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.

For the past twelve months, most of us have been limited to four walls, living in a smaller world than we ever expected. But the world is back out there, your old hobbies await and new passions call. Now is the time to try out all those experiences you always planned but never had the time. The world is your oyster and we should never take it for granted again.

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

Exhibitions in Manchester and the North
Exhibitions Until 6 June 2021,

Soul Journey to Truth at HOME Manchester

Soul Journey to Truth at HOME Manchester highlights the experiences and creativity of people in prisons, secure settings and on probation in the North West.

The Met Reopening Season
Music Until 10 June 2021, from £13

The Met Reopening Season

Now we’re on the sweet road to reopening, our friends at The Met have announced a brand new season of Covid-safe live performance and gigs.

Classical Music 3 June–22 July 2021, from £18.50

The Hallé Summer Season 2021 at The Bridgewater Hall

The Hallé returns to The Bridgewater Hall in glorious style this summer, with six thrilling concerts for audiences to experience in person.

Exhibitions 19 May–31 August 2021,

Top Secret: From ciphers to cyber security at the Science and Industry Museum, Manchester

TOP SECRET: the Science and Industry Museum digs into the history of British national security over the last 100 years.

Festivals Until 30 June 2021, from £5.50

HOME Reopening Programme May 2021

The big screen is back, and Manchester’s HOME have sorted a blistering reopening programme that combines new releases with rare films from cinema’s past.

Cinema 7–30 June 2021,

The Reverse Gaze: Filmmaking on Screen at HOME

New at HOME, The Reverse Gaze: Filmmaking on Screen is a season of films about filmmaking, exploring the act of creating images and the industry which surrounds them.

Geronimo Family Festival
Families 26–27 June 2021, from £15

Geronimo Family Festival

Geronimo is a fun packed family festival combining stage performances, activities for children, and live music from the likes of Bez and Craig Charles – all in the stunning surrounds of Manchester’s Heaton Park.

Zog Live onstage at The Lowry theatre
Families 2–4 July 2021, from £16


Enjoy Zog live at The Lowry in an incredible new adaptation which is packed with lively songs from Joe Stilgie and lots of fire-breathing fun.

Kantina Weekender
Food and Drink 28–31 May 2021, from £35

Kantina Weekender

Kantina Weekender runs on May Bank Holiday, from 28 May to 31 May. Celebrating the joy of food and drink, the in-house vendors at Escape to Freight Island will be paired with some of the UK’s most prestigious chefs, cocktail makers, brewers and local restaurant heroes.

Manchester International Festival: The Walk
Festivals 1–18 July 2021, from £12.00

Manchester International Festival

Manchester International Festival is the world’s first festival of original work and special events – a biennial celebration of performance and art.

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…