Discover Things to Do in Manchester
Steps Away from the Palace Hotel
A perfectly placed hotel and event venue, the Palace Hotel is close to many of Manchester’s attractions and things to do, while offering a peaceful haven to relax after all the sightseeing.
If you love theatre, you’ll love our location, right in the heart of Manchester’s extensive entertainment scene, opposite the Palace Theatre and close to the Opera House and Royal Exchange. The hotel is also close to Manchester Central and is just a 20-minute walk from the MEN Arena.
Top Things to Do in Manchester
As one of the largest cities in England, you’ll find lots of things to do in Manchester. From arts and culture, sports, shopping and a vibrant nightlife, Manchester’s got it all.
Watch a Football Match
Manchester is home to two premier league football clubs. Manchester United F.C. is one of the most popular football teams in the world, playing at Old Trafford (also known as The Field of Dreams), a stadium that can seat just over 75,000 fans. If you plan on attending a game, buying tickets in advance is highly recommend, especially when Manchester plays against their rival teams – like Manchester City F.C., who play at Etihad Stadium.
Marvel at the Manchester Cathedral
The Manchester Cathedral is an impressive building, and is the widest church in England. The Cathedral is open to the public for services as well as daily tours. Be sure to check out the picturesque stained glass windows.
Shopping In The Millennium Quarter
For the best in upmarket shopping, head to Manchester’s Millennium Quarter. The area is home to two of the best department stores in the country. Selfridges has five floors including a delectable food hall, filled with all sorts of of delicious treats. And Harvey Nichols is just across the street and a firm favourite with fashion addicts due to its mix of high end fashion brands.
Explore the Runway Visitor Park
It may seem surprising to some that you could have a day of relaxation at the airport, but it’s truly possible at the Manchester Airport. The Airport has created a Runway Visitor Park, where spectators can come bring a picnic, stretch out on the lawn and have a clear view of the planes as they take off. Aircraft tours are also available, including the British Airways flagship, the Concorde G-BOAC.
Take In a Performance At The O2 Apollo
Enjoy an intimate performance experience at the O2 Apollo Manchester. The ornate, art deco auditorium has been around since 1938. Seating only 3,500, this theatre allows you to get up close to the performers, and the acoustics are phenomenal. In addition to concerts, many comedy acts perform here.
Visit The Imperial War Museum North
The facade of the Imperial War Museum North (IWM) is impressive, and even more so are the exhibits housed within it. The IWM traces the impact war has had on the country from the First World War, to present day. Walking through the museums, you learn about the lives of soldiers, factory workers, and anyone who would have been deeply impacted by the war. The collection includes author J.R.R. Tolkien’s revolver from WWI, fragments of the Berlin Wall, and pieces of steel from the World Trade Centers in New York.
Free Things to Do in Manchester
There are so many free things to see and do in Manchester that visiting the city doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Save a few pounds by checking out these sights:
Explore The City With An Audio Tour
Walk Talk Tours provides free, downloadable audio tours of Manchester. Because the walks are self-guided, you can do the tour at your own pace. The two hour walk will take you past many of the city’s most popular sights.
Browse Through John Rylands Library
Part of the University of Manchester, the John Rylands Library is one of area’s top attractions, and it’s free to enter. The stunning neo-gothic building is home to thousands of books and manuscripts, including first edition Shakespeares, a copy of the Gutenberg Bible and more.
Stroll Along the Canals of Castlefield
The area of Castlefield has been classified as an Urban Heritage Park. In AD 79, this area was the home of the Roman Fort Mamucium, and some of the ruins can still be seen today. Much later, in the 1700’s came the world’s first industrial canal, Bridgewater Canal. Today, visitors and local Mancunians head to the park to walk along these canals. There are many pubs and restaurants in Castlefield worth popping into for a pint.
Visit Town Hall
Manchester’s Town Hall is one of most beautiful buildings in the city. Started in 1868 and completed in 1877, it is an incredible neo-gothic building that is a must-see for any fan of Victorian architecture. And it really come of life at Christmas with the area around the Town Hall transforming into one of the best UK festive markets, filled with all kinds of gifts and goodies and plenty of wine.
People’s History Museum
Formally an Edwardian pumping station the People’s History Museum located on the corner of Bridge Street and now tells the story of the history of democracy in Britain. From popular radicalism to trade unionism the museum covers it all and houses the largest collection of political material in Britain.
The Imperial War Museum North
Located in the Borough of Trafford, The Imperial War Museum North is just one of five branches of the Imperial War Museum to explore the impact of conflict on people and society. Overlooking the Manchester Ship Canal the museum features a range of exhibitions as well as audiovisual presentations throughout the gallery.
Things to Do in Manchester with Kids
Thinking about bringing your children to Manchester? Go for it – there are lots of things to do in Manchester with kids and the city is a surprisingly family friendly UK break.
The Museum Of Science And Transport
Popular with adults and children alike, the Museum of Science and Transport (often shortened to MOSI) has exhibits that will keep your kids occupied for hours. At the Museum, you’ll be able to crawl through Victorian sewers, experience a 4D movie, try out experiments in the Science Centre, learn about the newest 3D printing technologies and more. Best of all, admission is free!
Get Creative At LEGOLAND
The indoor LEGOLAND Discovery Center is the perfect place to bring kids on rainy days. Children can run around, explore, and play with their favorite LEGO toys. On the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride, you become a knight who has to laser zap enemies in order to save the day. During the Factory Tour, kids learn how LEGO’s are made and even help create new LEGO pieces.
Become A Spy And Solve A Mystery
Begin the mission by downloading the Manchester Spy Mission Treasure Trail, and head to Castlefield. The mystery will only be solved when children correctly answer a list of clues. These clues are hidden all around the buildings of Manchester, so not only do kids have a lot of fun running around, but they also get to learn about the city in a fun way.
Go Skydiving Indoors
Adventurous kids will love the experience of skydiving, in a safe, indoor environment. Airkix has wind tunnels that simulate the same feeling you would get from jumping out of a plane. It’s so safe that children as young as four years old are allowed to give it a go. This is a very popular activity with kids in Manchester so it’s recommend to visit at off-peak hours to avoid a long queue.
Visit With A Dinosaur
The Manchester Museum has many incredible galleries and exhibits, but none are more popular with kids than Stan, the T. Rex. Stan is a dinosaur fossil that was found in the Badlands of America. Thanks to a new program, Talking with Statues, Stan now speaks. Kids love stopping by to listen to the friendly dinosaur when they visit. A cousin of the T.Rex, Gorgosaurus, is the newest dinosaur fossil at the museum.
Things to Do in Manchester this weekend
The Comedy Store
If you’re a comedy fan then Manchester’s comedy store makes a great night out. With a cast of veteran comedians on offer as well as up and coming comedians their purpose built 500 seater venue on Deansgate is a great option to keep you entertained, they also serve food so you can combine a meal out with entertainment.
Located on Peter Street in Manchester’s Albert Hall (not to be confused with London’s Royal Albert Hall) is a grade II listed building that has a full calendar of live music throughout the year. This grand Chapel has been painstakingly restored to become one of Manchester’s best and most unique live music venues.
The Frog and Bucket Comedy Club
If the Comedy Store wasn’t enough for you Manchester has another great live comedy club to offer. Frog and Bucket Comedy Club on Oldham Street is more stand up and open mic than improvisation and is well known for the featuring future stars before they have their big break, Peter Kay, Jason Manford and John Bishop to name a few all played The Frog and Bucket before hitting the big time.
Located within The University of Manchester’s campus, Manchester Academy is located to the South of the city centre. Hosting world-class acts such as Prince, Kylie and Nirvana the main Academy venue has a capacity of 2,600 along with 3 smaller venues on site that host other events such as student-only events.
The Royal Exchange Theatre
Another of Manchester’s great venues that is grade II listed, located in the city centre The Royal Exchange Theatre was constructed in 1914 (taking around 7 years to finish) and today sees around 350 performances per year. With a varied programme of shows covering classic theatre, revivals, contemporary dance as well as new writing, if you’re visiting Manchester and love theatre then a visit here is a must.
Things to Do in Manchester today
Manchester City Football club stadium club tour
Even if you’re not a football fanatic or Man City fan this impressive and world renown stadium will still make a great day out. With a different types of tours to suit all visitors, from night tours to group tours you can discover the great history of the stadium.
Another of Manchester’s impressive buildings, Manchester Cathedral was originally built in 1421 with various rebuilds and renovations since then. Open to visitors all year with an onsite visitor centre and regular events held at the cathedral from musical celebrations to photography competitions.
Created in 1999, Shambles Square is based on the disordered butchers streets of yesteryear, fortunately today you won’t find the same disorder but a modern recreation just next to the cathedral where you can sit down with some pub food and a drink.
Manchester Greyhound Stadium Belle Vue
Entertainment, food and drink is the promise of Manchester’s Greyhound Stadium, with races every Friday and Saturday night making this a great night out for groups of friends who are looking for an evening of all round entertainment and good times.
Castlefield urban heritage park
If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a few hours then Castlefield Urban Heritage Park is a great option, neatly located within the Manchester’s city centre the park that offers access to the relaxing canal walks and cycling areas of the city. A great option for a stroll with a camera.
Things to Do in Manchester for couples
Manchester art gallery
Formally known as Manchester City Art Gallery, Manchester Art Gallery is a publicly owned art museum located on Moseley Street in the city centre. With various exhibitions showing at any one time from abstract to the modern the art gallery covers it all. Learning experiences are available at the gallery for schools, families, adults and young people.
Known as Manchester’s home of entertainment, Printworks venue has it all under one roof with a cinema, clubs and restaurants. So if you’re looking for a lazy (or romantic) day out then you can spend your whole day at printworks being entertained and well fed.
Discover Manchester Walk
Or if you’d rather not be indoors then Discover Manchester walk is a guided tour through Manchester, one of the best ways to discover this vibrant city is with a nice relaxing, yet informative walk. Led by experienced and knowledgeable tour guides you’ll learn about the cities hidden gems that you might have otherwise missed.
Breakout experiences may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of romantic things to do but Breakout Manchester is actually a great friends or family friendly escape room experience that you will likely be talking about for weeks, if not months afterwards. Can you break out of the room in 60 minutes?.
Things to Do in Manchester on a Sunday
Known as the biggest and best park in the North West, Heaton Park is open from 8am every day until dusk. With a huge range of things to do in the park from fishing, rowing boats, cycling to donkey rides there is quite literally something for everyone. And if you’re just looking for somewhere to relax on your Sunday afternoon then the historical buildings and food options still make Heaton park a great place to visit.
Fletcher Moss Park & Botanical Gardens
Known locally as just Fletcher Moss green area located in Didsbury is part botanical garden and part wildlife habitat but also offers recreational facilities such as tennis courts, football pitches as well as a conveniently placed cafe. The park is not only a great place to wander through and relax in but has also been the inspiration for the naming of a critically acclaimed jazz album.
Junkyard Golf Club
If you’re a fan of crazy golf then Manchesters Junkyard Golf Club is unmissable. With a 9 hole course of well put together junk forming a crazy and unique experience. With on site food and drink offerings this is a great attraction for couples and groups alike.
If you’re looking for something a bit more traditional to do on a Sunday afternoon then a trip to Cineworld in Didsbury is always a safe bet. With free parking available and on site snacks and drink it’s the perfect place to unwind before work on Monday.
Route 66 drive in cinemas
Cinema from the comfort of your own car, if you fancy seeing a film but don’t fancy leaving your car then this is perfect for you. Park up, set your car radio to receive the films sound and order food right to your car, if you want entertainment but don’t want to waste any energy then this might be the perfect solution on your lazy Sunday.
Things to Do in Manchester at night
From nights out with the friends, to date nights Manchester has some excellent offering to fill up your evenings:
A cross between a bar, restaurant and club, Gorilla is located under the railway tracks on Whitworth Street West. With accolades to their name such as Manchester’s best burger and best newcomer at the Manchester food and drink awards Gorilla is well worth a visit on any night out.
Formed when two Manchester art organisations merged and opening in April 2015, Home is an international centre for contemporary art, theatre and film. The two theatre spaces are a place for new and daring work while the cinema screens feature independent and thought provoking films making this a great night out those seeking engaging entertainment.
Mr Thomas’s Chop house
Celebrating the best of British, Victorian-style venue Mr Thomas’s Chop House is the perfect place for drinks on a night out, meals out with the family or a more formal occasion. With a striking visual look that adheres to Victorian styles and standards this is the very essence of traditional British pub.
The Northern Quarter
The northern quarter was originally developed in the 1990’s as part of the regeneration of Manchester and is now one of Manchester’s most vibrant and exciting communities. With a selection of places to eat, drink, party and shop the area is well known for its great nightlife combining its bar scene and live music venues.
Things to Do in Manchester city centre
There is so much to do within Manchester city centre that you could spend weeks there and not get around half of it, and it’s extremely varied so whatever your mood you’ll find something great to do:
Manchesters ethnic enclave is in the heart of Manchesters city centre and is the third largest Chinatown in Europe. With Chinese, Thai and Japanese as well as many more groups offering up restaurants, shops bakeries and supermarkets, if you don’t want to wander too far out of the city centre but want to experience something new then Manchesters Chinatown is a great option.
The Opera House
Located on Quay Street just to the West of Manchester city centre, The Opera House has a great range of shows on throughout the year. From children’s shows such as Lazy Town to musical experiences to suit all the family such as The Magic of Motown and Aladdin, its well worth an evening out if you need some entertainment.
Ocean Treasure 235
Well reviewed Cantonese restaurant come casino, Ocean Treasure 235 offers up a good standard of Chinese food with the added bonus of having a casino on site.
Often overlooked when looking for things to do, Manchester’s library offers a relaxing environment with onsite cafe to discover your next read or to browse the classics. With a children’s library, media lounge and regular events held at the library its always worth a visit.
Things to Do in Manchester with toddlers
If you’re looking for something to do to keep the little ones entertained for a few hours (or to tire them out) then Manchester has some great options with a range of play centres throughout the city:
Head over heels fairytale play
Award winning indoor play centre and arena, Head Over Heels has play areas for preschoolers and more extreme areas for older children who need a more robust play area. With a deli cafe on site and a regular ‘Kwirky Club’ it’s a great choice to entertain your little ones for a few hours.
Fuzzy eds at the band stand
Located in the Gorton area of Manchester, Fuzzy Eds ‘fun house’ is a soft play area for children ages 0-12 years old. Featuring multi-level indoor play area, a climbing maze and safe area for the smaller ones. As part of a family pub there is space for the adults as well, with a beer garden for when the sun comes out.
Land of play
Another one of Manchester great children’s play centres, but this one differentiates itself with its very own go-karting circuit. They also have separate baby & toddlers areas, a football pitch and provide a relaxing environment for parents as well as children. Land of play is located near the Trafford centre.
Intu Trafford Centre play zone
Perfect for children aged 0-10 years old, Intu play area is located within the Trafford Centre and has a wide range of equipment to keep children entertained such as a ball pool, slides, climbing nets, tube crawls and rope swings. And if you’re looking to do a quick bit of shopping in peace then they also offer a creche service.
Pubs in Manchester
With so many great pubs in Manchester it’s difficult to pick out just a few of them, but these chosen few offer something a bit unique or are just exceptional bars that deserve a visit:
The Liquor Store
Described as a New York style bar The Liquor Store has a great reputation for nights out and for holding unique events such as cocktail lessons alike. Situated just off Deansgate the bare brickwork styling gives it a great no nonsense look that sums up their whole philosophy.
One of the more unique venues in Manchester, located in the Green Quarter Redbank Co is a cafe bar & studio that’s open from 5pm until midnight on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with extended hours over the weekend. Running regular events such as quizzes and pizza nights making a great addition to a night out in Manchester.
Ape & Apple
If you’re a fan of cask ale and traditional pub grub then the Ape & Apple might be the pub for you. Located on John Dalton Street the pub offers a great warm atmosphere with a rooftop beer garden, regular comedy nights and dance classes if you fancy more than just a drink.
Bar eight Manchester
Contemporary bar serving tapas style bar food located in Castlefield. With new owners taking over in 2014 Bar Eight has been extremely well reviewed and looks like a great option for any night out or for some great food.
Located in the great Northern Quarter, Cord Bar is described as ‘your place for drinking, laughing, relaxing and partying since 2001’. With a great laid back reputation they also offer cocktail masterclasses for groups who are looking for a little more entertainment and fun.
Learn More About Things to Do in Manchester
Interested in learning more about Manchester, the Palace Hotel, or the things to do close by? Please get in touch – we’re on hand to help you plan the best trip possible!
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