10 Best Things to do in Manchester (UK)

Looking for the best things to do in Manchester for your upcoming trip? We are going to share with you some great Manchester attractions and places to visit. Manchester has a unique spirit and energy that captivates its visitors and residents. The city is famous for its cotton mills, warehouses, and canals which made it the first modern industrial city. It is home to iconic attractions that draw tourists from around the world.

This vibrant hotspot is a buzzing metropolis filled with activities that tourists will surely enjoy. With a history dating back to the 79 AD Roman times, it is also packed with arts and culture that will give you a memorable look into the city’s past.

As an industrial hub, you’ll experience an urban retreat unlike any other. The nightlife in Manchester also promises a fabulous time!

Best Things to Do in Manchester, UK:

1. Visit Manchester Football clubs

If there is something that Manchester is known for, it is its popular football clubs – Manchester City and Manchester United. The stadium is often part of the many lists out there detailing what to see in Manchester.

You have to get a behind-the-scenes look at the famous city stadium. Experience for yourself where the fans go wild and crazy to showcase their love for their clubs and the game of football.

As the 6th largest stadium in the Premier League (and 10th in the UK), the Football Stadium of Manchester City is a must-visit for sports fans. Most importantly, it is a bucket-list item for fans of Manchester City.

2. Experience Sea Life Manchester

This is a great family-friendly attraction in the city. If you are travelling with your children, you cannot afford to miss this one. This giant aquarium is home to over 5,000 creatures and will transport you to an amazing underwater world. You and your kids can interact with a variety of marine species, such as jellyfish, rays, octopuses, sharks, and seahorses.

Another thing for kids to look forward to at Sea Life Manchester includes an interactive touch pool experience. They can watch fun shows and have the opportunity to touch a starfish or hold a crab. For a more educational experience, they can join in the quiz trail. With so many things to see or do, it is going to be a fun-filled day for the entire family.

3. Trafford Centre

If you love shopping, a visit to the Trafford Centre is one of the top things to do in Manchester. This indoor shopping centre and leisure complex are one of the largest in England.

Trafford Centre Manchester
Best Things to Do in Manchester: Visit the Trafford Centre
Jza84, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

With nearly 300 stores and shops, it is the perfect place to go to if you want to find souvenirs to take home, shop to your heart’s content, or dine at a great restaurant. Aside from the shops, the shopping complex is in itself an attraction with more than 3 miles of marble and granite boulevards.

The Trafford Centre is located just 5 miles outside of Manchester city centre so it is easy to access.

4. Visit Old Trafford Cricket Ground

Manchester is a sports-loving city. Aside from football, cricket is another beloved sport. If you are looking for things to do in Manchester this weekend, head to the Old Trafford Cricket Ground.

It is also known as the Emirates Old Trafford. It is the home venue of the Lancashire Cricket Club and has been the heart of the action in the city since 1857. Musical shows and concerts are also held in this popular venue.

Old Trafford is also the home stadium of Manchester United, which makes it a great destination to visit if you are a huge ManU fan!

5. Explore the Ordsall Hall

Known as a popular wedding venue, the Ordsall Hall used to be a manor house and it is over 750 years old. While it has gone through various restorations, some parts of it are still preserved since the manor was first built in the 15th century.

Ordsall Hall in Manchester
Best Things to Do in Manchester: Visit the Ordsall Hall

It is most notable as the residence of the Radclyffe family. They resided here for over three centuries. It was sold by the Radclyffe in the mid-1600s. Since then, it has been used as a school clergy, a radio station, and working for a men’s club.

6. Manchester Cathedral

This parish church is one of the most impressive architectural features in the city. It showcases the Perpendicular Gothic style after it was rebuilt in 1421. The collegiate choir with high clerestory windows and the nave were rebuilt by warden James Stanley II at the end of the 15th century.

Manchester Cathedral in the UK
Best Things to Do in Manchester: Visit Manchester Cathedral

Visit the Manchester Cathedral at Victoria St, Manchester to enjoy the beautiful architecture and the years of history this place holds.

7. Museum Hopping

As a city known for its culture and history, museums and art galleries are among the top Manchester attractions every tourist and traveller must visit.

Library and Museum in Manchester UK
Best Things to Do in Manchester: Visit Libraries and Museums

The Manchester Museum is the largest university museum in the country. It houses over 4.5 million items in its collection that is spread over 4 floors of displays and exhibitions. The collection consists of natural history and archaeological artefacts. You can also explore the special exhibition featuring the natural history of Manchester.  

The building itself is an attraction with Gothic-style architecture. If you are a huge architecture lover, you won’t regret visiting the museum. Definitely, include it in your itinerary.

Then there’s Hat Works – Museum of Hatting. It is the only museum in the UK dedicated to hats, headwear, and the hatting industry. This two-floor interactive exhibit will take you back to the history of the hatting industry that once thrived in Stockport.

Learn the story behind this essential accessory at the Hat Works

You should also explore the Northern Quarter where you will find must-see galleries, such as the Manchester Art Gallery and Whitworth Art Gallery. Visit these museums and galleries for an educational and fun experience within the city.

8. Enjoy Manchester’s Nightlife

The nightlife is vibrant in Manchester City. When the night sets in, the city comes alive with party-goers buzzing about to check out the various clubs, bars, and discos. Whether dancing the night away or sipping on cocktails, exploring the nightlife should be on your list of what to do in Manchester.

The O2 Ritz is one of the most legendary nightclubs in Manchester. For generations, party-goers and young folks who are into live music show flock to this club.

If you are looking for a more authentic and local experience, visit Underdog. This is an underground drinking den and events venue.

For travellers who are looking for LGBT-friendly spots, visit the G-A-Y Bar in Manchester. This bar is set on three floors and boasts of a modern video jukebox system. Another LGBT-friendly option is Churchills – people of any age or sexuality are welcome here.

9. Enjoy Different Shows, Concerts, and the Music Scene

On top of the vibrant nightlife destinations, there are more options when it comes to things to do in Manchester. This city is known for its lively music and concert shows. There are plenty of musical events held in the metropolis throughout the year.

Pride Event in the Manchester Gay Village UK
Best Things to Do in Manchester: Enjoy the Pride Event in the Manchester Gay Village UK

You should also give Coronation Street sets a visit. Explore the original filming location of the popular TV show. You can also visit many other musical locations to trace the origin of various notable musical groups, such as Oasis, Happy Monday, and the Sex Pistols.

With many musical shows, concerts, and other events held throughout the year, you won’t have a problem finding a show to catch during your visit.

10. Shopping in the City Centre High Street

Manchester Central Retail District UK
Best Things to Do in Manchester: Visit the Manchester Central Retail District

A visit to the high street of Manchester city is a must for a retail therapy fix. The high street has a lot of luxury brands up to the bargain shops depending on what suits your needs and budget. The Manchester Central Retail District has massive shopping centres like the Arndale, Selfridges and Marks and Spences to name a few.

Manchester High Street UK
Best Things to Do in Manchester: Retail Therapy on the High Street

Then if you happen to become peckish during your retail therapy, you can try to head towards the Corn Exchange building in front of the Exchange Square. You can find various restaurants and café around the area. When I visited Manchester with my friend we had a lovely Italian meal at the Corn Exchange. There was a food festival nearby too!

The Corn Exchange Manchester UK
Best Things to Do in Manchester: Visit The Corn Exchange

Experience the art, culture, and people of Manchester City today! This lively metropolis in the North of the UK is truly something worth visiting. I wrote another blog post about 5 Ways How to Get from London to Manchester, to help you on planning your trip.

More posts about the United Kingdom

Looking for more inspiration on other destinations, you can visit our WORLD DESTINATIONS page.

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Everything Zany Dual Citizen Travel Blog

Everything Zany

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Everything Zany Travel Blog exploring the UK and beyond. Sharing travel guides, tips, history and culture. Our travel media brand is founded by travel and hotel industry expert – Ryazan Tristram, a Dual Citizen (British – Filipina) based in Birmingham, UK. Everything Zany is a reputable and award-winning travel blog. Our work and contributions have been featured in Huffington Post, CNBC, Discovery Channel, GMA, Readers Digest, and Lonely Planet. Our missions are to build a great travel community and resource of travel tips, visas and travel guides for travellers. Join us as we travel around the UK and beyond with a mission to share the best of the world.

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