Top 38 things to do in Manchester: A Complete Guide!

 In Adventure, Europe, Manchester, Places To Visit, Things to do, Travel, travel guide

Manchester, a lively city in the heart of northwest England, is bursting with things to do in Manchester. Whether you’re passionate about history, music, sports, food, or shopping, this city has something for everyone. Begin your adventure by diving into Manchester’s industrial past at the Science and Industry Museum, where you can discover how the city led the way during the Industrial Revolution. For art lovers, the Manchester Art Gallery and Whitworth Art Gallery offer impressive collections that range from classic masterpieces to contemporary works. Football is a big deal here, and tours of Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United, or the Etihad Stadium, where Manchester City plays, are a must for any sports fan. These tours provide an exciting peek behind the scenes of two of the world’s most famous football clubs. Music is in Manchester’s soul, with iconic venues like the Manchester Arena and smaller spots like Band on the Wall and the Albert Hall, where many legendary bands began their careers. 

For those who love to shop, the Northern Quarter is perfect for finding unique, independent stores, while the Trafford Centre offers a more traditional shopping experience with plenty of big-name brands. And don’t forget the food – Manchester’s culinary scene is thriving, with everything from gourmet restaurants to bustling street food markets. Listing some of the places to visit in London as well. Finally, take a break in one of Manchester’s lovely parks, such as Heaton Park or Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden, to enjoy some peace and greenery. Manchester is a city brimming with energy and diverse attractions, ensuring every visitor leaves with lasting memories with our Europe Tour Packages!

Top 38 Things to Do in Manchester

1. Science and Industry Museum

science-and-industry-museum

Start your journey at the Science and Industry Museum. Located on the site of the oldest passenger railway station in the world, this museum showcases Manchester’s role in the Industrial Revolution. With interactive exhibits and fascinating displays, it’s a great place for both adults and kids to learn about the city’s industrial heritage. It is one of the unique things to do in Manchester. 

2. Manchester Museum

manchester-museum

Next, head to the Manchester Museum, part of the University of Manchester. Here, you can explore exhibits ranging from ancient Egyptian artifacts to natural history. Don’t miss the impressive dinosaur skeletons and the live amphibians and reptiles in the vivarium.  It is one of the unique things to do in Manchester. 

3. John Rylands Library

john-rylands-library

For a touch of architectural beauty, visit the John Rylands Library. This neo-Gothic masterpiece houses rare books and manuscripts. Even if you’re not a bookworm, the stunning interiors and peaceful reading rooms are worth the visit.

4. Manchester Art Gallery

manchester-art-gallery

Art lovers should not miss the Manchester Art Gallery. It boasts an extensive collection of artworks from different periods, including Pre-Raphaelite paintings, contemporary art, and decorative arts. The gallery often hosts temporary exhibitions, so there’s always something new to see.  It is one of the unique things to do in Manchester. 

5. Imperial War Museum North

imperial-war-museum-north

Located in Trafford, the Imperial War Museum North offers a powerful look at the impact of modern conflicts. Its striking architecture and immersive exhibits provide a thought-provoking experience.  It is one of the best things to do in Manchester. 

6. Manchester Arena

manchester-arena

Manchester has a brilliant music scene, and the Manchester Arena is one of its main venues. It hosts concerts by world-famous artists, as well as sporting events and comedy shows. Check the schedule in advance to catch a live performance during your visit. It is one of the best things to do in Manchester. 

7. The Albert Hall

the-albert-hall

For a more intimate music experience, visit the Albert Hall. This former Wesleyan chapel has been transformed into a stunning music venue. It’s known for its excellent acoustics and unique atmosphere, hosting a variety of concerts and events. It is one of the best things to do in Manchester.

8. Band on the Wall

band-on-the-wall

Another iconic venue is Band on the Wall, located in the Northern Quarter. This historic venue has been a cornerstone of Manchester’s music scene for decades, featuring jazz, world music, and indie bands. It’s a great spot to discover new music and enjoy live performances. It is one of the best things to do in Manchester.

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9. Old Trafford

old-trafford

Manchester is synonymous with football, and a visit to Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United, is a must for sports fans. Take a stadium tour to see the dressing rooms, the pitch, and the museum, which is filled with memorabilia from the club’s history. It is one of the best things to do in Manchester.

10. Etihad Stadium

etihad-stadium

Rival team Manchester City’s home, the Etihad Stadium, also offers behind-the-scenes tours. Explore the stadium, visit the dressing rooms, and learn about the club’s history and achievements. It is one of the best things to do in Manchester.

11. National Football Museum

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Located in the city center, the National Football Museum is dedicated to the beautiful game. With interactive exhibits, historical artifacts, and even a penalty shootout challenge, it’s a fun and engaging experience for all ages.

12. Northern Quarter

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The Northern Quarter is Manchester’s bohemian district, known for its independent shops, vintage stores, and quirky boutiques. Spend an afternoon browsing through record shops, bookstores, and unique fashion outlets.

13. Afflecks

afflecks

For an alternative shopping experience, visit Afflecks, an indoor market in the Northern Quarter. It’s filled with independent stalls selling everything from handmade jewelry to retro clothing. Each visit is a new adventure, with constantly changing vendors and products.

14. The Trafford Centre

the-trafford-centre

If you prefer a more conventional shopping experience, head to the Trafford Centre. This massive shopping mall offers a wide range of high-street and designer stores, as well as restaurants, a cinema, and even an indoor mini-golf course. It is one of the best things to do in Manchester. 

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15. Curry Mile

curry-mile

Manchester’s food scene is diverse, with something to suit every palate. One of the city’s culinary highlights is the Curry Mile in Rusholme. This stretch of Wilmslow Road is lined with South Asian restaurants and takeaways, offering a wide variety of delicious curries and other dishes.

16. Ancoats

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Ancoats, once an industrial area, has become one of Manchester’s trendiest neighborhoods. It’s home to a growing number of acclaimed restaurants, bars, and cafes. From Italian pizzerias to modern British eateries, there’s a lot to explore here. It is one of the best things to do in Manchester.

17. Mackie Mayor

mackie-mayor

For a casual dining experience, visit Mackie Mayor in the Northern Quarter. This historic market hall has been converted into a food hall, featuring a variety of vendors offering everything from wood-fired pizzas to fresh seafood. It’s a great place to sample different cuisines in a lively setting.

18. Albert Square Chop House

albert-square-chop-house

For a taste of traditional British fare, head to the Albert Square Chop House. Located in a beautiful Victorian building, this restaurant serves classic dishes like steak and kidney pie, fish and chips, and Lancashire hotpot, all made with locally sourced ingredients.

19. Heaton Park

heaton-park

When you need a break from the city, head to Heaton Park, one of the largest municipal parks in Europe. It offers a range of activities, including boating on the lake, exploring the animal farm, and visiting the historic Heaton Hall. There are also plenty of walking and cycling paths to enjoy.

20. Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden

fletcher-moss-botanical-garden

For a more tranquil escape, visit Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden in Didsbury. This beautiful garden features a variety of plants and trees, as well as peaceful walking paths. It’s a perfect spot for a relaxing afternoon stroll.

21. Platt Fields Park

platt-fields-park

Platt Fields Park is another great green space in Manchester. It has a boating lake, a Japanese garden, and plenty of open space for picnics and sports. The park often hosts events and festivals, adding to its lively atmosphere.

22. The Whitworth

the-whitworth

The Whitworth, part of the University of Manchester, is an art gallery set within a park. It blends contemporary art with its beautiful natural surroundings, offering a unique cultural experience. The gallery also has a lovely cafe with views of the park.

23. Victoria Baths

victoria-baths

For something truly unique, visit Victoria Baths. This historic Edwardian swimming pool and Turkish baths are no longer in regular use but have been partially restored and are open for tours and events. The stunning architecture and fascinating history make it a must-see. It is one of the best things to do in Manchester.

24. Manchester Craft and Design Centre

manchester-craft-and-design-centre

Housed in a former Victorian fish market, the Manchester Craft and Design Centre is home to a community of artists and makers. You can browse and buy unique handmade items, watch artists at work, and even take part in workshops.

25. Chill Factore

chill-factore

If you’re looking for some adventure, head to Chill Factore, an indoor snow center near the Trafford Centre. It has the UK’s longest indoor ski slope, as well as facilities for snowboarding, sledding, and ice climbing. It’s a great place to try winter sports, regardless of the weather outside.

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26. Canal Street

canal-street

Manchester’s nightlife is legendary, and Canal Street in the Gay Village is one of the city’s most vibrant areas. It’s known for its welcoming atmosphere, lively bars, and energetic clubs. Whether you’re looking to dance the night away or enjoy a quiet drink by the canal, Canal Street has something for everyone.

27. Northern Quarter Bars

northern-quarter-bars

The Northern Quarter is also a hub for nightlife, with a variety of bars and pubs offering everything from craft beers to creative cocktails. Popular spots include The Whiskey Jar, a cozy bar with a vast selection of whiskeys, and the quirky Tiki-style bar, The Liars Club.

28. Deansgate Locks

deansgate-locks

For a more upscale night out, head to Deansgate Locks. This area features a row of bars and clubs housed in converted railway arches. With stylish interiors and a lively crowd, it’s a great place to enjoy Manchester’s nightlife in style. It is one of the best things to do in Manchester.

29. Peak District

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If you have some extra time, consider taking a day trip from Manchester. The Peak District, just a short drive away, offers stunning landscapes, charming villages, and plenty of outdoor activities. Whether you enjoy hiking, cycling, or simply taking in the scenery, it’s a beautiful escape from the city.

30. Liverpool

liverpool

Another great day trip option is Liverpool, just an hour away by train. Known for its maritime history, and cultural attractions, and as the birthplace of The Beatles, Liverpool offers a range of activities and sights. Visit the Albert Dock, explore the Beatles Story Museum, or take a ferry across the Mersey.

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31. Chester

chester

Chester, also an hour away by train, is a city rich in history and charm. Its well-preserved Roman walls, medieval architecture, and picturesque streets make it a delightful place to explore. Don’t miss the Chester Cathedral and the unique Rows shopping galleries.

32. Manchester International Festival

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Manchester hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the year. The Manchester International Festival, held every two years, features new works of art, music, theater, and more. It’s a celebration of creativity and innovation, attracting artists and audiences from around the world.

33. Manchester Pride

manchester-pride

Manchester Pride is one of the city’s biggest and most vibrant events. Held annually in August, it’s a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community, featuring a colorful parade, live music, and various events and activities. The festival culminates in a huge party in the Gay Village.

34. Christmas Markets

christmas-markets

In the winter, the Manchester Christmas Markets transform the city into a festive wonderland. With over 300 stalls spread across several locations, you can find handmade gifts, delicious food, and holiday drinks. The markets are a great place to soak up the festive atmosphere and do some holiday shopping.

35. Castlefield

castlefield

For a quieter, more laid-back experience, explore Castlefield. This historic area is known for its Roman ruins, canals, and charming pubs. It’s a great place for a leisurely walk along the water or a relaxing afternoon in one of the waterfront bars.

36. The Pankhurst Centre

the-pankhurst-centre

The Pankhurst Centre, located in the former home of Emmeline Pankhurst, is dedicated to the history of the suffragette movement. It’s a small but fascinating museum that offers insight into the struggle for women’s suffrage and the legacy of the Pankhurst family.

37. Manchester Jewish Museum

manchester-jewish-museum

Housed in a former synagogue, the Manchester Jewish Museum explores the history and culture of Jewish communities in Manchester. With engaging exhibits and a beautiful setting, it’s a unique and educational experience.

38. The Hidden Gem Church

the-hidden-gem-church

The Church of the Holy Name of Jesus, known as The Hidden Gem, is a beautiful Roman Catholic church tucked away in the city center. Its ornate interior and peaceful atmosphere make it a lovely spot for reflection and admiration of its architecture.

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What is Manchester famous for?

Manchester is famous for its rich industrial heritage, vibrant music scene, two major football clubs Manchester United and Manchester City, and as a cultural hub with museums, galleries, and theatres.

When should I visit Manchester?

Visit Manchester between May and September for the best weather, outdoor events, and festivals.

What are the top attractions to visit in Manchester?

Top attractions include the Manchester Museum, Science and Industry Museum, Manchester Art Gallery, The Lowry, and Old Trafford Stadium.

What are the options for outdoor activities in or near Manchester?

Outdoor activities include exploring Heaton Park, hiking in the nearby Peak District, cycling along the Manchester Cycleway, and boating on the Bridgewater Canal.

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