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.

  • 1. Imperial War Museum North (IWM North)

    Imperial War Museum North (IWM North)
    Image courtesy of Visit Britain

    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.

  • 2. The Whitworth

    The Whitworth, Photo: Alan Williams

    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.

  • 3. The John Rylands Library

    The historic Reading Room in John Rylands Library
    Image courtesy of John Rylands Library.

    The John Rylands 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.

  • 4. Science and Industry Museum

    Jonty Wilde

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

    The Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) 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.

  • 5. Manchester Art Gallery

    Manchester Art Gallery. Photo by Andrew Brooks
    Andrew Brooks

    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).

  • 6. HOME Manchester

    Paul Karalius

    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.

  • 7. People’s History Museum

    People's History Museum Manchester
    Image courtesy of the People's History Museum.

    People’s History Museum, 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.

  • 8. Manchester 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.

  • 9. Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

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

    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.

  • 10. Royal Exchange Theatre

    Photo of the interior of the Royal Exchange
    Photo: Joel Fildes.

    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.

Visitor guides

Photo of the interior of the Royal Exchange

Theatres in Manchester

If you’re looking for theatre in Manchester, these are our top places to explore.

The best lectures, talks & meetups in Manchester

These are the best regular events in Manchester, from fascinating free talks and encounters with astronomy through to literature and discussions about class.

things to do with toddlers in Manchester

Things to do with toddlers in Manchester

Read our guide to navigating the city with toddlers before you set out. Manchester for toddlers: a mini guide.

Manchester Central Library

City of Literature: Manchester

Manchester is the 26th UNESCO City of Literature, joining illustrious alumni from across the globe. Here’s our guide to literary landmarks across the city.

Top places to go rural (without leaving Manchester)

Our top places to go rural without leaving Manchester too far behind. From water parks to national trust properties with some wild swimming chucked in for good measure.

Blossom on trees in Manchester

Parks and Gardens in Manchester

Our pick of the five best parks and gardens in and around Manchester.

Culture Guides

Charles Rennie Mackintosh: making the Glasgow Style at Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool

Exhibitions

On the brink of the new year, here’s a couple of the major exhibitions and smaller gems we’re looking forward to in 2019.

A World Inside A Book courtesy Suzi Corker

Families

January ain’t dull. Create with light, become forensic archeologists, sculpt with mud, step inside books and find a giant piglet with a coat made from dosh.

Literature

January, February, March, April, even May… we’ve plenty for you to look forward to live literature wise as 2019 unfolds – from performance poetry and soundscapes to readings from magazines, memoirs and award-winning short stories.

Music

Ranging from electronica to indie, this month’s music guide features some of the most singular voices in contemporary music.

Theatre in Manchester and the North

Theatre

Five-star musicals, acclaimed site-specific performances and two-week-long eclectic arts festivals? There’s nothing dry about January.

Cinema

January brings a focus on women-centric cinema, classic revivals and international hits.

Tours and Activities

Explore the other side of Manchester’s performing arts, as this month, we highlight some of the best tours of the city’s theatres, venues and concert halls.

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
Everyman Rock 'n' Roll panto The Snow Queen
Families 24 November 2018–19 January 2019, from £15.00

Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto: The Snow Queen at Liverpool Everyman

Cheese Making at Food Sorcery
Activity 19–20 January 2019, from £100

Cheese Making at Food Sorcery

Mandy Barker: Hong Kong Soup at CFCCA Manchester
Exhibitions 12 October 2018–20 January 2019, FREE

Mandy Barker: Hong Kong Soup at CFCCA

Charwei Tsai: Bulaubulau at CFCCA
Exhibitions 12 October 2018–20 January 2019, FREE

Charwei Tsai: Bulaubulau at CFCCA

ReFrame at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions 20 October 2018–20 January 2019, FREE

ReFrame at Manchester Art Gallery

Cinema 7 December 2018–20 January 2019, from £5

Slapstick Film Season at HOME

HOME at Christmas
Festivals 13 December 2017–20 January 2019,

HOME at Christmas

PUSH Festival 2019 at HOME
Festivals 11–26 January 2019,

PUSH Festival 2019 at HOME

LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY at Site Gallery
Exhibitions 29 September 2018–27 January 2019, FREE

LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY at Site Gallery

Craft Beer Tour Around Manchester
Food and Drink 1 November 2018–1 February 2019, from £30

Craft Beer Tour Around Manchester

Exhibitions 12 January–1 February 2019, FREE

Motion Sickness at STOCK Gallery

The Producers - A Mel Brooks Musical at the Royal Exchange
Music 30 November 2018–2 February 2019, from £10.00

The Producers – A Mel Brooks Musical at the Royal Exchange