Manchester MM WIDE
Image courtesy of Marketing Manchester

Things to Do in Manchester

Creative Tourist

It was Manchester that gave rise to socialism, the British Labour Party and the Suffragettes. Wildly ambitious, Manchester was the original industrial city, once the largest centre of manufacturing in the world. This is not the kind of past that a city forgets. Go into its museums and you’ll find the evidence: their collections are among the best in Britain. But before you write this off as just history, think on.

Manchester is steadily reinventing districts that were once busy with industrial factories and warehouses; the red-bricked buildings of the Northern Quarter and Ancoats are now taken up with independent shops, bars, and restaurants. The city boasts two universities along Oxford Road, as well as the award-winning Whitworth and Manchester Museum – with cross-arts space HOME a short stroll away on Tony Wilson Place.

There’s the Royal Exchange in the centre, the UK’s biggest theatre in-the-round, housed in what was once the largest single room in the world. Not forgetting MediaCity UK, which shares The Quays with major arts organisations IWM North and The Lowry and is home to BBC North and ITV. So while this is a city with a past, Manchester has its eyes on the future. The joy of visiting today is that, without too much effort, you get to experience a slice of both.

Discover our top picks

Music 28 January 2017, from £13.50

Dark Hearts of Space at The Lowry

Take a great DJ set, add a splash of art and multiply that by a double dose of science and you get Dark Hearts of Space, a new audio visual show that unravels the mysteries of black holes

BBC Philharmonic: Lovers and Rogues
Music 21 January 2017, from £12.00

BBC Philharmonic: Lovers and Rogues

Gramophone wrote that when superb young Spanish pianist Javier Perianes plays Grieg’s ever-fresh Piano Concerto, as he does tonight, ‘you may well find yourself falling in love and in awe all over again’

After The Bees
Exhibitions 16 November 2016–01 July 2017 , FREE

After The Bees at Manchester Museum

This exhibition explores the haunting consequences of a world without bees through a series of photographs and artworks.

Castle Rock
Theatre 25 January 2017, FREE

Castle Rock at The Lowry

Castle Rock takes its cues from Stephen King’s film Stand By Me, totally deconstructing it to create a freaky and fragmentary work that mixes together music, movement and theatre.

Chinese New Year in Manchester 2017
Families 26–29 January 2017 , FREE

Chinese New Year Manchester 2017

Whether you’re being dazzled by the terracotta warriors, tantalised by the tasty cuisine or simply soaking up the atmosphere, this year promises to be Manchester’s biggest Chinese New Year celebration to date.

Le Gateau Chocolat: Black
Music 10–11 February 2017 , from £15.00

Le Gateau Chocolat: Black at Contact

Le Gateau Chocolat has an incredible voice, which can bend to the lowest bass and trill at the top of the treble. He is also more than a simply a singer: he’s an all round show-stopping performer.

Theatre 14–28 January 2017 , from £1.00

PUSH Festival 2017 at HOME

PUSH gives you a chance to revisit your favourite theatre moments from the previous year and catch up on a few you might have missed out on. Comedy, cabaret and a play with a man who was a rubber-faced revelation – what better way to start your theatre year.

The Dragon Parade, Chinatown Celebrations and Fireworks
Families 29 January 2017, FREE

The Dragon Parade, Chinatown Celebrations and Fireworks

Follow the dazzling 175-foot Dragon from Albert Square to Chinatown for music, acrobatics, dancing and a glittering firework finale

Big Saturday: Our Wonderful World
Families 21 January 2017, FREE

Big Saturday: Our Wonderful World at Manchester Museum

Start the new year with positive action at Manchester Museum celebrating the little and large things that make our world amazing.

Good Dog
Theatre 22–23 February 2017 , from £12.00

Good Dog at The Lowry

Unseen women, unwanted old men and unappreciated teenagers are all part of Good Dog’s scalpel-sharp story, written by celebrated actor and playwright Arinzé Kene.

Manchester District Guides

Canal Street Visit Britain WIDE

Canal Street, Manchester

Manchester’s picturesque Canal Street and its surroundings constitute what is reputedly the oldest gay village…

Castlefield Manchester MM WIDE

Castlefield, Manchester

The Roman General Julius Agricola founded ‘Mamucium’ in 79AD; the name means ‘breast shaped hill’,…

Islington Mill 2

Chapel Street, Salford

Chapel Street is Salford’s historic heart: laid back, spread out and under the radar. Running…

Oast House Spinningfields Manchester MM WIDE

Spinningfields, Manchester

Spinningfields is Manchester’s realm of glass and steel, where global corporations have their headquarters. It’s…

A coffee stand at Levenshulme Market

Levenshulme, Manchester

Located halfway between Manchester and Stockport, for many people Levenshulme is just another place their…

Lunya Deansgate Manchester MM WIDE

Deansgate, Manchester

The busy thoroughfare of Deansgate runs through Castlefield, joining the dots between it, Spinningfields and…

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