In and around Moss Side are the public parks of Whitworth Park and Alexandra Park. The east of Moss Side is close to the Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan universities and is a popular residential area for students. Between 1923 and 2003, Manchester City played at Maine Road in Moss Side.
Historically a part of Lancashire, Moss Side was formerly a rural township and chapelry within the parish of Manchester and hundred of Salford. Thought to be named after a great moss which stretched from Rusholme to Chorlton-cum-Hardy, the earliest mention of the area is in 1533 when it contained part of the estates of Trafford. Moss Side is described in the opening chapter of Elizabeth Gaskell's Mary Barton as a rural idyll with a 'deep clear pool' and an old black and white timber framed farmhouse, later identified as Pepperhill Farm. Following the Industrial Revolution there was a process of unplanned urbanisation and a rapid increase in population size. The population in 1801 was 151 but by 1901 this had increased to 26,677. The industrial growth of the area resulted in a densely populated area, so much so, that a part of the township of Moss Side was amalgamated into the expanding city of Manchester in 1885, with the rest joining in 1904.
Mass development in Moss Side occurred in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when large numbers of red brick terraced houses were built, and soon attracted numerous Irish immigrants and other working people.
Manchester City F.C. moved to a new stadium on Maine Road on 25 August 1923, having moved from Hyde Road, Ardwick; on its opening it was one of the most capacious sports stadiums in the United Kingdom, capable of holding up to 85,000 spectators. The club would play there for the next 80 years.