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 19–25 September 2019, from £14.50

The Hallé – Shostakovich’s Defiant Response at The Bridgewater Hall

The Hallé pairs Beethoven’s magic with Shostakovich’s defiance in this Bridgewater Hall concert, which stars virtuoso pianist Víkingur Ólafsson.

Music 21 September 2019, 6:30 pm–9:00 pm, from £5.50

BBC Philharmonic: Prokofiev/Coates/Walton at The Bridgewater Hall

Opening the BBC Philharmonic’s 2019-20 season, conductor John Wilson pairs light with darkness, sugar with spice, in an eclectic and thrilling programme.

Graphic Encounters at Shudehill Metrolink Station
Visual Arts 10 September–15 October 2019, FREE

Graphic Encounters at Manchester Metrolink Stations

A unique city project, presented across Greater Manchester Metrolink poster-sites exploring the experiences of women.

Theatre 18 September–15 October 2019,

SICK! Festival

Challenging, entertaining and always trying to change the world for the better, SICK! Festival makes just the kind of art we like.

Music 15 October–12 December 2019, from £5

RNCM Autumn Season

From concerts to film screenings to operas, we select our top 5 highlights from the RNCM Autumn Season, whose thematic focus is Migration.

Manchester Art Fair 2018
Exhibitions 11–13 October 2019, from £5

Manchester Art Fair 2019 at Manchester Central

A firm favourite in Manchester’s cultural calendar, the Manchester Art Fair and The Manchester Contemporary weekend is not to be missed. Tickets are free for Creative Tourist readers.

Ibrahim Mahama Photo © White Cube George Darrell. Courtesy of Manchester International Festival
Exhibitions 5 July–29 September 2019, FREE

MIF19: Ibrahim Mahama at the Whitworth

LAST CHANCE. Considered one of the most ‘internationally visible’ artists working out of Africa today, for MIF 2019 Ibrahim Mahama presents an assemblage of lost objects that reflect upon the history of his home country’s long struggle for independence.

No Particular Place to Go? 35 Years of Sculpture at Castlefield Gallery
Exhibitions 6 September–27 October 2019, FREE

No Particular Place to Go? 35 Years of Sculpture at Castlefield Gallery

35 years and still going strong. Castlefield – Manchester’s first public contemporary visual art gallery – looks back on its history through the prism of sculpture.

Football Is Art at National Football Museum
Exhibitions 5 April–3 November 2019, FREE

Football is Art at National Football Museum

With works by Banksy, Picasso and John Cocteau, National Football Museum’s current exhibition demonstrates how artists have been mining the beautiful game for inspiration for decades.

Exhibitions 29 June–29 September 2019, FREE

Expect the Unexpected: A Chance Exhibition at the Lowry

A new exhibition at the Lowry is a reminder to re-connect with the beauty and joy chance poses. To celebrate the unexpected, as well as to expect it.

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…