Waterstone's on Deansgate is the largest bookshop in the North West. Spread out over several massive floors, you can find just about every book you could ever want here. They are known for their regular launch events and book signings and there is a free in-store magazine available to keep you informed about what is going on. Classical music or mellow jazz fills the store which is tastefully decorated in dark wood throughout. There is another small branch on St Ann's Square.
This store was established in 1857 and is very proud of its long heritage. The shoes, however, are thoroughly modern - some gorgeous, strappy wedge heels can be found here as well as traditional brogues and smart office lace-ups. The store's style is relaxed with warm, subdued lighting and a big, comfy sofa in the center where you can sit and try on the shoes of your dreams. In addition, at the back of the shop they offer a small choice of Church's hand-made footwear. There is also a branch at the Trafford Centre that stocks a similar range. For more information call +44 845 602 8168 or visit their website.
The Arndale is a massive, sprawling shopping center on Market Street. While the exterior is fairly anonymous, within you will find a clutch of well-known retailing names such as Benetton, Miss Selfridge, Ravel, Mothercare and Dixons. The Warner Bros. Studio Store is the undoubted focal point of the centre's foyer and provides occasional light shows and family entertainment. Other attractions include a large indoor market situated on the lower ground level and stalls range from bargain electronics, shoes and clothes, to one of the best fresh fish markets in Manchester.
Trafford Center is a vast shopping and entertainment complex. It houses over 280 different retailers and is filled with every chain-store imaginable including Mango, Muji, H & M and one of the only Selfridges outside London. Alternatively, you can stroll through the gargantuan 1600-seat food court, that is the Orient, which has its own streets and restaurants evoking New Orleans, New York, Italian and Chinese themes. There is also a 20-screen Odeon cinema and even accommodation at the on-site Orangery.
Vivienne Westwood is known as one of Britain's most flamboyant designers and this small but uniquely presented shop is a perfect example of her style. The shop-front is all varnished black wood and gleaming glass with a teak and polished brass sign hanging above. Walk through the narrow entrance and up some small steps to the second level, where racks of extravagant clothes fight for your attention with some outrageously over-the-top crystal chandeliers - adding to what is an impressively bizarre shopping experience.
This is probably the biggest and best of the famous Shudehill bookshops. The large floorspace is filled to the ceiling with books of all kinds with music playing loud enough to be heard on the street outside. Heavily into science fiction—most specifically satisfying the needs of Star Trek fans—other shelf listings include everything from Shakespeare to sociology. The Exchange is open seven days a week and they also pay cash for any books, CDs, videos or LPs you might wish to sell.
This crafty store began in 1886, when the original Fred came up with the idea to supply materials to those who liked to handcraft things. Today, after 120 years of business, Fred Aldous carries a long list of supplies, kits, books and such to those who are looking for innovative do it yourself projects, also known as, D.I.Y. From art supplies, beads, stationary, books, candle making items and so much more.
Fig and Sparrow is a delightful little cafe/shop where artists come to play. The cafe came in to existence in an effort to provide artists and all a warm and inviting place to relax and explore their creativity. The cafe menu features a variety of beverages including the ever popular coffee, some delicious cakes and snacks. The cafe also incorporates in to its premises a shop selling cards, artwork, crafts, homeware, etc. designed and created by local and international artists, alongside fair trade coffee. A great place to relax, get some work done, or meet with friends and colleagues, Fig and Sparrow has very quickly come to be a much loved fixture in the Northern Quarter.
Afflecks is the place for Manchester trend setters and alternative-minded shoppers. Shop owners and small retail outlets share the floor in this multi-level market. The stairs decorated with posters, fliers, photographs and personal ads give the whole place an irreverent, independent feel. Browse vintage and club clothes, jeans, secondhand and rare music, watches and jewelry. There are some excellent gift and card shops on the ground floor, as well as a hairdresser and skate shop. You can even find a couple of body piercers and tattooists.
Based in the Northern Quarter, Forbidden Planet, is possibly the definitive science fiction and fantasy collectors store in the city. Over two jam-packed floors you can find items covering Star Trek, Babylon 5, Thunder birds, Dr.Who, Star Wars, Buffy, Pokemon and many more. On the upper floor there is a full array of action figures from cult movies to plenty of videos and clothing. The lower floor is dedicated to US comics, graphic novels, posters and books. A comprehensive mail order catalog is also available on request.