Reasons to visit Manchester this year

Monday 15th May 2023

There’s never been a better time to visit Greater Manchester with a host of new openings and activities taking place. The Northern city-region has something for everyone, from foodies to music lovers, sports enthusiasts to art aficionados.

If you’ve already booked your trip or are looking for inspiration, read on for our guide to the city to find out just why Manchester should be on your travel bucket list! 

Manchester's food and drink scene continues to thrive, with several independent openings in 2022 and 2023, further cementing the city's growing reputation as a foodie destination. Kampus, a new garden neighbourhood, opened at the beginning of 2022 offering multiple casual restaurants; which was followed by Exhibition, a trio of independent kitchens housed in the city’s former Natural History Museum. Manchester has also seen a surge in high-end bars such as Sterling and wine bar Climat. 2023 continues to offer up a range of exciting new eateries, including the colossal food and drink space Diecast with its food hall, night market and brewery, Soho House, Gordon Ramsay’s Lucky Cat, and the return of beloved pop-up Higher Ground, while well-reviewed hotel LEVEN, will open canalside restaurant MAYA, and dumpling spot House of Fu, will open a new restaurant with a late-night bar and karaoke rooms.

Indulge in Manchester's best beats, from the iconic Parklife and Sounds from the Other City to avant-garde performances in offbeat venues like The White Hotel, The Carlton Club, and OFF THE SQUARE. The Greater Manchester area reverberates with a musical heritage that is second to none, with the Halle orchestra (established in 1857) calling it home and serving as a launching pad for world-renowned artists such as The Hollies, The Smiths, Joy Division, New Order, Oasis, Stone Roses, Blossoms, and The 1975. The impact of the Hacienda nightclub and its '80s and '90s contemporaries can still be felt, with many who went clubbing there electing to make Manchester their permanent home.

But don't be fooled into thinking that Manchester's musical prowess is just a result of its past. The city is a breeding ground for fresh and exhilarating new acts and venues, poised to leave an indelible mark on the world of music. This winter, one of the UK’s most renowned musical cities is set to welcome the UK’s biggest new music venue. Co-op Live will welcome 23,500 fans and feature an impressive 32 bars, restaurants, lounges and even a nightclub. The new venue will join AO Arena as one of the major events venues in the city, with the arena also set to finish a huge expansion project adding new premium experiences and taking its capacity up to 22,900.

Finally, Greater Manchester offers plenty of exciting new attractions for visitors and locals alike. Factory International, a major new cultural space, will soon be home to the biennial Manchester International Festival, which returns in June with Yayoi Kusama’s You, Me and the Balloons exhibition. Manchester Museum has also reopened following a £15 million transformation, with a new exhibition hall, South Asia Gallery, and Chinese Culture Gallery. Meanwhile, Salford’s RHS Garden Bridgewater has added a new Blue Peter Garden and Music Pavilion in their Chinese Streamside Garden, which also features an exhibit on horticulture and its links to China. The RHS garden’s future plans include a 12.5-acre arboretum and continued site growth.

These are just some of the highlights of what's happening in Greater Manchester this summer and beyond. For more of an in-depth look at what's new in the city region, check out Visit Manchester's tourism watchlist or visit their site for a more extensive overview of the city. 

With TransPennine Express, it's easy to travel to Manchester from across the north of England and Scotland, with frequent and direct services from cities such as Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

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