Manchester MM WIDE
Image courtesy of Marketing Manchester

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

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.

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.

Bad Language at the Castle with Neil Campbell
Literature 28 September 2016, FREE

Bad Language at the Castle with Neil Campbell

This month the Bad Language team welcome Neil Campbell. Neil features in Best British Short Stories 2015 and 2016, and his debut novel, Sky Hooks, is out late October, with exclusive advance copies available at the event.

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.

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.

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.

Designs by Emilia Wickstead, Holly Fulton and Sadie Williams
Exhibitions 13 May 2016–27 November 2016, FREE

Fashion & Freedom at Manchester Art Gallery

New fashion and film inspired by women during the First World War. Original designs from top designers including Vivienne Westwood.

PR in Manchester
Education 17 October 2016,

PR in Manchester at Number 70 Oxford Street

A spotlight on the local legendary fondness for musicals – revealing little known historical connections.

Manchester District Guides

Castlefield Manchester MM WIDE

Castlefield, Manchester

The Roman General Julius Agricola founded ‘Mamucium’ in 79AD; the name means ‘breast shaped hill’,…

Islington Mill 2

Chapel Street, Salford

Chapel Street is Salford’s historic heart: laid back, spread out and under the radar. Running…

Oast House Spinningfields Manchester MM WIDE

Spinningfields, Manchester

Spinningfields is Manchester’s realm of glass and steel, where global corporations have their headquarters. It’s…

A coffee stand at Levenshulme Market

Levenshulme, Manchester

Located halfway between Manchester and Stockport, for many people Levenshulme is just another place their…

Lunya Deansgate Manchester MM WIDE

Deansgate, Manchester

The busy thoroughfare of Deansgate runs through Castlefield, joining the dots between it, Spinningfields and…

Tib St Tavern Northern Quarter WIDE

Tib Street, Manchester

It’s not often that you find a street you could while away a whole day…

Things to do right now

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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
Communications Officer
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

Exhibitions 24 September 2016–9 October 2016, FREE

Projects: Rachel Goodyear – Glimpse