Unmissable things to do in Manchester and the North

Discover acclaimed music and stand-out exhibitions, groundbreaking theatre, family, cinema and literary events in Manchester and the North.

Our top picks
Music 26 September 2019, 6:30 pm–8:30 pm, from £5

Psappha: Lyric Suite at St Michael’s

Psappha present a typically exciting programme at St Michael’s, featuring Viennese composers Anton Webern and Alban Berg, besides three world premieres.

Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2019 at Leeds Art Gallery
Exhibitions 14 September–17 November 2019, FREE

Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2019 at Leeds Art Gallery

An exciting indicator for what’s around the corner in terms of British contemporary art, the 70th anniversary edition of New Contemporaries is a must see.

Music 19–25 September 2019, from £14.50

The Hallé – Shostakovich’s Defiant Response at The Bridgewater Hall

The Hallé pairs Beethoven’s magic with Shostakovich’s defiance in this Bridgewater Hall concert, which stars virtuoso pianist Víkingur Ólafsson.

Yorkshire! Achievement, Grit and Controversy
Exhibitions 5 March–3 November 2019, FREE

Yorkshire! Achievement, Grit and Controversy at Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens

Featuring over 20 paintings, photographs and prints, this National Trust exhibition brings together some of Yorkshire’s most iconic and controversial figures.

Little Miss Sunshine at Liverpool Playhouse
Theatre 24–28 September 2019, from £10.00

Little Miss Sunshine at Liverpool Playhouse

Thirteen years after its cinematic release, the cult classic returns in a musical adaptation by a Tony-Award winning team.

Graphic Encounters at Shudehill Metrolink Station
Visual Arts 10 September–15 October 2019, FREE

Graphic Encounters at Manchester Metrolink Stations

A unique city project, presented across Greater Manchester Metrolink poster-sites exploring the experiences of women.

Author Hanna Jameson.
Festivals 14–21 October 2019, from £3.00

Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival

Not just literature – and ideas! – the seventh festival has on offer drama, comedy, poetry, spoken word, visual arts plus children’s and young people’s shows and events to get you reading and thinking.

Theatre 18 September–15 October 2019,

SICK! Festival

Challenging, entertaining and always trying to change the world for the better, SICK! Festival makes just the kind of art we like.

Music 15 October–12 December 2019, from £5

RNCM Autumn Season

From concerts to film screenings to operas, we select our top 5 highlights from the RNCM Autumn Season, whose thematic focus is Migration.

British Ceramics Biennial 2019 – Stoke-on-Trent
Exhibitions 7 September–13 October 2019, FREE

British Ceramics Biennial in Stoke-on-Trent

For its 10th anniversary edition, British Ceramics Biennial returns with its most ambitious programme yet, featuring work by over 300 artists.

Everyman & Playhouse Autumn Season
Theatre 24 September 2019–18 January 2020,

Everyman & Playhouse Autumn Season

A busy and brilliant season, expect award-winning musicals, stage adaptations of revered literary classics and celebrated cult films, alongside high-quality family shows. There is plenty to enjoy in Liverpool’s theatres this autumn.

Manchester Art Fair 2018
Exhibitions 11–13 October 2019, from £5

Manchester Art Fair 2019 at Manchester Central

A firm favourite in Manchester’s cultural calendar, the Manchester Art Fair and The Manchester Contemporary weekend is not to be missed. Tickets are free for Creative Tourist readers.

journeys festival manchester
Exhibitions 4–13 October 2019, FREE

Journeys Festival International Manchester

A 10-day festival exploring the refugee experience through great art. Experience performances, music, art and more from artists from across the world.

Ibrahim Mahama Photo © White Cube George Darrell. Courtesy of Manchester International Festival
Exhibitions 5 July–29 September 2019, FREE

MIF19: Ibrahim Mahama at the Whitworth

LAST CHANCE. Considered one of the most ‘internationally visible’ artists working out of Africa today, for MIF 2019 Ibrahim Mahama presents an assemblage of lost objects that reflect upon the history of his home country’s long struggle for independence.

No Particular Place to Go? 35 Years of Sculpture at Castlefield Gallery
Exhibitions 6 September–27 October 2019, FREE

No Particular Place to Go? 35 Years of Sculpture at Castlefield Gallery

35 years and still going strong. Castlefield – Manchester’s first public contemporary visual art gallery – looks back on its history through the prism of sculpture.

Culture Guides


Indian independent cinema, shadowy film noir, cult queer classics and trip under the sea. Film fans are spoilt for choice this month.

Exhibitions in Manchester and across the North


Like the 58th Venice Biennale which opened earlier this May, our latest pick of exhibitions across the north also has a strong ecological bent.

RNCM Young Explorers event. DJ Switch is shown by turntables in front of an orchestra. Included in family things to do guide.


Avoid the post summer holiday blues with our latest top picks of family things to do. Enjoy some quality family time together this autumn.

Artist Dan Berry and writer David Gaffney.


The books are back in September with one-off reading events, some much-anticipated launches and the return of the Northern Lights Writers’ Conference as we gear up for Manchester Literature Festival in October.


Manchester’s Autumn months are always chock-a-block with great gigs, and this year is no exception.

Theatre in Manchester


The English National Ballet, Emma Rice’s Wise Children, Liverpool’s LEAP Dance Festival and much more feature in our new theatre guide.

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

Discover the best food and drink that the North has to offer in our expert guide to food and drink in Manchester and beyond.

Tours and Activities

Tours and Activities

Explore the mindful tours and activities Manchester has to offer in this month’s Tours and Activities guide.