Manchester has a lot of history and culture and boasts of an incredibly rich industrial heritage. Its museums and art galleries and centres are totally high class, but the best things to do in Manchester offer so much more than the obvious.
This major city in northwest England presents travelers a slew of opportunities for fine dining, drinking, and entertainment that sure lead to more than one happy night. Explore this top 10 list of the best things to do in Manchester and unravel the fabulous out of this city.
1. John Rylands Library
Skeptics may doubt the presence of libraries in the list of the best things to do in Manchester but a trip to John Rylands is quick to change their minds. Yes, the entrance is uninspiring, but if you go deeper, you will fully appreciate this gorgeous Victorian Gothic building. Beautiful and bewitching with its high vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows, this library is every bit a cathedral for books more than anything else. Take a book lover friend here, and you are sure to be loved for years.
Hours: 10 AM to 5 PM every Tuesday to Saturday; 12 PM to 5 PM every Monday and Sunday
Location: 150 Deansgate, Manchester, England
2. Chetham’s Library & School of Music
Marx and Engels used to wander these atmospheric halls and its dark corridors but this place has been around a long time before these couple of people made their marks. The Chetham’s Library & School of Music is the oldest structure in Manchester, established in 1421, and it has always possessed a double appeal: hushed in the library but lively in the complex dedicated to the national school for younger musicians.
Hours: Timed admission hourly from 10 AM to 12 PM and 1.30 PM to 3.30 PM
Location: Long Millgate, Manchester, England
3. Manchester Art Gallery
A visit to the city’s top gallery is definitely one of the best things to do in Manchester. On display is a grand collection of paintings, particularly Victorian, Renaissance, and European masters, 37 Turner watercolours and Pre-Raphaelite and 20th-century arts. All these beauties is housed in two 19th century Greek revival buildings that you just have to see.
Price: Free 20-minute introductory tours; full hour costs £80
Hours: 10 AM to 5 PM every Monday to Wednesday and Friday and Sunday; up to 9 PM every Thursday
Location: Mosley St, Manchester, England
4. Whitworth Art Gallery
High art reigns supreme at the Whitworth. Most notable is its collection of British watercolours, a selection of historic textiles and galleries dedicated to Dürer, Rembrandt, Lucien Freud, and David Hockney. But if you think it is all fancy, wait until you see the exhibits that glorify wallpaper. Better watch out. Otherwise, you will be possessed to take on an unplanned home renovation project!
Hours: Open daily at 10 AM to 5 PM; up to 9 PM every Thursday
Location: Oxford Rd, University of Manchester, Manchester, England
5. Museum of Science & Industry
Looking for activities for a family day out? Visit the Museum of Science & Industry and find something fun to do for everyone. Located in the old Liverpool St. Station, this top museum outlines the colourful industrial legacy of Manchester. Your eyes will have a field day watching massive collections of steam engines, locomotives, and original factory machinery, new technology including a flight simulator and 4D cinema.
A lot of treats await the kids, too. Playtime will never be the same with interactive displays on space-age technology, fighter jets, printing press, and electric-shock machine. Endless games and challenges occupy them so you can have a good time, too!
Price: Special exhibits start at £2.50
Hours: Open daily at 10 AM to 5 PM
Location: Liverpool Rd, Manchester, England
6. Imperial War Museum North
Most war museums come across as depressing, but the exhibits inside this aluminium-clad architectural wonder aim to make a difference. Add it to your itinerary of the best things to do in Manchester and learn a thing or two about the effects of conflict on society. Highlights include six exhibitions exploring war since the 20th century with a particular focus on the role of women and the changes brought on by science and technology.
Hours: Open daily at 10 AM to 5 PM
Location: Trafford Wharf Rd, Manchester, England
7. Manchester City
Ever heard of a little thing called Premier League? Manchester owns a couple of league titles an FA Cup. Backed by Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mansour, the boys of Manchester call the Etihad Stadium home. Catch a home game or walk the grounds on a stadium tour.
Location: Etihad Campus, Manchester, England
8. Lancashire County Cricket Club
You may or may not have heard of cricket, but in Manchester, it is kind of a big deal. Matches are played at the Old Trafford, and crowds show up to cheer for the Lancashire Lightning.
Price: Tickets cost £15; test matches cost £40
Location: Warwick Rd, Manchester, England
9. Rosylee Tearooms
There is no better place to get afternoon tea than this gorgeous tea room bathing in Edwardian and Georgian elegance. If you feel like staying longer, check out the expanded menu and sample yummy British classics like beer-battered haddock and chips and steak suet pudding. You can’t go wrong – best things to do in Manchester indeed!
Price: Afternoon tea starts at £18.25; mains start at £10; 2-course menu starts at £11.95, and 3-course menu starts at £14.95
Hours: 12 PM to 9 PM every Monday to Thursday; 10 AM to 10 PM every Friday and Saturday; 10 AM to 6 PM every Sunday
Location: 11 Stevenson Sq, Manchester, England
10. The Kitchens
Lively, colorful, and vibrant, The Kitchens offer hungry visitors a world of choice. A sea of great street food producers lines these grounds from Bangers and Bacon and the Hip Hop Chip Shop to Chaat Cart and Dim Sum Su. The food is plenty so make sure you bring lots of stomach space!
Price: Mains start at £4
Hours: 12 PM to 3 PM every Monday to Wednesday; 12 PM to 9 PM every Thursday to Sunday
Location: Irwell Sq, Manchester, England
Recommended Accommodation in Manchester
Campanile Manchester – Salford features a modern restaurant and bar. Old Trafford is just 3.2 km away and Manchester centre is a 15-minute walk.
Campanile Manchester-Salford is just a 15-minute walk from Deansgate Railway Station. The M602 motorway is a 2-minute drive away, and the Museum of Science and Industry is a 10-minute walk.
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Novotel Manchester Centre
Novotel Manchester Centre is less than 650 m from Manchester Piccadilly Railway Station. The spacious rooms at Novotel Manchester Centre each have a flat-screen TV with on-demand movies and satellite channels. All rooms have a work desk, seating area and tea/coffee facilities.
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