Chinese New Year in Manchester
Chinese New Year in Manchester. Photo: Chris Payne.

Chinese New Year

Creative Tourist

Chinese New Year is always a colourful cultural highlight, bringing brightness to the dark winter days here in the UK. This is especially true for a city like Manchester, whose Chinatown buzzes all year round but becomes a hive of activity and celebration come New Year.

Welcome in the Year of The Pig in Manchester with four days of events at one of Europe’s biggest Chinese New Year celebrations.

Alongside the famous dragon parade and fireworks there are some stonking (or should that be honking?) new experiences for 2019 including contemporary art installation Piglet by artist Alex Rinsler in St Ann’s Square.

Events across the city by Manchester’s fine Centre For Chinese Contemporary Art  (CFCCA) include digital drawing, making memes and art workshops, inspired by the Chinese zodiac. Look out for other traditional crafts such as paper cutting and calligraphy too.

At CFCCA itself don’t miss new exhibition Chinternet Ugly – a group exhibition that offers a rare glimpse behind the biggest digital boundary in the world: the Great Firewall of China.

Together with thousands of red lanterns on the city’s trees, the illumination of some of Manchester’s iconic buildings and street food markets in St Ann’s Square, Albert Square and Chinatown, we love how the city centre turns (culturally) red early every year.

Here are our top picks.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art

    Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art CFCCA by Michael Pollard
    Photo by Michael Pollard

    Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Market buildings, Thomas Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1EU - Visit now

    We’d recommend visiting the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art anytime of the year for its relevant and thought-provoking exhibitions, engaging events and beautiful shop . But of course during Chinese New Year it is especially relevant and filled to the brim with creative pursuits for all. Don’t miss the tours and workshops accompanying current new exhibition “Chinternet Ugly” at CFCCA itself and the Making Memes and arts and craft workshops run by CFCCA across town.

  • 2. Piglet at St Ann’s Square

    Piglet courtesy Alex Rinsler
    Courtesy Alex Rinsler

    Penny Coin Piglet at St Ann’s Square, City Centre, 7–10 February 2019, free entry - Find Out More

    A giant straw Piglet marking the Year of the Pig by international artist Alex Rinsler will be boasting a coat made from dosh.

  • 3. The Dragon Parade, Chinatown Celebrations and Fireworks

    The Dragon Parade, Chinatown Celebrations and Fireworks
    CityCo / Carl Sukonik

    The Dragon Parade, Chinatown Celebrations and Fireworks at Albert Square, City Centre, 10 February 2019, free entry - Find Out More

    Follow the dazzling 175-foot Dragon from Albert Square to Chinatown for music, acrobatics, dancing and a glittering firework finale. Read our preview for our top tips on where to view the action.

  • 4. Glittering Golden Dragon at Exchange Square

    Chinese New Year in Manchester

    Giant Chinese Golden Dragon at Exchange Square, 7–10 February 2019, free entry - Find Out More

    Head to Exchange Square to catch a glimpse of the giant, glittering Golden Dragon that has taken up residence there this Chinese New Year in Manchester

  • 5. Ho’s Bakery

    Ho’s Bakery, 56 Faulkner Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 4FH - Visit now

    Buns buns buns! The aroma of Ho’s drifts down onto the street, drawing you in like Yogi Bear to a picnic basket and causing you to part with your cash in exchange for calories. No, it’s not a healthy option – even the stuff that looks like it might be vaguely savoury is packed with soft and sugary sumptuousness – but who cares when it tastes this good. Get some to fuel yourself for the Dragon Parade.

  • 6. Sweet Mandarin

    Sweet Mandarin

    Sweet Mandarin, 19 Copperas St, Manchester, M4 1HS - Visit now

    Gordon Ramsay-approved Northern Quarter restaurant run by three sisters, featuring some of the city’s finest Chinese cuisine.

  • 7. Yang Sing

    Yang Sing

    Yang Sing, 34 Princess Street, Manchester, M1 4JY - Visit now

    One of the most well-known Chinese restaurants in Manchester, Yang Sing has been feeding Mancunians for forty years.

  • 8. Yu Alderley Edge

    Yu Alderley Edge, London Rd, Alderley Edge, SK9 7QD - Visit now

    If you fancy an out-of-the-city Chinese restaurant that combines traditional Cantonese cooking and modern ideas, head to Alderley Edge.

  • 9. Wake Up Together and Where Love is Illegal at Open Eye Gallery

    Ren Hang: Wake Up Together at Open Eye Gallery
    Untitled, Ren Hang, 2016. Stieglitz19

    Wake Up Together at Open Eye Gallery, Waterfront, 16 November 2018–17 February 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Over in Liverpool, Open Eye Gallery presents ‘Ren Hang: Wake Up Together’ and ‘Robin Hammond: Where Love Is Illegal’ – two exhibitions championing the rights of every person to love who they want and respectfully live as they wish.

Things to do right now

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Cheese Making at Food Sorcery
Activity 19–20 January 2019, from £100

Cheese Making at Food Sorcery

Mandy Barker: Hong Kong Soup at CFCCA Manchester
Exhibitions 12 October 2018–20 January 2019, FREE

Mandy Barker: Hong Kong Soup at CFCCA

Charwei Tsai: Bulaubulau at CFCCA
Exhibitions 12 October 2018–20 January 2019, FREE

Charwei Tsai: Bulaubulau at CFCCA

ReFrame at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions 20 October 2018–20 January 2019, FREE

ReFrame at Manchester Art Gallery

Cinema 7 December 2018–20 January 2019, from £5

Slapstick Film Season at HOME

HOME at Christmas
Festivals 13 December 2017–20 January 2019,

HOME at Christmas

PUSH Festival 2019 at HOME
Festivals 11–26 January 2019,

PUSH Festival 2019 at HOME

LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY at Site Gallery
Exhibitions 29 September 2018–27 January 2019, FREE

LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY at Site Gallery

Craft Beer Tour Around Manchester
Food and Drink 1 November 2018–1 February 2019, from £30

Craft Beer Tour Around Manchester

Exhibitions 12 January–1 February 2019, FREE

Motion Sickness at STOCK Gallery

The Producers - A Mel Brooks Musical at the Royal Exchange
Music 30 November 2018–2 February 2019, from £10.00

The Producers – A Mel Brooks Musical at the Royal Exchange