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

Peaceophobia at Q-Park First Street Car Park
Theatre 29 September–2 October 2021, from £5

Peaceophobia at Q-Park First Street Car Park

Part car rally and part theatre show aiming to challenge the political, social and cultural narratives associated with young Muslim men.

Music 10 September 2021 4:00 pm, from £54.45

New Order at Heaton Park

For their first hometown show in four years, New Order will perform a career-spanning set at Heaton Park, supported by Hot Chip and Working Men’s Club.

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
Music 17 September 2021 7:00 pm, from £58

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis

In their first-ever tour as a duo, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis play The Bridgewater Hall, following the release of their acclaimed album Carnage.

Music 4–5 September 2021, from £19.50

Manchester Psych Fest 2021

Manchester Psych Fest, an all-day celebration of alternative music and art, returns in September 2021, headlined by Stereolab.

PUSH Festival - HOME
Festivals Until 31 December 2021,

PUSH Festival 2021 at HOME

Thrilling and challenging, HOME’s annual festival is a glimmering reminder that new performance continues to be developed, despite ‘you-know-what’.

Elizabeth Gaskell's House garden. Photo by Chris Tucker
Literature Until 12 December 2021, from £4.50

Book sale at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House and award-winning garden is a must-see, with the famous book sale back on 18 April and scheduled thereafter for 9 May, 13 June, 11 July, 8 August, 12 September, 10 October, 14 November and 12 December 2021, 11am-4pm.

Aid Workers: Ethics Under Fire at Imperial War Museum North
Exhibitions Until 26 September 2021, FREE

Aid Workers: Ethics Under Fire at Imperial War Museum North

Aid Workers: Ethics Under Fire at Imperial War Museum North takes a close look at the moral dilemmas surrounding overseas aid.

The Jungle Book at Oldham Coliseum
Families 7–24 April 2022, from £7.00

The Jungle Book at Oldham Coliseum

Previously postponed due to Covid-19, we’re pleased that The Jungle Book is set to run at Oldham Coliseum in April 2022.

Closed Hands with HOME
Theatre Until 31 August 2021,

Closed Hands with HOME

An interactive, experimental and political video game exploring the complex effects of extremism and radicalisation.

Open Air Theatre in Manchester and the North
Theatre Until 12 August 2021,

Open Air Theatre in Manchester and the North

Open air theatre shows are happening across the north over the next few months – we’ve collated our top picks into a neat guide for you.

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…