The best lectures, talks & meetups in Manchester

Creative Tourist

From incredible free talks and encounters with moon rock through to literature and philosophy debates – these are the best regular events in Manchester.

There’s an old piece of wisdom that says “a problem shared is a problem halved”. That might be true, but here at Creative Tourist we have our own coinage: “double the company, double the fun”. With that soon-to-be ubiquitous phrase in mind, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite clubs, groups and societies, for meeting like-minded people and discovering more about art, astronomy, and much more.

Our top picks

Manchester Astronomical Society

Manchester Astronomical Society, Sackville Street Building, Godlee Observatory, Manchester, M13 9PL - Visit now

Not to be confused with astrology (when I mistakenly told friends I was off to an astrology meeting they thought I was joining a cult), the Manchester Astronomical Society holds weekly meetings open to the public. The quality of the speakers is simply astounding, with specialists on the cutting edge of interstellar research coming along to share their work. When I was there I got to handle an actual piece of moon rock – and if you join the society you get to use their amazing telescope at the Godlee Observatory in the city centre, which is a marvel in itself.

Modernist Society

Modernist Society, 58 Port Street, Manchester, M1 2EQ - Visit now

As well as putting out a must-read mag, the Manchester Modernist Society organise regular events and activities. If you’ve got even a passing interest in design, city planning or architecture, this is the group for you. A recent screening of films about Hulme was one of the most informative evenings out in Manchester in a long time. Also look out for the magazine launch nights, which usually involve a few glasses of wine and a lot of impassioned chatter.

The Modernist shop
The Modernist

Gaskell Society

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

For fans of Elizabeth Gaskell’s work, as well as those interested in her life and proto-feminist leanings, these talks in both Manchester and Knutsford are a must. Regular guest lecturers unpack the meaning and significance of her writing, and the Manchester meetings are held in either Elizabeth Gaskell house, or the striking surrounds of the Cross Street Chapel, where Gaskell’s husband William was minister.

Elizabeth Gaskell Society

People’s History Museum (PHM)

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

Of all Manchester’s many magnificent museums the PHM seems to be the best at events for young families. Whether designing your own banknote, fashioning a sculpture from recycled material or engaging in a story-telling session, there’s something going on at least once a month and often every week. Sessions are somewhat irregular though, so you have to keep an eye on the events section of their website.

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

Manchester Literary & Philosophical Society

Manchester Literary & Philosophical Society, Jactin House 24 Hood Street, Manchester, M4 6WX - Visit now

For those who like to put their brain through some serious paces, there’s the Manchester Literature & Philosophical Society. Running since 1781, this group meet up to discuss – you guessed it – literature and philosophy. However, some more light-hearted offerings, like an upcoming lecture on the history of lesser-known small ball games, are also in the schedule.

Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society

Where to go in Manchester

The Feel Good Club exterior
Manchester
Event venue
Feel Good Club

Our flagship Feel Good Club in Manchester, open 7 days a week, providing a beautiful friendly environment for coffee, brunch, lunch, cocktails and beers with an amazing selection of non alcoholic beverages too.

Manchester
Bar or Pub
On Bar

This multifaceted venue is primarily an award winning gay bar in Manchester’s Canal Street area – but that is not all…

Manchester
Bar or Pub
Vanilla

This award winning bar is open six nights a week due to popular demand. Described as the ‘mecca of the north’ for the lesbian community, it is no wonder why.

Manchester
Bar or Pub
Cruz 101

Everything you want in a Canal Street club can be found here. Cruz 101 – better known as Cruz – is an institution, and a must-visit in Manchester.

Manchester
Event venue
The Proud Place

Based in the heart of Manchester on Sidney Street, The Proud Place houses The Proud Trust and serves as a community hub for the wider LGBT+ population across Greater Manchester and beyond.

Manchester
Tourist Attraction
Paradise Skate World

Tucked into the first floor of Great Northern is Paradise Skate World, an intergalactic realm of quad skating and cosmically themed cocktails.

Manchester
Event venue
DIECAST

We try out the Sunday roasts at Diecast, Manchester’s new creative neighbourhood, food hub and cultural space.

Manchester
Event venue
Bowlers Exhibition Centre (BEC) Arena

B.E.C Arena is situated in Trafford Park and hosts all sorts of events from exhibitions and conferences to product launches, sporting events, markets, live music and company training days.

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Photo of the Halle orchestra at Bridgewater
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Federal Cafe Bar
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Blossom on trees in Manchester
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Stately Homes in the North

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UNITOM bookshop
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Manchester is a UNESCO City of Literature, so of course there are a few go-tos for books. Read our guide to discover the best places to pick them up.

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