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 exterior shot - host of story seekers
    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

    Magic bowls event. Image shows 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 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.

  • 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 © 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 Tours at 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 going too far from 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

There are plenty of parks and gardens in Manchester. We’ve picked out some of the best parks and gardens in and around the city.

Culture Guides

Cinema

Cinemas might be closed but independent venues and distributors need any help they can get. We look at some films you can stream and places to donate.

Phoebe Davies: Points of Rupture at Site Gallery in Sheffield

Exhibitions

Art and women’s wrestling, Ancient Akkadian gravesites and invented artefacts – check out this month’s pick of exhibitions from across the north.

The elves and the shoemaker. Two green puppets with a male and female actor either side of them.

Families

Need some inspiration for fun and creative family days out? Look no further than our top picks for families across Manchester and the north.

Carcanet exhibition: Carcanet poets Michael Schmidt and Michael Symmons Roberts.

Literature

News of books just out and books worth revisiting, even if you can’t get to the events yourself. Plus a fabulous new exhibition about independent publisher Carcanet, on for the next six months…

Music

Discover the best live music coming up in Manchester and the north this spring and, dare we say it, summer!

Theatre in Manchester

Theatre

Bringing opera, dance, fierce experimental performance and new writing, there’s much to enjoy in our guide to the best theatre in Manchester and the North.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester.

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

It’s time to find the best restaurants for the weeks ahead. Here’s our guide to the best Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

tours and activities

Tours and Activities

Expect thrills, informative discussion, politically charged tours and wobbly towns in this month’s guide of Tours and Activities.

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts

Because of the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, we are unable to bring you our usual recommendations for things to do in Manchester and the North. Our thoughts at this time are with our readers and with the organisations and businesses who make the North of England a great place to live and visit. We hope you stay well and look forward to sharing more unmissable events and places with you later in the year.

Here’s our guide to supporting organisations in Manchester and the North.

Please note – many of the venues on our site will be closed and events either postponed or cancelled. Please check the venue website for details.