20 of the best places to visit in manchester this year

Last updated Aug 13, 2023

Manchester is an incredible city that is constantly evolving and becoming ever more vibrant. A recent renaissance of sorts added even more to this via new initiatives such as the Castlefield project and its museum complex on Liverpool Road; an extension of the city's entertainment and sports facilities; and major investment into Manchester City Football Club. No matter where your interests lie, be they in sports, arts and culture, shopping, nightlife or food and drink, Manchester has something for everyone.


here are just 20 of my things to see and do in this wonderful city!

shopping in manchester

1. manchester arndale

Manchester Arndale lies in the heart of Manchester city centre and is home to a whole range of popular high street brands and department stores including Selfridges, Debenhams and House of Fraser. One of the UK's biggest Primark stores is located on Market Street too. Might be best to bring an empty suitcase if this place is on your agenda!

2. intu trafford centre

Along with a huge selection of brands and retailers, Intu Trafford Centre is also home to LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre, Sea Life, ODEON Cinema and many more family-friendly activities.

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restaurants and bars in manchester

Manchester has a thriving food and drink scene. Here are a few of my favourite spots:

3. spinningfields

Hit the trendy Spinningfields and enjoy one of their upmarket and luxurious restaurants. The iconic Australasia is a popular choice serving modern Australian cuisine in a beautiful setting.

4. the printworks

For a range of popular restaurant chains, a visit to the The Printworks is a must, as it has the likes of Wagamama, Nando’s and Hard Rock Cafe under its roof. There's also an ODEON cinema there if you fancy dinner and a movie.

5. the corn exchange

Just across the road is The Corn Exchange. This stunning Edwardian building houses a range of international restaurants. To mention but a few of the cuisines on offer, you can enjoy the spice and flavour of India at Mowglis, authentic Mexican street food at Wahaca, or fun and vibrant Brazilian at Cabana.

6. the northern quarter

For something a little different, head over to The Northern Quarter. Colourful street art really brings this part of Manchester to life, and you'll find cool cafes, bars and restaurants lining the streets, and all sorts of hidden gems around every corner. Popular spots include Evelyns, Federal cafe and Home Sweet Home.

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theatre and music in manchester

Enjoy a night at the theatre? If so, you'll be spoilt for choice in Manchester.

7. the palace theatre

This is one of Manchester's premier venues. Located in the heart of the city, its stage has played host to the likes of Covent Garden Opera and the Kirov Ballet.

8.  ao arena 

This is the largest indoor arena in Europe. Some of the biggest names in music have played here, including U2, The Rolling Stones, Madonna and Pavarotti. It also stages major sporting events such as international boxing bouts.

9. the lowry 

This is a registered charity that aims to use visual and performing arts to enrich people's lives. And that it does with great aplomb. They also have a lovely bar and restaurant, so you can make quite the evening there.

10. the bridgewater hall

This impressive building is home to three resident orchestras and runs its own classical music season. In addition, it hosts over 250 performances of various musical genres every year.

11. the crystal maze

The Crytsal Maze is one of the newest additions to Manchester. What was once a popular UK television show has been turned into a fun but challenging activity and is a great family day out. (Please note, it is only available to people aged 13+ and under 18s must be accompanied by an adult).

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museums, galleries and history in manchester

If you’re here to see the sights and learn about Manchester’s interesting heritage, there are many great spots.


12. museum of science and industry

There is lots to discover here and you can learn about all sorts of different interesting facts about the Industrial Revolution, an important part of Manchester’s identity.

13. manchester art gallery

Manchester Art Gallery is home to a vast amount of world class art. You'll also find an interactive space known as Clore Art Studio. Here, visitors can really immerse themselves in the art, an experience that is particularly enjoyable for kids.

14. the whitworth gallery

The Whitworth Gallery on Oxford Road is another place to sample great art.

15. manchester town hall 

The Manchester Town Hall is a beautiful building and a must see when you come to Manchester. During December, it overlooks the popular Manchester Christmas Markets and really is an iconic building in the city.

16. chetham's library

Chetham's Library is a stunning historic building and one for the photo album.

17. victoria baths

The Victoria Baths has a fascinating history. This brilliant heritage visitor attraction is open for tours on selected dates if you want to discover their history.

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sport in manchester

Manchester is home to some very well known sporting clubs.


18. old trafford and etihad stadium

Old Trafford is home to Manchester United and is the UK’s biggest club football stadium. Meanwhile, Manchester City's state of the art Etihad Stadium is also a must see.

19.  the national football museum

The National Football Museum, centrally located next to the Corn Exchange, is filled with interesting facts on every single aspect of the game and is a great visit for any football enthusiasts.

20. chill factore

If you are keen to get in on the action, a visit to Chill Factore is a must. You’ll find the longest indoor ski and snowboarding slope in the UK here, making for a very action-packed day for the family.

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Looking for the best place to stay while exploring Manchester? Book a Manchester aparthotel perfectly located in the city centre. 

Sarah  is the woman behind thefoodbee.co.uk. A lover of Manchester, she writes about the best venues to eat and drink there, as well as healthy living.