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

Orbit Festival 2021 at HOME
Theatre Until 4 December 2021,

Orbit Festival 2021 at HOME

Bringing an extraordinary selection of live and digital work from some of the most exciting artists working today, Orbit Festival brings just the sort of theatre we crave.

The Stoller Hall
Music 3–11 December 2021,

The Stoller Hall Christmas Season

The Stoller Hall’s Christmas programme is always a highlight of the festive cultural calendar, and this year is no different.

Cinema Until 30 November 2021, from £7.50

Mike Leigh Retrospective at HOME

This November, HOME takes part in the BFI’s UK-wide celebration of the career of multi-award winning writer-director Mike Leigh.

The Lowry Autumn Winter Season 2021
Dance Until 15 January 2022,

The Lowry Winter Season 2021

With opera, dance, contemporary shows, musical theatre and high-flying circus adventures, it’s all happening in Salford this winter.

Activity 2 December 2021 6:00 pm, from £2.00

Women For Peace: Banners from Greenham Common at People’s History Museum

The People’s History Museum are bringing the events of protest at RAF Greenham to life with an in person and online book launch of Women For Peace.

Music 29 November 2021 7:30 pm, from £10.00

William Doyle at YES

Mercury Prize-nominated artist William Doyle performs at YES in support of his revelatory new album, Great Spans of Muddy Time.

Music 6 December 2021 7:30 pm, from £14.00

Anika at YES

Anika – the project of Berlin-based musician Annika Henderson who is also a founding member of Exploded View – is performing at YES in support of her first new album in over a decade.

Kelly Lee Owens
Music 30 November 2021 7:30 pm, from £21.25

Kelly Lee Owens at The Ritz

Touring her critically acclaimed second album, Inner Song, Kelly Lee Owens will unleash her own dream-pop vocals and body-moving electronics at The Ritz this November.

Exhibitions Until 31 March 2022, FREE

Cancer Revolution: Science, Innovation and Hope

Explore how science is fuelling a revolution in cancer care and offering a hopeful view into the future with Cancer Revolution: Science, innovation and hope.

Manchester Christmas Markets 2021
Families Until 22 December 2021, FREE

Manchester Christmas Markets

The Manchester Christmas Markets are back, with many dozens of stalls in front of the town hall, and hundreds of traders spread across city-centre squares.

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…

Things to do right now

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The Lowry Autumn Winter Season 2021
Dance Until 15 January 2022,

The Lowry Winter Season 2021

Cinema Until 30 November 2021, from £7.50

Mike Leigh Retrospective at HOME

Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker! 2021
Dance Until 4 December 2021, from £32.50

Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker! 2021 at The Lowry

PUSH Festival - HOME
Festivals Until 31 December 2021,

PUSH Festival 2021 at HOME

Manchester Christmas Markets 2021
Families Until 22 December 2021, FREE

Manchester Christmas Markets

Families Until 8 January 2022, from £13.50

Aladdin at Oldham Coliseum

The Wiz at Hope Mill Theatre
Theatre Until 16 January 2022, from £25.00

The Wiz at Hope Mill Theatre

Jock McFadyen at the Lowry
Activity Until 27 February 2022,

Jock McFadyen Goes to the Lowry

The Edge Reopening Season
Comedy Until 18 December 2021, from £6

The Edge Reopening Season