Where to Go Shopping in Manchester, UK

Find the perfect bespoke gift at one of Manchester's independent shops
Find the perfect bespoke gift at one of Manchester's independent shops | © Ian G Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Simon Bland
10 August 2020

Where to go shopping in Manchester? It’s a good question and one that’ll get varied results depending on who you ask. Manchester’s Arndale Centre may be the main focus of the city’s shopping scene, but look beyond into the many Northern Quarter stores or pop-up boutiques and you’ll find a wealth of quirky – and often handmade – gifts. From record stores stocking the city’s newest musical acts, to homeware stores with a distinctly Northern flair, we’ve rounded up the best shops to visit during your trip to Manchester.

Oklahoma

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Oklahoma gift shop located on High Street in the Northern Quarter area of Manchester.
© Russell Hart / Alamy Stock Photo
A trip to Oklahoma is guaranteed to brighten your day. This cheery, chic space on the edge of the Northern Quarter is adorned with colourful paper garlands and packed with obscure gifts, nostalgic toys and trinkets, as well as jewellery made by local artists. Bold and fun, its curiosity-shop vibe is balanced nicely with its range of quirky-yet-practical homeware items and vibrant clothing range. We dare you to leave without buying something. It can’t be done!

Thunder Egg

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Courtesy of Thunder Egg
A staple of the Northern Quarter’s alternative retail scene, Thunder Egg has been providing customers with handmade clothing, jewellery and homeware treats since 1990. Its turquoise and pink signage make this boutique on Oldham Street hard to miss – and once inside, its cosy and colourful space proves that good things come in small packages. It may only have two floors – but you’ll likely lose hours browsing its cute, locally created clothing and oddball decor.

Magma

Shop, Bookstore
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Right next door to Thunder Egg you’ll find another legendary Northern Quarter store: the print-loving Magma. A popular hipster hangout, this art, design and magazine store has probably helped thousands of students find their alternative identities thanks to its range of obscure, pop culture-obsessed literature and hard-to-find zines. Much like Thunder Egg, don’t be fooled by its size: Magma has eaten up many an avid culture-lover’s afternoon.

Glass House

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Enter Glass House Plants in Whitworth Locke, and you’re met with a sea of pinks and greens. The latter comes courtesy of the store’s many potted flowers, plants and assorted greenery, which are available alongside a range of organic homeware items like vegan bath soaps, earthy ceramics and pastel-coloured art prints. The former is thanks to its vibrant pink wall space, which has made this shop a favourite for local Instagrammers.

Piccadilly Records

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Piccadilly Records. 53 Oldham St, Manchester.
© Howard Harrison / Alamy Stock Photo
You simply can’t plan a day trip to Manchester and not visit one of its many record stores. With a number of notable spots on offer, it’s hard to suggest just one – but Piccadilly Records on Oldham Street is likely to scratch any vinyl itches you may have, with its rows-upon-rows of records – both old and brand spankin’ new. Unsure what you’re after? Their approachable and highly informed staff will waste no time introducing you to your new favourite band.

Deadstock General Store

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Combining nostalgic simplicity with sleek modern design, Deadstock General Store is a bohemian clothing and gift store that harkens back to an age where less was more. Its wooden floorboards give the impression of stepping back in time to where finding the perfect writing pen required consideration and thought, and its array of beanies, flasks and toiletries make it the perfect place to find a bespoke gift for the distinguished friend or family member in your life.

These recommendations were updated on August 10, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.