Manchester is considered the capital of Northern England. Its warren-like streets and vibrant atmosphere offer great surprises to travelers. The city has thriving arts and music scenes and it is the world’s first industrial city. Manchester holds a fascinating history that you can see throughout the landscape.
Also, there is a lively modern atmosphere and this destination is home to some unique adventures. Moreover, from museums, galleries, family-friendly attractions, restaurants, bars, and nightlife-Manchester’s got a lot. There is something for everyone in Manchester.
If you are looking to uncover the city’s hidden gems then this article is for you. Here, in this article, we are going to put together the top 27 things to do in Manchester. Keep reading to discover our selection!
Table of Contents
Explore Manchester’s Rich History:
1. Visit Manchester’s Cathedral:
Manchester’s Cathedral is one of the ancient churches in the city and holds a history going back 600 years or more. The nave roof of this cathedral is supported by 14 angels. Each of the angels is playing a different golden medieval instrument.
All through the years the cathedral had gone through multiple bombings, so it was required to rebuild the cathedral many times. The stained glass windows and the replacement of the elaborate organ took place. You can visit this cathedral every day and admission is free of cost.
Address: Victoria St, Manchester M3 1SX, UK
2. See The Collection At Manchester Art Gallery:
The Manchester art gallery has over 25,000 pieces of its collection over 200 years since this gallery has been opened. The collections include over 500 sculptures and paintings by renowned artists such as John Constables, Willian Turner, and William Hogarth.
The exhibits of this museum also include craft and design objects such as furniture, glassware, wallpaper, costumes, and clothing items from the 1600s to the present time. If you are an artist and interested to see aesthetic objects over more than 200 years then Manchester Art Gallery is a must-visit place for you.
Address: Mosley St, Manchester M2 3JL, UK
3. Explore the Fascinating Exhibits at the People’s History Museum:
People’s History Museum is the national museum of democracy, it tells about the history of Britain, past, present, and future. There are two family-friendly galleries, exhibitions, archives, and shops. This is an intriguing museum that holds the UK’s national collection of materials related to the history of democracy. This museum features exhibits on women’s suffrage, trade unionism, dockers, football, and friendly societies.
The museum holds about 2,000 artifacts to discover, so most visitors plan to visit this museum for a few hours. If you are someone who is interested in acquiring more knowledge about Britain’s history then People’s History Museum is a must-visit place for you.
This museum is open every day except Tuesday, and the time to visit is 10 am-5 pm.
Address: Left Bank, Manchester M3 3ER, UK
Immerse Yourself In Art and Culture:
4. Visit the Whitworth Art Gallery and marvel at its Impressive Collections:
The Whitworth Art Gallery is a part of the University of Manchester and act as a bridge between the University and the people of the city. It is a great place in Manchester to meet, play, and learn in public. The mission of Whitworth Art Gallery is to use art for social change. This art gallery was founded in 1889 as The Whitworth Institute. This art gallery reopened its doors to the people again in 2015.
This art gallery experienced almost two million visitors since it has reopened. So, just visit this spot in Manchester and experience some of the UK’s finest collections of art including modern and historic art and paintings, prints, textiles, and a rare collection of wallpaper.
Address: Oxford Rd, Manchester M15 6ER, UK
5. Attend A Performance At The Royal Exchange Theatre:
The Royal Exchange Theatre is situated at the heart of Manchester’s culturally vibrant city center. It is one of the best places to visit in Manchester to experience a unique circular theatre module. The Royal Exchange Theatre is situated in the old cottage trading exchange building. Later, this building was taken over by the theatre company.
The circular theatre module looks exactly like a spacecraft in the middle of the palatial Exchange Building. The company puts on a range of contemporary productions that includes plays, and musicals. So, you just plan to visit this theatre and watch a show in this truly unique theatre.
Address: Royal Exchange Theatre Co Ltd, St. Anns Square, Manchester, M2 7DH
6. Discover PAPER Gallery and Castlefield Gallery:
PAPER is a commercial, and artist-led Manchester-based art gallery. This art gallery represents a range of emerging and mid-career artists whose practice is based around the medium of paper. PAPER gallery was initiated in 2012. The arts range from photography, print, drawing, paintings, and sculpture.
At the venue, you can experience any event or exhibition, since the authority conducts exhibitions or events almost during all over the year. So, if you are a artist then keep PAPER Gallery at your top priority tour list.
Castlefield art gallery is Manchester’s first public contemporary visual art gallery. It was founded in 1984 by some renowned artists. This art gallery is dedicated to the advancement of contemporary visual art and artists.
Beyond displaying a range of contemporary arts, the authority conducts seven temporary exhibitions each year. Also, Castlefield offers offsite projects. So, this is one of the best places to visit in Manchester for artists, ariters, and independent curators.
Address: 14-20 Mirabel St, Cheetham Hill, Manchester M3 1PJ, UK
2 Hewitt St, Greater, Manchester M15 4GB, UK
Experience Manchester’s Music Scene:
7. Visit the Iconic venue The Band on The Wall:
The Band On The Wall is owned and operated by Inner City Music. It has been at the heart of Manchester’s culture from the very beginning. This venue showcases some of the best music in the world. They present an internationally acclaimed program of live music events. They conduct both in-house as well as externally operated musical concerts across the United Kingdom.
They conduct various musical performances that include jazz music, folk, blues, and of course international music. This iconic musical venue of Manchester is a multi-award-winning venue. It has won Live UK Music Business Awards for several years, Attitude is Everything awards, Best Venue Team award, and more.
So, if you are a music lover then do not miss this spot while visiting Manchester. Have a great time with The Band on the Wall.
Address: 25 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JZ, UK
8. Explore Piccadilly Records:
Manchester’s diverse music scene makes this place a hot spot for new artists, and sounds, all through history as well as the present day. Also, this city has a variety of record stores and Piccadilly Record Store is one of them. Piccadilly Records is one of the great record stores in Manchester.
This record store has been serving the city since 1978. You can lose yourselves exploring racks of rare, new, or second-hand music. Piccadilly Records prides itself on the best new releases from indie and alternative, pop to funk to disco, and more. Also, the staff is very friendly and the record store launches in-store events and shows.
So, if you are a music lover then Piccadilly Records is a must-visit place for you in Manchester. Just visit the venue and please your inner soul with rhythms.
Address: 53 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JR, UK
9. Visit Vinyl Exchange:
Vinyl Exchange is one of the largest sellers and buyers of rare and second-hand CDs, DVDs, and records in the North West of England. This record store boasts two floors with rock and indie, alternative, experimental, industrial, Psychedelic, punk, metal, and soundtracks. Also, You can see other specialisms such as Hip-hop, rave, and jazz if you are lucky enough.
The shop offers a wonderful atmosphere with listening facilities to try before going ahead for purchasing. Vinyl Exchange also has an extensive online store, much of which is not available offline, so after your visit, you can also order online.
Address: Vinyl Exchange, 18 Oldham Street, Manchester, M1 1JN
Indulge In Manchester’s Culinary Delights:
10. Taste Traditional Dishes at The Arndale Food Market:
Visiting the Arndale food market is one of the great things to do in Manchester. This award-winning food market is famous for its high-quality, and delicious independent street food outlets. There are a wide range of food outlets are available in the market and the outlets offer a range of authentic food. Here, you will have an extensive range of cuisine across the globe.
From mouth-watering chicken combos to Thai cuisine, to British cuisine, to Turkish sweet, you can beat your hunger in a heartbeat. You can also visit the butchers, fresh fruit and vegetable sellers, fishmongers, and more. Some of the fantastic food outlets includes Blue Caribou Canteen, Eat 2 Treat, Fusion Lab, Hong Thai, Frosty Licks, lotus Food, and the list is going on.
So, after your long day you can head to this food market and grab some good food to end your food cravings. Just visit this venue and have a seat to refuel yourself at the lunchtime!
Address: Manchester Arndale, Manchester M4 3AQ
11. Discover The City on a Food Tour:
Manchester has various restaurants, cafes, pubs, and eating outlets that offer great food that you will never run out of trying new things. Manchester is always at the cutting edge of culinary trends and you can taste various cuisines of the globe right on your doorstep.
Whether you are enjoying street food or fine dining, you can also satisfy your food craving by meaty feasts or vegan items as well. So, you can go forward to make a food tour with your gang while visiting Manchester.
You can also taste local cheese, it is worth your money. This cheese makes you experience a combination of delicious food and cool history. So, you can stop by some of the great cheese shops and tuck into a range of curds, squares, and slices-it will be a perfect tasty day out!
Address: Smithfield Market Hall, 1 Eagle St, Manchester M4 5BU
12. Experience the Buzzing Street Food Scene at Manchester Food and Drink Festival:
Manchester Food and Drink Festival is a nationally acclaimed event and it was developed by Phil Jones in 1998. The Manchester food festival is now a well-established event in the city. 2023 experience its 26th anniversary festival take will take over the city. The main objective of this festival is to show the rest of the nation that there is more to Manchester than meat pies and gravy.
This event has completely changed the city’s dining scene. Festival events are organized across the city and at the Festival Hub. At this Festival Hub, a bespoke food and drink center is custom-built. So, just visit this Manchester food festival to experience various delicious and authentic cuisines all over the world.
Address: S3, 5 Oak St, Manchester M4 5JD, UK
Explore Manchester’s Nature and Parks:
13. Wander Through the Picturesque Heaton Park:
Heaton Park is one of the largest parks in the Northwest of England. The grounds of this park cover about 600 acres and these are the grounds of the Grade I listed building Heaton Hall. There are various things to see and do in this park. Some of the activities include the Tramway Museum which operates historical tram rides across the park.
Also, there is a golf course and driving range, woods and picnic areas, boating lakes, and an animal center with goats, chickens, and pigs. So, if you are wondering about what to do in Manchester, then just make a visit at this park and wander through this picturesque Heaton park.
Address: Middleton Rd, Manchester M25 2SW, UK
14. Discover the Hidden Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden:
Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden is an unexpected oasis of sheer beauty. This botanical garden is covered with all of its unsuspecting yet magical glory. This botanical garden is stone’s throw away from the lively neighborhood. Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden is tucked South of Manchester in Didsbury. This is one of the most Instagammable spots in Manchester thanks to its array of colorful plants and flowers.
The stunning park is continuously operating as a botanical garden, boasting huge trees, and there are arrangements of beautiful colors. You can walk through the paths of the garden which allows you to explore the beauty of this park. So, if you are a nature lover then this park is a must-visit spot for you. Just make a visit and have some quality time in between some gorgeous green spaces.
Address: 18 Stenner Ln, Didsbury, Manchester M20 2RQ, United Kingdom
15. Take a leisurely Stroll Along the Rochdale Canal:
During your trip to Manchester, on one sunny afternoon instead of going shopping, you can take a leisurely walk alongside the Rochdale canal. This Rochdale canal is situated at the heart of the city. Rochdale Canal is 7 km long and this canal runs from the Bridgewater Canal at the Castlefield Basin. It joins the Calder and Hebble Navigation at Sowerby Bridge in West Yorkshire.
During your walk, you can enjoy the peace and tranquility of watching some of Manchester’s historic buildings beside the canal. There are various old warehouses, bars, and also modern style urban waterfront apartments. You can see the city from a different perspective from the canal bank. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city life, it will make a totally interesting stroll.
Address: 31 Woodlands Rd, Milnrow, Rochdale, Greater Manchester OL16 4EY
Uncover Manchester’s Underground Scene:
16. Visit Affleck’s Palace:
If you are wondering about what to do in Manchester, then just visit this spot to have a tremendous shopping experience. Affleck’s Palace is a shopping emporium and it was established in 1982. Affleck has become an icon in the heart of Manchester’s Northern Quarter. This is one of the must-see spots for visitors. This vibrant and eclectic market is packed full of various independent traders. These traders put their heart and soul into their products.
There are more than 60 small shops operating at this shopping complex- from fashion boutiques to tattoo artists, all under a single roof. It is a hub of creativity, artists, and free space for entrepreneurs, and creators, to experiment, and grow.
This shopping emporium is open from 10.30 am to 6 pm. So, just make a visit and have a great shopping experience at Affleck’s Palace of Manchester.
Address: 52 Church St, Manchester M4 1PW, UK
17. Explore The Vibrant LGBTQ+ Scene In Manchester Gay Village:
Manchester’s Gay Village is a vibrant and colorful neighborhood and it is home to some of the most iconic LGBTQ+ landmarks and attractions in the United Kingdom. One of the best ways to explore the unique and inclusive spirit of the Gay village by admiring the street art. You can find some stunning street art all through the area.
You can take a leisurely stroll across the streets of the neighbourhood, and you will be treated to incredible murals of artwork. These artwork celebrate LGBTQ+ icons and their contributions to society.
So, the street art in the area is truly a sight to behold. It is not only visually impressive but it also speaks about a powerful story about the history and culture of the LGBTQ+ community in Manchester.
Address: Manchester Gay Village, Canal St, Manchester M1 3WD, UK
18. Check out The City’s Best Restaurant:
Manchester has various restaurants that suit all tastes, and offer authentic and delicious food. From award-winning takeaway cuisine to famous curry miles to Michelin Star restaurants, you can find it here. Some of the city’s best restaurants offering fine dining, including Adam Reid at the French, Enxaneta, and Mana which will serve very different dishes.
If you want to experience more casual dining then you can check out The Launderette, Ziya Restaurant, Teppanyaki Chinatown, and more. So, after a long day out you just need to relax and pleasure your inner soul with some of the great dishes in Manchester.
Address: Adam Reid at the French, 16 Peter St, Manchester M60 2DS, UK
Discover Manchester’s Unique Architecture:
19. Marvel at the Iconic Beetham Tower:
Marvel at the magical Beetham Tower is one of the great things to do in Manchester. This remarkable structure transformed the city’s skyline and also has become a symbol of Manchester’s modernity and progress. You will be amazed at the beauty of this architectural masterpiece. This masterpiece continuously captivates locals and tourists alike. Beetham Tower is the tallest tower in the city, it is about 169 meters tall.
Its central position offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and beyond. The tower is not just an architectural structure instead it is a multifunctional space, and it is a hub for various residential apartments, a luxury hotel, and commercial office space. So, plan to visit this spot and see the source of pride for Manchester’s residents.
Address: 301 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4LQ, UK
20. Visit the Victoria Baths:
The Victoria Baths complex was designed by Henry Price, Manchester’s first City architect. Victoria Baths opened in 1906. The facade was multicolored brickwork and terracotta decoration. Most of the windows have decorative stained glass and the inner spaces are clad in glazed tiles.
These Victoria Baths provide both essential and leisure facilities. Alongside three swimming pools, a private bath, and laundry were housed there. But it is no longer possible to swim in the baths, instead, the visitors can tour the building and see the exhibitions occurring there. These events are all about craft, vintage fairs and live music.
Victoria Baths opens on the second Sunday of each month and it is from April to November, except August.
Address: Hathersage Rd, Manchester M13 0FE, UK
21. Explore the Hidden Gem of Chetham’s Library:
Exploring one of the great libraries is another best thing to do in Manchester, it can be Chetham. Chetham is the oldest library in Manchester, and it is the iconic Brand Central library of Manchester. There are various pieces of historical artwork and literature preserved for tourists to watch and witness at this library.
This library started acquiring books in August 1655 and has been adding to its collection since then. You can see a fine collection of early printed books, manuscript diaries, letters and deeds, paintings, paint, and glass lantern slides.
Chetham’s library is open to all readers by prior appointment. So, if you plan to visit this library just book an appointment in advance.
Address: Long Millgate, Manchester M3 1SB, UK
Enjoy Manchester’s Sports Culture:
22. Tour at Old Trafford: Manchester United’s Stadium
Since 1910, Old Trafford Stadium has been home to the Manchester United football team. It is England’s most successful football team. The club has 20 premier league wins under numerous international titles. It is home to some of the world-renowned footballers such as Cristiano Ronaldo, George Best, and Ryan Gigs, and more.
You can visit this stadium and take a tour of the locker rooms, tunnel, and dugout. You can also visit the museum and acquire some knowledge about the history of how the stadium was brought to life. So, if you are a football fan then this is a must-visit spot for you. Don’t miss it!
Address: Sir Matt Busby Way, Old Trafford, Stretford, Manchester M16 0RA, UK
23. Visit The National Football Museum to Delve into the History of sports:
whether you are a football fanatic or curious to learn about Manchester’s sports history you must visit the National Football Museum of Manchester. With six interactive games, four galleries to explore, guided tours, and workshops, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
You can grab a photo with iconic league cups and trophies in the Pitch gallery, you can test your skills with the interactive Football+ games in the Play gallery, and you can see “the original law of the game” in the Match gallery of National Football Museum. And you can discover the seasonal programs of special exhibitions in the Score gallery.
If you buy tickets directly from National Football Museum then you can make various visits to this museum all through the year. Visitors of all age groups can get hands-on with a wide range of toys and games, so you relate between the real and virtual worlds. A must for sports fans and lovers.
Address: Urbis Building Cathedral Gardens, Todd St, Manchester M4 3BG, UK
24. Participate in Outdoor Activities at Sportcity Complex:
Manchester’s Sportcity was built to host the 2002 Commonwealth Games and it is located less than two miles from the city center of Manchester. Today, it is home to the Manchester City Football Club and it is the largest concentration of sporting venues in Europe.
Sportcity Complex successfully developed world-class sport and events that offer facilities for elite and professional athletes. Sportcity is also home to the Rugby Football League, the National Squash Center, the Manchester Regional Arena for Athletics, and British cycling.
While visiting Manchester, just plan to visit the Manchester Sportcity Complex to acquire vast knowledge about the Manchester sports scene.
Address: Rowsley Street, Manchester, United Kingdom, M11 3FF
Dive into Manchester’s Shopping Scene:
25. Explore the Independent Shops and Vintage Stores in the Northern Quarter:
The Northern Quarter is a trendy neighbourhood filled with various aesthetics and top-notch vintage stores. This area is almost filled with a Bohemian feel, and you will be amazed at the unique artistic stuff. Slowly, this area becoming home to International artists and designers who are known for their unique designs.
This place is a hub of vintage fashion and art galleries. moreover, the Northern Quarter is known as one of the high-end fashion streets in Manchester. So, if you are looking for a single-stop destination that offers items of ‘value for money’ then just head to Northern Quarter’s shopping scene.
Address: 31-33 Spear Street, Manchester M1 1DF, UK
26. Visit The Trafford Center:
Visiting The Trafford Center is one of the best things to do in Manchester. Trafford Center is world world-renowned shopping and leisure destination. The shops at Trafford Center come with plenty of high-end brands across the globe. This place makes you feel Royal and you can’t resist purchasing the items from the shops.
Having fountains, fake marble columns, free parking, and mock classical sculptures makes this place different one from the others. From shopping to eating to playing, everything you can access under a single roof. You can definitely find your favorite brand, Also, there are various facilities for the kids. So, just visit this place and make your day a remarkable one forever!
Address: Dumplington, Trafford, Greater Manchester, England
27. Discover Unique boutiques and Designer Brands In the luxurious area of Spinningfields:
Spinningfields is one of the city’s vibrant destinations, and it is a thriving hub for work, play, and rest. Also, spinningfields is home to various shops, bars, and restaurants, and it is also the biggest district in the city. From destination fashion to destination dining, you can always have some special offers from your favorite brands in Spinningfields.
Some of the restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues include 20 Stories, 92 Degree, Bill’s, Puregym, flannels, Itsu, Nando’s, and more. So, during your Manchester, if you want to treat yourself a great leisure time with fine dining and exclusive shopping then just visit this spot!
Address: Bridge Street, Manchester M3 5AH, UK
Manchester is the second largest city in the United Kingdom. It is one of the most vibrant cities in Britain, it is enclosed by charming parks, rich cultural heritage, picturesque landmarks, great food and restaurants, shopping complexes, and just like everything.
As you try all of the things to do in Manchester that we have discussed above, you can find this place is a constantly evolving place. Here, in this article, we have wrapped up the 27 best places to visit in Manchester and some are the hidden gems of the city!
So, just discover these amazing places and have some unforgettable memories in your heart and mind forever!