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.

We are so grateful to National Lottery players, The National Lottery, DCMS and Arts Council England for supporting our freelance writers during this crisis.

DaDaFest International 2020: Translations
Festivals Until 13 December 2020, FREE

DaDaFest International 2020: Translations – online

With a vibrant showcase featuring 14 brand-new works by D/deaf and disabled artists, DaDaFest International 2020 goes online for its first-ever digital festival.

The Forest of Forgotten Discos! with Contact
Families 5 December 2020 11:00 am, from £10.00

Virtual Forest of Forgotten Discos! with Contact

You can still get your tickets for the 11 am performance – be quick. A digital version of Jackie Hagan’s interactive family show can be beamed straight into your homes this Saturday.

Poet Madelaine Kinsella
Literature 17 December 2020 7:00 pm, from £10

The Stars Above Us at The Reader

The Stars Above Us sees literature and reading organisation The Reader showcase some of the most exciting writers from the North West (and beyond).

Cinema Until 6 December 2020, from £3

HOME Artist Film Weekender 2020

This year, the HOME Artist Film Weekender is online and dedicated to the power, politics and pleasure of togetherness.

Makar to Makar with Jackie Kay. Photo by Jon Parker Lee, MLF.
Literature 17 December 2020 7:00 pm, FREE

Makar to Makar with Jackie Kay

This online show mixing poetry, music and chat, headed by the Scots Makar Jackie Kay, had a successful 16-week run during the UK’s initial Lockdown and now it’s back with two seasonal specials for Christmas and Burns Night.

Exhibitions Until 24 December 2020, FREE

Give Handmade this Christmas –Online with Manchester Craft & Design Centre

Now more than ever is the time to keep your Christmas shopping as local and handmade as possible. And Give Handmade makes this easy.

Virtual Tour of the PHM's Main Galleries
Activity Until 31 December 2020, FREE

Virtual Tour of the People’s History Museum Main Galleries

Experience the national museum of democracy in depth and online, with the immersive virtual tour of the PHM’s main galleries.

couch to chorus
Activity Until 14 December 2020, FREE

From Couch to Chorus: the Festive Edition

Learn to sing opera classics alongside the chorus of Opera North, without having step outside your front door, in the festive edition of Couch to Chorus.

online events I am falling in love with you and its making me do stupid things
Festivals Until 31 December 2020,


HOME have invited theatre and live art makers to create new works at home, for an audience who are also at home. 

Poetry Health Service with Oldham Coliseum
Literature Until 31 December 2020, FREE

Poetry Health Service with Oldham Coliseum

Offering contemporary poetry as a tool for healing and connection, PHS is a brand-new online literary cure-all.

Classical Music Until 27 May 2021, FREE

Psappha 2020/21 Concert Season

Psappha’s 2020–21 season explores the sharpest and smartest sounds in contemporary classical music, presented in concert and streamed online for free.

Obstructions at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester
Exhibitions 6 December 2020–7 March 2021, FREE

Obstructions at Castlefield Gallery & Online

Castlefield Gallery presents ‘Obstructions’ – a rather unconventional group show about the freedoms within restriction, and rules that are sometimes there to be broken.

Poet Evan Jones
Literature 8 December 2020 7:00 pm, FREE

Evan Jones: Later Emperors and The Barbarians Arrive Today

Evan Jones reads from his brand-new translation of CP Cavafy, The Barbarians Arrive Today: Poems & Prose, and own third collection, Later Emperors.

Cinema Until 31 March 2021, from £10

Mogul Mowgli – Streaming on BFI Player

Although his cutting lyrics speak provocatively about identity politics, it is not until Zed (Riz Ahmed) returns home after two years on tour that he is called by his real name: Zaheer.

Peer to Peer: UK/HK Online Exhibition
Exhibitions Until 13 December 2020, FREE

Peer to Peer: UK/HK Online Exhibition

Peer to Peer: UK/HK Online Festival launches an exhibition of new and existing digital artwork by over 30 UK and Hong Kong-based artists. 

Culture Guides

Cinema in Manchester and the North

Our guide to cinema in December features artist film, seasonal streaming and plenty of new releases.

Si Rawlinson. Photo credit: Ning Zhou


Galleries may be closed once again, for now, but there’s plenty of new exhibitions on the horizon to forward to.

Family Things to do in Manchester


Need some inspiration for online activities and creative family fun? Look no further than our top picks online for families across Manchester and the North.

Jessica Andrews


Live Literature Land has you covered for entertainment and intellectual stimulation with Zoom book launches, online readings and virtual open mics in plentiful supply as we head towards Christmas and beyond.


Discover the best upcoming music events taking place on a stage or a screen near you.

Theatre in Manchester


Bringing live Christmas shows alongside online theatrical advent calendars…whatever tier you’re in…our guide offers performances you can enjoy inside a venue or at home.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester and the north.


Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

For the November guide, we’re looking at the best delivery options in Manchester, whether it’s for alcohol or food.

Isolation Broadcast

Online events

Discover the best things to do online from the organisations we love in Manchester and the North.

tours and activities

Tours and Activities

Embrace your creative side or find out what local activists have been up to this year in this month’s guide of Tours and Activities.