Manchester is a vibrant city with a rich cultural heritage and a buzzing nightlife. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned local, there’s always something new to discover in this vibrant city. In this article, we’ll take you through some of the best things to do in Manchester over a weekend, from exploring the city’s rich history to experiencing its lively music scene.
There are many lovely restaurants and great hotels in Manchester – so you’ll be spoiled for choice too.
Here’s a guide on how to spend your time.
Day 1: Exploring Manchester’s History
Start your day by taking a stroll through Manchester’s historic Northern Quarter. This bohemian neighborhood is home to some of the city’s oldest buildings, including the iconic Affleck’s Palace, which has been a hub for alternative fashion and culture since the 1980s. Wander through the quirky streets and alleyways, and pop into the independent shops and cafes that line the way.
Next, head to the Museum of Science and Industry, which is located in the heart of the city’s former industrial district. Here, you can learn about Manchester’s fascinating history as a powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution, and see some of the machines and technologies that helped shape the modern world. The museum’s permanent exhibitions include a working steam engine and a replica of the world’s first stored-program computer, the Manchester Baby.
After lunch, head to the People’s History Museum, which is located in the Spinningfields area of the city. This museum tells the story of democracy and social justice in the UK and features exhibits on everything from the suffragette movement to the rise of trade unions. Take a guided tour or explore the museum’s collection on your own, and learn about the struggles and triumphs of ordinary people throughout history.
In the evening, head to the Royal Exchange Theatre, which is housed in a stunning Grade II-listed building that was once the largest trading hall in the world. The theatre hosts a wide range of productions, from classic plays to modern adaptations, and is a great place to catch some of the best talents in Manchester’s thriving theatre scene.
Day 2: Experiencing Manchester’s Culture and Nightlife
Start your second day in Manchester with a visit to the Whitworth Art Gallery. This museum is home to an impressive collection of art, including works by major artists such as William Blake, J.M.W. Turner, and Barbara Hepworth. The gallery also hosts regular exhibitions and events, so be sure to check out their website to see what’s on during your visit.
Next, head to the Manchester Art Gallery, which is located just a short walk away. This gallery features an extensive collection of British art, including works by Pre-Raphaelite painters such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John William Waterhouse. The gallery also has a great collection of contemporary art, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
In the afternoon, explore Manchester’s bustling Northern Quarter, which is home to some of the city’s best independent shops, bars, and restaurants. Grab a bite to eat at one of the many cafes or street food vendors, and browse the eclectic selection of vintage and boutique shops. Be sure to stop by the iconic John Rylands Library, which is a stunning example of neo-Gothic architecture and is home to a vast collection of rare books and manuscripts.
In the evening, head to one of Manchester’s many music venues to experience the city’s legendary nightlife. The city has a thriving music scene, with everything from indie rock to electronic dance music on offer. Some of the best venues include The Deaf Institute, Band on the Wall, and Night & Day Cafe, but there are plenty of other great options to choose from depending on your musical tastes.