15 Best Things to Do in Manchester, England

15 Best Things to Do in Manchester, England

By will

Welcome to Manchester, England! This bustling city is the perfect destination for those seeking a fun-filled getaway.

With its lively culture, booming nightlife, and beautiful landmarks, Manchester has something for everyone.

Whether you’re looking to explore the city’s vibrant streets or take a leisurely stroll around one of its many parks, there are plenty of exciting things to do in Manchester.

Here’s our list of the 15 best things to do while you’re in this inspiring city.

1. Eat Your Way Around Ancoats

Great Ancoats Street
Photo by Thomas Nugent

Ancoats is one of Manchester’s most vibrant districts.

With its ever-growing selection of unique restaurants, cafes, and bars, it’s the perfect place to explore different cuisines and cultures.

Whether you’re looking for a tasty quick bite or a romantic dinner for two, there’s something for everyone in Ancoats.

Start your foodie tour with a visit to Rudy’s Pizzeria.

Serving up delicious Neapolitan pizza cooked in a wood oven, their menu includes classic favorites as well as more inventive toppings.

Choose from traditional options like Margherita or opt for something unique like their creamy pollo prosciutto pizza – it won’t disappoint!

If you’re feeling adventurous try their famous ‘Pizza Bomba’ – an explosion of flavor that’ll have you coming back for more.

Finally, don’t forget to indulge in one of their decadent desserts – the Nutella calzone is a must-try!

2. Explore Manchester As A Unesco City Of Literature

Edinburgh - UNESCO City of Literature
Photo by M J Richardson

Manchester is home to a rich literary history and its recognition as a UNESCO City of Literature makes it the perfect destination for literature lovers.

Step into the world of Manchester’s literary greats, get inspired by their stories, and explore their legacies in this vibrant city.

From the earliest works of Elizabeth Gaskell to modern-day writers like Sarah Hall, Manchester has nurtured some of England’s most acclaimed authors.

Visit the city’s many museums dedicated to these authors and discover their works.

Take a stroll through the Northern Quarter and visit The International Anthony Burgess Foundation, which celebrates the life and works of one of Manchester’s most renowned writers.

Or, take part in one of Manchester’s Literary Festivals, where you can meet authors from around the world and hear them discuss their latest work.

Manchester also offers plenty of opportunities for aspiring writers: join workshops at The Wordsworth Trust, which provides courses for all levels; attend book club meetings at local cafes; or write your own stories at one of Manchester’s writing groups.

With so much creativity flowing through its streets, it’s no wonder why Manchester is such an inspiring place for literature aficionados.

So come explore this unique city – who knows what kind of story you’ll come away with?

3. Stroll Down Beech Road

Beech Road sign
Photo by Geographer

A stroll down Beech Road is the perfect way to explore Manchester.

As you wander through this historic neighborhood, you’ll be charmed by its cobbled alleyways and pretty brick buildings.

It’s easy to get lost in the old-world charm of this area, which has been home to some of the city’s most famous residents for centuries.

On your wanderings, you’ll come across many interesting shops and cafes.

Head into Deansgate Books for a browse through their selection of rare editions from around the world.

For a taste of classic English fare, try out The Pie Factory around the corner or grab an afternoon tea at Betty’s Tea Room.

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To catch some live music, drop into Soup Kitchen which hosts gigs from up-and-coming acts on regular basis.

At the end of your walk down Beech Road, take a moment to stop and take in all that this unique part of Manchester has to offer—from its bustling streets to its quaint alleyways—it’s easy to see why it has been so beloved by locals and visitors alike for generations.

4. Tour Old Trafford, Manchester United’S Stadium

For football fans, a trip to Manchester wouldn’t be complete without touring Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United.

The iconic ground has seen some of the most thrilling matches in Premier League history and is sure to leave visitors with a long-lasting memory.

The stadium tour begins with a visit to the museum where you can learn about the illustrious history of the club.

You’ll be able to explore the trophy room, interactive exhibits, and multimedia displays as well as view some of the most famous shirts ever worn by Manchester United players.

You’ll then have the chance to explore all areas of the stadium including walking through the tunnel, taking a seat in your favorite player’s dugout, and standing in front of the crowd on the pitch side.

There’s also an opportunity to take photos from all angles and pick up some exclusive souvenirs from the gift shop.

This is an experience that no true Man U fan would want to miss out on!

5. See The Impressive John Rylands Research Institute And Library

The John Rylands Research Institute and Library are one of the most impressive sights in Manchester.

Built at the turn of the 20th century, it’s a stunningly beautiful building that is sure to take your breath away.

The library is home to millions of books from all over the world, as well as countless historical documents, making it an essential stop for any traveler seeking knowledge.

The library’s main hall contains two impressive stained-glass windows, which are perfect for admiring during a quiet moment.

In addition to its vast collection of books, the institute also hosts events such as lectures and workshops throughout the year – perfect for anyone looking to learn more about Manchester’s fascinating history.

It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in town!

6. Experience The Magic Of Gulliver’s World Theme Park

Experience the magic of Gulliver’s World Theme Park and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Located just outside Manchester, this family-friendly theme park is an ideal destination for children and adults alike.

With over 60 rides, attractions, and shows, there really is something for everyone.

From thrilling roller coasters to gentle rides suitable for toddlers, the park offers hours of fun.

There are also plenty of live shows and interactive experiences to keep visitors entertained.

Gulliver’s World creates an exciting environment full of imagination and adventure.

Little ones can explore Preschool Land and have fun with their favorite characters in Story Book Land. Older children can enjoy the thrills of Time Voyagers or take a ride on the Gully Train.

Adults can relax by watching outdoor performances in Musical Theatre Square or challenging themselves on one of the many bigger rides.

And when you need a break from all the excitement, head to one of the many cafes and restaurants scattered across the park to refuel with some delicious food and drinks!

At Gulliver’s World, you can create lasting memories with your loved ones whilst having plenty of laughs along the way – it truly is an unforgettable experience!

7. Visit Manchester Town Hall

The majestic Manchester Town Hall stands proudly in the city center and is one of the most iconic landmarks in Manchester.

Built-in 1877, this grand Victorian structure is a must-visit for anyone exploring the area.

It’s a beautiful building, with its ornate façade featuring sculptures of kings and queens, as well as two clocks.

The interior is just as breathtaking; take time to explore the grand staircase, art galleries, and intricately decorated council chambers.

During your visit, you can go on one of the fascinating guided tours that will guide you through over 140 years of history.

Discover stories about the building’s Victorian founders, learn about its role during World War II, and find out more about how it serves today’s citizens.

There are also plenty of opportunities for photography – so don’t forget your camera!

If you’re feeling peckish after all that sightseeing, there are several cafés nearby where you can get something to eat and drink.

Manchester Town Hall offers an amazing insight into the city’s past and present – come along and experience it for yourself!

8. Visit Manchester’S Chinatown

Leaving Manchester Town Hall and heading towards the east side of the city, you will come across Manchester’s vibrant Chinatown.

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This area is a must-visit for anyone looking to explore the diverse culture that makes Manchester so special.

It’s home to some of the best Chinese restaurants, supermarkets, and stores in the UK, as well as plenty of authentic street food stalls.

If you’re looking for souvenirs to take home with you, then this is definitely the place to go.

From traditional Chinese lanterns and paper fans to unique jewelry and clothing, there are endless options for those seeking something truly memorable from their time in Manchester.

Whether you want to sample delicious dishes or simply browse around for some great shopping deals, Chinatown has something for everyone.

The atmosphere here is lively and welcoming, making it a great spot for both locals and tourists alike.

And if you’d like to learn more about Chinese culture and history, there are plenty of museums and galleries in the area where you can do just that.

So make sure to check out Manchester’s Chinatown when visiting this historic city – it’s an experience unlike any other!

9. Tour Manchester Cathedral

Standing proudly in Manchester’s city center, the magnificent Manchester Cathedral is a must-see for visitors to this vibrant city.

Established over 800 years ago, the cathedral has been at the heart of the city’s history and culture ever since.

Its stunning architecture and beautiful stained glass windows make it an impressive sight to behold.

Inside, visitors will find plenty to explore, from its ancient crypts to its galleries filled with artifacts and artworks.

There are also guided tours available where you can learn about the cathedral’s history and discover hidden stories behind some of its most fascinating features.

Whether you’re interested in history or simply looking for a unique experience, touring Manchester Cathedral is sure to be a memorable one.

Manchester Cathedral is an iconic landmark that offers something for everyone.

It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re visiting Manchester – take some time out of your day and immerse yourself in this historic building!

10. Explore The Canals Of Castlefield

Exploring the canals of Castlefield is one of Manchester’s must-do activities.

The area has a rich industrial history and is home to the Bridgewater Canal, which opened in 1761, making it the world’s first inter-city canal.

Stroll along the cobbled streets and admire the creative street art that adds a vibrant splash of color to the area.

You’ll also find some great pubs and bars right by the canal where you can enjoy a cold beer or two with friends after a day of sightseeing.

The area also offers plenty of other attractions including museums, galleries, and shops – perfect for those looking for something to do on a rainy day.

From here you can take a boat trip down the canals, or explore further on foot and discover hidden gems like atmospheric bridges and enchanting locks.

There are even guided tours available if you want to learn more about this fascinating part of Manchester’s history.

So why not take some time out during your stay in Manchester to explore the captivating canals of Castlefield? It’s an experience you won’t forget!

11. Pop Inside St. Mary’s Catholic Church

If you’re looking for a place to relax and reflect in the heart of Manchester, head over to St. Mary’s Catholic Church.

This stunning red brick building is located close to the bustling city center, yet provides a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of Manchester life.

The interior of St. Mary’s is just as beautiful as its exterior; with its ornate stained glass windows, wooden pews, and intricately carved stone altars, it’s easy to understand why this church has become an architectural landmark in the city.

The church also offers a range of activities for those looking to explore their faith or simply take a break from their everyday lives.

Visitors can attend weekly masses or join one of the many spiritual groups that meet regularly at St. Mary’s for scripture readings, prayer circles, and meditations.

Even if you’re not religious, there are plenty of ways to find peace here; come and light a candle or take some time to sit quietly in the peaceful atmosphere – it really is an oasis of tranquillity in this busy city!

12. Explore Salford Quays

Salford Quays is the perfect place for visitors to explore the sights and sounds of Manchester.

Located in Greater Manchester, it’s known for its plethora of attractions and activities that will make your stay unforgettable.

Stroll along the waterfront and take in the stunning views of the River Irwell, or explore the many shops, restaurants, and cafes that line its shores.

There’s also a vibrant nightlife scene here, so be sure to check out some of its renowned bars and clubs.

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If you’re looking for something more adventurous, go on a boat tour around Salford Quays and experience a different perspective of this beautiful area.

You can also visit The Lowry theatre complex or catch a gig at The Lowry Outlet Mall, making it an ideal destination if you’re looking for cultural experiences too.

With so much to offer, this unique destination is sure to leave an impression that will last long after your trip has ended.

13. Go For A Big Night Out

If you’re looking for a night out that’s truly unforgettable, Manchester is the place to be.

The city offers an array of bars, clubs, and pubs, all within walking distance of each other.

Whether you’re after an intimate evening or a wild night on the town, Manchester has something for everyone.

The Northern Quarter is a great option for those who want to experience Manchester’s vibrant nightlife.

From small pubs and craft beer bars to lively clubs offering late-night dancing, this area has it all.

For those feeling adventurous, there are plenty of live music venues along with some excellent bars offering cocktails and even specialty tequilas.

If you really want to make your evening special, why not try one of the many sophisticated rooftop bars?

You can enjoy stunning views while sipping on your drink of choice in style!

No matter what kind of night out you’re after, Manchester has something that will suit your needs.

With its abundance of options catering to all tastes and preferences, there’s no better place for a memorable night on the town!

14. Learn About Manchester’s Music Scene

Manchester is renowned and celebrated for its music scene, so it’s no surprise that it’s one of the best things to do when visiting the city.

You can experience live music performances in many venues throughout Manchester, from small pubs to bigger concert halls.

Some incredible bands and musicians have made their mark in Manchester, such as Oasis, The Stone Roses, and The Smiths.

Visiting a local gig or concert is an excellent way to get a feel for the city and its culture.

The city also offers plenty of opportunities to learn more about Manchester’s musical heritage.

From guided tours of iconic venues like the Manchester Apollo to museum exhibitions exploring the history of popular music in the city, you’ll find plenty of ways to delve into its fascinating past.

Whether you’re a fan of indie rock, hip hop, or classical music – there’s something for everyone!

So whether you want to experience live music or discover more about Manchester’s musical history, this vibrant city has something for everyone – making it one destination that shouldn’t be missed!

15. See Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre

Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre is a must-see.

The unique theatre is set inside an old cotton exchange, making it one of the most remarkable venues in England.

Taking its cues from the building’s history, the theatre features a variety of performances that explore themes of industry and labor.

It’s also home to some of the city’s best productions, with works spanning everything from dance to comedy.

The atmosphere inside the theatre is electric; you can feel the buzz as soon as you enter.

The design makes for an intimate experience, no matter where you’re seated.

From your seat, you’ll be able to soak up every moment of the performance – and even interact with actors during certain shows!

To top it off, the bar serves drinks and snacks so you can enjoy refreshments throughout your visit.

The Royal Exchange Theatre offers something for everyone – whether you’re looking for a night out with friends or some alone time with a play or musical.

So make sure to check out this iconic venue when in Manchester!

Best Things to Do in Manchester – Final Thoughts

Manchester is a city full of life and culture, and there’s so much to do and explore.

From exploring the UNESCO City of Literature to visiting Old Trafford and seeing the Royal Exchange Theatre, it’s an amazing place to visit.

Whether you’re looking for a big night out or a day of sightseeing and discovery, Manchester has something for everyone.

I’d recommend taking the time to explore Ancoats, Beech Road, and Salford Quays as well as learning about Manchester’s music scene – this city has some incredible stories to tell!

You can also take a tour of Old Trafford, home of Manchester United Football Club.

It’s an experience you won’t forget in a hurry.

If you’re looking for a great place to visit with plenty of things to do then Manchester is definitely worth considering.

With its amazing architecture, vibrant atmosphere, and diverse range of activities on offer, it’s no wonder why it continues to attract visitors from all over the world.


What are the best things to do in Manchester with kids?

The best things to do in Manchester with kids are visiting Science and Industry Museum, the Manchester Spy Mission Treasure trail, and doing Manchester bus tours.

What to do during the day in Manchester?

The best things to do during the day in Manchester are visiting the Etihad Stadium, National Football Museum, and Manchester Art Gallery.

Is Manchester worth visiting?

Yes, Manchester is worth visiting because it has renowned art galleries, famous football stadiums, and great people.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.