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Central Manchester is alive with the vibe of cutting-edge popular music and a swank, often fancy café, cocktail bar, and restaurant culture that keeps evolving at a dizzying speed. The city's once-grim industrial landscape, redeveloped since the late 1980s, includes tidied-up canals, cotton mills transformed into loft apartments, and stylish contemporary architecture that has pushed the skyline ever higher. Beetham Tower, the 12th-tallest building in Britain (the second tallest outside London since the addition of the Deansgate Square South Tower to the Manchester cityscape), stands proud and prominent. Since 2020, over £300 million of investment has unleashed another cultural boom that includes or will include several major city projects, including the expansion of several museums and music venues, the reopening of the Contact Theatre and the Manchester Jewish Museum, the launch of the OMA/Rem Koolhas-designed Factory cultural space (which will serve as the permanent home to the Manchester International Festival), and the opening of the RHS Garden Bridgewater. Manchester's imposing Town Hall is closed until 2024, but you can still admire its 280-foot-tall clock tower from the outside.

The now-defunct Haçienda Club marketed the 1980s rock band New Order to the world, and Manchester became the clubbing capital of England. Other Manchester-based bands like Joy Division, the Smiths, Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, and Oasis also rose to the top of the charts throughout the '70s, '80s, and '90s. The extraordinary success of the Manchester United and Manchester City football clubs has kept the eyes of sports fans around the world fixed firmly on Manchester.

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