Manchester is an undeniably amazing city, with masses of entertainment to suit all tastes and budgets. This is a list of the ten most popular things to do in Manchester, England.
1. Catch a Football Game
Manchester United F.C. is arguably the most popular football club in all of England. (Football, as in “soccer” to Americans.) They play their home games in Old Trafford, the second-largest football stadium in England, with only Wembley Stadium boasting a greater size. The football club itself dates to 1878, while Old Trafford was built in between 1909 and 1910. Of course, it’s been renovated and expanded along the way!
Soccer is an incredibly popular pastime in Britain, so watching a Man U game here is fairly quintessential!
Manchester City is another football club in Manchester, and they play their games at Etihad Stadium.
2. The Royal Exchange Theatre
This classic Royal Exchange Theatre is extremely popular with both Manchester residents and visitors to the city. Many of the popular shows in London’s West End start their lives here at the Royal Exchange. It is considered one of the best theaters in England.
Interestingly, the Royal Exchange was took a direct hit during the Manchester blitz, when Germany bombed cities in England during World War II. At time time, it was used for trading cotton. It opened as a theater in 1976.
3. Manchester Town Hall
No visit to Manchester would be complete without a visit to the city’s town hall. This historic landmark is a beautiful Gothic building, and shouldn’t be missed when visiting the area. It is especially popular with tourists who enjoy taking in the sights of the city. The town hall is a fine example of Gothic revival architecture. The town council no longer meets there, and the space is often used for weddings and events.
4. The Lowry
The Lowry, located at Salford Quays in Manchester’s regenerated docklands, is an entertainment center featuring a range of attractions, including an art gallery and theaters. It’s worth a visit for the striking contemporary architecture alone! The larger Lyric stage has shows and musicals from London’s West End theaters, while the Quays theater is smaller and more intimate.
5. The Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI)
The most popular of Manchester’s museums, this entertaining and educational attraction is perfect if you are in the city with children. As well as being informative and educational, the museum is fun for all ages. It is large museum, so you may need the whole day to take it all in!
6. Manchester Cathedral
The Manchester Cathedral, another building in the gothic revival style, is an essential attraction for those wanting to see the historic side of Manchester. Part of the Church of England, this ancient cathedral is exquisitely preserved; you may lose hours looking around the nooks and crannies of this beautiful old building. It was constructed in 1421 and is a listed building.
7. The Manchester Museum
From dinosaur bones and ancient fossils to priceless Egyptian artefacts, this is another of the fantastic quality museums that Manchester has to offer. Visitors are able to handle objects from the collection, as well taking part in organized activities. It is perfect for those visiting Manchester with children. (Note that the museum is closed until 2023 undergoing renovations.)
8. Treetop Trek
If you want activities in Manchester that are great for kids and families, consider Treetop Trek. It’s is an obstacle course of fast zip lines, jumps, and suspended gravity wall climbs. This attraction suits visitors wishing to have an active and challenging day out. No prior climbing experience is required; the attraction caters for all skill and fitness levels.
9. The Imperial War Museum North
Manchester’s Imperial War Museum features a fascinating collection of wartime vehicles and artifacts, as well as sobering recollections from individuals involved with the war. Suitable for adults and older children, it is a stark reminder of Great Britain’s volatile history.
10. Whitworth Art Gallery
This Manchester institution features some of the finest art collections in the country. From contemporary and modern sculptures, to classical and fine art, this gallery is an absolute must for art lovers.
11. The Comedy Store
The comedy store offers live stand up, high quality fine dining, and live music. Fantastic for those looking for evening entertainment, it is open from Wednesday through to Saturday. This is ideal for adult groups and couples eager to enjoy Manchester’s night life, and is one of the more popular activities in Manchester for adults.
Bonus: Walk in the Footsteps of The Smiths
Manchester is the birthplace of the 1980s alternative rock band called The Smiths, and their front man Morrissey. There are lots of places you can see that are related to the group’s history. If you’re interested in their music, check our post about places in Manchester that The Smiths fans should visit.
Travelling to Manchester
Manchester is home to the third-busiest airport in England, so it’s easy to get airline tickets directly into the city. It’s a 200-mile (335km) drive from London, and takes a bit longer than 4 hours to complete. You can also take the train between the two cities; the trip lasts around two hours
Manchester is a city full of entertainment and attractions. This list only scrapes the surface of what the city has to offer. Make sure to plan your itinerary in advance; you may be surprised just how much the city has to offer!