48 hours in Manchester
All too often overshadowed by England's capital city and yet just four hours south, Manchester has become a rising star in recent years thanks to a big renovation and rejuvenation of the city center. The results are impressive, with ultra-modern buildings sharing the skyline with historic neo-Gothic structures.
Compact and walkable, Manchester is now home to an awe-inspiring number of museums and galleries, complemented by an ever-growing array of independent stores, cafes, bars and restaurants to suit every taste. Clearly, this city has stepped out of London's shadow, so learn what you can do when you visit.
After landing at Manchester Airport, you're only 10 miles south of the city center. The easiest way into the city is by train, which takes 20 minutes and drops you off at Manchester Piccadilly in the heart of the city. Tickets cost around $6 and the train runs every 10 minutes. Check timetables at tpexpress.co.uk. A taxi should be quicker, but expect to pay from around $30.
What to see
When you create your itinerary, make sure to include the following attractions.
Manchester Art Gallery is home to more than 25,000 objects of fine art, decorative art and costumes dating back more than 200 years. Manchester's most renowned artist is L.S. Lowry, whose work can be admired at The Lowry, while a little further south of the city you'll find The Whitworth gallery, surrounded by the equally beautiful Whitworth Park.
Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry is equally impressive. With five buildings home to everything from a Victorian sewer you can explore to a space craft, it's an excellent option if you have kids. Manchester Museum is another great option with its Egyptian mummies, T-Rex skeleton and reptiles, as is Sea Life Manchester that's home to 5,000 sea creatures large and small.
For a quieter experience, head to John Rylands Library. Open to the public since 1900, it's housed inside an imposing neo-Gothic building with stained glass windows and intricate vaulted ceilings. For an even more enchanting library experience, head to Chetham's, the oldest surviving public library in the English-speaking world.
At some point during your stay, grab a coffee (try TAKK or North Tea Power) and take a stroll down to Brazennose Street. There you'll find an unexpected statue of Abraham Lincoln that commemorates the support local cotton workers gave to President Lincoln in his fight for the abolition of slavery during the Civil War.
Walk through the Northern Quarter and on to Ancoats, and look for one of Manchester's more unusual experiences: brass peepholes installed on buildings to give passers-by a glimpse into the area's industrial past. There's no map to help you find these, so you'll have to keep an eye out, but that just adds to the fun.
Even if you're not a football (or soccer) follower, you'll quickly notice that the city is split into two colors – blue and red for Manchester City and Manchester United. Manchester United (red) has the greater history, but Manchester City (blue) has recently become more dominant. If you're in the city between August and May, head for City's Etihad Stadium or United's Old Trafford to experience the rivalry for yourself or take a tour of the stadiums. There's also the National Football Museum, an interactive experience for football fans of all ages.
Finally, if you want an expert to show you around, take a guided tour. Manchester Guided Tours offer a wide number of walks that last between 90 minutes and two hours. If you want to see the city from a different angle, take to one of the many waterways around the city and sit back with a glass of wine as the city gently passes you by.
Where to eat
Manchester's multicultural makeup means that practically every nationality of food is available, with prices to suit every budget. Seek out Mr. Thomas's Chop House for classic British food in a beautiful Victorian building, La Bandera for high-end Spanish, Rosso for Italian and 63 Degrees for chic Parisian. Australasia offers ultra-showy Aussie fare, and Greens is the city's best vegetarian restaurant, while Rudy's , Almost Famous and Mughli are busy for good reason thanks to their delicious pizza, burgers and curry.
For the city's best nightlife, head to the Northern Quarter, a trendy neighborhood full of street art, galleries and independent stores by day, and bars, music venues and the restaurants listed above by night. For a traditional British pub experience, head to The Marble Arch Inn, The Castle Hotel or the Crown & Kettle which boasts the best ceiling in the city.
Enjoy the best of the bar scene, by trying killer cocktails at Ply, Allotment Bar, Apotheca, Keko Moku and Kosmonaut. And for late night drinks, head to Blackdog Ballroom, where you can happily imbibe until 4 a.m. or until you fall asleep, whichever comes first.
When to visit
It's often cool and rainy in Manchester, even in the height of summer, so pack accordingly. June to August brings the warmest weather with daytime temperatures averaging between 65°F and 68°F. If you prefer milder weather, March- May and September-October are cooler, quieter and every bit as good.
Beyond the city
While the city has plenty to offer, Manchester is also within reach of one of the UK's great jewels: the Peak District National Park. If you want to explore beyond the city, rent a car and take the hour drive to the breathtaking park where you'll be surrounded by the great outdoors. Explore at a more leisurely pace on foot or bike and stay overnight in Buxton, Edale, Castleton or the town of Bakewell which is famous for its pudding.
Right now, around the world, brave members of America's armed forces are on duty, defending our freedom and upholding our values.
When not laser-focused on the mission at hand, they're looking forward to the day when their service to our nation is fulfilled and they can reunite with their families.
They are also imagining how they can use their hard-earned skills to build an exciting, rewarding and important career when they return home.
I want them to look no further than United Airlines.
That's why we are focused on recruiting, developing and championing veterans across our company, demonstrating to our returning women and men in uniform that United is the best possible place for them to put their training, knowledge, discipline and character to the noblest use.
They've developed their knowledge and skills in some of the worst of times. We hope they will use those skills to keep United performing at our best, all of the time.
That's why we are accelerating our efforts to onboard the best and the brightest, and substantially increasing our overall recruitment numbers each year.
We recently launched a new sponsorship program to support onboarding veterans into United and a new care package program to support deployed employees. It's one more reason why United continues to rank high - and rise higher - as a top workplace for veterans. In fact, we jumped 21 spots this year on Indeed.com's list of the top U.S workplaces for veterans. This is a testament to our increased recruiting efforts, as well as our efforts to create a culture where veterans feel valued and supported.
We use the special reach and resources of our global operations to partner with outstanding organizations. This is our way of stepping up and going the extra mile for all those who've stepped forward to answer our nation's call.
We do this year-round, and the month of November is no exception; however, it is exceptional, especially as we mark Veterans Day.
As we pay tribute to all Americans who have served in uniform and carried our flag into battle throughout our history, let's also keep our thoughts with the women and men who are serving around the world, now. They belong to a generation of post-9/11 veterans who've taken part in the longest sustained period of conflict in our history.
Never has so much been asked by so many of so few.... for so long. These heroes represent every color and creed. They are drawn from across the country and many immigrated to our shores.
They then freely choose to serve in the most distant and dangerous regions of the world, to protect democracy in its moments of maximum danger.
Wherever they serve - however they serve - whether they put on a uniform each day, or serve in ways which may never be fully known, these Americans wake up each morning willing to offer the "last full measure of devotion" on our behalf.
Every time they do so, they provide a stunning rebuke to the kinds of voices around the world who doubt freedom and democracy's ability to defend itself.
Unfortunately, we know there are those who seem to not understand – or say they do not - what it is that inspires a free people to step forward, willing to lay down their lives so that their country and fellow citizens might live.
But, we – who are both the wards and stewards of the democracy which has been preserved and handed down to us by veterans throughout our history – do understand.
We know that inciting fear and hatred of others is a source of weakness, not strength. And such divisive rhetoric can never inspire solidarity or sacrifice like love for others and love of country can.
It is this quality of devotion that we most honor in our veterans - those who have served, do serve and will serve.
On behalf of a grateful family of 96,000, thank you for your service.
Each year around Veterans Day, Indeed, one of the world's largest job search engines, rates companies based on actual employee reviews to identify which ones offer the best opportunities and benefits for current and former U.S. military members. Our dramatic improvement in the rankings this year reflects a stronger commitment than ever before to actively recruiting, developing and nurturing veteran talent.
"We've spent a lot of time over the past 12 months looking for ways to better connect with our employees who served and attract new employees from the military ranks," said Global Catering Operations and Logistics Managing Director Ryan Melby, a U.S. Army veteran and the president of our United for Veterans business resource group.
"Our group is launching a mentorship program, for instance, where we'll assign existing employee-veterans to work with new hires who come to us from the armed forces. Having a friend and an ally like that, someone who can help you translate the skills you picked up in the military to what we do as a civilian company, is invaluable. That initiative is still in its infancy, but I'm really optimistic about what it can do for United and for our veteran population here."
Impressively, we were the only one of our industry peers to move up on the list, further evidence that we're on a good track as a company.
The question of where David Ferrari was had haunted retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major Vincent Salceto for the better part of 66 years.
Rarely did a week go by that Salceto didn't think about his old friend. Often, he relived their last moments together in a recurring nightmare. In it, it's once again 1953 and Salceto and Ferrari are patrolling a valley in what is now North Korea. Suddenly, explosions shatter the silence and flares light up the night sky.
Crouching under a barrage of bullets, Salceto, the squad's leader, drags two of his men to safety, then he sees Ferrari lying face down on the ground. He runs out to help him, but he's too late. And that's when he always wakes up.
Italian Americans from opposite coasts – Salceto from Philadelphia, Ferrari from San Francisco – the two became close, almost like brothers, after being assigned to the same unit during the Korean War. When Ferrari died, it hit Salceto hard.
"After that, I never let anyone get close to me like I did with Dave," he says. "I couldn't; I didn't want to go through that again."
When the war ended, Salceto wanted to tell Ferrari's family how brave their son and brother had been in battle. Most of all, he wanted to salute his friend at his gravesite and give him a proper farewell.
For decades, though, Salceto had no luck finding his final resting place or locating any of his relatives. Then, in June of this year, he uncovered a clue that led him to the Italian Cemetary in Colma, California, where Ferrari is buried.
Within days, Salceto, who lives in Franklinville, New Jersey, was packed and sitting aboard United Flight 731 from Philadelphia to San Francisco with his wife, Amy, and daughter, Donna Decker, on his way to Colma. For such a meaningful trip, he even wore his Army dress uniform.
That's how San Francisco-based flight attendant Noreen Baldwin spotted him as he walked down the jet bridge to get on the plane.
"I saw him and said to the other crew members, 'Oh my goodness, look at this guy,'" she says. "I knew there had to be a story."
The two struck up a conversation and Salceto told Baldwin why he was traveling. She got emotional listening to him talk and made a point of fussing over him, making sure he and his family had everything they needed.
About halfway through the flight, Baldwin had an idea. She and her fellow crew members would write messages of encouragement to Salceto and invite his fellow passengers to do the same.
"We did it discreetly," says Baldwin. "I asked the customers if they saw the man in uniform, which most had, and asked them if they wanted to write a few words for him on a cocktail napkin. A lot of people did; families did it together, parents got their kids to write something. After the first few rows, I was so choked up that I could barely talk."
When Baldwin surprised Salceto with dozens of hand-written notes, he, too, was speechless. He laid the stack on his lap and read each one. At the same time, the pilots made an announcement about the veteran over the loud speaker, after which the customers on board burst into applause.
"It seems contrived, and I hate using the word organic, but that's what it was; it just happened," Baldwin says. "Mr. Salceto was so loveable and humble, and what he was doing was so incredible, it felt like the right thing to do. And you could tell he was touched."
On June 27, Salceto finally stood before Ferrari's grave and said that long-awaited goodbye. As a trumpeter played "Taps," he unpinned a medal from his jacket and laid it reverently on the headstone.
"I had gotten a Bronze Star for my actions [the night Ferrari died] with a 'V' for valor, and that was the medal I put on Dave's grave," says Salceto, pausing to fight back tears. "I thought he was more deserving of it than I was."
For the first time in years, Salceto felt at peace. His mission was accomplished.