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

陈秋林 Chen Qiulin 空的城 The Empty City 数码艺术微喷印刷. Part of Aquatopia at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA), Manchester
Exhibitions 6 July–7 October 2018, FREE

Aquatopia at CFCCA

Though water covers 70% of our planet and sea levels are rising, access to clean, fresh supplies is becoming a growing problem around the world. Aquatopia forms the first of a season of new exhibitions and debates at CFCCA designed to encourage discussion around some of the biggest environmental issues facing the world today.

Phil Collins: Can’t Do Right For Doing Wrong at HOME, Manchester
Cinema 7 July–16 September 2018, FREE

Phil Collins: Can’t Do Right For Doing Wrong at HOME

‘Can’t Do Right For Doing Wrong’ at HOME brings together three politically charged works by the Turner-Prize nominated artist Phil Collins who returned Engels to Manchester in 2017.

Music 27 July 2018, from £18

Manchester Jazz Festival: Winstone/Gesing/Venier at the RNCM Concert Hall

Jazz vocalist Norma Winstone visits the RNCM as part of Manchester Jazz Festival this July. To mark the recent release of Descansado – Songs For Films, she will perform personal interpretations of soundtrack music by the likes of Michel Legrand and Ennio Morricone, backed by her trio’s pianist and reed player.

REFRACT 18 at Waterside Arts
Festivals 19–28 July 2018,

REFRACT:18 at Waterside Arts

Curated by Waterside Arts, Refract:18 is a unique ten-day festival of experiential performance, comedy, live music and family events that challenge you to see things differently.

Families 5 May–28 October 2018, from £Quarry Bank admission prices apply (free for National Trust members)

Journeys of the Imagination at Quarry Bank

Pack your bags for an adventure as you discover the incredible journeys made by the people of Quarry Bank in an interactive trail.

Theatre 19–28 July 2018, from £10.00

The Fishermen at HOME

Illuminating Nigeria in all of its political, historical and cultural complexity, The Fishermen is a powerful allegory of love, vengeance and fate. Based on the Man Booker-shortlisted novel by Chigozie Obioma.

Ockham’s Razor and Contact: Switch and Tipping Point at Upper Campfield Market
Dance 15–18 August 2018, from £10.00

Ockham’s Razor and Contact: Switch and Tipping Point at Upper Campfield Market

Give your summer a lift with this family circus double bill from the award-winning Ockham’s Razor and Manchester’s Contact.

Simon Armitage. Photo Paul Wolfgang Webster
Literature 18 July 2018, FREE

PN Review summer launch at Castlefield Gallery

The launch of the summer issue of PN Review will see readings from contributors Simon Armitage, Fiona Moore and Vala Thorodds, who will read from her translations of Icelandic poet Kristín Ómarsdóttir, plus PN Review Prize winners James Womack and Chris Preddle.

Dan Hays, Spring Snow, 2009. BIBLIOTECH: from bookshelf to big data at The Portico Library, Manchester
Exhibitions 6 July–18 August 2018, FREE

BiblioTECH: from bookshelf to big data at The Portico Library

Do you prefer to hold a Kindle in your hands or a book? ‘BiblioTECH: From bookshelf to big data’ at The Portico Library uses art to examine the opportunities and challenges that arise when we adapt to new technological formats for storing and sharing information.

Music 3–11 November 2018, from £22

Manchester International Festival and The Warehouse Project present ‘Special Edition’ at Mayfield Depot

Featuring five performances in the atmospheric Mayfield Depot, ‘Special Edition’ boasts Swedish experimental pop artist Fever Ray, Bonobo (and friends), Manchester grime artist Bugzy Malone and Northern Irish electronic duo Bicep. Presented by Manchester International Festival and The Warehouse Project, the series is overseen by BBC 6 Music DJ Mary Anne Hobbs, with lighting design by Stuart Bailes.

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

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

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…