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.

For the past twelve months, most of us have been limited to four walls, living in a smaller world than we ever expected. But the world is back out there, your old hobbies await and new passions call. Now is the time to try out all those experiences you always planned but never had the time. The world is your oyster and we should never take it for granted again.

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

CYC: Everything All of the Time at Contact
Theatre Until 17 May 2022,

Contact Reopening Season

Following the extensive transformation of their iconic Oxford Road venue, Contact has announced a vibrant and progressive reopening programme. Read our preview of the upcoming season.

European Poetry Festival European Camarade
Literature 1 October 2021 7:00 pm, FREE

European Poetry Festival European Camarade at International Anthony Burgess Foundation

The unique annual European Camarade is back, bringing together some of the finest modern poets of the thriving Manchester scene with writers from across Europe to create brand-new work especially for the night.

Sarah Schofield
Literature 13 October 2021 7:00 pm, from £5

Lucie McKnight Hardy, Vanessa Onwuemezi and Sarah Schofield at Blackwell’s

Join Lucie McKnight Hardy, Vanessa Onwuemezi and Sarah Schofield at Blackwell’s on University Green as they each launch new short story collections with a touch of the uncanny.

Northern Lights Writers' Conference 2021
Literature Until 30 September 2021, from £7.50

Northern Lights Writers’ Conference 2021 at Waterside and online

Northern Lights Writers’ Conference is perfect for picking up tips and useful contacts in the publishing world – and you can choose to attend the eighth NLWC virtually or in real life, at CIT’s Waterside base.

Cassils: Human Measure at HOME
Exhibitions 2 October–12 December 2021, FREE

Cassils: Human Measure at HOME

Curated by Bren O’Callaghan, renowned transgender visual artist Cassils brings their first UK solo exhibition and contemporary dance piece to HOME.

The Edge Reopening Season
Comedy Until 18 December 2021, from £6

The Edge Reopening Season

Live theatre returns to The Edge this September and the opening season promises to be one to remember when its doors open for the first time in 18 months, and to a completely refurbished building.

Exhibitions 8–10 October 2021, FREE

Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2021 at Victoria Baths in Manchester

Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair is back, showcasing over 150 designer-makers in its new home – Manchester’s iconic Victoria Baths.

Irrfan Khan - The Warrior - Not Just Bollywood
Cinema Until 13 October 2021, from £7.50

Not Just Bollywood at HOME

Now entering its fifth year, HOME’s Not Just Bollywood returns with a celebration of the late Irrfan Khan and a particular focus on Bengali film.

PUSH Festival - HOME
Festivals Until 31 December 2021,

PUSH Festival 2021 at HOME

Thrilling and challenging, HOME’s annual festival is a glimmering reminder that new performance continues to be developed, despite ‘you-know-what’.

Peaceophobia at Q-Park First Street Car Park
Theatre 29 September–2 October 2021, from £5

Peaceophobia at Q-Park First Street Car Park

Part car rally and part theatre show aiming to challenge the political, social and cultural narratives associated with young Muslim men.

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…