As we head into 2023 we’re overwhelmed by the volume of thrilling cultural festivals, brand-new openings, massive gigs and special events scheduled over the next 12 months. To help you fill your calendars, we’ve asked our editors to select their highlights of the year to come.
There should be something here for everybody, from family-friendly picks to liven up the school holidays, to literary highlights, world-class exhibitions, performances from internationally-acclaimed musicians, and cinematic treasures to delight the most discerning film buff.
Want more? You can keep up-to-the-minute with what’s happening across Manchester and the North with our specialist Cinema, Exhibitions, Theatre, Literature, Music, Family and Tours & Activities guides. You can also follow us on all the usual socials (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) and subscribe to our mailing list to get this kind of thing in your inbox every Friday lunchtime.
Here’s to unforgettable cultural adventures in 2023.
Here are our picks
Championing language diversity and its connection to cultural and traditional heritage, International Mother Language Day is celebrated around the world annually on 21 February, and, in our very own UNESCO Manchester City of Literature, events will be taking place both beforehand and running until the end of March.
HOME’s ¡Viva! is returning for its 29th year. This annual celebration of Spanish and Latin American cinema is a Manchester institution and one of the early cinema highlights of 2023.
In their 50th Anniversary year, RNCM have really pulled out all the stops in their spring season. Expect ambitious projects, groundbreaking operas and newly commissioned works performed by some of the best names in classical music as well as the next generation of rising stars.
Prize-winning Gwendoline Riley is on our list of favourites, with novels Cold Water and Sick Notes featuring Manchester as a backdrop, and on 16 March 2023 she’s over the Pennines in Leeds talking about her sixth novel, the toe-curling mother-and-daughter tale My Phantoms.
One of the jewels in the North’s independent cinema scene, Leeds’ historic Hyde Park Picture House is about to emerge from a three-year period of refurbishment and redevelopment.
Now a regular fixture in the literature calendar, various independent publishing houses will be setting out their stalls at Manchester Central Library on 19 April 2023 for the latest Northern Publishers’ Fair, organised by the city’s own indie not-for-profit Fly On The Wall Press.
Treehouse Manchester, Blackfriars Street, Manchester, M3 2EQ - Visit now
A Treehouse hotel is coming to Manchester in spring 2023, featuring a rooftop bar that offers stunning views of the city. The hotel will have 216 rooms and be located at the space previously occupied by the unmissed Renaissance Hotel down Deansgate. The goal is to make guests feel like they are in their own ‘secret forest’ and if our visit to Treehouse London is anything to go by, the people of Manchester are in safe hands.
Lucky Cat, 100 King Street , Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 4WU - Visit now
Gordon Ramsey brings his fine-dining Asian-style restaurant Lucky Cat to Manchester in April 2023, setting up shop in the Grade II listed former bank on King Street, formerly occupied by old nemesis Jamie Oliver’s much-missed Jamie’s Italian.
Dive into some deep-sa family fun at The Spongebob Musical at the Manchester Opera House. Our favourite underwater spongey character is set to make a big, wet splash in Manchester in this unmissable stage show bursting with magical dancing, singing and ridiculous amounts of fun!
Geronimo Festival at Arley Hall returns in 2023 at an earlier date of 26-29 May 2023, and as always, the festival described as ‘Glastonbury for Kids’ is set to be packed with heaps of activities, events, food stalls, music, camping and all sorts of fun for families.
Winner of the Bruntwood Prize 2019, International Award and presented as part of MIF23, Kimber Lee’s play looks to be the pièce de résistance for another brilliant season at the Royal Exchange.
Festa Italiana, Festival Piazza, Cathedral Gardens, Manchester, M4 3BG - Visit now
Festa Italia returns later in the year with another yearly celebration of all things Italian in Manchester. Always blessed with great weather and a superb line-up of street food, live acts and Mediterranean drinks, it’s a winning way to round off the summer months. Put it in your diary now.