From laidback day dates by the water to the ultimate icebreakers, Manchester has it all. When all you’re worried about is what first impression you’ll make, or if you can’t find each other, or wait… did you leave the iron on? Here’s our guide to the perfect first date spots in Manchester, so you don’t need to think, just do.
1. Enjoy a waterside drink
There’s nothing more romantic than drinks by the water – particularly if you’re looking for first date spots in Manchester with a view. Whether it’s a quiet spot by Salford Quays you fancy, or a bit more hustle and bustle in Castlefield, Manchester’s watersides ain’t too shabby. In fact, they’re pretty picturesque – making for a memorable spot to impress a potential beau.
2. Eat your way through one of Manchester’s street food markets
Found yourself a fellow foodie? Get to know each other (and your tastebuds!) a little better at one of Manchester’s lovely street food markets. Because let’s face it, we have enough of them. Whether it’s Escape to Freight Island for NYC pizza or GRUB for their ever-changing themed market days, there are plenty of places to try out in the city. Enough for even a second date, maybe?
3. Get to know one another at one of Manchester’s lovely wine bars
Is there really a better way to break the ice than a nice, cold bottle of wine? We don’t personally think so. Whether it’s a full-bodied glass of red you prefer or a crisp, refreshing sauvignon – there’s a bottle for all preferences at Manchester’s many wine bars. Whether you’re after something a bit fancier or more laidback, the city has it all in the form of bars such as Provence and The Beeswing.
4. Head for a romantic stroll around Castlefield
A pocket-friendly date that everyone can enjoy: a romantic stroll around Castlefield. On a sunny day, the area of the city centre can actually be pretty picturesque, thanks to its industrial redbrick buildings, waterside bars, and, of course, the sparkling stretch of canal glimmering under the rare Manchester sun. Ahh, bliss. There’s even the opportunity to book in for free at the Castlefield Viaduct High Line, making use of one of Manchester’s most iconic industrial relics and seeing the city from a new perspective. If you love a bit of history, there’s also plenty of Roman ruins to explore – see if you can find the earliest piece of Roman masonry, hidden in plain sight.
5. Grab a controller at any of Manchester’s gaming bars
Unleash your competitive side with a low key date at Manchester spots like Pixel Bar or the popular NQ64 – a great option for those who tend to find a first date a little nerve-racking. Grab a booth for a little privacy and pick a console, before challenging each other to a fun game where you can take the pressure off, enjoy a cocktail (or two) and use the game as a bit of a social buffer at any of Manchester’s gaming bars.
6. Ditch the booze for a bit of brunch
If you’re one of those people that doesn’t need booze to help break the ice – because hey, those people exist, too – a delicious brunch at one of Manchester’s prettiest restaurants is the way to go. Not only will you feel like you’re on an *actual* date, but you can also bond over a shared love of pancakes, too. Winner.
7. Gorge on chocolate together
If there’s one food that would reign monarch of romance, it’d be chocolate. And it’s served in hefty quantities at Cocoa Cabana, Ancoats. Infiltrating everything on the menu from afternoon tea to the cocktails, the cakes and the hot drinks – guests can truly enjoy a delectable sugar feast at the Ancoats bar, with plenty of treats on offer to treat yourself to. Cocoa Cabana, 7 Murray St, Ancoats, M4 6HS.
8. Take a day trip away from the monotony of life
OK, not strictly in Manchester, but there are so many beautiful natural date locations accessible from Manchester, whether that be via train, bus, or car. Whether its going for a hike around Saddleworth, or exploring the winding streets of Chester, a nice day out is a great way to get to know someone – providing you feel safe doing so, of course. A day trip could even work if there’s a group of you wanting to breathe the fresh air – invite a date along to join the ride and see how they bounce off your friends or family.
9. Go to a live show
Music or theatre fans could find it easiest to break the ice with a common interest, and we have plenty of gigs and theatre shows to go around in Manchester. Having a dance and a sing can often put the cat amongst the pigeons, with many people having strong opinions on how to act at gigs, for example whether you stand and bop your head or really let your hair down. Similarly, judging theatre etiquette may be a good way to gauge whether a date is the one for you, but either way you’ll have a great time!
10. Explore Manchester’s galleries and museums
Art galleries and museums in Manchester could be another interesting first date spot using common interests, however it also shows a willingness from your date (and yourself) to explore and learn more, whatever their interests may be. Perhaps staring at a huge canvas of Renaissance art isn’t at the top of your wish list, but there are plenty of other pieces of history and culture to discover, as well as learning about the other person’s interests.
We have our fair share of galleries and museums here in Manchester, where most of the spots tend to be fairly serene, low-pressure environments, meaning you’ll have the chance to talk properly, if you so wish, on your first date.