etihad stadium - manchester city

Making Football Memories: How to Plan the  Ultimate Trip to See a Manchester City FC Game

One of the world’s biggest (and richest) football clubs, Manchester City FC is one of the most successful clubs in England’s footballing history. Known as the Citizens to their millions of fans around the world, Manchester City FC has bagged 35 domestic, European, and international honours to date. 

Thinking of heading to Manchester to see the team set the pitch alight on their home ground? Doing so is a great idea. As well as being able to watch your favourite players show off their kicks and flicks, you’ll also have the opportunity to explore the sights and sounds of this vibrant, diverse city, home of the band Oasis, with its exciting arts and culture scene and rich history. Traveling for sports may sound daunting, but planning a trip is easier than you think. And I’m here to help with exactly that. Let’s get started.

What You Need to Know About Manchester City FC

Football legend Kevin De Bruyne and superstar Erling Haaland are just two of the top-flight players who call Manchester City FC home. The club’s home ground is the 53,400-capacity City of Manchester Stadium (known as the Etihad Stadium at the moment), which was originally built to host the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Manchester City FC is just the second English club to achieve a continental treble (in the 2022-2023 season) and became the first English club in the 2023-2024 season to bag four consecutive league titles. The club is known for its loyal and enthusiastic fans, who have a tendency to bring inflatables – often bananas – along to games! The team’s long-time rivals are fellow Mancunian team Manchester United FC. Fun fact? The team’s all-sky-blue strip is behind the team’s traditional fan song of Blue Moon, which you’re sure to hear on the terraces during your trip!

How Can I Get My Hands on Tickets for a Manchester City FC Match?

Being one of the most well-supported clubs in England, getting hold of a ticket for a home game may be difficult, but is more than doable. Buying your tickets as far in advance as possible is highly advisable to avoid disappointment. You’ve got two main options when it comes to purchasing Manchester City FC tickets: via the club itself or through a third-party platform or seller.

Buying Manchester City FC Tickets from the Club

Buying your match tickets directly from the club’s official website is the recommended route: this way, you’ll be sure to steer clear of scammers and not risk ending up with an invalid ticket. Consider signing up as a club member, which will give you priority access to tickets as well as money off tickets to see home games.

To really create a traveling for sports trip to remember, how about upgrading to a hospitality package? Available from the club’s official website, there are several hospitality packages that include premium tickets, fine dining, and access to the stadium’s lounges and entertainment.

Buying Tickets to See Manchester City FC from a Third-Party Site

The alternative option is to purchase tickets to see a Manchester City FC game from a third-party platform or seller. While this is the route many fans take to secure their tickets, it’s vital to take additional precautions to avoid being ripped off. Ensure that the seller or platform is legit, and uses SSL to process your payments. You can check whether this is the case simply by checking the site’s address bar. The site address should start with ‘https’ rather than simply ‘http.’

There are several trustworthy comparison sites out there that can help you find tickets and compare prices, giving you the information you need on each option.

Thinking about simply turning up on the day and buying a ticket from a tout? I strongly advise you to reconsider. Not only do you run the risk of not being able to get hold of a ticket at all, but there’s also a chance you’ll fall victim to a scam and end up parting with a large sum of cash in exchange for an invalid ticket.

Best Accommodation Options When Traveling to a Manchester City FC Game

Sorting out tickets to your chosen Manchester City FC game is just the first stage of the planning process. Now it’s time to book the accommodation for your stay. Choosing a hotel as close as possible to the stadium is generally a great idea. As well as spending less time (and money) on travel, you’re safe in the knowledge that there’ll be no last-minute panic on match day as you try to navigate your way through the city to the venue. With that in mind, I’ve detailed the best hotels below that are all within a mile of the City of Manchester Stadium.

Ibis Budget Manchester Centre

Affordable and super close to the venue, this hotel offers basic, clean, welcoming, and relatively cheap accommodation. It’s a great base from which to see a Manchester City FC game and explore the attractions of the city itself. All rooms have air-conditioning, and breakfast is available, too.

Leonardo Hotel Manchester

Choose the Leonardo Hotel Manchester for its proximity to both the stadium and Manchester Piccadilly train station. You can also make the most of the accommodation’s gym, stylish onsite bar and restaurant, and generous in-room amenities. There are a range of rooms to choose from, from standard to executive.

Holiday Inn Manchester

A popular option for travelers, the Holiday Inn is just a five-minute taxi ride to the City of Manchester Stadium, making it extremely convenient for catching a Citizens’ match. Those traveling with family will be happy to know that kids stay free at this accommodation. 

Getting to the City of Manchester Stadium: An Easy Guide

The great news is that the stadium is within walking distance of Manchester city centre and easily accessible via public transport.

On match days, there’s a designated bus service to ferry fans to and from the venue, with seventeen dedicated bus routes running around the Greater Manchester, Derbyshire, and Cheshire areas. Check out the full details here to help plan your matchday travel logistics. Other bus routes also operate throughout Manchester that will drop you off close to the stadium, including routes 201 and 203, which run from the city centre.

Alternatively, hop on the metro for a convenient and quick way to get to the stadium on match day. Services run regularly from Manchester Piccadilly station to the venue, a journey which takes only ten minutes and will drop you off at the north end of the stadium.

If you’re interested in cycling to the City of Manchester Stadium, you’re in luck: there are over 500 cycle parking spaces onsite and options to hire bikes throughout the city. Thinking about driving to the stadium? Parking spaces are extremely limited, so opting for public transport is definitely your best option.

Top Sports to Enjoy a Pre or Post-Match Drink

Enjoying a drink before kickoff or heading to a pub to celebrate (or commiserate) after the match is, for many, a key part of the match day experience. If you’ll be visiting Manchester for the first time, you don’t want to waste a single moment of your trip, so I’ve rounded up some great watering holes, which are all within a ten-minute walk of Manchester City FC’s home ground.

  • The Townley is a true oasis for Citizens’ fans and offers a warm welcome and popular pre-game pies. The pub has two beer gardens, perfect for enjoying a pint in the sunshine. Be aware, though, that The Townley can get very busy, especially on match days.
  • Bradford Inn, with its giant screens, is a great place to watch the pre-match build-up. It’s a lively, friendly establishment with a wide range of changing beers always on tap. Karaoke and sports tables add to the atmosphere and fun.
  • Grove Inn is a lovely little traditional pub, and really popular with fans heading to and from a Manchester City FC game. As well as showing live sports, the Grove Inn also puts on regular live entertainment and quizzes.
  • Vermilion is the place to head if you’re in the market for a cocktail or a few glasses of fine wine after the match. You’ll also find a stylish restaurant here, which serves up Indian, Thai, Korean, and Chinese fusion cuisine.

What are the Best Attractions to Take in Before or After a Manchester City FC Match?

Manchester is an exciting city, rich in culture, history, and heritage, and you’ll want at least a few days here to explore some of its most incredible attractions. Creating an itinerary before you head off is a great idea to help make the most of your time away and plan the experiences you want to have around seeing Manchester City FC play.

Check Out the Castlefield Canals

Now officially designated as an Urban Heritage Park, take the opportunity to explore Castlefield’s restored Victorian storehouses, former factories, and homes, and the Bridgewater Canal which was constructed in 1761 to transport coal into Manchester. Taking a trip on a canal tour boat is highly recommended.

Enjoy a Tour of the City of Manchester Arena

Why not get even closer to your Manchester City FC sporting heroes by taking a tour of their home ground? There are several different tours available, but all aim to provide a truly immersive experience, combining tech with a traditional guided tour to make for an unforgettable visit.

Visit the National Football Museum

Manchester is home to the National Football Museum, which should definitely make it onto your traveling for sports itinerary. Here, you’ll find a vast range of memorabilia relating to the game, including treasures such as the very first football rulebook. The museum regularly runs special events, so it’s worth checking out its website as part of planning your visit.

Marvel at Manchester Cathedral

An awe-inspiring building, Manchester Cathedral is one of the city’s must-see sights. With a history that can be traced back to the seventh century, the cathedral, then St Mary’s Church, is mentioned in the Domesday Book. While you’re here, be sure to explore the visitors’ centre to view the fifteenth-century Hanging Bridge, which formerly formed part of the main approach to the original church.

Traveling to a Manchester City Game is Easier to Plan Than You Think

For Manchester City FC fans around the world, seeing their team play live on their home ground is a dream. However, it’s a dream that really could come true! Make the most of these travel tips for a Manchester City match to ensure your trip runs smoothly and to pack in as many attractions as possible. From knowing the best hotels close to the stadium to the liveliest pubs in which to enjoy a post-match pint, some proper prior planning is all you need to ensure an epic trip.