Manchester is home to a large Asian immigrant community and Chinatown has been the nexus of the East Asian community since the 1970s. It’s where you’ll find most of the city’s finest Chinese and Japanese restaurants and it’s also a great place to find imported Chinese goods.
The South Asian community is concentrated along the Curry Mile in Rusholme, where you’ll find curry restaurants and shops selling saris and fine jewelry.
While Queer as Folk was mostly about middle class gays in the 1999-era Canal Street Gay Village, Shameless takes place in the "housing estates" (US: "projects") of today. Both got American make-overs as US viewers have trouble understanding British working class and regional accents, and British TV is often too raunchy for the FCC. For an over-the-top peek at life in Manchester, see these shows.
With 8 seasons to date, Shameless follows the Gallagher family, and later the neighboring Maguires, with lots of interaction between them. Gay references are frequent. Both families have closeted gay sons. Early on, shopboy Ian Gallagher is humping the South Asian shop owner, Kash. Ian's older brother Lip and Kash's wife Yvonne find out, with interesting coming-to-terms for all. Later Ian pals with Mickey Maguire. The one-time sex is casual, but in friendship they carve out a space in Chatsworth Estate, careful to keep secrets from their dads.
Ian's younger brother Carl, who grows up on the series, seems fine --all smiles in a gay bar his girlfriend's gay brother Brian takes them to. One of few original characters, Carl has become the young stud -- the writers find endless ways to get the clothes off him. Elliott Tittensor, the actor, also seems unfazed. Although Elliott's not known to be gay, his character Daz has a naked romp with another boy in the recent short Protect Me from What I Want (2009); see BoysOnFilm4.
Other gay Shameless roles include: the Gallagher clan's mother Monica, who ran off with her truck-driving girlfriend Norma; the local woman pub owner; Ian's and Mickey's various boyfriends - cops to small-time crooks; and a psychopathic gangster, Roscoe. Gays and sex are just part of an amazing and witty foray beyond the pale, tackling issues of class, drugs, family, and getting by in hard times. As Frank Gallagher, played by David Threlfall, says: "... they all know how to throw a paa'eee."
Manchester’s wealth during the industrial revolution led it to invest in gorgeous public buildings, like the current Manchester Town Hall, decked out in beautiful neo-Gothic flourishes. Free tours are available, and will take you to the state rooms and the Great Hall, exquisitely decorated with pre-Raphaelite paintings of Manchester’s past by Ford Maddox Brown. You’ve likely seen the town hall on television, where it’s frequently used as a stand-in for the British Parliament.
If it’s sports in Manchester, it’s got to be Manchester United FC, the self-proclaimed “world’s most popular football team.” The rivalry with Liverpool FC is legendary and produces the most exciting games and largest crowds.
Manchester is spoiled for fine historical museums. Make sure you visit the Imperial War Museum North, housed in a fantastic building designed by Daniel Libeskind. It tells the story of war from the perspective of people who lived it – from the workers in factories and shipyards at home to the soldiers on the battlefield. The Manchester Art Gallery has a great collection of fine art, decorative arts, and costumes. Of particular note is the gallery’s vast collection of pre-Raphaelite paintings.
The original Queer As Folk television series made Manchester’s Canal Street famous – and irresistible – to a certain generation of queers and a visit to Village will not disappoint. The Village is home to a rowdy party scene that’s popular with both straights and gays, as well as to smaller gay-friendly bars, cafes, and restaurants. Canal Street itself is a pedestrianized street along the historic Rochdale Canal, the perfect place to run along shouting “I’m doin’ it! I’m fuckin’ doin’ it.” Look out for the defaced street signs that read “Anal Street” or “Anal Treet.”