Unmissable things to do in Manchester and the North

Discover the best things to do in Manchester and the North – from cosy cinema, concerts and Christmas theatre to fantastic family, literature and art events.

Our top picks
La Vie Parisienne
Music 07–17 December 2016 , from £21.00

La Vie Parisienne

Set in 1930s Paris, where cosmopolitan gaiety has reached new heights of frivolity, Offenbach’s La Vie Parisienne is a brilliant tangled tale of flirtatious masquerading and romantic intrigue.

Edward Krasiński
Exhibitions 21 October 2016–05 March 2017 , from £6.00

Edward Krasinski at Tate Liverpool

Sculptor, painter and creator of artistic installations and happenings, Edward Krasiński was one of the most significant Eastern European artists of the 20th century. This is the first UK retrospective of his work.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Theatre 21 January–04 February 2017 , from £18.00

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time @ The Lowry

Personally I’m not a massive fan of big stage blockbuster productions, but I will make an exception for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which is one of the stage shows I have ever seen.

BBC Philharmonic: Bruckner, Berg and Barenboim
Music 10 December 2016, from £12.00

BBC Philharmonic: Bruckner, Berg and Barenboim

Alban Berg dedicated his Violin Concerto ‘to the memory of an angel’, a young woman who died aged 18 just weeks before he started writing it.

Exhibitions 29 October 2016–08 January 2017 , FREE

Rachel Maclean: Wot u :-) about? exhibition at HOME

A major solo exhibition of entirely new work by acclaimed Scottish artist Rachel Maclean, who will represent Scotland at the 2017 Venice Biennale.

Little Angel Theatre Company.
Families 14–30 December 2016 , from £6.00

WOW! Said the Owl at HOME

A perfect first theatre show for curious little owls this Christmas.

Hand holding a tiny stethoscope
Exhibitions 18 November 2016–22 January 2017 , FREE

Miniature World at Castlefield Gallery

Filled with objects on a small-scale, Castlefield Gallery’s latest exhibition asks some big questions about life.

Exhibitions 19 November 2016–16 April 2017 , FREE

Artist Rooms: Andy Warhol at the Whitworth

If you’ve seen one exhibition about Andy Warhol, you’ve seen a thousand… Not so with ARTIST ROOMS: Andy Warhol at the Whitworth, which brings the master of repetition’s work into an entirely new context.

Yule be Sorry – A Christmas Cabaret
Theatre 16 December 2016, from £15.00

Yule be Sorry – A Christmas Cabaret at HOME

Yule be Sorry is a show of serious Santa substance – an excellent alternative xmas night out. Hosted by living performing art legend David Hoyle, this is a night of comedy and cabaret chased down with a good glug of mega-strength mulled wine.

Sweet Charity
Theatre 03 December 2016–28 January 2017 , from £16.50

Sweet Charity at Royal Exchange Theatre

From the same creative team behind the hilarious Little Shop of Horrors comes this high-kicking cocktail-drinking entertainment extravaganza that distils the glitz and glamour of 60s New York and delivers it to the stage.

Culture Guides

Image courtesy of HOME


Cinemas around the North are putting on their festive hats this month but don’t worry, there’s plenty going on even if you aren’t into the whole Christmas thing.

Intervention 15 by Edward Krasinski


100 artists feature in an exhibition celebrating the Bluecoat’s 300th anniversary, Edward Krasinksy is a surprise hit at Tate Liverpool and Manchester Museum looks at a world without bees. Our top exhibitions in Manchester and the North.

Credit Karen Wright


It may be blinkin cold but The Whitworth’s Frost Fair will warm your cockles, as will some tip top theatrical family classics – but not as you know ’em.



Plenty of festive fun, including some seasonal storytelling in Manchester and Liverpool, then much to add to your lily-white 2017 diary…

La Vie Parisienne


As the days get shorter, Manchester’s music calendar gets busier – with the city’s music venues burst from the seams with live music for you to enjoy.



We’re breaking this month’s theatre picks into grit and glam. Glam because it’s the season of shiny, sparkly things, ­and grit because, well, we’re Northern after all.

Destination Guides

Discover the BBC Philharmonic’s

2016/17 concert season


Things to do right now

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Dance 07–08 December 2016 , from £10.00

Gary Clarke Company: COAL at Contact Theatre

Film Season: Fade To Black – Generations
Cinema 25 November–09 December 2016 , from £5.00

Film Season: Fade To Black – Generations

Feed Me - Image courtesy of Rachel Maclean
Cinema 03–13 December 2016 , from £7.00

Film Season: I’m Too Happy

Theatre 17 November–15 December 2016 , from £7.00

Scouse: a Comedy of Terrors

Michael Rosen - Image courtesy of Z-Arts
Families 17 September–17 December 2016 , from £7.00

Bear Hunt, Chocolate Cake & Bad Things at Z-arts

Benji Reid: A Thousand Words
Exhibitions 22 September–17 December 2016 , FREE

Benji Reid: A Thousand Words

La Vie Parisienne
Music 07–17 December 2016 , from £21.00

La Vie Parisienne

Photo of the festive display outside the Corn Exchange
Food and Drink 10 November–20 December 2016 , FREE

Manchester Christmas Markets

Exhibitions 24 November–21 December 2016 , FREE

Tim Isherwood: Please Use The Intercom

Find Rudolph
Families 26 November 2016–02 January 2017 , FREE

Find Rudolph

Tim Etchells, Lets Pretend (Large) (2014), installation view, Grundy Art Gallery. Photo: Phill Heywood, courtesy Grundy Art Gallery.
Exhibitions 01 September 2016–07 January 2017 , FREE

NEON: The Charged Line at the Grundy Art Gallery