Main Content

Something different in Manchester

Not all of Manchester’s charms are immediately obvious. We’re talking avant-garde art at the city’s independent galleries, inspiring gigs at an array of underground music venues, and even a day out at the movies (only in Manchester are the cinemas as interesting as the films themselves). With just a bit of digging, you’ll be rewarded with one-of-a-kind local experiences that will make your trip unforgettable.

Tab Panel

Local art galleries

Though Manchester has enough world-class museums to make other cities jealous, those looking to discover the city’s artistic side should seek out its smaller, cutting-edge galleries as well. Wander through the inspiring Craft and Design Centre, scope out progressive works at the independent Artzu Gallery, and visit the Gallery Oldham, which hosts an array of workshops and talks in addition to its exhibitions.

10 things to do in Manchester with teenagers

Underground music venues

Once you’ve paid tribute to Manchester’s rich musical legacy (and scoped out the spots where local legends like Joy Division, Oasis, and The Smiths used to hang out), don’t forget to lend an ear to the city’s newest generation of talented artists and performers. Head to independent venues like Band on the Wall, Folk, and Night & Day to catch a gig. Who knows? You might just stumble upon the next Morrissey.

Manchester unplugged: Top music venues

Tab Panel

Festivals in Manchester

Manchester is one festive city — and it can be worth planning your next trip around its events calendar. From the Manchester International Festival to the Manchester Jazz Festival, from the Parklife Festival to Manchester Pride, from the Manchester Literature Festival to the Chinese New Year, this is a city that knows how to make the most of its diverse cultural legacy.

Manchester cinemas

In Manchester, cinemas aren’t just places to catch the latest blockbusters — they’re destinations in and of themselves. Take the Savoy: nearly a century old, this restored heritage cinema is beloved by locals. Then there’s HOME, “Manchester’s international centre for contemporary visual arts and independent film.” Head there for art-house flicks, foreign films, and the chance to hobnob with the city’s creative set.

The best museums in Manchester

The National Cycling Centre

Football may be Manchester’s preferred pastime, but there’s more than one way to indulge your sporty side on a visit up north. The National Cycling Centre was Britain’s first indoor Olympic track when it opened in 1994; a recent expansion means it’s now home to the country’s only permanent indoor BMX course, too. Head to the National Cycling Centre to see sporting stars in action — or even go for a spin around the Velodrome yourself. 

Image credits:

Art Galleries © Manchester Craft and Design Centre

Cinemas © Machteld Schoep

Underground Venues © Jack Kirwin Photography

All other imagery © iStock