Family things to do in Manchester and the North

Shekina Rose, Families Editor

New year, new start, and what better way to welcome in 2023 than by planning and experiencing all sorts of exciting family events in Manchester and the North?

First up, it’s time to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit in Chinatown, with spectacular celebration events taking place from Saturday 21 January in Piccadilly Gardens, and a Chinese market open every day until Sunday 29 January.

And here’s one for the music-lovers: Izzy Gizmo at Stoller Hall brings an energetic, live performance to Manchester on 4 February 2023. For children aged 3-7 and their families, this show is packed with music, storytelling and heaps of fun.

On 11 February, head to the charming and funny Cardboard Carnival at The Edge and experience 45 brilliant minutes of playful puppetry and creative joy with none other than plain, simple, Cardy – well – cardboard, set to the delicious backdrop of stunning musical melodies.

Next up in February – it’s time to BOOGIE! Families are invited to dress very smartly and party like Marty, in the arty and marvellous Marty and the Party taking place at HOME Manchester from 23 – 25 February 2023.

The Smartest Giant in Town returns to The Lowry from 21-26 February 2023 – a unique and touching adaptation of the bestselling book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Families will be laughing throughout in this beautiful adventure with the smartest, kindest giant in town.

Open all year round is the interactive Fairy Tales wonderland at  Z-Arts, in an innovative and enchanting exhibition that takes children aged 0-8 and their grownups to a magical world, full of storytelling and immersive play.

Here are our picks

More in Families

The Singing Mermaid at Waterside
Families Until 19 February 2023, from £14.00

The Singing Mermaid at Waterside CANCELLED

Keep the kids entertained this half term, with songs, puppetry and delight as our favourite singing mermaid tries to escape the cunning circus master!

Families 11–26 February 2023, FREE

February Half Term at the Science and Industry Museum

The Science and Industry Museum (SIM) invites everyone to make some noise this February half-term with a fantastic programme of activities!

Power UP at the Science and Industry Museum
Families 11–26 February 2023, from £6.00

Power UP at the Science and Industry Museum

Families of Manchester! Do you just LOVE gaming? This summer, head to Power UP at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester for an out-of-home, extraordinary gaming experience like never before.

Families 18–19 February 2023, £6.00

Pancake Weekend at the Farm

It’s hard to believe how quickly Pancake Day has creped up on us this year. But here it is, and it’s time to celebrate the best flipping invention ever.

Families 21–23 February 2023, FREE

Afrocats Takeover at The Whitworth

Keep the kids entertained this half term with a variety of Indian inspired cultural and creative movement activities, and inspiring arts and crafts workshops for children, young people and families.

Families 16–20 May 2023, from £13.00

The Spongebob Musical at the Manchester Opera House

Dive into a deep-sea adventure this May with Spongebob and friends at The Manchester Opera House.

Geronimo Festival 2022
Families 26–29 May 2023, from £20.00

Geronimo Festival at Arley Hall

Head to the Geronimo Festival 2023 to experience children’s entertainment & activities, music, food stalls, camping, and loads of fun!

The Welcome at Factory International
Families 11–19 November 2023,

The Welcome at Factory International

The Welcome is a huge nine-day celebration to mark the opening of Manchester’s phenomenal new arts space, Factory International. Everybody’s invited.

Culture Guides


Black and white classics and a Tarantino-scripted pop-thriller are amongst our Valentine’s themed picks for February.


The world of art and exhibitions never quite stops, so we have lots of new shows to look forward to at the start of 2023.

Gwendoline Riley. Photo by Adrian Lourie


Live literature land welcomes in 2023 with lots lined up in Manchester and beyond, from book launches and bookshop openings to prize-winning poets and award-laden authors sharing their secrets and stories.


More brilliant gigs appear on the horizon as we inch further into 2023.

Theatre in Manchester and the North


Queer Contact Festival, stunning physical theatre and intimate in-the-round performance top our eclectic list of drama, comedy and dance this month.

Classical Music

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

Food and Drink

Start 2023 as you mean to go on, with the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North.

Tours and Activities

New years are for new experiences, and we have a whole lot of ideas to inspire you as 2023 gets underway.

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts