Attractions in Manchester

Creative Tourist

Looking for Manchester attractions? The city is studded with gems, from the sprawling museums and galleries to world-class concert halls, intimate stages and family friendly fare.

Our top picks

Imperial War Museum North (IWM North)

Imperial War Museum North (IWM North), Imperial War Museum North, The Quays, Trafford Wharf Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M17 1TZ - Visit now

IWM North was designed by Daniel Libeskind, whose beautiful waterfront building was based on a globe shattered by war and houses a permanent collection, special exhibitions and events that consider the many ways conflict shapes society.

Imperial War Museum North exterior shot - host of story seekers
Image courtesy of Visit Britain

The Whitworth

The Whitworth, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 6ER - Visit now

The Whitworth underwent a £15m redevelopment in 2015, which saw it double in size; the gallery now juts out into Whitworth park, seamlessly transitioning from old to new. It’s been met with national and international acclaim – for its new architecture and for its brilliant exhibitions programme.

The Whitworth
The Whitworth, Photo: Alan Williams

John Rylands Research Institute and Library

John Rylands Research Institute and Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 3EH - Visit now

John Rylands Library houses a collection of rare books that spans five millennia – including an original Gutenberg Bible – in a neo-Gothic building that took nine years to build.

Magic bowls event. Image shows The historic Reading Room in John Rylands Library
Image courtesy of John Rylands Library.

Science and Industry Museum

Science and Industry Museum, Liverpool Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 4FP - Visit now

The Science and Industry Museum is housed in the buildings of the world’s first inter-city passenger railway; this sprawling, interactive land of scientific exploration includes a working steam train.

Image courtesy of Science and Industry Museum.

Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 3JL - Visit now

Manchester Art Gallery houses 25,000 artefacts across six centuries and contemporary exhibitions by world-leading artists in a beautifully-restored neo-Classic gallery, slap band in the city centre. The architect also designed Highclere Castle (or Downton Abbey).

Manchester Art Gallery. Photo by Andrew Brooks
Andrew Brooks

HOME Manchester

HOME Manchester, 2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 4FN - Visit now

Manchester’s new, £25m arts complex boasts 500 square metres of gallery space and five cinema screens as well as its 500 seat theatre; host to UK premieres, visiting companies and internationally focused work, the offering at HOME is as ambitious as it gets.

HOME Manchester
Paul Karalius

People’s History Museum (PHM)

People’s History Museum (PHM), Left Bank, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3ER - Visit now

The national museum of democracy, couldn’t have a better home than Manchester, the birthplace of the British Labour Party and universal suffrage.

People's History Museum Manchester
Image © People’s History Museum

Manchester Museum

Manchester Museum, The University Of Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M13 9PL - Visit now

Manchester Museum boasts six million pieces in its archive, an impressive Egyptology collection and new discovery space The Study all in one gothic, Grade II*-listed building.

Manchester Museum Tours at Manchester Museum

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M13 9LW - Visit now

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House has been lovingly restored; you can now sit at her desk, see where Charlotte Brontë hid behind the curtains, and have tea in the downstairs café.

Image courtesy of Marketing Manchester / © Joel-Chester-Fildess

Royal Exchange Theatre

Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 7DH - Visit now

This former trading hall underwent a £32m redevelopment after being severely damaged by the 1996 IRA bomb in Manchester’s city centre – and has been delivering stellar productions from its unusual seven-sided glass and steel theatre-in-the-round (the biggest in the UK), and smaller (but still excellent) studio, ever since. Productions here are renowned – both Vanessa Redgrave and Helen Mirren have graced the Royal Exchange’s stage.

Royal Exchange Theatre
Image courtesy of Lee Baxter.

Where to go in Manchester

The Vale Reopening Programme
Mossley
Cinema
The Vale

Boasting a specially curated live programme of music, dance, cinema, theatre and visual arts, the newly renovated centre will host a special launch weekend from 10 – 12 September 2021.

HOME Manchester
Manchester
Theatre
HOME Manchester

Offering a packed schedule of events and things to do, HOME Manchester is one of the city’s leading hubs for arts and culture.

Manchester
Cinema
Cultplex

Billing itself as Manchester’s home of cult films, video games and cool nerd stuff, Cultplex is a small cinema offshoot of indie street food destination Grub Manchester.

The Altrincham Garrick Playhouse
Altrincham
Theatre
The Altrincham Garrick Playhouse

Established in 1914, Altrincham Garrick Playhouse presents a variety of performances and screenings, as well as hosting term-time drama classes and a popular summer school for young people.

Everyman Altrincham
Altrincham
Cinema
Everyman Altrincham

Altrincham’s Everyman is a supremely comfortable boutique cinema showing all of the latest blockbusters, independent hits and big screen events.

Odeon Great Northern
Manchester
Cinema
Odeon Great Northern

Located within the historic Grade 2 former railway goods distribution warehouse, the Odeon Great Northern is a 16 screen multiplex cinema.

Vue Printworks Manchester
Manchester
Cinema
Vue Manchester Printworks

Formerly run by Odeon, Vue Manchester Printworks is the biggest cinema in Manchester with a whopping 23 screens capable of seating 4,472 people. The programming covers all of the latest…

Cineworld ententertainment center Parrs Wood Didsbury
Manchester
Cinema
Cineworld Didsbury

With only 11 screens (only!), this is one of the smaller multiplexes in Greater Manchester – but its advantage is its location in the lush surrounds of Didsbury, not far from a roster of good bars, cafés and restaurants.

Manchester Visitor Guides

Tasting Menus in The North

Looking for the finest luxury multi-course restaurants in Manchester? Look no further. We've picked out the very best tasting menus in the city - just make sure you have deep pockets.

Photo of the Halle orchestra at Bridgewater
Music Venues in Manchester

Manchester is still a great place to watch new and innovative music – so here’s a guide to where to watch the best live music in the city.

Sunday Roasts in Manchester

Looking for the finest roast dinners in Manchester? Look no further. We've picked out the very best Sunday dinners in the city.

Federal Cafe Bar
Breakfast in Manchester

Manchester is strong with the breakfast force, and has some impressive form where brunch is concerned. Here’s our pick of the city’s morning glories.

Blossom on trees in Manchester
Parks and Gardens in Manchester

There are more green spaces in Manchester than you might think. We've picked out some of the best parks and gardens in and around the city.

Bars in Manchester

The best new bars in Manchester, plus some old favourites for good measure.

Pillock at Contact
Spotlight on

Fringe Theatre in Manchester and the North

Check out our top picks of shows previewing in the North West before heading to Edinburgh Fringe Festival later in the summer.

Take me there

Culture Guides

Rebecca Watson author photo
Literature Events in Manchester and the North

In between working out, then working through, your holiday reading pile this summer, find inspiration for your next bookish acquisitions from our selection of live events and exhibitions.