Things to Do in Manchester

Creative Tourist

Not many cities have had as much influence on the world as Manchester. Culture and art is this city’s heart and now it’s time to welcome back Manchester. It’s time to restart. Starting in spring and growing throughout the year, the city’s arts scene has something to add joy to everyone’s life.

Culture is what makes life worth living, no matter what artform you love. From interactive exhibitions, beautiful watercolours to exhilarating live music, Manchester does the arts like no other city on earth. Below you’ll find some of the life-affirming events set to take over the city in the coming months. The people of Manchester have new stories to share and new people to meet. The interval’s over, it’s time to return to your seats.

But more importantly, Manchester is your stage. The outside world will host countless fascinating performances and activities. The tables have turned so let’s dance on them again.

Spend a day in the city and it rapidly becomes apparent just how much it has reinvented its industrial past into a new, trendsetting present – and an ambitious future. There’s plenty of things to do in Manchester, from award-winning theatre and exhibitions to exciting food and drink offers, not to mention thriving literature and music scenes.

Discover our top picks

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.

Classical Music 29 June–9 July 2023, from £10

MIF23: Kagami by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Tin Drum

As part of MIF23, watch a ground-breaking mixed reality concert created by legendary composer and musician Ryuichi Sakamoto and Tin Drum.

Music 19–28 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.

Exhibitions Until 21 May 2023, FREE

Familiar Phantoms at The Whitworth

Head to The Whitworth for the premiere of a major new film by artists and long-time collaborators Larissa Sansour and Søren Lind.

Music 29 April 2023 7:30 pm, from £55.50

The Flaming Lips at The Apollo

The Flaming Lips perform their 2002 landmark album, Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, in its entirety and for the very first time in England.

Mansfield Park at RNCM
Music 26 March 2023 3:00 pm, from £12.50

Mansfield Park at RNCM

Join the RNCM for the first operatic adaptation of one of Jane Austen’s novels in Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park.

Find Your Eyes
Exhibitions 12–16 July 2023, from £10.00

MIF23: Find Your Eyes at Manchester Academy

Fusing photography with choreography and theatre, don’t miss this live photography show, created by the award-winning British photographer Benji Reid. Happening as part of MIF23.

Activity 3–4 June 2023, FREE

We Invented The Weekend

Expect everything from disco boats to DJs, street sports, vintage markets, live music and performance, right across MediaCity and Salford Quays this summer. A free festival for everyone.

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead at The Lowry
Theatre 25–29 April 2023, from £16.00

Drive Your Plow Over The Bones Of The Dead at The Lowry

Any new show by Complicité is a pretty big deal so we’re thrilled that 2023 will see the company bring a new work to The Lowry’s stage.

Hey Duggee at The Lowry
Childrens Until 26 March 2023, from £16.00

Hey Duggee at The Lowry

Brace yourselves for a Duggee hug when the BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning CBeebies show rolls into The Lowry this month.

Welcome Back Manchester. It's Time To Restart.

Manchester District Guides

Medieval Quarter, Manchester

The Medieval Quarter, or Cathedral Quarter as it is sometimes known, is one of the oldest parts of Manchester and home to some historic gems and cultural must-sees.  

Photo of a handwritten label in a cafe that says "Ring for service with a smile"

Burton Road, West Didsbury, Manchester

Burton Road is the heart of West Didsbury, a beautifully maintained leafy hubbub of shops,…

Beech Road Chorlton, Manchester

A laid-back mix of gift shops, independent outfitters, restaurants, pubs and parks, on a sunny weekend afternoon it’s heaving.

The front of Didsbury restaurant Volta.

Didsbury, Manchester

Follow Oxford Road South through the Curry Mile, along Wilmslow Road, past Platt Fields Park…

Chorlton, Manchester

Chorlton is a left-leaning suburb a few miles south of Manchester’s city centre (and only…

Cheetham Hill, Manchester

As an area, Cheetham Hill gets a pretty bad rep. The foreboding architecture of Strangeways…