Manchester MM WIDE
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Things to Do in Manchester

Creative Tourist

Benjamin Disraeli argued that “what Manchester does today, the rest of the world does tomorrow,” while writer and DJ Stuart Maconie reckons, “Manchester has fancied itself rotten for as long as anyone can remember”. The thing is, Manchester fancies itself for a reason.

It was Manchester that gave rise to socialism, the British Labour Party and the Suffragettes. Wildly ambitious, Manchester was the original industrial city, once the largest centre of manufacturing in the world. This is not the kind of past that a city forgets. Go into its museums and you’ll find the evidence: their collections are among the best in Britain. But before you write this off as just history, think on.

“Manchester has fancied itself rotten for as long as anyone can remember”

Manchester is steadily reinventing districts that were once busy with industrial factories and warehouses; the red-bricked buildings of the Northern Quarter and Ancoats are now taken up with independent shops, bars, restaurants and businesses. The city boasts two universities along its Oxford Road Corridor (also, incidentally, the busiest bus route in Europe), as well as the award-winning Whitworth, a stunning gallery amid the trees.

There’s the Royal Exchange in the centre, the UK’s biggest theatre in-the-round, housed in what was once the largest single room in the world. Not forgetting MediaCity UK, which shares The Quays with major arts organisations IWM North and The Lowry and is home to BBC North and ITV. So while this is a city with a past, Manchester has its eyes on the future. The joy of visiting today is that, without too much effort, you get to experience a slice of both.

Discover our top picks

Families 1 October 2016, FREE

Fun Palaces at Contact

Get down to Contact this Saturday as it is transformed into a family friendly creative paradise. Fly a virtual kite in spectacular settings across the world, DJ, dance and draw on the windows.

Theatre 28 September 2016–8 October 2016, from £10.00

The Emperor

Master of transformation Kathryn Hunter brings to life an extraordinary fable of corruption, avarice and the collapse of absolute power.

Humanities in Public Festival
Exhibitions 7 October 2016–24 June 2017,

Humanities in Public Festival

The annual Humanities in Public Festival enjoys a strong reputation for its city-wide programme of events – and over 7,000 regular attendees.

Design City Film Season
Cinema 12 October 2016–23 October 2016, from £7.00

Design City Film Season

The team behind DM16 celebrate design in cinema with a terrific short season of films each introduced by an industry expert.

Theatre 27 September 2016–2 October 2016, from £12.00

Akram Khan’s Giselle

in Khan we’ve got a real master of the craft. Pair him up with the immaculate dancers of the English National Ballet and it is hard to see what could go wrong

Lemn Sissay at the 8th Black and Asian Writers Conference
Literature 8 October 2016, from £7.00

Lemn Sissay at Contact

Join poet, author and MBE Lemn Sissay as he closes this year’s Black & Asian Writers Conference.

Families 24 October 2016, from £12.00

The Philosopher’s Scone: magic tricks at Harvey Nicks

Enter the world of Harry Potter and experience a family afternoon tea like with Roger Highfield, author of The Science of Harry Potter: How Magic Really Works followed by a screening of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

The Other Room: Charles Berstein, Susan Bee, and Maggie O’Sullivan
Literature 3 October 2016, FREE

The Other Room: Charles Bernstein, Susan Bee and Maggie O’Sullivan

The Other Room introduce poet, essayist, editor and critic Charles Bernstein, artist Susan Bee, and Maggie O’Sullivan.

Darling – Image courtesy of Grimmfest
Cinema 6 October 2016–9 October 2016, from £20.00

Grimmfest 2016

One of the top 40 genre film festivals in the World, Manchester’s annual festival of horror, cult and fantastic film at Odeon Printworks returns this October.

Midnight Matinee Screening: The Blob
Cinema 8 October 2016, from £6.75

Midnight Matinee Screening: The Blob

Join us for a moment of Plaza history in the making when we screen our first ever midnight matinee.

Manchester District Guides

Exchange Square Manchester WIDE

City Centre, Manchester

Visit Manchester Town Hall in the city centre and you’ll spot bees picked out in…

Cheetham Hill 2 Jan Chlebik WIDE

Cheetham Hill, Manchester

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

Northern Quarter, Manchester

Northern Quarter, Manchester

Manchester’s most characterful, independent district is a jumbled network of streets to one side of…

Chorlton Guide

Chorlton, Manchester

This left-leaning suburb a few miles south of Manchester’s city centre (and only ten minutes…

The cafe in the trees at the Whitworth

Oxford Road, Manchester

Stretching all the way from the Curry Mile – with its glittering sari emporiums, Indian…

The front of Didsbury restaurant Volta.

Didsbury, Manchester

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

Things to do right now

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Theatre 28 September 2016–8 October 2016, from £10.00

The Emperor

Theatre 27 September 2016–2 October 2016, from £12.00

Akram Khan’s Giselle

Wonder Materials Graphene & Beyond. An exhibition about Graphene at the Museum of Science and Industry

Picture: Jason Lock

Further info: Kate Campbell-Payne
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Tel: 0161 606 0213

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Picture © Jason Lock Photography
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Exhibitions 23 July 2016–25 June 2017, FREE

Wonder Materials: Graphene and Beyond

HAND 01.1_1
Exhibitions 8 September 2016–30 October 2016, FREE

HAND CRAFT at Manchester Craft & Design Centre

Theatre 8 September 2016–15 October 2016, from £11.00

To Kill a Mockingbird at Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Snowdrift by Edward Onslow Ford
Exhibitions 10 June 2016–31 October 2016, FREE

Elizabeth Price Curates at The Whitworth

Michael Rosen - Image courtesy of Z-Arts
Families 17 September 2016–17 December 2016, from £7.00

Bear Hunt, Chocolate Cake & Bad Things at Z-arts