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All You Need to Know about Manchester's Chinatown

All You Need to Know about Manchester’s Chinatown 

Visiting Chinatown is a staple in every tourist attraction, and this place is where you’ll find cheap Chinese ornaments, authentic food, and great deals when you’re travelling. So if you’re in Manchester, you may wonder if it has a Chinatown and if it’s worth a stop.

Manchester has its very own Chinatown in the heart of the city, with numerous shops, restaurants, and bakeries. It is over 100 years old and is considered to be the second largest Chinatown in the UK and one of the largest outside China.

Are you ready to have a short adventure in Manchester’s Chinatown? Read on to see what it’s all about and the fun activities you can do there!

Where is Chinatown in Manchester?

Where is Chinatown in Manchester
Image credits: David Dixon 

Manchester’s Chinatown is a small area located alongside Faulkner Street in the centre of the city itself. It is right across Gay Village, just behind the Town Hall.

How to Get There

Trains: The easiest (and often, the fastest) way to get around Chinatown Manchester is by train. You can take the Manchester Piccadilly station train to Eccles (Blue line).

Buses: The Chinatown (Stop CK) offers a great, above-ground alternative to the Manchester Piccadilly Train system. All you have to do is pick between the 101 and 50 bus routes to get to Manchester Chinatown.

Taxis: There are several taxi companies in Manchester — Taxicode is a great option that accepts credit cards and has its own app and online website.

How old is Manchester’s Chinatown? 

Manchester’s Chinatown is over 100 years old and is still going strong. It’s a testament to the enduring spirit of the Chinese community and their incredible contribution to the city’s cultural landscape.

The first Chinese settlers in Manchester arrived in the early 20th century. They came with their vibrant culture, delicious food, and incredible skills, and soon enough, the community started to thrive. 

By the 1960s, a thriving Chinatown had emerged in the city centre, complete with stunning architecture, lively festivals, and an amazing array of shops and restaurants. 

Today, it’s a diverse and bustling neighbourhood, full of colourful lanterns, delicious smells, and fascinating cultural traditions.

Things to Do in Manchester Chinatown

Things to Do in Manchester Chinatown's Homepage
Chinatown Manchester” (CC BY 2.0) by calydelphoto

You’ll be surprised at the sheer amount of things that you can do while visiting Manchester’s Chinatown. If you’re ready to have a blast seeing unique trinkets and tasting delicious Chinese cuisine, then you’ve come to the right place! 

Let’s check out some fun activities we can do while exploring the roots of Manchester Chinatown! 

Tour around the famous restaurants and cafes

Tour around the famous restaurants and cafes' Homepage
China City, Chinatown, Manchester” (CC BY 2.0) by Gene Hunt

Why not start the day right and eat some succulent Chinese dishes from the best restaurants and cafes nearby Manchester’s Chinatown?  

After resto-hopping around the area, I can safely say that I’ve been to these amazing restaurants and can share a few things about what I think. 

At China City, the menu is quite good and they have amazing dimsum specials that are incredibly tasty. I’d recommend the pecking duck and dumplings if you’re going to visit the restaurant for the first time—it’s that good! 

As for Happy Seasons, I think it’s the best Chinese restaurant in Manchester’s Chinatown.  From their in-house tea (tea shop Manchester) to their noodles, no item on the menu is boring, and they are all delicious and are worth every penny you spend on them! 

While Chinatown’s restaurants aren’t pricey like closer establishments, Jade City is among the more costly menus you can find. However, it is still relatively cheaper than most competitors. 

What I love about their food is they are carefully prepared and the attention to detail is simply exquisite! I would be ecstatic to try their dishes again someday if I can save up the money and time to come here! 

Participate in cultural events and festivals 

Participate in cultural events and festivals ' Homepage
Image credits: David Dixon 

Chinese festivals are always something worth seeing! You’ll definitely have a lot of fun joining these activities, and some occur at specific periods of the year. 

Check out some of my favourite Chinatown festivals in Manchester that you’ll definitely enjoy! 

Chinese Lunar New Year 

Chinese New Year is the most significant festival in the Chinese calendar—and it also happens to be the most important festival in all of Chinatown (understandably)! You can expect huge firework shows and dancing dragons to roam around the streets. 

This event occurs every late January to mid-February, and the Manchester’s Chinatown hosts a variety of small activities like lion dancing, fireball wars, and street food actions! 

The actual date of the Chinese New Year varies each year. But not to worry, as you’ll immediately know when it will be held as it is one of the biggest holidays in the world.

Mid-Autumn Festival 

Did you know that the dragon dance activity also occurs during one of China’s most popular holidays, the Mid-Autumn Festival? 

Also known as the Mooncake Festival, this fun Chinese holiday takes place in September and early October and is paying homage to the harvest and mooncakes that are being made on a yearly basis. 

So, what to expect when celebrating this festival in Manchester Chinatown? You can pretty much see Chinese lanterns, traditional clothes, hear Chinese music, and watch dance performances everywhere you look in the Manchester Chinatown centre. 

And oh, you can buy cheap mooncakes as well which taste delicious! If you’re lucky, there’ll be a family nearby giving these out for free— so keep an eye on them!

Dragon Boat Festival 

The Dragon Boat Festival is an annual Chinese holiday that takes place around June or early July where boat races occur near the River Irwell in Manchester. 

Similar to Chinese New Year, this festival has common activities with said holiday where dragon and lion dances happen. You can also expect exquisite food everywhere as tourists and locals love to taste the amazing snacks and goodies available.

What makes this festival so fun is you’ll get the chance to participate in the boat races which is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you have to try. 

Chinese Arts and Culture Festival 

Chinese Arts and Culture Festival's Homepage

At the Chinese Arts and Culture Festival, you can see some traditional Chinese dances (Row 299, dance classes Manchester) happening on the streets. If you’re lucky, you can even watch and participate in competitions which are truly a blast! 

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From min_ngai_arts_crafts

Not only will there be contemporary Chinese dances, but you can also watch martial arts displays and art exhibitions that celebrate Chinese culture here in Manchester. 

This is a must-see event and you can’t afford to miss this one out—especially if you’re an art aficionado! There are prizes to be won as well, so stay tuned to those announcements if there are any. 

Visit Chinese arches and gateways 

Chinese arches are big entrances that immediately make you feel like you’re in a different place entirely despite being still in the Manchester area. 

The arch in Manchester Chinatown is located in front of the entrance to the place, and it’s quite hard to miss. 

In Chinese culture and mythology, the arch or the paifang symbolises good fortune and prosperity. It is often built at the entrance of important places such as palaces and temples. 

Chinese businessmen who built Chinatown in different places in the world almost always put up the paifang to signify wealth and success. 

This alone is worth the visit to Manchester Chinatown — and I hope my year goes lucky after stepping inside this beautiful gate! 

Shop around supermarkets and shopping centres 

Shop around supermarkets and shopping centres' Homepage
Woo Sang, Chinatown, Manchester” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Matthew_Hartley

Who doesn’t like shopping? Going out to shop in Manchester’s Chinatown is even a better experience since everything is cheaper as far as the eyes can see! 

I think these few shops are the best to shop around, and they sell the best trinkets, food, and souvenirs you can find here at Manchester Chinatown!

Hang Won Hong has every Chinese, Korean, and Japanese food and more! I love this shop, and while it may be one the smaller side, it has all the things you need which is enough for me to give it a seal of approval! 

Moreover, Wing Fat Supermarket (Row 874, flea market Manchester) is probably the biggest shop I’ve visited in Manchester Chinatown, but it didn’t have the usual things I wanted to buy (souvenirs, specific keychains, etc). 

However, the place is also quite packed with items and I love the ambience inside. It’s worth taking a photo or two to post on your social media sites to prove that you’ve visited Manchester’s Chinatown! 

Probably the most popular shop (convenience store Manchester) in Manchester Chinatown, Tuk Tuk Mart, is full of great surprises like spicy noodles and souvenirs. 

This store is definitely well-balanced with food and trinkets to buy, and they are pretty affordable as well. While I still find the Hang Won Hong slightly better, I still love this place due to its popularity! 

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