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 throughout the North.

The University of Manchester Community Festival 2023
Families 10 June 2023 11:00 am, FREE

The University of Manchester Community Festival 2023

A day of science, arts, engineering and history featuring hands-on activities for all ages at this free festival.

Exhibitions Until 25 June 2023, FREE

Hew Locke: The Ambassadors at The Lowry

The Lowry unveils ‘The Ambassadors’, a new commission from artist Hew Locke which ponders the symbols of authority through opulent sculptures.

Music 6–23 July 2023, from £10

Buxton International Festival

One of the UK’s leading arts events, Buxton International Festival is a glorious summertime celebration of opera, music and books.

Lindsey Mendick, Where The Bodies Are Buried, installation view at YSP, 2023. Courtesy the artist. Photo © Jonty Wilde, courtesy YSP
Exhibitions Until 3 September 2023, £9 with concessions

Lindsey Mendick: Where The Bodies Are Buried at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

This spring, Yorkshire Sculpture Park welcomes Lindsey Mendick, a rising star of the contemporary art world, in an immersive solo exhibition.

Yayoi Kusama, courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Victoria Miro and David Zwirner.
Festivals 29 June–16 July 2023, from £10.00

Manchester International Festival

Manchester is all set to become the world’s stage this summer, and the programme for MIF23 has got us more than a little excited.

Music Until 28 May 2023,

Manchester Jazz Festival 2023

Manchester Jazz Festival is back this May with 10 days of live music from some of the best northern, national and international musicians operating in the world of contemporary jazz.

Liverpool Theatre Festival
Theatre 20–30 July 2023,

Liverpool Theatre Festival at St Luke’s Bombed Out Church

Don’t miss this super theatre festival packed with live outdoor performances featuring musical theatre, drama, comedy, cabaret, opera, and children’s shows.

Festa Italiana
Families 25–27 August 2023, FREE

Festa Italiana at Cathedral Gardens

Festa Italiana Manchester is the country’s biggest festival designed to celebrate Italian food, drink and culture. Transforming Manchester city centre’s Cathedral Gardens into Little Italy once again from the 26th to 28th August.

Activity 3 June 2023 11:00 am, FREE

Guided Tours at People’s History Museum

Join PHM for a series of guided tours with their expert staff, curators and conservationists, it’s an incredibly human look at the National Museum of Democracy’s exhibitions.

Exhibitions Until 7 January 2024, FREE

Traces of Displacement

See ‘Traces of Displacement’, the Whitworth’s major new exhibition which uses the gallery’s collection to explore the issue of forced displacement.

Culture Guides


We look at the ingenious, atmospheric outdoor screenings popping up across the North this summer.


The spring season in museums and galleries continues, with an abundance of new exhibitions all over the North.

Winnie the Pooh at Manchester Opera House


The sun has finally got his hat on! Enjoy our top picks of family-friendly events and activities, both indoors and outdoors.

Anita Sethi


Festival fever has live literature land gripped, and libraries get their very own celebration in Greater Manchester, so you have your pick of performances from a star-studded cast this month…


Some excellent bands descend on Manchester this month, with the old and new guard of post punk in particularly strong supply.

Theatre in Manchester


Check out our updated guide for lively theatre festivals, rip-roaring rooftop circus and dreamy outdoor shows.

Classical Music

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

Food and Drink

Plan your May Bank Holidays with the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North.

Tours and Activities

New in our Tours and Activities section – drink and draw sessions, political reading groups and tours of some of Manchester’s most unique museums.

We round up our highlights from Manchester International Festival 2023