Best Things to Do in Manchester

by Markus
Last Update: 17 July 2023

The Greater Manchester region attracts more than 119 million tourists each year.

With so many great attractions, it earns its place as a top UK travel destination.

If you’re planning a visit to the UK’s second-most populous urban area yourself, it’s important to plan what you’d like to see and do in advance. But with so many great attractions, it can be difficult to choose.

Looking to find out the best things to do in Manchester? Read on. We’ve put together a list of suggestions sure to suit any visitor.

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A great day out without compromise.


Learn Something New at Manchester Museum

A stop off at the fascinating Manchester Museum should certainly figure highly in your plans to visit Manchester. The vast and varied exhibitions include dinosaur skeletons, historic artefacts and even an ancient Egypt exhibit, complete with real mummies!

But not everything in the museum is a historical object! There are living things too, in the vivarium. Here, you can observe a huge variety of brightly coloured tropical frogs in rainforest habitats, while learning about conservation efforts and the ecosystems these frogs need to survive.

The museum is within walking distance of the city centre, or accessible via a short bus ride. Admission is free, but it’s worth bringing a little spending money so you can get yourself a souvenir from the gift shop.

Visit Bury Market

For a traditional shopping experience with plenty of choices, look no further than Bury market. The historic, open-air market features hundreds of varying stalls, and visitors are sure to spot a bargain if they wander around for a little while.

It’s also a great place to enjoy some traditional Northern cuisine! If you’re looking to try some local delicacies, opt for some black peas, a butter pie, a Lancashire hotpot or a black pudding.

Visit Bury Market on Wednesdays, Fridays or Saturdays, when the open-air portion of the market is open. The market is located in the town of Bury, 11 miles northwest of Manchester city centre. It’s easily accessible by bus or Metrolink.

Watch Some Football

If there’s one thing Manchester is famous for, it’s football! As the home of two Premier League teams and the National Football Museum, the city is a hotbed of football culture.

Manchester United is one of the most famous teams in the world and a visit to their Old Trafford stadium is not to be missed. Or if you prefer to check out one of the most successful teams from football’s recent years, pay a visit to Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium. Game tickets are available for as little as £15 for some cup games, and you can reach both stadiums within 20 minutes by various Manchester travel options from the city centre.

If you’re looking for a quirkier (and cheaper!) football experience, try a game at one of the city’s non-league clubs. Altrincham FC and West Didsbury & Chorlton are both great places to soak up a unique atmosphere, and you can even enjoy a few drinks in the club bars.

Do Some Shopping at Affleck’s Palace

There are plenty of amazing shopping experiences for you to enjoy when you visit Manchester. But one favourite among locals is Affleck’s Palace. This quirky, multi-story market is packed full of independent stores.

At Affleck’s, you can get everything you could ever think of, from trading cars to tattoos, clothes to collectables. It’s a treasure trove of rare items and as a centre of alternative culture in the city, it’s a hangout for all kinds of interesting people.

Affleck’s is located just a few minutes walk north of Piccadilly Gardens. It’s open every day, so pay a visit and see what you can find!

Grab a Bite to Eat on Curry Mile

Manchester is a cultural melting pot, so if you’re visiting the city, it’s a perfect opportunity to enjoy cultures from around the world. One of the most famous symbols of the city’s diverse population is its Curry Mile area.

Located on Wilmslow Road in Rusholme, just south of Manchester city centre, it’s packed with great places to eat. The focus is on curry, but you can find all kinds of Asian cuisines here, so there’s sure to be something you’ll like.

If you’re not so much a fan of spicy food, visit one of the many Indian sweetshops along the Curry Mile. There, you can buy boxes of rich, creamy sweets. They’re delicious but be warned; they can be addictive!

Relax at Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens

Manchester is known as an industrial centre, filled with buildings and concrete. And if you were disappointed when you realised that Piccadilly Gardens isn’t actually a garden, don’t despair! There are plenty of beautiful green spaces too, perfect for taking some time out from city life!

One of the best outdoor attractions in the city is Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens. These beautiful, stepped gardens, are filled with a variety of alpine plants, and visitors can wander the paths that wind through the greenery, looking out for rare flora and hidden water features.

You’ll find the gardens in Didsbury, just half an hour’s bus ride south of the city centre. Immediately next to the gardens is the historic St James’ Church, as well as the Parsonage House and Gardens, offering more green space to enjoy and other historical buildings to explore.

Enjoy a Walk at Dunham Massey

Another popular outdoor Greater Manchester attraction is Dunham Massey. The stately home and its grounds offer plenty for visitors to see and do. You can tour the house, visit the old watermill, or wander the beautiful formal gardens.

But the main appeal of Dunham Massey is its vast landscape, with paths winding through miles of meadow, woodland, and lakes. There’s even a herd of deer which wander the grounds!

Although it’s located a fair way outside the city, just on the edge of the Greater Manchester boundary, it’s well worth the visit. There is a fee for parking and entering the house and gardens, but the grounds are free to visit, so it’s perfect for budget days out.

Discover More Amazing Things to Do in Manchester

Manchester is a huge city with so many different districts and areas. So, keep looking around you’ll find plenty more things to do in Manchester. There really is too much to see in a single visit!

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