Things to Do in Manchester, UK

Manchester is a vibrant city with a host of exciting outdoor adventures
Manchester is a vibrant city with a host of exciting outdoor adventures | © eye35.pix / Alamy Stock Photo
Manchester is a young, energetic city fuelled by a love for sports, a thriving arts scene and a hip vegan and vegetarian dining culture. Whether your ideal vacation involves delicious drinks, sampling award-winning local delicacies, museum-hopping or bopping along to live music, these tips from Culture Trip’s local insiders will have you soaking up Manchester’s infectious energy.

Sip Wine Bar

Wine Bar, Wine, $$$

If you’ve ever had a tough time deciding which wine to drink, then Sip Wine Bar is the place for you. Grab a glass and choose from more than 30 different bottles from its self-service machine. Pour as little or as much as you want, and try a mix of different wines to pair with the delicious charcuterie boards and small plates. It’s the perfect spot for a boozy brunch or an evening of wine and tapas. Recommended by local insider Natalie Hetherington

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Cocoa Tree

Cafe, Coffee

If you are a professed chocoholic, feed your sweet tooth at Cocoa Tree, an independent, ethical chocolatier in the Manchester neighbourhood of Chorlton. Mancunians deem it the best hot chocolate in the city (made from Belgian chocolate), and it also serves biscuits and cakes, as well as a wide variety of handcrafted truffles and sweets. Start the morning off right with coffee and something sweet, or enjoy an afternoon pick-me-up with a hot chocolate and slice of cake. Recommended by local insider Natalie Hetherington

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Altrincham Market

Market, Authentic
Market House Coffee stall in the Grade II listed Market house in Altrincham town centre, Cheshire. A busy and exciting food destination
© Mark Waugh / Alamy Stock Photo

Altrincham is one of the country’s original market towns, so it’s no surprise that between Manchester and Cheshire’s farming community, you’d find the vibrant, award-winning Altrincham Market. This market, with an indoor food hall, comprises shops from local craftspeople and produce vendors, along with 10 food stalls. Here, you’ll find everything from pies and pastries to artisan coffee and wood-fired pizza. It’s the perfect place to hang out with friends for a drink or to enjoy a meal in a relaxed setting. Recommended by local insider Natalie Hetherington

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Virtual Hideout Manchester

Cafe, British

If you consider yourself a gamer, then the perfect evening awaits you at Virtual Hideout, a virtual reality and gaming hub in the Great Northern. This gaming hotspot can accommodate groups up to 25, and it offers more than 100 different VR experiences, with HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets that fall under nine different categories, including horror, fantasy, family and kids. Virtual Hideout is a great way to spend an evening with the entire family. Recommended by local insider Natalie Hetherington

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intu Trafford Centre

Shopping Mall
The Great Hall inside The Trafford Centre shopping complex, Dumplington, Greater Manchester, England, UK
© Ian G Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo

If you’re someone who loves to shop, then you’ll be in retail heaven at intu Trafford Centre, one of Europe’s largest indoor shopping centres. Spanning three floors, it contains more than 140 shops, as well as an arcade, bowling alley, cinema and a variety of drink and dining options. The gorgeous Barton Square is decorated with painted Roman murals and a stunning water fountain, while the enormous Great Hall dining area is designed to look like a cruise ship. Recommended by local insider Alexandra Jones

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Afflecks

Store

Known as an “emporium of eclecticism”, Afflecks indoor market in the city’s Northern Quarter caters to weird, quirky fashion, accessories, music and art, as well as tattoos and piercings. Afflecks gives off a cool indie style and is brimming with Mancunian culture. Travellers with an open mind will find it a charming and worthwhile curiosity. Just don’t be surprised if you walk away with a new top hat or funky cat art. Recommended by local insider Alexandra Jones

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Chinatown

Market
Chinese arch in Faulkner Street in Chinatown Manchester
© Andrew Wilson / Alamy Stock Photo

The red-lantern-studded trees and the dragon-painted archway of Faulkner Street welcome you to Chinatown. Manchester is home to the second-largest Chinatown in the UK after London. Here, you’ll find a variety of authentic Asian supermarkets and restaurants offering everything from Chinese and Japanese to Vietnamese and Nepalese delicacies. You’ll also find speciality grocery stores, massage parlours and lively karaoke bars. Grab a pillowy red-bean bun, dip into some dim sum, or sit down and experience traditional teppanyaki. Recommended by local insider Alexandra Jones

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HOME

Art Gallery, Theatre, Cinema

Cinema fanatics and lovers of art will feel right at home at HOME, an expansive international artist hub filled with galleries, cinemas and theatres. It’s renowned for its independent movie scene, as well as live entertainment and dances, stunning visual art, thought-provoking theatre and cosy café and bookshop. HOME even offers talent development for artists looking to create incredible works with other artists from around the world. Check out what’s happening here, and make sure to book tickets online. Recommended by local insider Alexandra Jones

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Old Trafford Manchester United Museum and Stadium Tour

Sports Center, Museum
Football tunnel at Old Trafford stadium, Manchester United's home ground, during an Old Trafford Tour.
© David Brabiner / Alamy Stock Photo

If you’re obsessed with football, then you’re in good company, as Manchester is home to not one but two of the most famous football clubs in the world. Manchester United Museum and Stadium, located in Old Trafford, offers behind-the-scenes tours of the iconic stadium where guests can listen to unbelievable stories about Manchester United’s famed athletes. For those looking to experience some action, the VIP experience will get you seats to a home game. If you’re planning to visit, make sure you book your tickets in advance. Recommended by local insider Alexandra Jones

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