8 things to do in Manchester

Updated: Aug 26, 2021


A photo of a fast-moving yellow Manchester Metrolink tram going past buildings

There's always something to do in Manchester, and it's also the UK's third most affordable city, which is a plus! Since there's almost too much to do in Manchester, we've compiled the ultimate Manchester bucket list to assist you in finding things to do. With around 96,000 students studying in the city, Manchester is so popular, and for a very good reason!



1. Explore the Northern Quarter

A photo of a wall painted white and yellow with a 'Stevenson Square' street sign attached

The Northern Quarter is located between Piccadilly and Ancoats. It's not just a hipster hotspot but an eclectic, fun and welcoming part of the city that all students should explore. You could spend an entire day or even a whole weekend discovering hidden bars and secret streets tucked away.


If you’re feeling a bit peckish while walking around the Northern Quarter, you will find a plethora of excellent restaurants serving cuisine from all over the world. You can choose from the amazing burgers at Almost Famous, tender fried chicken at Yard and Coop or an amazing curry at This and That. You will also find plenty of vegan options, including plant-based fast food at V-Rev.



2. Head down to Chinatown

A man stands in a doorway of a shop in Chinatown at night

Since Manchester's Chinatown is the UK's second largest, you will find a wide range of high-quality restaurants, bakeries and shops.


The annual Chinese New Year festival, which takes place in February, is a highlight in the Manchester events calendar, with stalls and famous parades featuring dancing Dragons.



3. Visit the Whitworth Gallery


The Whitworth, which is part of the University of Manchester and also known as the 'gallery in the park', has been enriching the city's cultural life for 125 years and has seen record numbers of visitors since it reopened in 2015.


The Whitworth has 55,000 works of art, ranging from fine paintings to textiles, artist prints and sculpture.



4. SEA LIFE Manchester


Get up close with hundreds of animals at SEA LIFE Manchester, including majestic sharks, fascinating jellyfish and Ernie and Cammy, the gorgeous green sea turtles! Take a fascinating journey through themed zones from the coast to the ocean depths, and don't miss the amazing view from the sea bed in the ocean tunnel!


There is something for everyone at SEA LIFE Manchester, including fun talks, interesting facts, animal feeds, special events throughout the year and behind-the-scenes tours.



5. Discover Manchester


Take part in a daily guided walking tour to explore Manchester! This tour is organised by experienced and qualified guides, and promises to delight and amaze visitors.


The trip includes stops at outstanding architecture with incredible interiors, as well as insights of Manchester's past, present and future, combined with the city's colourful and different characteristics. It's the ideal way to get to know Manchester.



6. The Lowry

A photo of The Lowry building taken from across the river at night

Inside the spectacular building at Salford Quays, visitors will find three stunning theatres as well as galleries featuring local, national and international artists. The Lyric and Quays Theatres at The Lowry present a variety of acts, including West End musicals, the best in drama, live bands, well-known comedians and world-class dance and opera performances.


The Lowry has something for everyone, including cafés, Pier Eight restaurant and gift shops, all located alongside beautiful waterside views. In the galleries, there's always something new and exciting to view. The entrance to the gallery is free.



7. Manchester Museum


Situated on Oxford Road, Manchester Museum presents historical human studies. Featuring archaeology and anthropology, it continues to be one of the most trustful sources of information, best accessed through its natural history exhibits.


Owned by the University of Manchester, it stands three floors tall and displays objects from all around the world in its galleries. Some of the most prestigious finds the museum presents are the T-Rex, the Vivarium and the newly-bred Harlequin frogs.



8. Food market

A man serves food produce at a market stall

Manchester is filled with markets all year long, from street food to local independent crafts.

Keep an eye on Grub for the best food stalls in the area, as well as Mackie Mayor, a massive renovated Grade II-listed building in Northern Quarter that offers 400 seats and fantastic food from the likes of Honest Crust Pizza and Fin Seafood.



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