The run up to Christmas has begun in Manchester, and there’s plenty going on to get you in the festive spirit. From the exciting Christmas lights switch on to the award-winning Christmas markets, there's something for everyone this festive season.
If you’re going Christmas shopping, you’re in for a treat - for designer brands and high street labels visit King Street, St Ann’s Square, Deansgate, New Cathedral Street and Exchange Square. Pop into Manchester Arndale for all your favourites under one roof, and browse big-name fashion on Market Street. Explore independent boutiques dotted across the Northern Quarter, and don’t forget the array of different stalls at the Christmas Markets.
There's plenty for the family too, with ice rinks, Santa's Grottos and lots of Christmas events across the whole of Greater Manchester. For more inspiration, take a look at Visit Manchester’s Christmas information.
Nothing to do with Eastenders, Albert Square is Manchester’s historic open space boasting a full roster of live events throughout the year – including the famous Christmas markets. The adjacent Town Hall is a gothic masterpiece, with guided tours and perhaps the prettiest cafe in all of Manchester, perfect for a spot of afternoon tea.
Ringed by bars and restaurants, you won’t have to look far for refreshments - The Albert Square Chophouse is a good bet for a modern twist on traditional British food.
One of Manchester’s best mixed spaces, Spinningfields houses some of Manchester’s coolest shops, restaurants and bars – catering for the huge commercial workforce in the area. Look out for a regular rota of live events, including weekly outdoor cinema, ice-rinks and live music. There are plenty of things to do, with street food at The Kitchens, real ale and cocktail bars and there’s fine dining at the stunning Manchester House, headed by celebrity chef Aiden Byrne. Spinningfields also hosts The Avenue, one Manchester's finest luxury retail quarters in which Flannels, Emporio Armani and Oliver Sweeney are among the headline names.
Manchester's creative, urban heart is home to countless independent fashion stores, record shops, cafés, bars and restaurants.
The NQ's most famous business, the shopping emporium Afflecks, provides affordable outlets for independent designers and traders across four floors. The Manchester Craft & Design Centre, housed in the beautifully restored former Victorian Fish and Poultry Market, is home to an array of artist-run studios offering the best in local design, jewellery, bags and accessories.
You are never far away from an amazing cup of coffee in the Northern Quarter, supplied by a great collection of independent cafes and artisans; make sure to check out: Takk, Fig & Sparrow, North Tea Power and Federal Café which also does the best brunch in the city.
Try Apotheca and The Fitzgerald for cocktails, Kosmonaut and Twenty Twenty Two for ping pong and a beer, Black Dog Ballroom and Soup Kitchen for dancing the night away, Port Street Beer House and the Smithfield Tavern for local craft ales and new kid on the block Cottonopolis for Asian small plates and Czech tank beer.
A legendary Manchester nightspot, popular to this day with regular live music and DJs. Band on the Wall was made famous as one of the birthplaces of British punk and for its recent nights hosted by DJ and actor, Craig Charles who plays an ecclectic mix of funk and soul. Next door is the regenerated Picturehouse Bar – a great spot for a pre-gig drink or homemade curry.
Manchester’s Gay Village, famous for its hedonistic nightlife and popularised beyond Manchester in Russell T Davies’ ground-breaking drama Queer As Folk, has regular live events and is a great choice for food and drink.
Trains to Manchester bring people from far and wide to sample the array of bars and nightclubs, with its friendly and colourful atmosphere – it’s hard to think many better things to do in the city, if you’re pulling on the glad rags and letting your hair down.
A magnificent building alongside Salford Quays, inside visitors will find two stunning theatres alongside galleries showcasing artists of local, national and international renown.
With a huge variety of performances, The Lowry's Lyric and Quays Theatres offer a wealth of fabulous entertainment, including West End musicals, the very best in drama, live bands, famous comedians, plus world class dance and opera. From Peter Kay to the Kirov Ballet, Morrissey to Alan Bennett and much more.
The Lowry Galleries showcase changing exhibitions by one of Britain's best loved artists, LS Lowry, as well as paintings, sculpture and photography from around the world. There's always something new and refreshing to see in the galleries. Gallery entry is free.
Pier Eight is The Lowry's brand new restaurant and bar. With its stunning waterside setting overlooking Salford Quays and the Manchester Ship Canal, it's the perfect venue for a relaxed lunch, delicious pre-show meal or dinner out.
Explore the world's finest collection of football artefacts and archives. Whether visitors are die-hard football fans, planning a visit with the family or on a weekend break to the great city of Manchester, enjoy a visit to the world's biggest and best football museum as part of the perfect football fixture. Come face to face with famous items including the ball from the 1966 World Cup final and iconic shirts worn by Bobby Moore, Diego Maradona, Pele and many more. Over 2500 objects are on display, from priceless artworks, to irreplaceable mementoes of the unforgettable games.
Discover Manchester's rich legacy of world-changing industrial innovations and scientific discoveries at one of the city's most loved museums.
Manchester is a city deeply connected with science and industry. From the first steam-powered mill and microcomputer to the pioneering work conducted in our universities today, innovation is the city's lifeblood.
Based on the site of the oldest passenger railway station in the world, the Museum of Science and Industry truly is a museum for everyone. Kids, big and small will be fascinated by the hands-on exhibitions, while the huge collection of vintage vehicles and historic working machinery is enthralling. Witnessing halls full of vast, steam-powered machines in action is an unforgettable experience.
Guided walks and tours of Manchester
Guided walks and tours are the perfect way to discover the rich history, landscape and culture of Manchester. From the Victorian-Gothic magnificence of Manchester Town Hall to the rapidly developing Salford Quays, qualified guides provide an in-depth knowledge that will open up a whole new side of Manchester to you.
A range of daily tours are delivered across our region by the trusted tour guides at Manchester Guided Tours, New Manchester Walks and Manchester Taxi Tours.
Manchester United and Manchester City stadium and museum tours
Both of Manchester’s top clubs offer you an unforgettable experience going behind the scenes of their spectacular stadia and uncovering the stories of these much-loved football clubs.
Blending historical exhibits with state-of-the-art interactive experiences the Museum lets you get even closer to the world of Manchester United than ever before. Visitors can get their picture taken with the trophies, discover the stories of individuals who have built the Club, see those kits fans have witnessed great moments in and visit the special and ever changing exhibitions all at this purpose built facility in the heart of Old Trafford's towering Sir Alex Ferguson Stand. From the dizzy heights of the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand, to the atmosphere soaked players' dressing room, every moment will seem to carry the roar of 76,000 fans - none more so than the ultimate honour of emerging from the players tunnel and following in the footsteps of so many legendary reds.
Your visit will begin with a 20 minute self-guided tour looking at the past achievements, current status and future ambitions of the football club, including displays of iconic Manchester City memorabilia. Visitors can even use interactive displays to choose their all-time dream team from City players past and present. A professional and passionate tour guide will then take you around the areas that are normally off-limits, including the press conference room, the warm up area, the dressing room, the players’ tunnel and the pitch side dug-out. You may even get a photo opportunity in the manager’s chair!
Explore the legendary Manchester music scene from Joy Division to Oasis and everything in-between. Founded by Inspiral Carpets drummer Craig Gill, the Manchester Music Tours offer a fascinating first-hand insight into the history and legacy of music in the city.
With world famous bands and venues including The Hacienda, The Stone Roses, The Smiths, Joy Division and Oasis among others, this tour is unmissable for anyone with an interest in music or the 'Madchester' period.