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

Cinema 27 July–30 August 2018, from £5.50

Apostasy at HOME

LAST CHANCE. For his debut feature, director Daniel Kokotajlo delves into his own past for a drama about three women in the Jehovahs Witnesses. We spoke to the filmmaker ahead of the films release.

Poppy, Esme, Oleanna, Gracie and Kate, 2014. Personal Feeling is the main thing - Chantal Joffe at The Lowry, Salford
Exhibitions 19 May 2018–24 February 2019, FREE

Salford Royal Academy Takeover

To mark its 250th birthday, the Royal Academy of Arts in London has launched a nationwide programme of exhibitions, displays, tours, talks and one-off events. Here we take a look at what’s going on in Salford – home of RA LS Lowry and now a growing independent art scene.

bbc philharmonic 2018 2019 season at the bridgewater hall manchester
Music 29 September 2018–15 June 2019,

BBC Philharmonic 2018/19 Concert Season

Millions of listeners enjoy BBC Philharmonic concerts on Radio 3, recorded or broadcast live from the outstanding acoustic of The Bridgewater Hall, making this orchestra one of the most widely heard in the country.

Writer Kirsty Logan. Photo copyright Simone Falk.
Literature 23 August 2018, from £8

Penguin Pride Manchester at Z-arts

Penguin Pride comes to Manchester with an awe-inspiring line-up of LGBTQ+ writers, poets and performers to showcase some of the UK’s most exciting queer talent.

Power UP at the Museum of Science and Industry
Families 3–19 August 2018, from £7

Power UP at the Museum of Science and Industry

Stretch those competitive muscles and explore 40 years of video game challenges and design from Pacman to the latest in virtual reality.

Music 6 September–19 December 2018, from £5

RNCM Autumn Season

This Autumn, RNCM is asking the question: what makes something original? Entitled ‘Original Voices’, this future-leaning season showcases artists from across the world who are doing something just that little bit different. With some incredibly exciting and innovative concerts to look forward to, we have compiled our favourites into the guide below. Get ready to encounter technological exploration, multi-sensory experiences as well as performances which pinpoint groundbreaking moments in music.

The Alchemy of Colour at The John Rylands Library
Exhibitions 15 March–27 August 2018, FREE

The Alchemy of Colour at The John Rylands Library

LAST CHANCE. Did you know that the remarkable yellows of Turner’s sunsets came from the urine of mango-fed cows? Or that the reds of Raphael’s greatest masterpieces derived from cactus-dwelling bugs? The Alchemy of Colour at The John Rylands Library explores the unusual stories behind some of art history’s most dazzling hues.

Families 5 May–28 October 2018, from £Quarry Bank admission prices apply (free for National Trust members)

Journeys of the Imagination at Quarry Bank

Pack your bags for an adventure as you discover the incredible journeys made by the people of Quarry Bank in an interactive trail.

Northern Art Carbooty 2018 at Sadlers Yard
Families 26 August 2018, FREE

Northern Art Carbooty 2018 at Sadlers Yard

Northern Art Carbooty brings you a host of local artistic talent, selling their quality wares at affordable prices. There will also be plenty of free family fun workshops, music, food stalls and live performances.

Festivals 25–26 August 2018, from £27.50

Glitterbox Official Afterparty For Manchester Pride

Add some extra glitter to your Manchester Pride celebrations with Glitterbox, Pride’s official Saturday night afterparty at Albert Hall. Life’s stresses can be left at the door at this bank holiday blow-out to end all blow-outs.

Places to go / stay / shop / eat / drink

Manchester District Guides

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…