What To Do When It Rains In Manchester? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Contrary to popular belief, Manchester does attract sunshine once in a while – for over 1,000 hours a year, according to one source. However, we cannot deny that it does rain here more than we’d really like. There’s plenty of things to do in Manchester when the heavens open though; from award-winning theatre and exhibitions to an exciting food and drink offer and thriving literature and music scenes.
With our guide, you can stop asking what to do when it rains in Manchester. Grab your brolly, watch out for those loose paving stones that like to spurt rainwater up your leg and get exploring.
Here are our picks
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. It’s mostly indoors, it’s very kid-friendly and there’s good cafe on site too. Your closest tram stop is Deansgate Castlefield, it’s only a short dash away, making it an ideal pick when it’s bucketing down.
HOME Manchester, 2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 4FN - Visit now
HOME is a great place to spend a rainy day. Take in some art-house cinema across five, excellently programmed cinema screens, explore contemporary art, browse the bookshop, enjoy a pint in the downstairs bar and then maybe dinner before catching a show on of the theatre spaces.
Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 3JL - Visit now
Positioned at the very heart of the city, Manchester Art Gallery houses six centuries worth of fine art, ceramics, glass, furniture and costume, and presents a year-round programme of contemporary exhibitions by world-leading artists. Taking in the whole gallery properly demands at least a couple of hours and there’s a very good cafe to keep you fuelled up.
Mackie Mayor, 1 Eagle Street, Manchester, M4 5BU
The Grade II listed Mackie Mayor is must-see for anyone visiting Manchester. This ornate, voluminous, early-Victorian, purpose-built meat market is now a glass-roofed marketplace, packed with the city’s finest food and drink merchants, with room enough for hundreds of diners and drinkers. Stay here and eat and drink out the storm.
The Whitworth, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 6ER - Visit now
Winner of Visit England’s gold prize for Large Visitor Attraction of the Year 2016 and Art Fund’s Museum of the Year 2015 following a major £15m redevelopment, the beautifully designed Whitworth Art Gallery is a true gem of a place. Its internationally important art collection is presented alongside a changing programme of contemporary exhibitions and outdoor sculpture, whilst the spectacular ‘café in the trees’ is well worth a visit alone.
Afflecks, 52 Church Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1PW - Visit now
Afflecks in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, formerly (and still affectionately) known as Affleck’s Palace, is a mind-bogglingly diverse vintage shopping emporium. Have a look around here for or an hour or so and enjoy some of the city’s most wonderfully independent retailers.
National Football Museum, Urbis Building, Cathedral Gardens, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 3BG - Visit now
Manchester is probably even more famous for football than it is for rain! Visitors to the National Football Museum can dive into this heritage and more as they explore the whole world of football across several floors of changing exhibitions. The Museum is on the doorstep of Victoria Station and the nearby Corn Exchange has a decent pick of eateries, all under one (waterproof) roof.
Manchester Craft & Design Centre, 17 Oak St, Northern Quarter, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 5JD - Visit now
Housed in a former Victorian fish market, Manchester Craft and Design Centre has for 30 years been home to an array of artist-run studios. Hands down the most reliable one-stop-shop for unique, but not over-priced, gifts in the city.
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. You can wander around Manchester Museum for several hours without even thinking about the rain outside.
If all else fails, there are plenty of great pubs in Manchester.