valentines day in manchester
Ben Wheatley's Sightseers is playing at HOME this Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day

Creative Tourist

It’s almost Valentine’s Day Manchester, fear not, you’ve come to the right place! It’s ironic that Valentine’s Day might be the most unloved event in the UK’s calendar. In any given year, a good solid chunk of the population heartily (ha) resents it – whether they be coupled and under romantic pressure, single and feeling left out or simply averse to all the schmaltzy commercialism.

Your typical Valentine’s Day guide will most likely be chocked full of sponsored posts offering you a not-so-romantic five pounds off a burger, which, to be fair, might be right up your street.

We’ve tried to mix it up a little here.

While we’re all guilty of Googling ‘things to do for valentines day’, our motivations may differ.

Perhaps you’re one half of a seasoned couple looking to indulge in some annually prescribed romance, or, maybe you’ve been super-liked, and, this time, it’s definitely not a Russian bot, and, they are absolutely, positively, definitely, maybe The One.

Whatever your reason for being here, Valentine’s Day remains a cultural fixture and wouldn’t it be better to actually do something good with it?

We’ve listed some options below, but if you’re still stuck for inspiration, don’t forget our guides to cinema, theatre, music, exhibitions and food and drink in Manchester and the North.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Independent Shops in Manchester

    OBJECT, Chorlton. Independent Shops Manchester
    Courtesy of OBJECT

    Here in Manchester, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to local, independent shopping gems – here’s a list of our favourite to help you find the perfect Valentine’s gift.

  • 2. The Ivy Asia

    Ian Jones

    The Ivy Asia, The Pavilion, Byrom St, , Manchester , M3 3HG - Visit now

    This is one for those wanting to push the boat out. You probably wouldn’t visit The Ivy Asia on a daily, or even weekly basis, not unless you have deep deep pockets, but when it comes to event dining it’s up there with the best. Manchester is a world class city, The Ivy provides food – and an experience – to match.

  • 3. Northern Flower

    Creative Tourist

    Northern Flower, 58 Tib Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1LG - Visit now

    Outside Northern Flower, overturned wooden crates display cacti, potted trees and ivy in pots, while, inside, the friendly florists will ask for a budget and make up a cut flower bouquet accordingly. No excuses for hitting the petrol station at the last minute!

  • 4. Stanley’s Bar & Grill

    Ian Jones

    Stanley’s Bar & Grill, Stanley Dock, Regents Road, Liverpool, L3 0AN - Visit now

    Do something special, and arrange a stay at Liverpool’s stunning Titanic Hotel. It might be a short trip away from the city centre, but their in-house restaurant Stanley’s Bar & Grill feels like a whole new world. The food is some of the finest in the city, varied enough to feel exciting and inspired, while traditional enough to feel like British dining at its best. Plus you’ll find a flourish to each dish that elevates each far above the norm. You and your beau can enjoy a fantastic three-course menu this Valentine’s Day, so if you’re looking for one of Liverpool’s best restaurants for the ultimate romantic occasion, look no further.

  • 5. Exhibitions

    Kimsooja, To Breathe. Photo © Jaeho Chong
    To Breathe: Bottari, 2013, mixed media installation with The Weaving Factory, 2004–2013, the artist’s voice performance sound, 5.1 channel, 9:14, loop. Photo Jaeho Chong.

    There are so many must-see exhibitions happening right now, we’ve rounded up the best the North has to offer. Have a read and impress your date without our editor’s wise words.

  • 6. The Kings Arms

    The King's Arms pub in Salford.
    David Dixon

    The Kings Arms, 11 Bloom street, Salford, Greater Manchester, M3 6AN - Visit now

    Fancy restaurants and grand gestures are well and good, but a great deal of us believe this is all a load of rubbish. Ignore the Hallmark trappings and find yourself a quality boozer and enjoy some lovely beer-soaked gloom. For even more options, check out our favorite pubs in Manchester.

  • 7. Mr Cooper’s

    Mr Cooper’s, The Midland Hotel, Peter Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M60 2DS - Visit now

    Mr Cooper’s House & Garden is chef Simon Rogan’s second restaurant at The Midland. If you want to put the effort in, but don’t want to completely break the bank – Mr Cooper’s is guaranteed romance.

  • 8. Parks and Gardens in Manchester

    Blossom on trees in Manchester

    What could be more romantic than a wander through the winter wonderland of Manchester? Okay, there’s a good chance that the weather might be miserable, but with the right person, you don’t have to be. Here’s some of our favorite parks and gardens to explore together in Manchester.

  • 9. Restaurant MCR

    Ian Jones

    Restaurant MCR, Tower 12, 18-22 Bridge St, Manchester, M3 3BZ - Visit now

    The latest and greatest fine dining restaurant from the fantastic Aiden Byrne. Based in the former Spinningfields site of his old Manchester House restaurant, it manages to improve on practically all elements of the still-excellent predecessor.

Things to do right now

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Families 19–20 February 2019, from £3

The Blanket Tales at The Piece Hall

Cinema 1–21 February 2019, from £5.50

Burning at HOME

Families 18–22 February 2019, from £Quarry Bank admission prices apply (free for National Trust members)

Trouble at t’Mill at Quarry Bank

Cinema 8–22 February 2019, from £5.50

If Beale Street Could Talk at HOME

SparkPlug at HOME
Theatre 13–23 February 2019, from £12.50

SparkPlug at HOME

Chiharu Shiota –Uncertain Journey, 2016, Blainsouthern Berlin, Germany. Installation metal frames red wool. Photo Christian Gglaaser. Copyright Vgbildkunstbonn 2017 and the artist. Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Exhibitions 1 January 2018–24 February 2019, FREE

Yorkshire Sculpture Park 2018 Guide

Poppy, Esme, Oleanna, Gracie and Kate, 2014. Personal Feeling is the main thing - Chantal Joffe at The Lowry, Salford
Exhibitions 19 May 2018–24 February 2019, FREE

Salford Royal Academy Takeover

William Roberts RA, Combat, 1966. Image courtesy of Art UK
Exhibitions 30 June 2018–24 February 2019, FREE

The Royal Academy Takeover: The Exhibition

PERSPECTIVES – Venture Arts
Exhibitions 1 October 2018–24 February 2019, FREE

PERSPECTIVES – around Manchester