Exchange Square Manchester WIDE
Exchange Square Manchester

City Centre, Manchester

Creative Tourist

Visit Manchester Town Hall in the city centre and you’ll spot bees picked out in the mosaics across the lobby floor – once seen, you’ll notice them everywhere. The bee is used as a symbol of Manchester’s industriousness and teamwork, and it appears on benches, council flower pots and even bins across the city. The Town Hall itself was designed by Alfred Waterhouse (also behind the Natural History Museum in London) and is often used in place of the Houses of Parliament when filming. The city centre is, then, a district filled with many incredible buildings, from The Royal Exchange, a former trading hall and once the largest single room in the world, to The Bridgewater Hall, built in 1996 for £46m so that, incredibly, all 22,000 tons of it float on nearly three hundred earthquake bearings, or giant springs.

The city centre is perhaps Manchester’s most diverse area culturally, taking in Chinatown, the Gay Village (area of political importance for the LGBT community; its bars and clubs are legendary) and behemoths of the arts such as The Portico Library and Manchester Art Gallery, whilst not turning up its nose to the high street attractions of Market Street and the Arndale Centre.King Street is dotted with designer stores, but also has a foodie draw, including El Gato Negro’s superb tapas. St Ann’s Square is a quiet little enclave of shops, with Barton’s Arcade set back from it on one side, and St Ann’s Church, which dates back to 1712 and has a 54 stop organ. Albert Square is in front of the Town Hall, a cobbled space that plays host to the Manchester Christmas Markets and festival of premieres Manchester International Festival.

A top tip – don’t miss Manchester’s talking statues; Prunella Scales is Queen Victoria in Piccadilly Gardens, Russel Tovey is Alan Turing in Sackville Gardens, and Tom Conti plays the President in Lincoln Square.

Discover our top picks

Darling – Image courtesy of Grimmfest
Cinema 6 October 2016–9 October 2016, from £20.00

Grimmfest 2016

One of the top 40 genre film festivals in the World, Manchester’s annual festival of horror, cult and fantastic film at Odeon Printworks returns this October.

Families 24 October 2016, from £12.00

The Philosopher’s Scone: magic tricks at Harvey Nicks

Enter the world of Harry Potter and experience a family afternoon tea like with Roger Highfield, author of The Science of Harry Potter: How Magic Really Works followed by a screening of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Designs by Emilia Wickstead, Holly Fulton and Sadie Williams
Exhibitions 13 May 2016–27 November 2016, FREE

Fashion & Freedom at Manchester Art Gallery

New fashion and film inspired by women during the First World War. Original designs from top designers including Vivienne Westwood.

Theatre 8 September 2016–15 October 2016, from £17.50

A Streetcar Named Desire at the Royal Exchange: sweltering southern madness comes to Manchester

Maxine Peake and Sarah Frankom continue their prolific partnership in this new adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ classic tale of Southern tension.

Installation view of Vogue 100
Exhibitions 24 June 2016–30 October 2016, FREE

Vogue 100: A Century of Style at Manchester Art Gallery

Direct from the National Portrait Gallery, London, Vogue 100: A Century of Style is a major exhibition celebrating 100 years of cutting-edge fashion, beauty and portrait photography by British Vogue.

Snowdrift by Edward Onslow Ford
Exhibitions 10 June 2016–31 October 2016, FREE

Elizabeth Price Curates at The Whitworth

IN A DREAM YOU SAW A WAY TO SURVIVE AND YOU WERE FULL OF JOY is curated by Turner Prize-winner Elizabeth Price, one of Britain’s most acclaimed artists. This highly original exhibition features the work of seventy artists.

Melody and Rhythm
Music 9 October 2016, from £12.00

BBC Philharmonic: Melody and Rhythm

Written in the wake of a failed affair, William Walton’s powerful First Symphony runs the emotional gamut – from heartbreak via contemplation to a profoundly optimistic ending.

Masters of Reinvention
Music 22 October 2016, from £12.00

BBC Philharmonic: Masters of Reinvention

Håkan Hardenberger joins John Storgårds and the orchestra to pay tribute with a performance of Max’s terrific Trumpet Concerto.

Musical Myths
Music 19 November 2016, from £12.00

BBC Philharmonic: Musical Myths

Premiered 12 months apart in Paris, this double-bill of iconic ballets surveys the revolutions that swept music a century ago.

Tragedy and Humour; Darkness and Light
Music 5 November 2016, from £12.00

BBC Philharmonic: Tragedy and Humour; Darkness and Light

Two distinct visions of the natural world provide the bookends for tonight’s concert: Tapiola, Sibelius’s homage to the fabled Finnish god of the forest; and Four Sea Interludes, Britten’s glorious evocation of his beloved Suffolk coastline.

Manchester District Guides

China Town visit britain WIDE

Chinatown, Manchester

Wedged between Mosley and Portland Streets, Manchester’s Chinatown a riot of colour and flavour; restaurants…

Ancoats Guide (3)

Ancoats, Manchester

Layer upon layer of history makes Ancoats, an Area of Conservation since 1998, really special….

Canal Street Visit Britain WIDE

Canal Street, Manchester

Manchester’s picturesque Canal Street and its surroundings constitute what is reputedly the oldest gay village…

Castlefield Manchester MM WIDE

Castlefield, Manchester

The Roman General Julius Agricola founded ‘Mamucium’ in 79AD; the name means ‘breast shaped hill’,…

Islington Mill 2

Chapel Street, Salford

Chapel Street is Salford’s historic heart: laid back, spread out and under the radar. Running…

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
Theatre 27 September 2016–1 October 2016, from £12.00

Last Chance: Akram Khan’s Giselle

Theatre 28 September 2016–8 October 2016, from £10.00

The Emperor

Theatre 8 September 2016–15 October 2016, from £11.00

To Kill a Mockingbird at Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Music 30 September 2016–2 October 2016, from £5.00

Oxjam Manchester Takeover 2016

Artist Film Weekender 2016
Cinema 30 September 2016–2 October 2016, from £3.00

Artist Film Weekender 2016

Wonder Materials Graphene & Beyond. An exhibition about Graphene at the Museum of Science and Industry

Picture: Jason Lock

Further info: Kate Campbell-Payne
Communications Officer
Tel: 0161 606 0213

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Picture © Jason Lock Photography
+44 (0) 7889 152747
+44 (0) 161 431 4012
Exhibitions 23 July 2016–25 June 2017, FREE

Wonder Materials: Graphene and Beyond

HAND 01.1_1
Exhibitions 8 September 2016–30 October 2016, FREE

HAND CRAFT at Manchester Craft & Design Centre

Snowdrift by Edward Onslow Ford
Exhibitions 10 June 2016–31 October 2016, FREE

Elizabeth Price Curates at The Whitworth

Michael Rosen - Image courtesy of Z-Arts
Families 17 September 2016–17 December 2016, from £7.00

Bear Hunt, Chocolate Cake & Bad Things at Z-arts