The Manchester Weekender 2012.

Creative Tourist

Looking for alternative things to do in Manchester this autumn? Look no further. The city’s eclectic art and culture event, the Manchester Weekender – is back

Experience the real Manchester this October as the Manchester Weekender returns for its third year, a weekend-long snapshot of the best (or at least the most eclectic) of the city’s art and culture.

Blue paper-cut image called Our Adventure by Rob Ryan, appearing as part of The First Cut at Manchester Art Gallery in 2012From performance art to pop-up cinema, from superstar authors such as Self, Ford and Barker to Britain’s best bloggers, from Hockney and Hogarth to the British and their dogs, via artists in photo booths, palaces made of milk teeth, a heretic at The Lowry, Northern Quarter flaneurs, Islington Mill on tour and radical printmaking – all this and more make up the Manchester Weekender.

The full Weekender programme has just been released, so check our guides pages (right) to find out what’s on and when. Before you do, though, we’d like to tell you why we do what we do. The rationale behind the Weekender is simple: to show off the best of Manchester’s art and culture to the rest of the UK. We think autumn, at the start of the cultural and festival season, is a fine time to do so. There are blockbuster exhibitions in the city’s museums and galleries, great gigs and new theatre, a clutch of festivals (from literature to science) and much more besides – all fresh to the city.

Lawrence of Belgravia, new cinema at the Manchester WeekenderSo the Weekender isn’t a festival as such. It’s a showcase. We try to pull some of that cultural goodness together into a weekend-long ‘snapshot’ of the best this city has to offer, both for the visitors we hope will come, and for the people who live, work and play here too. The best thing about it? If you can’t make this weekend, the Weekender signals the start of the cultural season. We believe, as we always have, that culture in Manchester is year-round, 24/7. You just have to know where to look. And if you don’t, well, you can always start here.

There are over 80 events in this year’s Weekender, almost half of which are free. To help you navigate your way through them, use our listings (right) , or try some of the guides we’ve published (far right). Keep an eye out too for the interviews, features, previews and reviews that we’ll be adding over the coming weeks – we have an exclusive interview with David Shrigley to get you started. Check back soon to read more, or join our mailing list and we’ll keep you posted of what’s coming up and when.

This October, we’d like you to bring yourself to Manchester. We’d like you to bring your kids. Heck, you can even bring your dog. Whatever you do, and whoever you do it with, make yours a good Weekender.

Black and white image Magpies 2009, James Aldridge, part of The First Cut paper cut exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery, 2012

Images (top to bottom): Our Adventure, Rob Ryan, appearing as part of The First Cut at Manchester Art Gallery in 2012, courtesy the artist; Lawrence of Belgravia; Magpies 2009, James Aldridge, part of The First Cut exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery, courtesy the artist.

Culture Guides


David Bowie, Japanese classics and some early spooky screenings all feature in this month’s cinema guide.


Welcome the autumnal season with all of the art goodness that it brings – there are so many brand new exhibitions to see!


As we say bye to the summer holidays and begin to welcome in the cooler months, Manchester’s events and activities continue to bring joy and fun to families.

Kamila Shamsie. Photo Alex von Tunzelman


There are plenty of online readings and live launches as Manchester and the North welcomes some great writers with book festival season getting underway, and there are loads of new spoken word nights and open mics to check out…


Autumn’s a fine old time for gigs in Manchester and the North. From otherworldly folk to life-affirming soul, here are our top picks for October onwards.

Theatre in Manchester and the North


As the new theatre season gets ready to launch, we champion some of the star performances happening over the next few months.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

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

Food and Drink

Explore the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North as we head into autumn.

Tours and Activities

Every season change is an excuse to try something new, and when it comes to tours and activities, autumn delivers!