History, heritage and culture rub shoulders with sporting greats; perhaps this is why it's England's unofficial northern capital...
Manchester is a city that never sits still. It masterminded the Industrial Revolution; has been the home to legendary musicians including Oasis and The Stone Roses; tourists come from around the world to watch the city's football teams compete; and the BBC have recently settled into their new home, Media City, in Salford.
Manchester hotels are just as innovative and in the last decade the accommodation scene has really blossomed. Visitors can stay in historic settings such as the former Free Trade Hall, enjoy spectacular views from a room in the city's tallest building, pop their head out of their window and look down over the larger-than life Canal Street, and even sleep in a room overlooking Lancashire Cricket Club's ground. There are places to stay for every budget too - from five-star luxury hotels and intimate boutique hotels to budget hostels.
And if you're after a big brand, you'll be spoilt for choice in the city as companies such as Hilton, DoubleTree, Novotel, Crowne Plaza, Travelodge, ABode, Radisson Blu, Macdonald, QHotels and Marriott all offer places to stay.
With so many hotels in Manchester, how do you decide where to lay your head?
If you are visiting the city to watch Manchester United play in the Theatre of Dreams, or are coming to spend a day at Old Trafford cricket ground, consider booking into a hotel in Trafford. Look for hotels that are within walking distance of your sporting venue and are close to a metro station so the attractions of the city centre are just a ten-minute journey away. If, however, you are coming to cheer Manchester City on (or the team's opponent), a hotel in Manchester city centre would be more suitable.
Trafford is also a good choice if you are planning a shopping spree in the Trafford Centre or are going to one of the many attractions in Trafford Park - including Chill Factore, the UK's longest indoor skiing slope and AirKix, an indoor skydiving centre. There are hotels within the confines of the Trafford Centre complex as well as in the surrounding areas.
However, if you want to enjoy some retail therapy in the city centre followed by dinner and drinks, you should take a look at central hotels in areas such as the Northern Quarter, around Deansgate and near Piccadilly Station.
The Northern Quarter is one of the city's most happening places to be: there are trendy bars, restaurants and clubs as well as quirky shops including the famous shopping emporium Affleck's Palace. Stay here and enjoy nights out without having to worry about transport. The Northern Quarter is also within walking distance of the city's big concert venue, the Manchester Arena (previously known as the Manchester Evening News Arena). Deansgate, on the other hand, is the perfect location to stay if you are in the city for business as Manchester Conference Centre is just behind it. Hotels just off Oxford Road are also within easy walking distance for business guests.
Lovers of culture will be spoilt for choice if they stay in the city centre as Manchester has five main theatres there - The Palace Theatre, The Opera House, the Royal Exchange, the Library Theatre (although the theatre group is currently moving to a new home) and the Contact Theatre. The Lowry, a major performing arts venue is outside the city centre in Salford. And there are plenty of museums such as the Museum of Science and Industry, art galleries such as Manchester Art Gallery and impressive buildings such as Manchester's Gothic Town Hall to look around in the city.
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city at night, there are numerous places to stay in Manchester's suburbs. South Manchester suburbs such as Chorlton and Didsbury have a good mixture of independent and big-name eateries and bars while if you head slightly further out of the city into Cheshire, you'll find grand hotels in impressive grounds.
Manchester's hotels are extremely busy when big football matches are on or if a big-name act is playing in a music venue, so book in advance to find the best hotel for you.
The city and its outskirts are peppered with a diverse range of attractions...
From science and modern art to football and shopping, there is something for everyone in Manchester.
Top five attractions
Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI)
This museum in the Castlefield area of the city centre looks at how science, industry and innovation have impacted modern society. Kids will love the interactive displays and going on a steam train ride.
Old Trafford Stadium Tour
Football fans from around the world flock to the famous Theatre of Dreams. The 70-minute tour will allow you explore the stands and even to have a nosey in the players' dressing room.
John Rylands Library
On Deansgate in the heart of the city centre, the Gothic building's impressive architecture - including vaulted ceilings and stained glass - will impress even the fussiest of visitors.
An arts venue in Salford Quays with exhibitions - including the largest public collection of works by LS Lowry worldwide - and two theatres where everything from musicals and ballet to Shakespeare is performed.
The Trafford Centre
Shopaholics will be in heaven in this huge mall, which is open until late. And, if you need a break from shopping, there's a food hall, a cinema, amusement arcades and a Laser Quest.
A happening city with a heaving calendar, you'll never be bored in buzzing Manchester...
Visit Manchester at any time of the year to be enthralled by the city's varied events offering.
Bupa Great Manchester Run; May; city centre: More than 40,000 runners pound Manchester's streets in this annual event. It's a great event if you take part, but avoid visiting during this weekend if you're not competing or supporting as hotels, bars and restaurants will be busy and many of the city centre streets will be closed.
Manchester Pride; August Bank Holiday; main events centre around Canal Street: This celebration of lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual life is an extremely popular event in Manchester and hotels get booked up months in advance. Events take place across the city centre and highlights include a parade on the Saturday and performances by big-name acts such as Pixie Lott and the Sugababes. If flamboyant celebrations sound good to you, buy a wristband and head to Canal Street to join the party. If not, plan your trip another weekend.
Manchester Christmas Markets; mid-November until late December; main market in Albert Square with others throughout the city centre: More and more stalls pop up every year in this popular Christmas market. Peruse the wooden chalets for Christmas gifts, sip on a steaming mug of gluhwein and keep your energy levels up by buying some of the tempting food on offer - from bratwurst to pancakes.