The famous Manchester Christmas Markets are back in the city centre, bringing back all the sights, sounds and smells of festiveness across nine market sites around the city.

The mulled wine, hot sausages and sweet treats are all back along with plenty of Christmas gift stalls. This year there are more than 200 of the ski chalet stalls, which opened on Friday, November 10 and will remain trading until Thursday December 21.

Unlike many Christmas events in Manchester, you don't need a ticket (unless you fancy a whirl on the ice rink) - just turn up and get stuck in to the festive fun.

If you've not been to the Manchester Christmas Markets before, or just want to try and plan out your day out at the event, we've put together a handy guide here to the key locations for this year's event and everything you can find at them.

READ MORE: See the full list of traders taking part in Manchester Christmas Markets in 2023

READ MORE: The full list of food and drink prices at every Manchester Christmas Markets location

There's also the official Manchester Council map of the zones here, to help guide you through the different zones.

Manchester Christmas Markets map

Map of Manchester Christmas Markets 2023
The Manchester Christmas Markets map for 2023

The official map of the Manchester Christmas Markets locations for 2023 is now live. It shows the key things you will find at each markets location, starting at the top with Cathedral Gardens which is already now open with the skating rink and markets stalls.

It then weaves down past the Corn Exchange, Exchange Square, New Cathedral Street, Exchange Street and St Ann's Square down to King Street. The map shoots off along Market Street up to Piccadilly Gardens where you'll find the main "Winter Gardens" hub again this year.

The map concludes with Manchester Town Hall and St Peter's Square where you'll find the light trail and Big Santa, from November 13 after Remembrance Sunday events have taken place.

Here's our guide to what you can find at all the locations.

Piccadilly Gardens

Manchester Christmas Markets will be back in Piccadilly Gardens from November 10
Manchester Christmas Markets will be back in Piccadilly Gardens from November 10

Piccadilly Gardens will again be transformed into the Winter Gardens with a mix of craft and gift stalls alongside food and drink. The Scandi-style tipi returns, festooned with lights and with its traditional log fires to bring the warmth.

There will be music or live entertainment each night as twilight falls and plenty of undercover seating.

Winter Gardens is also home to the Manchester Christmas Windmill which comes in at a towering 4 metres high. Expect winter tipples and exclusive cocktails, alongside fresh churros, Korean corndogs, fresh gyros and plenty of other mouth-watering foodie treats.

Best for: The biggest range of hot foods and drinks, plus undercover bar area and lots of seating - so it's a good place for catch-ups with friends.

St Ann's Square and Exchange Street

St Ann's Square is the oldest Christmas market site in Manchester and was home to the city's first seasonal stalls 25 years ago.

Visitors can check out the Manchester Shop, the continental cheeses, and even alien sculptures as you wander the stalls and take in the festive atmosphere.

A wealth of food stalls will return, including the fresh authentic paella, bratwurst, or salt and pepper chicken from Northern Quarter favourite, Yard and Coop.

Best for: The quirkier food offerings, decent gift stalls and extra long sausages. Also a good spot for families on Festive Sundays.

Market Street

Manchester's bustling Market Street will once again host a craft and gift area. Over 40 stalls full of extraordinary gift ideas - from tweed hats, spiced rum, Christmas decorations and candles, to jewellery, gift sets of cheese truckles and much more.

And if you've spent all year missing the macaroons Market Street is the place to pick up your freshly baked for Manchester coconut macaroons, served hot from the oven.

Best for: Gift-hunters. If you're after booze this is not the place for you as there's only a hot drink stall, no alcohol.

King Street

Known for its array of foody stalls, expect authentic Italian deli, Ballaro with fresh cannelloni and arancini, while El Gato Negro tapas will bring some Mediterranean menu flavours to Christmas shoppers with a seated area outside their restaurant on King Street.

Expect also a range of crafts including the always popular French soap stall, personalised tree decorations, handmade wooden furniture and beautifully illustrated bottles from local distillery, Salford Rum.

Best for: Foodies. Some really decent continental food stalls and more refined spots for a glass of fizz or vino.

New Cathedral Street

The Witch House is an iconic spot on the Markets

Craft-lovers can check out handmade candles, ceramics, local spirits, and keepsakes on offer.

This is also the spot to savour a cold beer and currywurst from the iconic The Witch House. Food stalls this year will also include burritos from Mango Rays, or a cheesy ‘Parmo’ from local legends, Parmageddon.

Best for: On the go food, and The Witch House is the perfect "meeting spot" in the middle of town with its giant sausage signs.

Exchange Square

Porky Pig is one of the most popular food stalls at Manchester Christmas Markets

One of the largest of the city centre Christmas market sites, outside Selfridges and the Arndale Centre.

Warm up at The Mill Exchange with their Mancunian mulled wine made on site, all while enjoying the legends of Manchester artwork adorning their walls.

This is also the place to try the much-loved Yorkshire pudding wrap from Porky Pig, as well as everything from birria bowls and hot curries to mini pancakes and fresh fudge at stalls in the area.

You’ll also find clothing, soaps, boutique babywear, local crafts, and handmade gifts.

Best for: If you like the buzz of the big crowds, this is the place for you because it gets BUSY. Lots of food and drink options.

The Corn Exchange

Set between Corn Exchange and Shambles Square, you’ll find some of the most unique gifts available from crafters.

Expect handmade pies, Nepalese woollen jumpers, handmade jewellery, Christmas decorations made from recycled wood, plus photo frames, artisan chocolates and much more.

Best for: Some decent gift options here

Cathedral Gardens

People enjoying the delights on offer
People enjoying the Christmas Markets already at Cathedral Gardens, now open

Cathedral Gardens is known for being at the "heart of the family fun" at the Christmas Markets.

Experience Skate Manchester’s huge, covered ice rink which is open daily and free live entertainment hosted every Thursday to Sunday all the way up to New Year’s Eve. You'll find Dutch mini pancakes here, as well as hot sausages (natch) and a Yorkshire pudding wrap stall.

Best for: Families - it's a bit quieter, there's more room for prams, and it has the ice rink.

Where can I find Big Santa?

Big Santa will be back outside Manchester Central Library from November 13

If you're wondering where the huge big Santa is this year, well he's back in his lofty position outside Central Library on St Peter's Square. He is once again be surrounded by the larger-than-life illuminated sculptures as part of the festive light trail.

Christmas Markets dates and opening times for 2023

Manchester Christmas Markets 2023 opening dates are from Friday, November 10 through to Thursday, December 21. They will be open daily from 10am to 9pm.

Cathedral Gardens will also once again play host to the Ice Rink with food and drink stalls in Cathedral Gardens alongside it. The rink opened on Thursday, October 26 and will remain open through to Sunday December 31. Ice skating tickets start from £15.50 for adults, £12.50 for children and £46 for a family from See Tickets.