things to do in december


Creative Tourist

There’s no denying that Christmas is coming, but there’s still plenty of things to do in December in Manchester and across the North.

A lot of the things to do in December are festive-themed; from Christmas shows and concerts to hip-hop holiday specials. But don’t worry, there’s plenty out there for you Grinch’s too; with literary nights, exhibitions and gigs galore.

Here’s where you’ll find our editors this month.

The December Longlist

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Music 5 December 2019, from £25

White Lies at Manchester Academy

White Lies are celebrating the 10th anniversary of To Lose My Life with a unique tour, during which they’ll perform the album in its entirety.

Activity 7 December 2019, from £56

Copper Foiled Stained Glass Workshop

Join Wakefield Adult Education for a crash course in copper foil technique stained glass decoration.

Music 8 December 2019, from £33.25

The National at First Direct Arena

Following their much-celebrated album, I Am Easy to Find, The National are bringing their melancholy alternative rock to Leeds’ First Direct Arena this December.

Vivian Suter at Tate Liverpool
Exhibitions 13 December 2019–16 March 2020, FREE

Vivian Suter at Tate Liverpool

Tate Liverpool presents the first UK-based solo exhibition of work by Guatemalan artist Vivian Suter, including her large-scale colourful installation Nisyros (Vivian’s Bed) 2016-17.

Theaster Gates: Amalgam at Tate Liverpool
Exhibitions 13 December 2019–4 May 2020, from £8.5

Theaster Gates: Amalgam at Tate Liverpool

Tate Liverpool presents ‘Theaster Gates: Amalgam’, the first major exhibition of work by Chicago-based artist Theaster Gatesa in the UK.

Still showing this month

Activity 22 September 2018–31 December 2019, FREE

Sí Manchester Daily Tour

Sí Manchester’s daily tour is a brilliant way to get an overview of the city with tours running in both English and Spanish.

Activity 20 October 2018–31 December 2019, FREE

Documentary Challenge at IWM North

Make and feature in your own mini-documentary at IWM North.

Cinema 1 January–31 December 2019, from £5.50

Celebrating Women in Global Cinema at HOME

In 2019 HOME host a year-long programme of films and special events highlighting and celebrating women in film from across the world.

From specially curated retrospectives, seasons and special events, to takeovers of annual favourites, this branded series of screenings and events will explore and challenge the place and space of female filmmakers from a variety of cultural, social and political perspectives.

Festivals 1 January–31 December 2019,

HOME 2019 Season

With a continuing drive towards bold global programming, HOME Manchester welcomes friends, old and new, for an exhilarating new season.

Holly Hendry, Cenotaph, 2018. Liverpool Biennial Touring Programme 2019
Exhibitions 18 January 2019–3 May 2020, FREE

Liverpool Biennial Northern England Tour

Whether Liverpool Biennial 2018 passed you by or you diligently ticked-off every last one of its multiple offerings (if so; bravo), the Liverpool Biennial Northern England Tour seems unlikely to disappoint.

Music 30 January–31 December 2019, from £19.62

Striking Gold Piano Series at The Stoller Hall

This year-long celebration of outstanding pianists marks Chetham’s School of Music’s golden jubilee year.

The Reno at the Whitworth
Exhibitions 15 March 2019–1 March 2020, FREE

The Reno at the Whitworth

Award-winning playwright Linda Brogan and a group of local residents who used to attend the Reno nightclub in the 1970s and 80s prepare to occupy the Whitworth for one year. Located in Moss Side, the Reno was known as a space for young mixed-race Mancunians. This living exhibition will tell the story of the club through art and archive materials.

Exhibitions 16 March 2019–23 February 2020, FREE

A-Z of Salford’s Collections at Salford Museum and Art Gallery

Discover how Victorian gentlemen protected their moustaches from tea, which monarch’s pair of stockings reside in Salford, get up close to incredible art and more.

Disrupt? Peterloo and Protest at People's History Museum
Exhibitions 23 March 2019–23 February 2020, FREE

Disrupt? Peterloo and Protest at People’s History Museum

Marking the 200-year-anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre, ‘Disrupt? Peterloo and Protest’ at People’s History Museum takes visitors on a journey through the past, present and future of protest in this country.

Families 7 April–24 December 2019, FREE

Explore & Draw stations at The Hepworth Wakefield

The Explore and Draw stations are open daily and are free to use.

Look out for Explore & Draw stations in The Hepworth Wakefield’s galleries. Borrow looking tools, handling objects and drawing materials to explore the galleries and create artworks.

The gallery have up to three stations in the galleries for you to use and explore. Each station links to their temporary exhibitions or collection displays and contains activities, objects and books related to the artworks. Enjoy drawing in the galleries, look in new ways at the artworks, feel objects and materials connected to exhibitions, or sit and read together.

Families 13 April 2019–25 January 2020, FREE

Family Fun at Pontefract Museum

Lively activity sessions that everyone can take part in.

Families 1 May 2019–5 February 2020, FREE

Castle Crafts at Pontefract Castle

Get creative together and explore and learn about the history of Pontefract Castle through play or crafts. A different activity each month.

Cinema 6 May–3 December 2019, from £5

Now Showing Club at Old Bank Residency, Manchester

Now Showing Club is Manchester’s first dedicated documentary cinema and will be showcasing 50 films from Dogwoof’s back catalogue in 2019.

Activity 7 May–7 December 2019, FREE

National Football Museum Guided Tours

Discover ‘the beautiful game’ with a guided tour of the National Football museum. You’ll learn about the sports origins as well as getting up close to a collection filled with infamous cups, shirts and artefacts.

Yemen: Inside a Crisis at Imperial War Museum North
Exhibitions 17 May 2019–26 January 2020, FREE

Yemen: Inside a Crisis at Imperial War Museum North

Curated with support from award-winning journalist Iona Craig, Yemen: Inside a Crisis at Imperial War Museum North offers a powerful look at one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

Exhibitions 17 May 2019–15 May 2020, FREE

Poulsen Arc Dream Radio at Storyhouse in Chester

What does it mean to be transported into another person’s memories? Step into a new digital art commission at Storyhouse in Chester to find out.

Li Yuan Chia: His Late Photographs at Whitworth Art Gallery
Exhibitions 18 May–15 December 2019, FREE

Li Yuan Chia: Unique Photographs at the Whitworth

The Whitworth presents a quiet, yet arrestingly beautiful series of hand-coloured photographs taken by China’s first conceptual artist, Li Yuan Chia, nearing the end of his life.

Exhibitions 18 May 2019–12 January 2020, FREE

Pearl Alcock at the Whitworth

Part of the Windrush generation, artist Pearl Alcock’s series of ‘visions’ and ‘moods’ realised as drawings and paintings go on display at the Whitworth.

Exhibitions 6 June 2019–20 April 2020, FREE

Louise Giovanelli at Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester Art Gallery prepares to present a series of new paintings by artist Louise Giovanelli, alongside rarely-seen early Renaissance panel paintings.

David Smith: Sculpture 1932–1965 at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Exhibitions 21 June 2019–5 January 2020, FREE

David Smith: Sculpture 1932–1965 at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Yorkshire Sculpture Park presents a major exhibition of work by the great American artist David Smith (1906–1965) – the first solo exhibition of Smith’s work in the UK since Tate Modern’s 2006 project and the largest ever outside the capital.

Holly Hendry / Taus Makhacheva at The Tetley, Liverpool Biennial 2019 touring programme
Exhibitions 22 June 2019–3 May 2020, FREE

Holly Hendry / Taus Makhacheva at The Tetley

As part of the Liverpool Biennial touring programme, The Tetley is hosting works by artists Holly Hendry and Taus Makhacheva.

Exhibitions 20 July 2019–5 January 2020, from £6

The Sun at the Science and Industry Museum

Museum of Science and Industry’s blockbuster summer exhibition, The Sun, sets out to bring us as close to the star as many of us are likely to ever come.

Alexis Teplin at Bluecoat
Exhibitions 1 October 2019–1 February 2020, FREE

Alexis Teplin at Bluecoat

This solo show of new work at Bluecoat marks artist Alexis Teplin’s largest major UK exhibition. Her work crosses between painting, performance and film, drawing parallels between the process of each art form.

We Two Boys: Early Works by Alan Davie & David Hockney at The Hepworth Wakefield
Exhibitions 19 October 2019–19 January 2020, FREE

We Two Boys: Early Works by Alan Davie & David Hockney

‘We Two Boys: Early Works’ at The Hepworth Wakefield will bring together around 45 paintings and works on paper by Alan Davie and David Hockney, many of which have not been seen publicly for decades.

Christina Quarles at The Hepworth Wakefield
Exhibitions 19 October 2019–19 January 2020, FREE

Christina Quarles at The Hepworth Wakefield

The Hepworth Wakefield will present the first solo exhibition in a European museum by American artist Christina Quarles.