Things to Do in Manchester

Creative Tourist

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 too, from award-winning theatre and exhibitions to an exciting food and drink offer and thriving literature and music scenes.

Discover our top picks

Music Until 30 April 2021,

Band on the Wall: Live-ish from fivefourstudios

This April, Band on the Wall are broadcasting full sets by emerging artists from Manchester, recorded at fivefourstudios, Salford.

Open Air Theatre in Manchester and the North
Theatre 18 May–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.

Queer Contact 2021
Festivals 29 April–1 May 2021,

Queer Contact Festival 2021

Bringing an online celebration of art and creativity in the LGBTQ+ community, we’re thrilled that Queer Contact Festival will return for 2021.

Queer Contact 2021: Russell T Davies in conversation with Nathaniel Hall
Theatre 30 April 2021 7:30 pm, from £5.00

Queer Contact 2021: Russell T Davies in conversation with Nathaniel Hall

In this first event for Queer Contact 2021, screenwriting legend Russell T Davies will join award-winning theatre-maker Nathaniel Hall to discuss depictions of HIV and AIDS on stage and screen.

Mr Stink Heartbreak Productions
Families 13 June 2021 1:30 pm, from £11

Mr Stink

Spend an afternoon in Sale’s ‘secret’ Walkden Gardens with your little ones and enjoy Heartbreak Productions adaptation of the heart-warming storybook Mr Stink.

The Great Gatsby at Waterside
Theatre 20 June 2021 6:00 pm, from £13

The Great Gatsby at Walkden Gardens

Open-air theatre aficionados Heartbreak Productions bring a live performance of The Great Gatsby to Walkden Gardens in Sale this summer.

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


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 psychedelic music and art, returns in September 2021, following the postponement of 2020’s event.

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…