Things to do in Manchester

Things to do in  Manchester

Don’t call it soccer

Football, big bands, and nightlife are among Manchester’s claims to fame—this is the northern city where rock band Oasis was born and Manchester United Football Club draws crowds. Its culture has spawned gig venues, nightclubs, and stadiums like Old Trafford that provide a stream of things to do in Manchester, while the city’s roots pique the curiosities of history lovers, too. Visitors can learn about the Manchester Ship Canal on history tours and discover how the canal turned the city’s fortunes, giving it an industrial presence that remains today.

Top 13 attractions in Manchester

Peak District National Park

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The Peak District became Britain’s first national park in 1951 and remains one of its most popular outdoor destinations. From fertile farmland and stately homes to towering peaks and underground caves, there’s much to explore across the 143,700-hectare park, including the beginning of Britain’s best-known trail, the Pennine Way.More

Etihad Stadium (City of Manchester Stadium)

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The mighty Etihad, also known as the City of Manchester Stadium, is the home of Manchester City Football Club. Built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, the award-winning venue is among the UK’s largest with seating for more than 55,000. In addition to football games, the stadium hosts live concerts, other sports matches, and stadium tours.More

Old Trafford

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With a capacity of nearly 75,000, Old Trafford is the UK’s second-largest football (soccer) stadium and home of Manchester United since 1910. Beside Premier League fixtures, the venue has hosted Olympic games, rugby league finals, and several international cup matches. The on-site museum houses the team’s famous continental treble trophy.More

Manchester Cathedral

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The Grade I listed Manchester Cathedral is one of the city’s oldest and most important religious landmarks. With origins dating back to 1421, the soaring cathedral was constructed in the English Gothic style, and later renovated during the Victorian period and following World War II. Today, the landmark is celebrated for its striking interior.More

John Rylands Library

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Also known as the University of Manchester Library, the John Rylands Library is widely considered one of the world’s most beautiful libraries. Built in 1900 and celebrated for its Victorian, neo-Gothic architecture—which includes a soaring, vaulted entryway and ornamental carvings—the landmark houses a vast collection of rare books.More

Science and Industry Museum

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Delve into Manchester’s inventive and industrial heritage at the Science and Industry Museum. Housed in a building that served as the world’s first passenger railway station, the museum includes a wide collection of vintage vehicles, historical machinery, hands-on exhibitions, and other engaging offerings.More

Imperial War Museum North

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The Imperial War Museum North—one of five branches of the Imperial War Museum throughout England—is housed in a Daniel Libeskind–designed building meant to resemble a globe split into shards. The museum houses a collection of more than 2,000 objects that relate to global conflict and show how the specter of war changes lives forever.More

Manchester Art Gallery

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One of Manchester’s premier museums, the Manchester Art Gallery was founded in the early 19th century and boasts a collection of more than 25,000 objects. It’s particularly renowned for its Victorian-era artworks (including multiple Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces) and places a strong focus on the decorative arts.More

Manchester Museum

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Owned by the University of Manchester and housed in a striking, neo-Gothic building, the Manchester Museum has a vast collection that spans natural history, anthropology, and archaeology. Collection highlights include everything from a fossilized Tyrannosaurus Rex (nicknamed "Stan") to ancient Egyptian artifacts.More

People's History Museum

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The People’s History Museum tells the story of democracy in the UK, and collects, studies, and displays materials related to the lives of working people. Housed in a Grade II listed former hydraulic pumping station that has since been given a striking architectural makeover, the museum underwent a major renovation in 2010.More

SEA LIFE® Manchester

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Spend an educational day exploring the underwater world without getting too wet: participate in a feeding demo, attend a talk, or stroke a starfish. At SEA LIFE® Manchester, 30 display tanks, including an immersive ocean tunnel, house more than 5,000 sea creatures—everything from jellyfish to sea turtles, spider crabs to sharks.More

LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre, Manchester

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One of only two in the United Kingdom, LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Manchester promises an exciting family-friendly day out. Let your imagination run riot at LEGO® workshops, ride Kingdom Quest, check out the 4D cinema, and marvel over miniatures. Then, stop by the play area before buying bricks of your own in the LEGO shop.More
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The Lowry

The Lowry

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Consistently one of Manchester’s most-visited attractions, the Lowry is a visual and performing arts center that houses three theaters, plus galleries and other public spaces. Opened in 2000 and dedicated by the Queen of England, the Lowry has played a significant role in the regeneration of the city’s Salford Quays area.More

Top activities in Manchester

The Manchester City Stadium Tour
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Man United Match Ticket Old Trafford with Kit Room Lounge Access
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Windermere & Lake District Tour from Manchester Including Cruise
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Half-Day Manchester Food Tour with Lunch
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The Lake District from Manchester
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MANCHESTER: Yorkshire Adventure - Sightseeing Day Trip Tour
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MANCHESTER: Lake District Adventure - Sightseeing Day Trip Tour
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All about Manchester

When to visit

Summer is when Manchester is at its best. Open-air concerts and festivals happen most weekends, and the Manchester Pride Festival celebrates the city’s LGBTQ+ scene with pizzazz every August. Whenever you visit, pack layers and an umbrella in your suitcase: Rain is common year-round, and even the sunniest of days can start with gray skies and showers.

Getting around

Manchester is well connected with an international airport and several major train stations. Compact and walkable, its central zone 1 is laid out largely in a grid system, making it difficult to get lost. Car rentals aren’t worth the hassle due to chaotic traffic and limited parking. To explore further afield, use the cheap buses instead; you can pay by card on board, or hop on the free bus that offers three city routes.

Traveler tips

Manchester’s neon-lit stretch of curry houses sprawls along Wilmslow Road in Rusholme. The vibe here is edgy—not so ideal for a family night out—but the array of authentic curry houses makes a visit worthwhile. After a 10-minute bus ride from the center, you’ll find Pakistani, Indian, Sri Lankan, and Bangladeshi cuisine at your feet. Most restaurants stay open until the early hours but are unlicensed for alcohol. If you want to drink, you need to bring your own booze.

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People Also Ask

What is Manchester famous for?

Often described as the "capital of the north," Manchester is one of England's biggest and most dynamic cities. It is known for its industrial heritage, striking Victorian architecture, and football (soccer) teams like Manchester United and Manchester City. It's also beloved for its alternative spirit and place in music history.

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What is there to do in Manchester?

Manchester's museums—including the Science and Industry Museum, Manchester Art Gallery, and National Football Museum—are always popular. Seeing a football (soccer) game at Old Trafford or Etihad Stadium is a must-do. It's also worth walking Manchester's canals, visiting the Northern Quarter, and discovering its historic pubs and craft breweries.

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Is Manchester worth visiting?

Yes. Manchester is one of England's largest, most dynamic cities. Culture lovers come to browse its museums and explore hip neighborhoods like the Northern Quarter and Ancoats, while its pubs and restaurants are popular. Visitors also flock here to shop, see a football (soccer) game, or attend a gig.

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How can I have fun in Manchester?

Yes. There is plenty of fun to be had in Manchester. Weekend crowds take advantage of its thriving pub scene, browse cool boutiques in the Northern Quarter, or flock to its stadiums to see football (soccer) matches. Its nightlife scene—from hip restaurants to sceney music venues—keeps the party going late.

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What can I do for free in Manchester?

Manchester has a number of free museums, including the Science and Industry Museum, the People's History Museum, Manchester Art Gallery, and the Whitworth art gallery. Neighborhoods such as Chinatown and the Northern Quarter are worth exploring on foot, as are Manchester's network of canals.

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What do locals do in Manchester?

Locals flock to the city's vibrant Northern Quarter to explore its shops, galleries, tattoo parlors, and cafes. Up-and-coming Ancoats is a destination for trendy restaurants, and the city's music venues are ever popular. Most Mancunians avow undying loyalty to either Manchester United or Manchester City, and wouldn't miss a game.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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