Top 10 things to do in Manchester

With its innovative industrial past, rich artistic and musical culture, and prowess on the sporting stage, Manchester is home to array of exciting things that can keep all of the family entertained. Uncover the top 10 things to do in Manchester that can help make your visit to the city a truly memorable one…


1. Soak up some natural beauty at Chorlton Water Park

Around the circumference of the central lake sits Manchester’s first nature reserve, Chorlton Water Park. Visit for the opportunity to wander the winding paths, admire the wildflowers and enjoy the spectacular woodlands. If you’re feeling adventurous you can also take part in water-sports and go fishing while at the lake.


2. Get cultural at HOME

Want to see something a bit different? Arts centre HOME prides itself on catering to curiosity seekers. It houses 2 theatres for daring, new and commissioned work, as well as 5 cinema screens that showcase independent and challenging films. It also has two contemporary art galleries which are usually open until 8pm.


3. Explore arts, crafts and vintage fairs at Artzu

You can find the artistic work of local talent, as well as fun vintage fairs and crafty days out at Artzu. Located in the heart of the Old Granada Studios, the Artzu Gallery is a proud and honoured home to private art collections and highly-regarded exhibitions.


4. Delve into the history of the world's wars

Manchester’s Imperial War Museum North is a must-see for fans of architect Daniel Libeskind. Found in the Salford Quays area, Libeskind’s complex is structured around interlocking shards. Representing air, earth and water, they are remnants of a metaphorical globe ravaged by conflict. Doubling as the museum’s entranceway, the 55m-high air shard also has a viewing balcony which faces the Manchester skyline.


5. See some top theatre

Royal Exchange

The Royal Exchange theatre offers an in-the-round experience, making the audience feel completely involved in the drama taking place. The company masterfully showcases epic productions and a new generation of storytellers from one of the most beautiful buildings in the city.


6. Experience the best in writers and writing at MLF

If you visit the city in the month of October you’ll be able to step into the Manchester Literature Festival, which has been running since 2006. MLF provides the book loving audience with showcases from the best in writing from across the globe. The festival also offers new and emerging talent the opportunity to get noticed. 


7. Discover the history of the beautiful game

With thousands of pieces of memorabilia and artefacts on display at any one time, a visit to the National Football Museum is a must for lovers of the beautiful game. Alongside the Jules Rimet trophy and the ball used in the 1966 World Cup Final, an exhibition for 2019 will explore England on the World Stage, examining the story of the England men and women’s teams throughout history.


8. Delve into Manchester’s industrial past

Expanding in 2019 to house even more exciting temporary exhibitions alongside its extensive collection of technology, steam machinery, aircraft and locomotives, the Science and Industry Museum explores Manchester’s influence on England and the world. A permanent gallery reveals how the Liverpool to Manchester railway transformed travel, while Revolution Manchester takes a close look at the city’s rich legacy of world-changing industrial innovations and scientific discoveries.


9. Celebrate the arts at Manchester International Festival

The Manchester International Festival is held every two years in the city and is a celebration of the arts, with innovative new works displayed at venues all over Manchester, from inside theatres and galleries to railway depots, churches and car parks. The festival (July 4-21, 2019) will open with a piece by Yoko Ono in Cathedral Gardens, titled Bells for Piece, which will bring together thousands of voices to call for peace. Festival Square, located in the shadow of the impressive Manchester Town Hall, will also host a programme of live music and talks throughout the festival period.


10. Tour Manchester’s top stadiums

With two leading Premier League clubs based in Manchester, visit the home of either to enjoy a stadium tour. Discover why Manchester United’s Old Trafford Stadium is known as the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ with behind the scenes access to the dressing room, players’ dugout and tunnel, as well as unique opportunities to pose with trophies and other memorabilia. Or venture to Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium to experience the club’s heritage through numerous interactive displays and exhibits, before walking in the footsteps of your favourite stars as you go out of the tunnel towards the pitch.

More things to do in Manchester

Family friendly
Food & Drink
Film & TV
Free things to do
Hidden gems
One hour from...