Visit Manchester Town Hall and you’ll spot bees picked out in the mosaics across the lobby floor – once seen, you’ll notice them everywhere. Appearing on benches, council flower pots and even bins across the city, the bee is a a symbol of Manchester’s industriousness.
This industriousness is evidenced all over the city centre, where proud heritage meets contemporary ambition, with a future-leaning cultural offer that increasingly pushes the city towards the global stage.
From stunning neo-Gothic buildings like The Town Hall and the John Rylands Library to new beacons of culture such as Factory International, one of Europe’s most anticipated cultural venues, Manchester’s city centre really has it all. Sometimes, though, it’s knowing where to look.
It’s important to note that the city centre is probably Manchester’s most diverse area culturally, taking in Chinatown, the Gay Village as well as areas like Deansgate, Castlefield, Spinningfields, the Northern Quarter and Ancoats, all of which you can explore in more detail within in our dedicated guides to those areas.
Here, though, you’ll find a cherry-picked selection of the arts and cultural venues that the city treasures most, from musical institutions to galleries, theatrical gems to one-of-a-kind museums, with a few stand-out restaurants thrown in for good measure.