Things to do in Manchester

Looking for things to do in Manchester today, this week or during the holidays?  Great news, you are in the right place as we have all of the best attractions and events to keep you and your family entertained.

The guide is broken down into easy to use sections which provide useful information and links to pages with more details or direct to attractions and event websites for easy booking.

So sit back, grab your favourite drink and lets find something new for you to enjoy with or without the kids!

things to do in manchester

Things to do in Manchester

Manchester is a historical region known for its architecture, culture, social values, and sporting teams. It ranks as the third most visited city in the UK, attracting visitors from the all over the world. Manchester boasts the UK’s second largest airport, so it’s easily accessible by plane as well as train.

The city has a long history but has embraced the present. Manchester offers a unique blend of rich tradition and culture with the trendiness of a new-age big city.

Thinking about planning a trip to Manchester? Here’s a bit of information to get you started. Take a look at some of these most recommended shopping, nightlife, and attraction ideas.

Shopping in Manchester

When considering why many tourists come to visit Manchester, shopping will rank near the top of most lists. Manchester’s wide variety of premium stores, outlets, and boutiques offer the best of international and British fashion.

Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlets

cheshiere oaks outlet shopping centreCheshire Oaks is home to the UK’s largest collection of premium outlet stores – over 150 to be exact. Some of the most famous brands from around the world – Coach, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, to name a few – can be found here at discounted prices. Nowhere else in the UK will you find this many options in one location. If you need a break from shopping or a bite to eat, there are multiple restaurants and cafes to choose from at Cheshire Oaks,

Visitors and tourists come to Manchester, even on day trips, to take advantage of the great deals that Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlets has available. Be sure to take a look at their website for a full selection of stores, as well as operating hours.

Address: Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, Ellesmere Port CH65 9JJ, United Kingdom
Contact: 0151 348 5600;
Prices: free
Opening times:

Monday – Friday 10.00 – 20.00
Saturday 09:00 – 20:00
Sunday 10:00 – 18:00
Larger stores – Sunday 11:00 – 17:00
Restaurants 09:00 – 22:00

House of Fraser Deansgate shopping centre

Manchester Deansgate shoppingThis premium department store carries the most prestigious and luxurious brands, both British-made and international. Apart from all the shopping you could dream of, House of Fraser Deansgate also offers a full salon experience, with premium face and body skin treatments. These luxurious treatments utilize products from the world renowned European skin care company, Germaine de Capuccini.

Once you’ve finished your salon appointment, you can head down to San Carlo Cicchetti, the House of Fraser Deansgate’s famous Italian restaurant and bar. Here you can dine on authentic Italian cuisine and sample an extensive wine list.

Address: Market St, Manchester M4 3AQ, UK
Contact: 0161 833 9851;
Prices: free
Opening times:

Store opening hours
Monday to Friday 9:00am to 8:00pm
Saturday 9:00am to 7:00pm
Sunday 11:30am to 5:30pm
Bank Holidays 10:00am to 6:00pm
Foodcourt & Restaurants opening hours
Monday to Friday 7:00am to 9:00pm
Saturday 7:00am to 9:00pm
Sunday 9:00am to 7:00pm
Bank Holidays 9:00am to 7:00pm

What to do in Manchester tonight

Manchester has one of the more active nightlife scenes in the UK From small and intimate music venues to bustling nightclubs, Manchester really does offer it all.


Manchester235 nightclubThe Manchester235 casino/bar/restaurant is one of the most unique and exciting venues in the country. It offers multiple floors of gaming in a Vegas-like casino set-up. Dining at either of the two restaurants will offer the chance of eating locally-sourced food prepared by top British chefs. The bar, named Vida Lounge, has an extensive cocktail menu and live music. It’s known as one of the best late-night watering holes in Manchester, serving thirsty casino patrons at all hours. For an unforgettable night on the town, be sure to check out Manchester235.

Address: Manchester235, 2 Watson St, Manchester M3 4LP, UK
Contact: 0161 826 3176;
Opening times: The venue is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week (closed on Christmas Day only)

Bijou Club

Bijou Club manchesterThe Bijou Club is a stylish and trendy nightclub located in the heart of Manchester City Centre. It’s unique atmosphere and premium customer service has made it one of the country hottest location for celebrities and those wanting to be seen. Drake, Rita Ora and The Wanted are just a few of the famous acts who have spent a night out partying in The Bijou Club’s VIP section. The club is also a preferred choice for Manchester footballers and late-night poker mavens. This club that was once known as a hidden gem has become has become one of the most sought after venues in the area. If you want the ultimate Manchester nightlife experience, keep The Bijou Club in mind.

Address: 1-7 Chapel Street, Manchester M3 7NJ, United Kingdom
Contact: 0161 834 6377;
Opening times: Please see website for details

If you are going further afield, perhaps up North, take a look at our things to do in Durham, things to do in York or things to do in Newcastle guides, or a little further South in our things to do in Chesterfield and things to do in Leicester guides where you will find new and exciting activities and events.

What’s on in Manchester

While Manchester offers a great shopping experience and nightlife, there’s also no shortage of fun and exciting activities to fill your day.

Manchester Museum

manchester museum

The Manchester Museum, founded in 1821, is a University of Manchester owned museum that displays art and history from all over the world. The museum is quite large, with four floors and 15 different galleries featuring everything from T-rex fossils to mummies to a Zoology exhibit containing live reptiles and frogs.

The museum is family-friendly. The staff is attentive, and the museum was designed with children in mind. There are baby changing stations found throughout the museum and it is wheel-chair accessible. The gift shop is quite large, and the profit helps to maintain the existing galleries. Don’t miss out on this fun but educational landmark.

Address: The University Of Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
Contact: 0161 275 2648;
Prices: free
Opening times: 10am to 5pm daily excluding Christmas and New Year.

Sea Life Manchester

sea life centre manchesterSea Life is a large aquarium that is home to over 5,000 underwater species. There are expansive shark, jellyfish, and octopus exhibits that display these amazing creatures in natural habitat. Throughout the day, Sea Life conducts live talks and feeding shows, where guests can learn about these creatures and observe them enjoying a meal. One of the coolest exhibits features an underwater tunnel, where you can watch sharks and stingrays as they glide through the water right above you.

If you are an aquatics lover or have children, you can gain a lot of value from a trip to Sea Life Manchester. Most children especially love the touch pool, where they can have the opportunity to touch live crabs and starfish under the guidance of a Sea Life guide.

Address: Barton Square, Trafford Centre, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M17 8AS, England
Contact: 0871 221 2483;
Prices: Walk up Prices – Adult (18+): £19.00, Child (3-17): £16.00.  Online Prices – Adult (18+): £15.00, Child (3-17): £11.00
Opening times: Monday to Sunday 10:00 -18:30, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve 10:00 – 17:00

Manchester City Football Club Stadium Tour

manchester city fc stadium tour

A guided tour will give you a one-of-a-kind experience with Etihad Stadium and the world-famous Manchester City Football Club. The tour highlights the rich heritage and pride that the club represents and embodies. You’ll have a chance to visit the dressing room, explore the tunnels leading to the field, and hang out in the dugout, like a real player. The tour guides are well versed and knowledgeable on Manchester City Football Club history and enjoy regaling guests with little-known stories and anecdotes.

For a MCFC fan, or any fan of sport, this tour is one you cannot miss!

Address: Etihad Stadium, Etihad Campus, Miles Platting, Greater Manchester, M11 3FF, England
Contact: 0161 444 1894;
Prices: Adults (16+): £17.00, Kids (Under 16): £11.00, Seniors: £12.00
Opening times: Monday to Saturday 09:00 – 17:00, Sunday and Bank Holidays 10:00 – 16:00

Kids Activities in Manchester

There are plenty of activities for kids young and old to enjoy in Manchester and we have chosen a few to give you some ideas of things to do in Manchester with your kids.

However, if you are looking to visit the city with your kids in the future or you currently live here but are looking for new things to do to keep the kids entertained at the weekend or during the holidays, be sure to checkout our kids activities in Manchester guide which has lots of suggestions and all the information you will need.

Legoland Discovery Centre

legoland discovery centre manchesterDid you know there was another Legoland in the UK?  Well you do now.  Legoland Discovery Centre is the little brother of the family but still offers the same fun, just a smaller version.

With Manchester’s top attractions made from LEGO ® in MINILAND ® providing inspiration for you and the kids, you can build whatever you want from over 2 million LEGO ® bricks. Yes, that is a LOT of LEGO ®.  Or if you need a little help or a few tips on how to build the best rocket or dog, or pepperoni pizza or…why not join in with the Master Model Builder Workshops who will teach you everything you need to know.

My kids loved the driving school at Legoland Windsor and your kids will be pleased to know that your kids can earn their license in the LEGO ® City: Forest Pursuit Driving School.

As you would expect, there is enough to keep you and the kids busy for a full day and you will want to come back for more tomorrow.  Some of Legoland Discovery Centre’s attractions include:

  • Ninjago City Adventure
  • 4D Cinema
  • Kingdom Quest
  • Creative Workshops
  • DUPLO Farm
  • LEGO City: Forest Pursuit Driving School
  • LEGO City: Builder
  • LEGO Factory Tour
  • Merlin’s Apprentice Ride
  • LEGO Racers:  Build & Test

You will be pleased to know that there is a cafe on site for you to take a break, grab some light refreshments and a drink and recharge your batteries whilst your little and big ones are having fun.

Address: Barton Square, The Trafford Centre, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M17 8AS, England
Contact: 0161 749 2870;
Prices: adults £15; children (3-17) £11, children under 3 are free with adult
Opening times: Monday to Sunday 10:00 – 18:30.  Last entry at 17:00

Chill Factore

Chill Factore

Fancy playing in the snow but it is summer and you live or are visiting Manchester?  Great news, we have you covered, well not literally as that would be quite cold!

With a 180m slope for skiing and snowboarding, real snow, lessons and taster sessions, the Chill Factore provides all of the cold stuff you need to have a g
reat day out, just like you were in an Alpine resort.

This is fun for all the family, adults and competent skiers and boarders can practice in peace and younger ones (and older ones) can have fun on the UK’s longest indoor slide with the Downhill Donuts, Sledge ‘O’ Mania or Luge Slip ‘N’ Slide with a pass providing use of all 3.  Little ones are not forgotten and will find lots of activities in Mini Moose land where there is soft play and an ice maze.

If you just want to chill out or take a break and catch your breath, you can take a walk down Alpine Street which is home to Nando’s, Costa Coffee, the Mont Blanc Cafe, Frederick’s Ice Cream Bar and other bars and restaurants.  But don’t stop for too long, that ice climbing wall doesn’t climb itself you know!

Address: Trafford Quays Leisure Village, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M41 7JA, England
Contact: 0161 749 2222;
Prices: Main Slope from £15.00; Ski & Snowboard Lessons from £22.00; Snow Fun from £5.00; Freestyle from £15.00; Climbing Wall from £5.00
Opening times: Monday to Tuesday, Thursday to Friday 08:00 – 23:00, Wednesday and Saturday 07:00 – 23:00, Sunday 07:30 – 23:00.  Last entry 1hr before closing.

Sea Life Manchester – SeaTrek

sealife manchester seatrekHave you ever been to a Sea Life centre before?  Yes?  Have you ever done the SeaTrek?  No?  Boy are you in for a treat then because Sea Life Manchester has Europe’s first Sea Bed Walk where you and the kids get to:

enjoy the unique opportunity to climb down into a vast watery habitat filled with giant sea turtles, rays, hundreds of fish and even sharks.

You do not need any diving experience and your hair will not even get wet but you will need some swimwear and a towel!  A wetsuit and custom-made ‘breathe-easy’ helmet designed to let you breathe completely naturally are supplied, so you get to swim with the fishes (but in a good way!) and explore Sea Life Centre’s huge marine tank.

Basically, wow, where do we sign up?  But if that does not float your boat, there are still all the normal cool things to do and discover as we mentioned earlier in the guide including:

  • Ocean tunnel
  • Seahorse nursery
  • Sting Ray bay and rock pool
  • Rocky Hideout Zone
  • Interactive 3D turtle beach experience
  • Sharks, octopus, turtles and lots and lots of amazing fish (yes, Dory included)

Details:  as shown earlier in the guide.
Price:  SeaTrek, £60

Visiting Manchester

These are just a few of your many options when visiting the beautiful city of Manchester. You will find no shortage of fun activities in the UK’s third largest metropolitan area. Manchester is a city and region that truly caters to all demographics. Whether you enjoy a shopping spree, a day at the museum, or a night out on the town, Manchester has you covered.

More Information

If you would like additional ideas for things to do in Manchester, why not take a look at more of the attractions and events in our other Manchester guides: