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.

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

Exhibitions Until 15 January 2023, FREE

British Pop Archive at the John Rylands Research Institute and Library

Come along to experience the energy and nostalgia of The British Pop Archive – an exhibition that gathers records, artefacts and memorabilia of UK popular culture from the post-war period to the present day.

Silhouette of people standing in front of an exhibit at Manchester Science Festival 2018
Activity 21–30 October 2022,

Manchester Science Festival 2022

Manchester Science Festival comes with a packed programme of world premieres, inspiring experiences and entertaining events, all exploring one of life’s most crucial questions: ‘What does the future hold for humanity?’.

Exhibitions 13–16 October 2022, from £6

Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2022 at Victoria Baths in Manchester

Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair is back, with gorgeous designs and wonderful workshops, set in the glamour of Manchester’s Victoria Baths.

Exhibitions 21 October 2022–21 May 2023, from £6.00

Turn It Up: The Power of Music at the Science and Industry Museum

Prepare to get hands-on, with your ears and hearts open, at a new major exhibition exploring the science of music’s mysterious hold over us and how it drives us to create, perform, feel and share.

Exhibitions 7 October 2022–1 May 2023, FREE

Dandy Style at Manchester Art Gallery

Set in the brand new dedicated Fashion Gallery, ‘Dandy Style’ celebrates all the is most elegant, dramatic and fascinating in menswear.

Free Your Mind at Factory International
Dance 13 October–5 November 2023, from £10.00

Free Your Mind at Factory International

Directed by Danny Boyle, Free Your Mind is a Matrix-themed large-scale performance spectacular and the first production at Manchester’s newest landmark arts venue.

Kamila Shamsie. Photo Alex von Tunzelman
Literature 7–23 October 2022, from £5

Manchester Literature Festival 2022

MLF22 runs from 7 to 23 October and presents inspiring live literature and spoken word from international writers and home-grown talent.

The Color Purple at The Lowry
Music 11–15 October 2022, from £15.00

The Color Purple at The Lowry

With a soulful musical score and a jaw-droppingly talented cast, this moving musical adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer-prize-winning novel should definitely be on your radar.

Music 11 October 2022 7:30 pm, from £9.00

Elizabeth Llewellyn (soprano) & Simon Lepper (piano) at RNCM

Following their award-winning album of songs by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Elizabeth Llewellyn and Simon Lepper perform for RNCM’s 50th celebrations.

Music 15 October 2022 7:00 pm, from £25.00

Beth Orton at RNCM

After 30 years of shapeshifting between folk, trip hop and brooding experimentalism, Beth Orton’s first album in six years is up there with her very best.

Welcome Back Manchester. It's Time To Restart.

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…