Manchester, so much to answer for: birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, incubator of some of the UK's most iconic bands, and home to two of the world's best football teams, the city is brimming with history, innovation and creativity. Whether you're a born and bred Manc or visiting for the first time (welcome!), there's always something new to discover in the city, from the latest bar and restaurant openings to the hidden gems even locals might not know about.

For culture vultures, there are plenty of museums, galleries and theatres to visit, and if you're looking for fun things to do with kids you'll find plenty of family-friendly attractions too. And of course Manchester is a city that knows how to throw a party - so if you're looking for nightlife, we've got you covered too.

Here are some of our favourite things to do and see in Manchester. Information was checked and correct at the time of publishing, but please check directly before planning your visit.

1. Manchester Museum

Manchester Museum

Reopened in February following a £15m refurbishment, Manchester Museum is bigger, better and busier than ever. The neo-Gothic building's new extension includes a new exhibition hall, which is hosting the blockbuster Golden Mummies of Egypt exhibition until the end of 2023.

There's also a South Asia Gallery in partnership with the British Museum, a new Lee Kai Chinese Culture Gallery, the Belonging Gallery and a brand new Dinosaur display. Established attractions remain too, including the historic Fossils Gallery, complete with a new exhibit - a 100m-year-old Tenontosaurus named April - taking up residence beside the museum's most famous inhabitant, Stan the T Rex. The ever popular vivarium is also back, with its amazing array of exotic living amphibians and reptiles.

Address: Manchester Museum, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL


Price: Free, but tickets may be required for some exhibitions

Opening hours: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, 10am to 5pm; Wednesday, 10am to 9pm; Saturday, 8am to 5pm.

2. Castlefield Viaduct

Manchester's answer to New York's High Line, this linear urban park opened on top of a disused railway line in the heart of the city in 2022. Now a National Trust site, the Victorian viaduct is now a verdant oasis offering views across the city, including some of its most recognisable landmarks like Beetham Tower.

The park is open for pre-booked tours most days but also has open access in the afternoons, when you can just turn up.

Address: Castlefield Viaduct, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 4LG


Price: Free

Opening hours: Daily, 11am to 4pm except Wednesdays (1pm to 4pm)

3. Aviva Studios (Factory International)

Due to open officially in October 2023, Manchester's mammoth new arts centre will be the permanent home of Manchester International Festival. Parts of the building have already welcomed their first visitors as part of this year's programme for the biennial arts festival - including You, Me and the Balloons, a blockbuster installation of inflatables by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, which has filled its vast warehouse space.

Overlooking the Irwell outside, you can currently find its riverside public plaza hosting Festival Square, with a programme of free performances, food and drink to enjoy.

The £210m venue sits on the former site of Old Granada Studios and is part of the developing St John's cultural quarter. Once complete, it promises to host everything from intimate shows to warehouse-scale performances, showcasing the best in new dance, theatre, music and visual arts.

Address: Aviva Studios, Water Street, Manchester, M3 4JQ


Price: See website for programme and ticket prices

Opening hours: See website

4. The Crystal Maze Experience

This immersive live-action recreation of the hit 90s game show is an unforgettable day out. Just like the TV version, teams of contestants have to collect crystals by completing challenges in four adventure zones - Aztec, Industrial, Futuristic and Medieval - for the chance to win precious time inside The Crystal Dome. All that’s missing is Richard O’Brien.

It's brilliant fun for couples, colleagues, friends and families with older kids - and a great hen or stag party idea.

Address: The Crystal Maze Studios, Lower Byrom Street, Manchester, M3 4FP


Price: Standard tickets start from £37

Opening hours: Daily, with time slots between 10am and 8.30pm. See the website for availability.

5. John Rylands Lbrary

The gothic architecture of the John Rylands Library

One of Manchester's most striking buildings, the neo-Gothic grade I listed library looks like something from a Harry Potter film inside. Standing in stark contrast to the glass buildings of Spinningfields nearby and the bustle of Deansgate, step inside and you'll feel you've stepped back in time.

At its heart is the magnificent reading room with its vaulted ceiling and statues of notable writers, and impressive architectural details including spectacular stained glass windows, stone arches and cosy alcoves. Its collection includes some impressive historical texts, including papyrus fragments believed to be a section of the New Testament.

Address: 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH


Price: Free

Opening hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm

6. Manchester Music Tours

Manchester's musical pedigree is second to none, and the city is a popular pilgrimage for fans of bands including The Smiths, Oasis, The Stone Roses, Joy Division and New Order.

Launched by the late Inspiral Carpets drummer Craig Gill and continued by his wife Rose with occasional special guest hosts, Manchester Music Tours take in some of the city's most culturally significant spots, from Salford Lads' Club to Sifters Records in Burnage - with plenty of their own Madchester memories and tales woven in.

Address: Tours depart from Vinyl Revival, 5 Hilton Street, Manchester M4 1LP


Price: Tickets cost £35 and pre-booking is required

Opening hours: Tours are available every Saturday at 11am and generally last between three and four hours

7. The Whitworth Art Gallery

The Whitworth Art Gallery's cafe

Just outside of the city centre, The Whitworth gallery is worth a visit for the cafe alone, which is housed in a glass extension and immerses you in the surrounding park.

Its internationally significant collection includes historic fine art by William Blake and J.M.W. Turner, as well as modern greats from the 20th century and contemporary art that reflects our time. The gallery also hosts an exciting roster of visiting exhibitions and events.

Address: The Whitworth, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6ER


Price: Free

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm, and Thursdays until 9pm

8. Chill Factore

Boasting 180 metres of real snow, the Chill Factore is the UK's longest indoor ski slope. The snow sports centre offers ski and snowboard lessons for all levels, ages and abilities, and you can hire all the gear you'll need. Seasoned skiers and snowboarders can simply hire a lift pass and hit the slopes.

For families, there's also a Snow Park where kids can whizz down an ice slide, have a go on the downhill donuts, or sledge to the bottom of the slope. You can also enjoy some apres-ski action in the Alpine Street, where there are a number of bars, cafes and restaurants.

Address: Chill Factore, Beyond, 7 Trafford Way, Trafford City, Manchester, M41 7JA (use the postcode M17 8DD for sat navs)


Price: Lessons from £54, lift passes from £33, Snow Park tickets from £20.

Opening hours: Monday and Tuesday, 10am to 6pm; Wednesday, 7.30am to 10pm; Thursday and Friday, 10am to 10pm; Saturday, 8am to 8pm; Sunday, 8am to 5pm.

9. The Northern Quarter

You'd be forgiven for feeling like you'd stumbled into New York in some parts of the Northern Quarter - in fact, the area has stood in for the Big Apple as a filming location for Netflix's The Crown and Marvel film Morbius.

The neighbourhood is a hive of creativity and home to quirky shopping emporium Afflecks as well as plenty of vintage shops and record stores. It's also one of the city's nightlife hotspots, packed with independent cafes, bars and music venues including institutions like Night & Day Cafe and jazz club Matt & Phreds.

You’ll find some of the coolest street art in the city here, from huge murals to the topical artwork you’ll find in Stevenson Square and the mosaic space invaders by the street artist Invader.

10. National Football Museum

Manchester is a city divided by two football teams, but any fan of the beautiful game will appreciate a visit to the National Football Museum - plus it occupies one of the coolest buildings in Manchester.

On display are some iconic football artefacts, including the ball from the 1966 World Cup Final and the Jules Rimet Trophy.

Of course dedicated fans can also plan a visit to the Etihad or Old Trafford and soak up more of the city’s football history.

Address: Urbis Building Cathedral Gardens, Todd Street, Manchester, M4 3BG


Price: Free for City of Manchester residents, tickets from £7 for children and £13 for adults. Under-fives free.

Opening hours: Daily, 10am to 5pm

11. Chinatown

Manchester's Chinatown arch

Crowned by the striking Faulkner Street arch, Manchester's Chinatown is the second-largest in the UK and hosts the city's annual Chinese New Year celebrations and dragon parade.

But it's well worth a visit all year round, with dozens of restaurants serving up all kinds of Asian cuisine, from Cantonese and Szechuan to Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai and Malaysian.

Head to Happy Seasons for Insta-worthy roasted meat platters, Red Chilli for fiery Szechuan and Beijing specialities, and Mei Dim for reliably great dim sum. Newcomers Pho Cue and Kaya are proving popular too. You can check out our full guide to Manchester's best Chinese restaurants here.

Even if you’ve not got a big appetite, enjoy a stroll around neighbourhood with a cup of bubble tea and admire the archway and the brick mural of a Chinese sailing ship.

12. Greater Manchester Police Museum

Once a busy Victorian police station, this fascinating museum takes visitors back through time to discover Manchester's criminal past. The building is home to a genuine 1895 Magistrates' Court where you can stand in the dock, and you can also go inside the old cells. There are also displays of police vehicles and uniforms past and present to see.

Address: 57a Newton Street, Manchester, M1 1ET


Price: Free

Opening hours: Tuesdays, 10.30am to 4pm (last admission 3pm). Private tours can also be arranged for groups of five or more on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

13. Heaton Park

Just a short tram journey from the city centre, Heaton Park is the biggest park in Manchester with 600 acres of green space and the beautiful 18th century Heaton Hall at its heart.

It's a full day out in itself, with everything from a charming boating lake where you can hire pedalos and rowing boats, to a heritage tramway you can hop on board.

For kids, there's also a free-to-visit Animal Centre with farmyard animals to see, plus a large lakeside adventure playground where they can run wild. The site is also home to highropes experience Treetop Trek and Nets - a network of aerial walkways, obstacles and ziplines through the woods.

There's also a great play area for babies and toddlers at the Stables Courtyard cafe, or for a more refined dining experience you can book a Lakeside Dining Dome for afternoon tea.

Address: Heaton Park, Middleton Road, Higher Blackley, M25 2SW


Price: Free entry to the park, for other activities see the website.

Opening hours: Park open daily, 8am until dusk. For other activities and attractions see the website for opening times.

14. Castlefield Basin and Roman Fort

The remains of the Roman fort Mamucium in Castlefield

One of the most historic corners of the city, this designated urban heritage park is home to the remains of the Roman fort Mamucium, which dates back nearly 2,000 years.

It’s an excellent starting point to explore the city’s waterways, with bridges criss-crossing canals harking back to the city’s industrial heritage. Four impressive railway viaducts cross over the water, and you’d be forgiven for thinking you'd walked onto a film set when you walk past the magnificent pillars - in fact the area has been used to film scenes of Peaky Blinders.

Around the corner from the Castlefield Basin is Deansgate, where you’ll find a range of bars and restaurants and of course the iconic Beetham Tower, home to the Hilton Hotel and its Cloud 23 cocktail bar.

Address: The fort can be found off Duke Street, Castlefield, Manchester, M3 4NF. The outdoor site is open to the public at all times and free.

15. The Cube Live Experience

Hit ITV game show The Cube is brought to life at this high octane attraction inside the Urban Playground entertainment complex at Manchester Arndale.

Fans who fancy themselves as contestants can step inside the Perspex boxes and show what they're made of as they attempt some of the nerve-wracking physical and mental challenges seen on screen over the years.

Teams of up to four people can play, competing in seven different challenges per session, which include a mix of individual and group games.

Address: Manchester Arndale, Manchester, M4 3AB


Opening hours: Monday to Thursday, 12 noon to 7.30pm; Friday, 12 noon to 9pm; Saturday, 10am to 9.30pm; Sunday, 11.30am to 5.30pm.

Price: Varies depending on the day and time slot but starts around £69.99 per ticket, which covers two people.

16. Chetham’s Library

The oldest public library in the English-speaking world, Chetham's was founded in 1653, and is famously where Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels began to formulate their Communist Manifesto. Among the many the highlights of its historic interior is the desk where the pair worked in 1845.

Other treasures to discover inside include a rare first version of John Milton’s Paradise Lost, an archive on Belle Vue Zoological Gardens and a Northern Soul collection. Access is via pre-booked tours which last roughly an hour.

The library is attached to Chetham's School of Music, whose talented young musicians perform free lunchtime concerts in its Carole Nash Hall on weekdays during term-time, if you're looking for something else to do while you're in the area.

Address: Long Millgate, off Cathedral Gardens, M3 1SB


Price: Tours cost £5.50 to £11, plus booking fees. Under-12s free. Tickets must be booked in advance.

Opening hours: Open Monday to Friday. See website for available time slots.

17. The Portico Library

The Portico Library

Hidden away above The Bank pub on Mosley Street, The Portico is the second-oldest library in the city after Chetham’s. Opened in 1806, it originally took up the entire Grade II*-listed building and now occupies the first floor, accessed via a doorway with buzzer entry on Charlotte Street.

It has a beautiful 19th-century reading room, with a collection of more than 25,000 books, newspapers and periodicals, which you'll need a reader's pass to access. However its gallery area, cafe, and bookshop, housed under the splendid painted glass dome, are open to everyone.

Address: 57 Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3HY.


Price: Reader's passes are priced from £10, entry is otherwise free

Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm (with late opening until 7pm on Thursdays), Saturday, 12 noon to 4pm

18. Manchester Art Gallery

Situated off St Peter’s Square, Manchester Art Gallery is home to some iconic artworks, including paintings by Salford's own L.S. Lowry and an outstanding collection of pre-Raphaelite paintings. Its permanent collections also include sculptures, costumes and furniture, and it hosts temporary exhibitions too, across two buildings joined together by a glass atrium.

There's also a family gallery and play space, The Lion's Den, that's brilliant for those with babies and toddlers as well as older kids (although be warned, it's closed for private events on Tuesday and Thursday mornings).

Address: Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3JL


Price: Free

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm.

19. The Lowry

A stunning beacon of modern architecture in the heart of Salford Quays, The Lowry houses two theatres and several galleries including a permanent exhibition of work by its namesake artist L.S. Lowry.

Its largest theatre, The Lyric, has welcomed huge shows such as the stage version of War Horse and Broadway and West End hit musical Wicked, while the Quays Theatre hosts more intimate plays and performances.

Address: Pier 8, The Quays, Salford, M50 3AZ


Price: Gallery entry is free, for theatre ticket prices see the website.

Opening hours: Galleries open Tuesday to Friday, 11am to 5pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 5pm.

20. The Imperial War Museum North

Find IWM North at The Quays, Trafford Wharf Road (M17 1TZ)
IWM North at Salford Quays

Also at Salford Quays but just across the water, IWM North tells the story of modern conflict from the First World War to the present day through thought-provoking and emotive exhibitions. Its striking architecture represents a globe shattered by conflict, while its interior is designed to disorientate visitors and echo the unsettling nature of war.

In the main exhibition space you can see a US Harrier aircraft suspended above the entrance and get up close to a First World War Field Gun, as well as striking sculptures and artwork responding to the subject of war.

It is also home to a permanent display of ceramic poppies cascading down one of its interior walls, which were originally part of First World War centenary installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red.

Address: The Quays, Trafford Wharf Road, Manchester, M17 1TZ


Price: Free, but advance booking is recommended.

Opening hours: Daily, 10am to 5pm.

21. Mayfield Park

Just opposite Manchester Piccadilly railway station on the banks of the River Medlock, Mayfield Park is the green space the city centre has been crying out for.

Opened in 2022, the 6.5-acre park includes a giant kids' play area with six slides - including one that crosses the water - as well as swings, rope bridges, crawl tunnels and wheelchair accessible play equipment.

Nearby is the gargantuan Escape to Freight Island, a sprawling food hall filled with independent restaurants and bars inside a disused railway depot.

Address: Boardman Gate Entrance, Baring Street, M1 2PY


Price: Free

Opening hours: Daily, from dawn until dusk.

22. Manchester Central Library

Inspired by Rome's Pantheon, the Central Library is one of Manchester's most magnificent landmarks with its neoclassical rotunda and columned portico. And there's far more to do here than just borrow books.

Head upstairs to admire the spectacular domed ceiling of its crowning glory, the Wolfson Reading Room, or check out the Henry Watson Music Library, where you can have a go at DJing or use its collection of instruments to learn to play the piano, drums or guitar - all for free. There's a thoughtfully curated programme of Library Live events ranging from film nights and gigs to author readings and talks.

Address:St Peter's Square, Manchester, M2 5PD


Price: Free

Opening hours:Monday to Thursday, 9am to 8pm; Friday and Saturday, 9am to 5pm.

23. Ancoats and New Islington Marina

Al fresco dining at Cutting Room Square
Al fresco dining at Cutting Room Square

For some of the city's best independent food and drink, look no further than the red-brick warehouses of Ancoats.

Cutting Room Square and the cobbled streets clustered around it are home to acclaimed restaurants and bars including the Michelin-starred Mana and critics' favourite Erst, as well as casual dining gems including SUD Pasta Kitchen (formerly Sugo), Rudy's Neapolitan Pizza and Trove bakery.

Follow your meal with cocktails at The Jane Eyre, or park yourself for a pint at the Edinburgh Castle or Seven Brothers Beerhouse.

Just a short walk away from the square you’ll find Anita Street, a picturesque row of terrace houses which will give you a sense of Manchester’s past, and a little further away on Oldham Road is Manchester's own Little Vietnam, with gems including Cà Phê Viet and Pho No 1.

In the opposite direction and across the canal, Ancoats merges into New Islington, whose marina is fast becoming another food and drink hotspot thanks to places like real ale and craft beer bar Cask, and bakery and brunch spot Pollen.

Top tip: when you cross the footbridge from Redhill Street to the marina, look at the reflection in the canal water where you’ll spot the Oasis lyrics Cast No Shadow.

24. Etihad Stadium tour

Built to host the 2002 Commonwealth Games, the stadium now known as the Etihad has been the home of Manchester City since 2003 and has also hosted some of the biggest music tours to visit Manchester, including Taylor Swift, Foo Fighters and Coldplay.

Football fans can book a tour to go behind the scenes at the home of the Treble winners, including a trip to the press room to field questions with a virtual Pep Guardiola, a chance to walk out of the players' tunnel and sit in the seats in the dugout. VIP experiences and other upgrades are also available, offering the chance to visit even more areas including the first team dressing room and the training pitches at City Football Academy.

Address: Etihad Stadium, Etihad Campus, Manchester, M11 3FF


Price: Stadium tours start from £25.

Opening hours: Varies depending on fixtures, see website for tickets and available time slots.

25. Old Trafford museum and tour

One of the most famous sporting venues in the world, Manchester United's iconic Old Trafford stadium is a popular pilgrimage for football fans from across the globe.

The Theatre of Dreams has an on-site museum and tours are also available, giving you the chance to see the players' tunnel, walk next to the pitch and visit the dugouts. It also hosts regular Legends Tours hosted by past players who'll regale you with tales of their glory days.

Address: Sir Matt Busby Way, Old Trafford, Stretford, M16 0SZ


Price: Stadium tours start from £28 for adults.

Opening hours: Museum and Stadium Tour visits are available Sunday to Thursday, 9.30am to 4pm, and Friday to Saturday, 9.30am to 5pm (except home match days when it is closed). See website for tickets and available time slots.

26. Legoland Discovery Centre

See all of Manchester’s top attractions in miniature, learn building tips from the pros and let your imagination run wild at this fun family attraction next to the Trafford Centre.

Discover a magic world of potions and wizardry on the Merlin's Apprentice Ride or hop on a chariot to rescue a captured princess on the Kingdom Quest ride.

Kids can also tackle the Ninjago City Adventure play area, with a maze, rotating climbing wall, conveyor and other fun obstacles, while the littlest visitors will love the under-fives soft play area, Duplo farm and mini police cars.

There’s also a 4D cinema and much, much more to be enjoyed.

Address: Trafford Palazzo in TraffordCity, next to The Trafford Centre, Manchester M17 8AS


Price: Tickets from £17.50 when booked online

Opening times: Open daily, times vary, see website for available time slots.

27. Sea Life Manchester

Dive beneath the deep blue sea and discover the creatures that live underwater at Manchester's aquarium. This fun and fascinating day out takes you from a moonlit beach to an ocean tunnel where you can get up close to sharks, rays and turtles as they swim around you.

From starfish to seahorses, and jellyfish to Japanese spider crabs, there are thousands of creatures to see. There's also a programme of special events and experiences, including the chance to snorkel with sharks or see mermaids swimming in its giant tanks.

Address: Trafford Palazzo in TraffordCity, next to The Trafford Centre, Trafford Park, Stretford, Manchester M17 8AS


Price: Tickets from £18.50

Opening times: Open daily, times vary, see website for available time slots.

28. Canal Street and the Gay Village

Canal Street hosting the Manchester Pride celebrations

Manchester's LGBT+ quarter is legendary. If you're looking for a party, look no further than Canal Street and the surrounding streets that make up the Gay Village. Canal Street itself is lined with bars and clubs, most of them with terraces where you can enjoy a waterside drink by day, but it's at night when the area really comes alive. You can find our guide to Manchester's best Gay Village bars and clubs here.

Nearby is Sackville Gardens, which contains a memorial statue to Alan Turing depicting him sitting on a bench, and the Beacon of Hope, the UK’s only permanent memorial for people living with HIV or AIDS or who have lost their lives to it. The area is at the heart of the annual Manchester Pride celebrations and commemorations, which take place across the August bank holiday weekend.

Across the water from Canal Street you'll also find Kampus, a new neighbourhood with even more indie bars and restaurants including LGBT+ cocktail bar Red Light.

29. The People's History Museum

Perched on the banks of the River Irwell on the edge of Spinningfields is the People’s History Museum, dedicated to the history of working people in the UK. Visitors can take a march through time and discover Manchester's rich history of radical thinking with collections of political material that chart the centuries-long struggle for equality and democracy, including artefacts from the Peterloo Massacre, trade unionism and women’s suffrage movements.

Address: Left Bank, Manchester, M3 3ER


Price: Free

Opening hours: Daily, 10am to 5pm, except Tuesdays (closed).

30. Science and Industry Museum

Based on the site of the oldest surviving passenger railway station, the Science and Industry Museum gives a fascinating glimpse into Manchester's industrial past and its place in the world of science and technology today.

Exploring 250 years of the city's innovations and ideas, the museum explores everything from its role in the textile industry to modern computing and the development of graphene.

Its collection includes models used by John Dalton, the father of modern chemistry, to demonstrate his atomic theory; parts from the Ferranti Mark 1, the world’s first commercially available computer, the Ferranti Mark 1; and one of the world’s largest collections of working steam mill engines.

Be aware that some galleries are currently closed as part of an ongoing multi-million pound refurbishment.

Address: Liverpool Road, Manchester, M3 4FP


Price: Free, but advance booking is recommended.

Opening hours: Daily, 10am to 5pm.

31. Palace Theatre

Inside the Palace Theatre in Manchester

An Oxford Street landmark since 1891, the historic Palace Theatre hosts some of the biggest touring productions in the UK and is often the first stop for shows fresh from the West End.

Highlights in recent years have included The Book of Mormon's first UK run outside London, and it will also be the first theatre outside the capital to welcome the smash hit Hamilton later this year before it tours the UK more widely.

Address: 97 Oxford St, Manchester M1 6FT


32. Manchester Opera House

Not quite as old as its sister theatre The Palace, but with no less impressive programming, Manchester Opera House also welcomes some of musical theatre's biggest box office hits, as well as being the home of the city's Christmas pantomime.

Opened as a theatre in 1912, it was later used a cinema and a bingo hall before reopening as a theatre in 1984. The shows that have graced its stage since then include the world premieres of Back to the Future: The Musical, Take That musical The Band and Bat Out of Hell: The Musical, as well as the UK premiere of Mrs Doubtfire: The Musical.

Address: 3 Quay Street, Manchester, M3 3HP


33. Royal Exchange Theatre

Inside the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester
Inside the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester

Situated in St Ann's Square, the Royal Exchange Theatre is housed inside the city's former cotton and textiles exchange building. Inside, it's perhaps even more impressive, with its striking theatre-in-the-round auditorium sitting like a spacecraft underneath the beautiful glass-domed ceiling.

You don't even need to have a ticket to admire it - just stop by for a drink or a meal at The Rivals restaurant and bar.

The award-winning producing theatre commissions, creates and develops original and ambitious work, from brand new drama to reinvigorated classics. It has hosted performances from some of the country's finest actors and Hollywood stars over the years, with famous names to have trodden its boards including Maxine Peake, Suranne Jones, John Thaw, Julie Walters, Andy Serkis, Andrew Garfield, Kate Winslet, David Tennant and Hugh Grant.

Address: Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester M2 7DH


34. Manchester Cathedral and Glade of Light memorial

With a history stretching back to the Middle Ages, the grade I-listed Manchester Cathedral is one of Manchester’s oldest and most beautiful buildings. Step inside and prepare to be awed by its dramatic arches, wooden furnishings and intricate stained glass displays.

Free guided tours are generally available and there's no need to book, just ask a volunteer on arrival. It also hosts free monthly Coffee Concerts on Saturdays, with performances ranging from jazz and classical to contemporary acts, followed by free cakes and drinks.

Just outside you can find the Glade of Light garden - a moving memorial to the 22 people killed in the bombing of Manchester Arena nearby in 2017.

Address: Victoria Street, Manchester, M3 1SX


Price: Free

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 9.30am to 4pm, Sunday 12 noon to 4pm

35. Manchester Town Hall

Standing proud on Albert Square, Manchester Town Hall is a stunning Grade I listed Gothic building dating from 1877.

In the square itself is a monument to Prince Albert, which stands underneath an ornate spire. More gothic buildings line the sides of the square where you’ll find several bars and restaurants.

Currently the Town Hall and Albert Square are under renovation and are expected to reopen again in 2024.

Address: Albert Square, Manchester M2 5DB


36. St Ann’s Square

A peaceful escape from the nearby thoroughfare of Market Street, St Ann’s Square has a European air to it - look up and notice the architecture of the surrounding buildings.

Dating from 1712, St Ann’s Church stands at one end with a poignant statue of a homeless Jesus just outside. At the other, connecting the square with Deansgate, is Barton Arcade, one of the city’s hidden gems.

The grade II listed Victorian arcade features decorative black and gold balconies and is home to the popular independent coffee shop Pot Kettle Black.

37. Spinningfields

Spinningfields is Manchester's most glamorous going-out destination, with upmarket restaurants and bars including 20 Stories, Australasia, Tattu and The Ivy. It's also home to one of the city's biggest and busiest beer gardens, at The Oast House.

If you’re a fan of architecture then a wander around Spinningfields is a must. The Manchester Civil Justice Centre is one of the most striking buildings in Manchester with a huge glass wall and cantilevered floors, earning it several awards for its design. In complete contrast on nearby Quay Street is Sunlight House, an art deco style Grade II listed building that's home to world class cocktail bar Schofield's Bar.