Hands down, there’s a whole heap of the best things to do in Manchester that’ll keep you busy from the moment you arrive until the moment you leave. It’s easily one of the most fun cities to visit in England.
It’s one of those cities that has a little something for everyone. There’s just so much variety, culture and that warm ‘northern’ hospitality, that makes this city an incredible stop on your England road trip or when exploring more of the best places in Northern England.
Even if you happen to be visiting from larger cities like; London, Manchester is without a doubt worth making that 2-hour train journey to experience. This all means it’s pretty easy for a day trip or a long weekend away.
With that in mind, I wanted to show you some of my very favourite and totally the best things to do in Manchester during your trip. It’s one of those cities where the time will fly by. Trust me on that.
Take a look, below, at some of the best things to do in Manchester. Have the best time exploring.
1.) Old Trafford Museum and Football Club
Manchester is perhaps best known for Manchester United Football Club, and fans can get the full experience on a trip to the club’s training ground at Old Trafford. Also known as the Theatre of Dreams, with the field itself dating back to 1910.
That being said, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. You’ll probably find this to be quite drab and certainly not one of the best things to do in Manchester.
Now, footie is not your thing, take a trip to Chinatown for a bite to eat at lunch. There are a good few restaurants like Teppanyaki Chinatown, that have the best lobster tails.
2.) Manchester Cathedral
Dating back to 1215, Manchester Cathedral offers a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The official name is actually “The Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St Mary, St Denys and St George” and is one amazing sight that needs to be seen in the city. It’s well worth a wander around to see the gorgeous architecture, especially as it has been so well preserved.
3.) John Rylands Library
The John Rylands Library is a bookworm’s dream! Particularly in its reading room which is still in use today.
The library is dedicated to John Rylands, a cotton merchant who was instrumental in Manchester’s early development and is a truly stunning display of Gothic architecture.
4.) Manchester Art Gallery
Come to Manchester Art Gallery, conveniently nestled in the centre of the city, if you want to take a walk through Manchester’s art history.
Here you will find works that go back to the pre-Raphaelite period as well as works by famous local artists like Lowry (see more below). It’s most certainly one of the best things to do in Manchester if you love a big slice of culture.
After all, Manchester is brimming with it.
5.) The National Football Museum
The National Football Museum is the place to come if you want to learn all about Manchester’s two football clubs, Manchester City and Manchester United.
There is a range of interactive exhibits here and this is without a doubt an important pit stop for anyone even remotely interested in football (if you’re not into football, you’d be forgiven for skipping this one).
6.) The Lowry
Lowry was Manchester’s most prominent artist, and this cultural venue is dedicated to showcasing the best of his works.
You can see Lowry’s paintings in the main gallery and there are also other shows such as musical performances and theatrical pieces held here from time to time.
7.) The Imperial War Museum
As the name suggests, the Imperial War Museum takes visitors on a walk through military history. There is a range of interactive and static exhibits here and the museum sits on The Quays, another iconic area of Manchester.
Afterwards, pop over to Elnecot for a tasty bite to eat. They make the best lamb shank and ox cheek in Manchester.
8.) The Manchester Museum
The Manchester Museum is a great stop, particularly for those visiting the city as a family as the attractions here are suitable for all visitors to the city.
It’s one of the best things to do in Manchester, especially if the weather takes a turn for the worse!
9.) Manchester City Stadium Tour
Manchester’s other football team is Manchester City, and you can tour their stadium and club and learn all about their history. Tours will take you behind the scenes and you will even get the chance to see areas such as the player’s dressing rooms.
Again, this is another one for the football fans out there so if you’re not into football, you’ll probably wanna skip this.
Also, if you’re looking for some live music on a weekend, pop over to Matt and Phred’s Jazz Club that’s perched on Tib Street. It’s really amazing and pretty intimate.
10.) Albert Square
This square is home to the huge and rather impressive Manchester city hall, which is almost reason in itself to pop by the area.
The square is also home to a myriad of stunning buildings and is one place worth visiting to get a sense of Manchester’s architectural prowess and history.
Afterwards, pop over to the Grand Pacific which is beautiful and has some of the best cocktails in the city. Just make sure to try a few of their signature drinks, they’re too good to miss.
11.) Heaton Park
Visitors to the city in search of green space and the opportunity to just relax in the sunshine (when that does decide to pop out in England) should head over to Heaton Park – a large expanse of green land spanning over 200 acres.
There are also some rather stunning landmarks here so take some time to check these out when you visit.