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Manchester, U.K. attractions

The wheels of progress are spinning madly in Manchester, England. Or, in this case, the Wheel of Manchester, which is located between the 16th century Old Wellington Inn and the steel-and-glass Selfridges store in Exchange Square. The industrial city, once a grim breeding ground for punk and post-punk bands, has been transformed into a lively place teeming with cafes, culture and music, of course. (Gary M. Prior / For The Times)
The old and the new: A modern footbridge crosses near a solidly built brick span in Castlefield, a beautifully restored section just south of the city center. It’s the best place to find the old, industrial Manchester, with its iron bridges, railway viaducts and picturesque brick walls. (Gary M. Prior / For The Times)
The medieval-style John Rylands University Library, at the University of Manchester, has just been restored. The city has an enormous student population. Couple that with its restaurants, cafe life, music scene, strong gay culture, a large Chinatown, the famed Curry Mile for South Asian food and arguably the most popular “football” team in the world, and you have an English city second only to London. Top that, Liverpool. (Gary M. Prior / For The Times)
Manchester’s neo-Gothic Town Hall is the focal point of Albert Square. The bench and shade trees make it a nice people-watching spot. The city is good to pedestrians — almost everything is within walking distance. (Gary M. Prior / For The Times)
The ultra-sleek Beetham towers over the Deansgate area of Manchester. Times staff writer Scott Timberg writes that the glass-skinned tower — which houses the city’s new Hilton — offers a vista as stirring in its way as the view from the Campanile in Florence, with its lavish vision of Renaissance Italy. (Gary M. Prior / For The Times)
The neighborhood of Castlefield is home to the Barça bar, in Catalan Square. Once site of the city’s original Roman fort, Mamucium, Castlefield became Britain’s first urban heritage park and is now full of hip warehouse flats. (Gary M. Prior / For The Times)
The ultramodern Lowry arts complex is one of the main attractions at the revived Quays in Salford, just a short train ride from the city center. The Lowry has a lot to offer, with galleries as well as music performances and theater. The complex is named after artist L.S. Lowry. (Gary M. Prior / For The Times)
A barge passes Sugar Lounge in Deansgate Locks, an area next to Castlefield that is now home to trendy bars and clubs set into railroad archways. Don’t feel like partying or have the kids in tow? Try the nearby Museum of Science and Industry, an enormous, family-friendly compound in an 1830s train station. (Gary M. Prior / For The Times)
Pedestrians travel an alley that snakes around one of Manchester’s landmarks, the Central Library. The library, which was built in the 1930s, is located in St. Peter’s Square, near the Town Hall. (Gary M. Prior / For The Times)