Manchester’s Next Best Place to Watch the Match, After Old Trafford

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A Manchester United fan outside of Old Trafford stadium.

A Manchester United fan outside of Old Trafford stadium.

I spent a wonderful Easter in Manchester, England, yesterday, beginning with a tour of some of the city’s architectural highlights with local guide John Ryan.  In a drizzle that people here are very used to, we saw Lincoln Square, where a life-size Abe with crazy wavy hair stands at attention.  The city’s beautiful central library was another stand-out, with a Gothic side and a classical side, as well as city hall, which John said, was built to be as magnificent as possible to show the world how rich and successful this textile center of the world it was back in the day.

Manchester's elegant City Hall.

Manchester’s elegant City Hall.

All over Manchester, I saw the city’s symbol–the busy bee.  Today these former mills are repurposed for all manner of uses, as were many other huge buildings. One building that was the central train station is now the convention center, and a cavernous building once filled with printing presses is now a shopping arcade.

I have long loved Premier League football, and here, there are two teams in the bigs–Manchester City and Manchester United. I took a tramway to Old Trafford, a futuristic and famous stadium where ManU plays and joined a boisterous crowd as men

Scarves for sale outside of Old Trafford.

Scarves for sale outside of Old Trafford.

hawked Match day scarves and giant hotdogs.

While I would have loved to be able to buy a ticket to the match between Chelsea and Manchester, which go for about 100-180 pounds, I settled for the next best thing. A seat in front of one of dozens of televisions at Cafe Football, right across the street. The place was jammed with fans wearing red, and my chicken curry pie and Manchester-brewed beer was delicious! I spent a long time watching the first match, Liverpool

Cafe Football, across the street from Old Trafford, is the perfect place to watch the game.

Cafe Football, across the street from Old Trafford, is the perfect place to watch the game.

and West Brom, then the place thinned out as the big match at Old Trafford began.  Goals produced loud cheers and the game was a tough tussle, with a lot of shoving and yellow cards.

After the match I joined a sea of people all trying to make it to the tram was rain gently fell. I was glad I brought my hooded raincoat–and felt bad for the many hat-less fans who waited with me for the tram back to central Manchester.

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Max Hartshorne
Max Hartshorne has been the editor of the travel website since 2002. Over the past decade, he has had the privilege of working with writers and publishing travel articles about nearly every country in the world. He has also been a consistent world traveler, writing hundreds of his own travel stories and posting daily blogs from the 10 or more yearly international trips he takes around the world.

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