one the UK’s biggest and best gay quarters, known as The Village. Choose to live here and you’ll be right in the heart of the action with a bar on every corner.
The world-famous Canal Street runs through the middle of The Village with its lively clubs, pubs and restaurants. If you want to roll out of bed for a lazy Sunday brunch at a café opposite your front door or host a post-clubbing party in your apartment, this is the place for you.
Spread out over several narrow streets, The Village is slap bang in the middle of town. You’ll be rubbing shoulders with Chinatown and be just a ten-minute walk to Market Street and its retail temptations.
In August, The Village turns the volume up even louder with the sights and sounds of the Manchester Pride festival. But whatever the month, it’s bright, buzzy and welcoming.
Most apartments in The Village are commercial building conversions oozing charm and character. Think floor to ceiling windows, quirky loft spaces and exposed brickwork.
Because the area is small with fewer large residential blocks, you’ll need to be quick if you spot your perfect place to rent in The Village. When people set up home here, they like to stay.
Expect to pay between £800-£950 pcm for a 1-bed apartment and between £1000-£1400 for a 2-bed.
You won’t find many places to park your car round here unless you’re willing to fork out for a space every day. But when you’re this central, all you need are your legs.
You’ll also be a ten-minute walk from the trains at Piccadilly Station and a five-minute walk from the trams and endless buses at Piccadilly Gardens.
Looking for a great place to rent in Manchester City Centre? Check out the latest properties at MakeUrMove