If you're going by coach then you can obviously skip this part, as everything will be taken care of for you while you neck cans and try to fit Papy Djilobodji's name into a song. The same applies if you're travelling by train but try to retain some composure and make sure you get off at Manchester Piccadilly, as it's slightly closer to the Etihad.
If you're driving down from the north east, it's a pretty straight forward journey. Get on thee A1M, M62 onto A663 and then take the A62. In good traffic it should take you just over two and half hours and there's parking available near the stadium at The National Cycling Centre. Bear in mind that you do have to pay to park there but it's handy location and you can get away fairly sharp, once you're out of the car park.
Manchester is, without a doubt, one of the best drinking cities in the country. If you're parking/getting dropped off at the stadium then it's about a 25 minute walk into the centre or you can get a taxi in which will cost around £10. If you're having bother hailing a cab you can use Uber or, if you're a technophobe, quickly run into the ASDA opposite the ground where you can call one to come get you.
Last season I went to the Bulls Head, which is just outside Piccadilly station. Great beer selection but don't expect to get in if you're in a large group as they seemed to want to keep away fans to a minimum. Small groups and people not wearing colours should be fine though. If you want something a bit more lively then Northern Quarter is just up from Piccadilly, which is bars upon bars upon bars.
If you're looking to not get too mortal and need a food break so you avoid the inevitable all day drinking slump, there's plenty of Weatherspoon's in the city centre where you can grab some reasonably priced bait. If that's not your bag then I'd recommend The Deaf Institute, even though it's a little bit further out. Known more for a being music venue (as well as a former institute for the deaf) it has a great bar that does excellent burgers and a bit more of a chilled atmosphere.
Another good shout for a less conventional away day pint would be Big Hands, just down the road from the Deaf Institute. It does take you a bit further away from the stadium so I wouldn't recommend this being your last stop before the ground but it's a great bar that gets lively later on, so a good one to go to post match if you're staying over.
If You're At A Loose End
If you're staying over before or after the game, or you sorted transport before the kick off got changed, don't worry about having nothing to do. I mean, they have the National Football Museum for gods sake! The perfect appetiser for the new season. They're currently running an exhibition on the 1966 World Cup and you can even see the famous Liverpool beach ball from the 1-0 in 2009. I'm not sure which of those holds more cultural significance. On a similar note you can visit the Museum of Science & Industry which, like the football museum, is free to get in to.
There's plenty of gigs going on over the weekend if you're planning on stopping over, including a personal favourite of mine - Willis Earl Beal, who you can catch at Soup Kitchen on Saturday night. If you don't fancy music, and need cheering up after City score a last minute winner, then you can head to The Comedy Store where they have The Best In Stand Up show on both Friday & Saturday night.
Manchester City have now occupied The Etihad (formerly City of Manchester Stadium) for 13 years and it's starting to have the feel of a big, modern, European stadium. With further expansion works now taking the domestic capacity to over 55,000 and three sides having a steep three tiers, it's like a German style football arena rather than an a former athletics stadium. Giving extra gravitas is the small stadium across the road, which the club use for their youth and women's teams.
As for the away end, we've taken the full 3,000 allocation and will be housed across three tiers in the right hand side of the south stand. Last season alcohol was available in the away concourse and City haven't said anything to the contrary for this campaign, so expect to able to get a ridiculously overpriced pint of Carling in ground.
A big allocation and late kick off should make for a good atmosphere. So sing your hearts out for the lads and hopefully David Moyes' first game sees us take some points back to Wearside.