Image courtesy of Marketing Manchester

Things to Do in Manchester

Creative Tourist

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 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, and restaurants. The city boasts two universities along Oxford Road, as well as the award-winning Whitworth and Manchester Museum – with cross-arts space HOME a short stroll away on Tony Wilson Place.

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

Festivals 13–18 November 2017, FREE

New Music North West 2017

Since 2013, New Music North West has grown to become the largest, most exciting festival of new British music. Featuring Mark-Anthony Turnage, the BBC Philharmonic, Psappha, Ebonit Saxophone Quartet, the Vonnegut Collective and Animikii Theatre, this year continues to celebrate the region’s creative talent.

Dance 17–18 November 2017, from £7.00

Black Gold Arts Festival at Contact

Black Gold Arts Festival showcases the BAME talent that so far has been left inexcusably under-the-radar.

Theatre 3–25 November 2017, from £10

Uncle Vanya at HOME

NOW OPEN. This Chekhov classic is yet another example of how HOME has added a cosmopolitan quality to Manchester’s theatre scene

Theatre 2–18 November 2017, from £10.00

Jubilee at the Royal Exchange

The Royal Exchange are bringing a pure punk classic back to life. Expect strong language, spitting and riotous riffs.

Exhibitions 18 November 2017–25 February 2018, FREE

humansbeingdigital at The Lowry

An exhibition that encourages us to question the given, as well as conquering the complex.

Exhibitions 21 October 2017–7 January 2018, FREE

The Return of Memory at HOME

A major new exhibition at HOME sets out to re-examine the legacy of the Russian Revolution through the lens of the ‘New East’ today.

Cinema 30 November 2017, from £14

The Phantom Of The Opera: Film Screening with Live Organ Accompaniment at the RNCM

Following on from the RNCM’s screening of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis in 2016, catch the 1925 film adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera – widely regarded as a masterpiece of silent horror – with a live organ accompaniment.

Delia Derbyshire
5 December 2017, from £0.00

Artists in Archives: For Interest Only at Burgess Foundation

Watch, listen to and participate in artists’ presentations, displays, creative responses, performances and workshop activities, and view some of composer Delia Derbyshire’s archive.

Theatre 28–29 November 2017, from £10.00 - 15.00

Re-member Me at Contact

Re-member Me brings the ghosts of Hamlets-past back to life through Dickie Beaus lip-syncing master class.

Families 7 October 2017–2 January 2018, from £21.25

Dinosaurs in the Wild at EventCity

A live-action, high tech theatre experience which will transport you back 67 million years to see living dinosaurs with your very own eyes.

Manchester District Guides

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

It may not quite have the reputation of Benefits Street, but Beech Road in Chorlton…

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

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

Cheetham Hill, Manchester

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

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
Festivals 13–18 November 2017, FREE

New Music North West 2017

Dance 17–18 November 2017, from £7.00

Black Gold Arts Festival at Contact

Theatre 2–18 November 2017, from £10.00

Jubilee at the Royal Exchange

Theatre 3–25 November 2017, from £10

Uncle Vanya at HOME

Exhibitions 21 October 2017–7 January 2018, FREE

The Return of Memory at HOME

Families 7 October 2017–2 January 2018, from £21.25

Dinosaurs in the Wild at EventCity

Music 24 September 2017–9 June 2018,

BBC Philharmonic 2017/18 Concert Season

Music 9 September 2017–31 May 2018, from £15.00

Manchester Camerata 2017/18 Season

Music 4 October–11 December 2017, FREE

RNCM Autumn Season

Theatre 20 September–20 December 2017,

Contact Autumn Season 2017

Festivals 22 September 2017–31 March 2018,

HOME Autumn/Winter Season

Exhibitions 23 June 2017–1 January 2018, from £4.00

Wyndham Lewis: Life, Art, War at IWM North