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

Soul Journey to Truth at HOME Manchester
Exhibitions 17 May–6 June 2021,

Soul Journey to Truth at HOME Manchester

Soul Journey to Truth at HOME Manchester highlights the experiences and creativity of people in prisons, secure settings and on probation in the North West.

Festivals 17 May–30 June 2021, from £5.50

HOME Reopening Programme May 2021

The big screen is back, and Manchester’s HOME have sorted a blistering reopening programme that combines new releases with rare films from cinema’s past.

Cinema 7–30 June 2021,

The Reverse Gaze: Filmmaking on Screen at HOME

New at HOME, The Reverse Gaze: Filmmaking on Screen is a season of films about filmmaking, exploring the act of creating images and the industry which surrounds them.

Zog Live onstage at The Lowry theatre
Families 2–4 July 2021, from £16

Zog

Enjoy Zog live at The Lowry in an incredible new adaptation which is packed with lively songs from Joe Stilgie and lots of fire-breathing fun.

Kantina Weekender
Food and Drink 28–31 May 2021, from £35

Kantina Weekender

Kantina Weekender runs on May Bank Holiday, from 28 May to 31 May. Celebrating the joy of food and drink, the in-house vendors at Escape to Freight Island will be paired with some of the UK’s most prestigious chefs, cocktail makers, brewers and local restaurant heroes.

Manchester International Festival: The Walk
Festivals 1–18 July 2021, from £12.00

Manchester International Festival

Manchester International Festival is the world’s first festival of original work and special events – a biennial celebration of performance and art.

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, FREE

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.

Thom Yorke at Victoria Warehouse Cultural Calender
Music 13 June 2021 7:30 pm, from £54.70

Thom Yorke at Victoria Warehouse

Following the release of his excellent solo album ANIMA, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke is performing not one but two shows at Victoria Warehouse this June.

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…