The 2017-18 Premier League season begins today, with Arsenal taking on Leicester City, and there is a full slate of games throughout the weekend. But the cities that host the 20 teams, spread throughout England, have much more to offer than just soccer. Here are six locations worth exploring.
Teams: Manchester United and Manchester City
Manchester has been in the spotlight for its two Premier League football teams and faded rock and house music scenes. It is also one of Europe’s largest university towns. Thanks to rebuilding over the last 20 years, the city of Manchester has become a booming postindustrial metropolis, and the Greater Manchester region is the country’s second most populated area, with 2.5 million residents.
Team: Crystal Palace
South and Southeast London is a conglomeration of formerly independent villages, boroughs, towns and green spaces that have long since been incorporated into London (roughly the equivalent of the vastly different neighborhoods that make up New York City’s five boroughs). And just as a die-hard Upper West Sider can’t imagine going anywhere in Queens other than its airports, for most nonresidents of London’s other half, the south side of the Thames might as well be the far side of the moon.
Traditionally the best restaurants are not usually clustered in theater districts, and the restaurants you do find in those areas tend to prize efficiency over anything else. But in London, at least, that’s not the case. Several really interesting restaurants exist in the heart of — or just a few blocks from — the West End.
Team: Leicester City
The former manufacturing town of red brick terraced houses and hosiery factories about two hours from London has received a lot of attention since researchers from the University of Leicester found a skeleton during an archaeological dig was that of Richard III, a monarch immortalized by Shakespeare, in 2013.
Team: West Ham United
Known for its cutting-edge bars, offbeat galleries and ethnic restaurants, East London is by far the city’s trendiest area, crowded with shoppers during the day and clubbers at night. You’ll also find some of London’s best fashion, craft and design businesses, mostly in renovated historic buildings and warehouses off leafy squares and winding streets.
Teams: Liverpool and Everton
There’s much more to Liverpool than the Beatles and soccer. Avant-garde architecture and glassy museums share the skyline with redbrick warehouses and foggy quays. Liverpool’s contemporary art community possesses its own roster of Turner Prize winners. And the city’s legendary music scene continues to put together new sounds.
A previous version of this article included a headline that mischaracterized the type of Premier League destinations included in the article. They are six locations, not six cities.