things to do in manchester city

Last Updated on: 12th July 2024, 06:41 am

As a journalist who loves exploring new cities, I can attest that Manchester City in the United Kingdom is a fantastic destination for anyone seeking adventure, culture or just a good time. With its dynamic arts scene, impressive historic sights and lively atmosphere, Manchester offers visitors a diverse range of activities to enjoy.

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a local looking to make the most of your city, Manchester City has something to offer everyone. In this section, I’ll be sharing some of my personal favorite things to do in Manchester City, so that you can make the most of your visit.

Things to do in Manchester City

1. Exploring Manchester’s Vibrant Arts Scene

As a lover of the arts, I cannot recommend Manchester City enough. The city boasts a thriving arts scene that caters to all tastes and interests.

One of the top attractions is the iconic Manchester Art Gallery. Located in the heart of the city, it houses an impressive collection of British and international art. From contemporary pieces to classical works, the gallery has something to delight every art enthusiast. Don’t miss their special temporary exhibitions, which always provide an exciting insight into the art world.

For a unique experience, head to the Northern Quarter and explore the vibrant street art scene. The area is filled with colorful and meaningful street art that tells a story about Manchester’s culture and history. Be sure to bring your camera as you won’t want to miss capturing the beautiful urban art.

If you’re a fan of live theater, Manchester has plenty to offer. Catch a play at one of the city’s many theaters, including the Royal Exchange Theatre and the Palace Theatre. You’ll be amazed by the talent and creativity of the performers and production teams.

Finally, Manchester hosts numerous festivals and cultural events throughout the year. From the Manchester International Festival to the Manchester Jazz Festival, there is always something happening in the city. Be sure to check the calendar for any upcoming events so you don’t miss out on the action.

things to do in Manchester City

“Manchester is a hotbed for arts and culture. As a city, it’s vibrant, energetic and full of life, which makes it the perfect place for artistic expression and experimentation.”

Heather Phillipson

2. Discovering Manchester’s Historic Sights

When visiting Manchester, there are many opportunities to explore its rich history through its iconic sights. The city has been shaped by its past, making it a prime location for history buffs. Here are some of the top historic sights to visit in Manchester City:

Manchester Cathedral

Started in the 15th century, Manchester Cathedral is a stunning medieval structure and one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Its beautiful Gothic architecture and intricate carvings are a must-see for any tourist. Take a walk around the beautiful churchyard, and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.

things to do Manchester City

Museum of Science and Industry

For an in-depth look at Manchester’s industrial heritage, head to the Museum of Science and Industry. Located in the historic Castlefield district, the museum showcases the city’s industrial past, with collections that range from textiles to computing, making it a remarkable learning experience for all ages.

These are just some of the historic sights that you can visit while in Manchester City. The city’s diverse heritage and centuries-old architecture make it an ideal destination for anyone keen on learning about the past.

3. Explore the Manchester Art Gallery

The Manchester Art Gallery, located in the city center, is one of the leading cultural institutions in the UK. Established in 1823, it houses an impressive collection of fine art, decorative art, and costume, spanning over six centuries. The gallery is known for its stunning architecture, blending Victorian and contemporary styles, and its importance as a hub for art and culture in Manchester.

Manchester Art Gallery

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Key Exhibitions and Famous Pieces

The gallery’s permanent collection includes works by renowned artists such as J.M.W. Turner, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and L.S. Lowry. Notable pieces include “The Hireling Shepherd” by William Holman Hunt and “The Chariot Race” by Alexander von Wagner. In addition to its permanent collection, the gallery hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions featuring contemporary artists and historical retrospectives. Visitors can also enjoy interactive exhibits and educational programs designed to engage audiences of all ages.

4. Tour Old Trafford

Old Trafford, affectionately known as “The Theatre of Dreams,” is the iconic home of Manchester United Football Club. With a seating capacity of over 74,000, it is one of the largest football stadiums in the UK and has been the backdrop for countless memorable moments in football history.

Old Trafford

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Stadium Tour and Museum

A stadium tour of Old Trafford is a must for any football fan. The tour takes you behind the scenes, offering access to the players’ dressing rooms, the tunnel, the pitchside, and the manager’s dugout. The accompanying museum provides a fascinating insight into the club’s illustrious history, featuring trophies, memorabilia, and interactive displays. Visitors can also explore the Manchester United Megastore, which offers a wide range of merchandise for fans.

5. Stroll Through the Northern Quarter

The Northern Quarter is Manchester’s creative and cultural hub, known for its eclectic vibe, vibrant street art, and independent shops. This trendy neighborhood is a haven for artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs, offering a unique blend of vintage stores, record shops, and boutique fashion outlets.

Northern Quarter

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Cafes and Bars to Check Out

Visitors to the Northern Quarter can enjoy a wide range of cafes, bars, and restaurants, each with its own distinct character. Popular spots include Takk, an Icelandic-inspired coffee house, and the craft beer haven, Port Street Beer House. The area also boasts a lively nightlife scene, with venues like the Night & Day Café and Band on the Wall hosting live music performances.

6. Relax at Heaton Park

Heaton Park, located just a few miles north of the city center, is one of the largest municipal parks in Europe, spanning over 600 acres. The park offers a wealth of facilities and attractions, including a boating lake, animal farm, golf course, and the Heaton Park Tramway Museum.

Heaton Park

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Live Events and Activities

Heaton Park is a popular venue for live events, including music festivals, outdoor theatre, and sporting events. Visitors can also enjoy leisurely walks, picnics, and various recreational activities within the park’s beautiful grounds. The historic Heaton Hall, located within the park, is also worth a visit for its stunning architecture and historical significance.

7. Experience the John Rylands Library

The John Rylands Library, part of the University of Manchester, is an architectural gem and one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. Completed in 1900, the library’s neo-Gothic architecture features intricate stonework, stained glass windows, and vaulted ceilings. The library houses a vast collection of rare books, manuscripts, and archives, including a Gutenberg Bible and medieval illuminated manuscripts.

John Rylands Library

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Quiet Reading Rooms

Visitors to the John Rylands Library can explore its impressive collections and enjoy the serene atmosphere of its reading rooms. The library also hosts exhibitions, events, and educational programs that provide insight into its collections and the history of the building. The stunning architecture and tranquil environment make it a perfect place for quiet reflection and study.

8. Enjoy a Performance at the Manchester Opera House

The Manchester Opera House, located in the city center, is one of Manchester’s premier cultural venues. The theatre hosts a diverse range of performances, including musicals, ballets, operas, and plays, attracting top talent from around the world. The beautiful Edwardian architecture and elegant interior create a grand setting for an evening of entertainment.

Manchester Opera House

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Booking Tickets

To ensure you get the best seats for your preferred performance, it’s advisable to book tickets in advance. The Opera House offers a variety of ticket options, including group discounts and special packages. Whether you’re a fan of classical music, contemporary theatre, or family-friendly shows, the Manchester Opera House promises a memorable experience.

9. Shop at Manchester Arndale

Manchester Arndale, located in the heart of the city, is one of the largest shopping centers in the UK. The mall offers a wide range of shopping options, from high street brands to designer boutiques, catering to all tastes and budgets. With over 200 stores, including popular retailers like Selfridges, Apple, and Zara, Manchester Arndale is a shopper’s paradise.

Manchester Arndale

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Best Times to Visit for Deals

To make the most of your shopping experience, consider visiting Manchester Arndale during the weekdays or early in the morning to avoid the crowds. The mall frequently offers seasonal sales and promotions, making it an ideal destination for bargain hunters. Additionally, the surrounding area is home to a variety of cafes and restaurants, perfect for a post-shopping meal or coffee break.

10. Walk Along the Salford Quays

Salford Quays, located just a short distance from Manchester city center, is a vibrant waterfront area that has undergone significant redevelopment in recent years. The area is home to a variety of attractions, including The Lowry, a stunning arts and entertainment venue, and the Imperial War Museum North, which offers a powerful exploration of conflict and its impact.

Salford Quays

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Photography and Views

Salford Quays is a great place for a leisurely walk, offering picturesque views of the waterfront and the city skyline. The area is also a popular spot for photography, with its striking modern architecture and scenic surroundings. Key photo spots include the iconic Millennium Bridge and the MediaCityUK complex, home to the BBC and ITV studios.


If you’re planning a trip to the United Kingdom, I highly recommend adding Manchester City to your itinerary. With so many things to do, from exploring the vibrant arts scene to discovering the city’s historic sights, there’s never a dull moment in this bustling metropolis. Make sure to take advantage of all the wonderful things to do in Manchester City, whether you’re a local or a tourist. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

So why wait? Start planning your trip today and experience all the excitement that Manchester City has to offer!


What are some of the best activities and attractions in Manchester City?

In Manchester City, you can enjoy a wide range of activities and attractions. Visit the Manchester Art Gallery to explore a remarkable collection of British and international art like the one in the museums in London and other cities for fun things to do with children. Don’t miss the vibrant street art scene in the Northern Quarter. Catch a play at one of the city’s theaters or immerse yourself in the numerous festivals and cultural events that take place throughout the year. There is something for everyone to enjoy in this vibrant city.

Which historic sights should I explore in Manchester City?

Manchester City boasts a rich history, and there are many historic sights to discover. Begin by visiting the Manchester Cathedral, a magnificent medieval structure that dates back to the 15th century. Sports enthusiasts must take a tour of the legendary Old Trafford Stadium, home to the renowned Manchester United Football Club. History buffs will also appreciate the Museum of Science and Industry, where they can delve into the city’s industrial heritage.

What makes Manchester City an ideal destination to visit?

Manchester City offers something for everyone, making it an ideal destination to visit. With a thriving arts scene, you can explore world-class museums, galleries, and a vibrant street art scene. The city’s rich history is showcased through its historic sights, such as the Manchester Cathedral and the renowned Old Trafford Stadium. Immerse yourself in the energy of this dynamic city and create unforgettable memories in the heart of the United Kingdom.


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