I lived in Manchester for several years as I trained for my job. I never got on well with the city and was very glad when I relocated to Glasgow. I lived in a converted mill near Ancoats, very central though a characterless shit hole full of crime, avoid. The northern quarter is the only decent spot in town which is rather small and generally swarmed but no place to live, good for going out though. If I ever had to move back I would look to live in Chorlton or Didsbury, they are the places similar to what you mentioned, though you pay a big premium to live there, think west end prices plus.