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Manchester, located in northwest England, Is the United Kingdom 's second the most populous urban area, with a population of 2 1/2 million. You know that cliche image you conjure up of Manchester and the dreary old north of England? Forget the smoke-filled skies and rowdy fans of football (aka soccer to Yanks). Actually Keep the rowdy footballer image, but replace smokestacks and gray skies with outdoor patio bars along brick-lined canals, up-and-coming indie rock bands playing in hipper-than-thou clubs and an international mix of university students, immigrants, and Brits escaping the anonymity of London to enjoy it all. In one evening, you can dine at a restaurant in Chinatown or go for a curry on Curry Mile, catch a performance at one of Manchester's 22 major concert halls and theaters, and end the night with a drink in the lively Gay Village (the vast LGBT community's main drag welcomes all Mancunians and visitors). Mancunians do love their football, and both Manchester United and Manchester City draw huge crowds. From warehouse hotels to city center hostels, sleeping well (and cheaply ) is easy about Manchester.