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Manchester is a major city and metropolitan borough within Greater Manchester in North West England. The epicentre of a large conurbation, the City of Manchester has a population of 441,200, whilst the wider Greater Manchester Urban Area is home to 2,240,230 people, making it England's third largest conurbation after those of Greater London and the West Midlands.
Manchester is historically notable for being the world's first industrialised city, and the subsequent central role it played during the Industrial Revolution.
It was the dominant international centre of textile manufacture and cotton spinning.
During the 19th century, it was bestowed with the name Cottonopolis denoting that the area was a metropolis of cotton mills.
Manchester city centre is now on a "tentative list" of UNESCO World Heritage Sites—mainly based around its network of canals and mills, which facilitated its development during the 19th century.
Heralded as the "Capital of the North", and forming part of the English Core Cities Group, Manchester today is a centre of the arts, the media, higher education and commerce, and is considered by many of its citizens to be England's second city. Manchester is well known for its sporting connections being associated with two major Premiership League football teams, Manchester City and Manchester United and for having hosted the XVII Commonwealth Games in 2002
Manchester is the main retail centre of the North. There are two large shopping malls; the Manchester Arndale in the middle of the city and the out-of-town Trafford Centre. The city centre has a number of smaller shopping centres, including The Triangle, which caters for a more youthful and upmarket clientele and the Royal Exchange Centre. Manchester also has one of the largest ASDA-WalMart supercentres in the UK, close to the City of Manchester Stadium in Eastlands.
Manchester's Main Shopping District; Market StreetIn the central shopping area of the city centre, road access is all but impossible, making journeys around the city on foot quicker, safer and more convenient. The pedestrianised Market Street forms the core of the city centre's retail area. It is dominated on the north side by the Manchester Arndale and a branch of Debenhams.
The Shambles contains a branch of Harvey Nichols, a Marks and Spencer store, and a branch of Selfridges, as well as a variety of upmarket designer boutiques.
Deansgate also has many shops, including the department store House of Fraser (formerly Kendals), along with pubs and bars. King Street is an affluent shopping area where many exclusive fashion brands have stores. King Street also has many notable buildings preserved in a conservation area. Other hubs in the centre include St Ann's Square, and Exchange Square.
,br> Former stores, since gone, include Lewis's, Henry's, and Affleck and Brown. The building that housed Affleck and Brown is now known as Affleck's Palace. It consists of low-cost stalls for independent traders and creatives. Affleck's is on Oldham Street, in the Northern Quarter, along with a range of independent music, clothing, and other shops.
Food and drink
Manchester has a range of restaurants, bars, and clubs, spanning the famous "curry mile" in Rusholme to traditional ‘grub’, Chinatown, modern bars and bistros at Deansgate Locks in the city centre. There are now many top class restaurants.
There is a Hard Rock Cafe, chain restaurants such as Wagamama and bars that include Waxy O’Connors and The Living Room. The coffee chain Starbucks has 12 outlets in a 2 mile radius. Other, independent restaurants, bars and clubs can be found in the Northern Quarter area of the city centre.
Manchester is also famous for its beer, despite the closure of the Boddingtons brewery in 2005. Keg 'Boddies' is brewed by Interbrew in Luton but cask Boddington's continues to be brewed in the city by Hydes brewery in Moss Side. Hydes is a long established independent brewery. Another Manchester brewer is Joseph Holt, whose Derby Brewery in Cheetham is just round the corner from the defunct Boddingtons Strangeways brewery. The Royal Brewery in Moss Side — not far from Hyde's — brews McEwans lager. J W Lees brewery is in Middleton Junction, a few miles north of the city. There are also a notable number of microbreweries producing smaller quantities of high quality beer, cider and perry.
Breweries in Manchester and Salford which closed within the last twenty years include Wilson's, whose Newton Heath brewery closed in the late 1980s, and Whitbread/Chester's in Salford.