Looking for things to do this weekend in Manchester? There’s an abundance of great places within easy reach of the train stations in Manchester.
Travel by train and try something different in the city - enjoy a relaxing brunch, explore the spectacular street art, and soak up the amazing culture the city has to offer.
Things to do on a Friday night
Friday night Manchester. You’re just a Northern train away from exploring one of the UK’s most vibrant cities for an unforgettable Friday night. There are hundreds of things to do in Manchester at night, from taking in world class shows to exploring the Northern Quarter bars. Even though Manchester pubs are renowned for a great night out, there are plenty of alternative Friday night activities to keep you busy.
For theatre fans
Before a late dinner or after an early one, pay a visit to HOME Manchester for an endless playbill of contemporary theatre, dance shows and independent movies. HOME also boasts in-house galleries and cafes so is the perfect place to chill out on a Friday evening. For a taste of the West End in the North, check out The Palace Theatre or The Lowry, for all-singing, all-dancing-productions of your favourite shows.
Photo credit: Paul Karalius
Family friendly Friday nights
For something more family friendly, show off your skills with some late night bowling at All Star Lanes [Deansgate]. While you’re there, treat yourself to one of their incredible burgers or some of their American style sides to tuck into while you bowl. Another Friday evening activity that is great for little kids and big kids alike is Twilight Night at Bounce Manchester. From 7-9.45pm every Friday, the lights go off and the music goes up for a glowed-up trampolining party.
For the cherry on top of your Friday night, look no further than Ginger’s Comfort Emporium. A quirky addition to Manchester nightlife, Ginger’s ice-cream van can be found roaming the streets of South Manchester after dark, serving up delicious flavours like black treacle and parkin and vegan malted coconut milk. Check out their permanent shop in Affleck’s Emporium in the Northern Quarter for a full selection of their bespoke flavours.
Manchester is full of family friendly spots for an evening meal. Tampopo has a fantastic menu for little ones including a sweet potato katsu curry and a delicious bowl of chicken noodles packed full of veggies. If you’re strapped for time an express menu is also available on weekdays.
Photo credit: Forever Agency
Café Football at the National Football Museum is a great pick if you’re looking for a spot of casual dining. The kids’ menu is full of great options and has a wide range of milkshakes and soft drinks to choose from. If you don’t fancy fish fingers, their grownups menu offers a range of classics including pizzas, pies, burgers, and some fantastic craft beers.
Things to do on a Saturday
The Northern Quarter
Take a walk around Manchester’s Northern Quarter; a cultural and artistic hub, full of hip coffee joints, secret bars, galleries and street art. Spend an hour getting lost in Affleck’s, an ‘emporium of eclecticism’ where you can buy everything from bespoke bags at Biggi Bagga, kitsch clothing at Thunder Egg to local handmade jewellery at Sour Cherry. Don’t miss Pop Boutique for some of the best vintage shopping Manchester has to offer.
Manchester Craft and Design Centre is a former Victorian fish market that is now home to some of the best design and craft in the UK. Watch talented artists work with textiles, jewellery, ceramics, prints and more - you can even learn a new skill yourself by signing up for a craft workshop. When you’ve finished, put your feet up in the Oak St. Café Bar and soak up the electric and eclectic vibe of this incredible building.
For sport lovers
Why not pick a side in one of the UK’s toughest footballing rivalries and go to a home game at Man United’s Old Trafford Stadium or cheer on Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. If you want even more sport on your Saturday, pay a visit to the National Football Museum – you’ll even get a chance to test out your fancy footwork.
Photo credit: Paul Corcoran
For the shoppers
When you arrive in Manchester, a gentle wander around Manchester’s Spinningfields offers a unique mix of exclusive shopping, culture and history, as well as some of the best bars and restaurants in Manchester. Visit The Avenue for the best of European and international fashion, from Mulberry to Vivienne Westwood. Designer department store Flannels is a must visit if you’re on the lookout for something exclusive or if you’re looking for inspiration before you hit Manchester Arndale Centre to shop the high street stores.
Things to do in Manchester for free
For a dose of culture (or to escape Manchester’s notorious weather), the People’s History Museum is the national museum of democracy, featuring installations and exhibitions on ‘ideas that are worth fighting for’. Close by, you’ll find The John Rylands Library, home to one of the world’s finest collections of rare books and manuscripts. It’s completely free to visit and is one of the most architecturally stunning buildings in the city.
Or take a stroll through the University of Manchester to the Whitworth Gallery and take advantage of the free things to do there. The ‘gallery in the park’ is the perfect place to spend a few hours relaxing and taking in the leafy surroundings.
Manchester is famed as home to some of the best bands to come out of the UK, including The Smiths, Oasis and Joy Division. Music is at the heart of the city and there is an endless supply of cool bars in Manchester with music to suit every taste.
Pay a visit to The Deaf Institute for up and coming DJs and bands or Band on the Wall, a venue that has been at the cornerstone of the Manchester music scene for decades.
Visit The Castle on Oldham Street for a Manchester institution, founded in 1776 and home to a music hall dedicated to Manchester’s impressive musical history.
Alternatively take a walk to the famous Salford Lads Clubs, home of the Smiths or pay a visit to Band on the Wall for live music and the best gigs in Manchester; fantastic ways to round off your Saturday night.
To end a great day on a roof terrace, visit the Black Dog Ballroom on New Wakefield Street. Known locally as one of the best rooftop bars in Manchester, it’s also home to a number of pool tables and karaoke booths.
Things to do on a Sunday
Sunday roasts in Manchester
After a day of exploring there’s no better way to bring it to a close than with a delicious Sunday roast. If you’re on the lookout for something different then Solita in the Northern Quarter is a must-visit. People come from far and wide to try their famous Sunday lunch burger – two patties, roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, gravy and all the trimmings – if you’ve still got room their dessert menu is also full of tempting treats.
One thing most Northerners can agree on is that a good gravy can take a Sunday roast from good to great, and Bock Bière Café makes this delicious sauce the main event. Available on Sundays and Mondays, the Tib Lane eatery offers a mouth-watering roast fondue for two which includes eight hour slow cooked beef brisket or chicken, sautéed roast potatoes, waffle style Yorkshire Puddings and seasonal veg to drip in a ‘hot red wine gravy lava’. You can find the full fondue menu here.
Photo credit: Bock Bière Café
Indoor Activities in Manchester - go karting
After Sunday brunch, if you’re looking for things to do with the kids in Manchester, why not try something new and have an adrenaline-filled Sunday at TeamSport Go-Karting Manchester Hidden below Manchester Arena, you’ll find the city’s first indoor go-karting track, don’t forget to take advantage of their Super Sunday deal which can save you up to 50% on selected Sundays when you book in advance.
For culture vultures
For a cultural pit-stop, Manchester Street-Art is one of the city’s most creative outlets and a fantastic thing to do on a Sunday, but if you’re not sure where to find it then Skyliner Street Art is there to help. The team runs walking tours on alternate Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year – it’s a great way to get to know the city and appreciate the fantastic work of local and visiting artists.
For a true Manchester hidden gem visit The Hidden Gem (or St. Mary’s Catholic Church as it’s officially known). This little Manchester icon is tucked away on Mulberry Street and has been an active church since 1794. It’s famed for its collection of Stations of The Cross.
Finally, take a walk around Castlefield, an ancient Roman settlement that boasts one of the world’s oldest canals.