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
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.

Yorkshire! Achievement, Grit and Controversy
Exhibitions 5 March–3 November 2019, Normal admission charges apply/free to National Trust members

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.

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.

Music 21 September 2019, 6:30 pm–9:00 pm, from £5.50

BBC Philharmonic: Prokofiev/Coates/Walton at The Bridgewater Hall

Opening the BBC Philharmonic’s 2019-20 season, conductor John Wilson pairs light with darkness, sugar with spice, in an eclectic and thrilling programme.

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.

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.

Football Is Art at National Football Museum
Exhibitions 5 April–3 November 2019, FREE

Football is Art at National Football Museum

With works by Banksy, Picasso and John Cocteau, National Football Museum’s current exhibition demonstrates how artists have been mining the beautiful game for inspiration for decades.

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.

Things to do right now

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Visual Arts 20 September 2018–19 September 2019, FREE

Manchester Art Gallery Highlights Tour

Red Dust Road at HOME
Literature 11–21 September 2019, from £10.00

Red Dust Road at HOME

A Taste of Honey at The Lowry
Theatre 13–21 September 2019, from £12.50

A Taste of Honey at The Lowry

Cinema 13–22 September 2019, from £9

The Shock of the Future at HOME

MIF19 David Lynch at HOME Manchester International Festival
Cinema 6 July–29 September 2019, FREE

MIF19: David Lynch at HOME

Exhibitions 6 April–29 September 2019, Quarry Bank admission prices apply (free for National Trust members)

Rights of the Child at Quarry Bank