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

SparkPlug at HOME
Theatre 13–23 February 2019, from £12.50

SparkPlug at HOME

Inspired by autobiographical events, SparkPlug is a punchy and poetic monologue which explores family, race, identity and love.

Mother Courage and her Children at the Royal Exchange
Theatre 8 February–2 March 2019, from £10.00

Mother Courage and her Children at the Royal Exchange

A sharp new adaptation of Brecht’s classic – Mother Courage and her Children – written by Anna Jordan and headed up by Julie Hesmondhalgh in the title role.

Activity 23–24 February 2019, from £3

Manchester Vocal Weekend at The Stoller Hall

Over the final weekend of February, award winning baritone Marcus Farnsworth will lead the very first Manchester Vocal Weekend.

Craig Easton (Maizi, Runcorn). Sixteen photography exhibition, Manchester
Exhibitions 15 February–15 April 2019, FREE

Sixteen – around Manchester

Presented at venues across Manchester, ‘Sixteen’ is a nationwide photographic project that gives voice to the next generation of young people across Great Britain, who will live in a politically reshaped country divorced from the European Union.

Music 23 February 2019, from £12.5

Schumann | Robin Holloway | Valentin Silvestrov at The Bridgewater Hall

The BBC Philharmonic celebrates Robin Holloway’s 75th birthday with a brand new work by the treasured English composer, given its world premiere by guest soloist Håkan Hardenberger. Also tonight, a rare performance of Valentin Silvestrov’s transcendent Fifth Symphony, one of the best-kept secrets in contemporary music.

Chinternet Ugly at Chinese Centre for Contemporary Art
Exhibitions 8 February–12 May 2019, FREE

Chinternet Ugly at Centre for ChineseContemporary Art

CFCCA presents Chinternet Ugly – a group exhibition that offers a rare glimpse behind the biggest digital boundary in the world: the Great Firewall of China.

Music 23 February 2019, from £17.50

Actress at Gorilla

For the second night in the Marcus Intalex Music Foundation’s WK:END series, the inimitable Actress will play at Gorilla, alongside Martyn and dBridge.

Simeon Barclay: Life Room
Exhibitions 8 February–29 March 2019, FREE

Simeon Barclay: Life Room at The Holden Gallery

The Holden Gallery presents ‘Simeon Barclay: Life Room’, featuring new work by an artist from Huddersfield who discovered glamour, theatricality and a sense of aspiration between the pages of ‘Vogue’, and a love for industrial fabricating techniques during 16 years spent on the factory floor.

Cinema 7–28 February 2019, FREE

Bigger Than Life/ Four Films by Stephen Cone at Number 70, Oxford Street

Bigger Than Life and Research in Arts and Humanities at Manchester Met present the first UK retrospective of the films of American independent film director Stephen Cone, at No. 70, Oxford Road this February.

Music 7 April 2019, from £30.60

James Blake at Victoria Warehouse

Following his acclaimed new album ‘Assume Form’, James Blake’s gig at Victoria Warehouse will be one of the most exciting of the spring season.

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

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…