Manchester's buzzing nightlife and music scene has long made it popular with students, but major development in the past five years and the attraction of events such as the Commonwealth Games has helped raise its profile further.
Chris Moore, director of the Manchester office of property agent Colliers Robert Barry, says the city council is very forward-thinking and investment is "flooding in" to the city.
"The hotel scene has had fantastic growth and hotels are still seen as a good investment," says Moore, adding that between June 1997 and 2004 the number of hotel rooms in the city centre rose from 2,500 to 4,500.
Access to the city has also improved in recent years, with the M62 link road opening up the east of the city and fuelling developments such as Ashton Moss business park, with its mix of leisure, commercial and office space.
Lower-end hotels with 10-20 rooms tend to be situated on the edge of town, especially in the west, with the entry point for a leasehold property being about £100,000, Moore adds.
The restaurant market is also very good, according to Andrew Dodd of the Manchester office of property agent Christie & Co. Particularly buoyant are the affluent areas to the south of the city such as Wilmslow and Prestbury, although the development in the city centre has also created "very good opportunities", especially in the northern part.
First-timers should look to food-led "destination" leasehold pubs in surrounding Cheshire villages, while Lancashire is looking increasingly attractive, he adds.
On the pubs front, "you can still get hold of some relatively competitive leases on smaller traditional inns," says Dodd's colleague Keith Stringer, who recommends Heaton Mersey to the south.