Things to do in Manchester

Manchester is quickly becoming the capital of northern England, with a youthful energy and a growing diversity of culture making it an exciting place to live and to visit. Its industrial past blends with a creative present, along with a proud heritage in music, sport and art. It’s a must-visit melting pot, and here’s our guide to making the most of a trip to Manchester.

Top Manchester attractions

John Rylands Library

John Rylands Library

One of Manchester’s standout buildings, The John Rylands Library is, well, not particularly library-like.

Manchester museum

Manchester's Museums

Manchester’s vast and varied history is celebrated across a number of excellent museums which span the city.

Manchester etihad stadium

Sporting Stadia

A hotbed of sporting activity, Manchester is proud to boast three magnificent sporting venues.


The Lowry

One of Lancashire’s favourite sons, LS Lowry’s work is on permanent display at The Lowry, a state-of-the-art gallery and theatre complex in Salford Quays.

Trafford Centre

Trafford Centre

Large indoor shopping centre and leisure complex with regular events, cinema and a range of places to eat.       Visit the website

Best things to do in Manchester

Indoor skydiving

Airkix Indoor Skydiving

Try indoor skydiving - perfect for group bookings, first time flyers, skydivers and pro flyers.

Chill Factore

Chill Factore

Learn to ski and snowboard on an incredible 180 metre long, real snow slope. Little ones will love the magic of the snowplay area.

Person climbing on a climbing wall

Climbing in Manchester

Try your hand at mountain climbing in a safe and secure environment, taster sessions and full courses are available at Chill Factore.

Old Trafford Tour

Old Trafford Tour

Visit the home of Manchester United and see the stadium through the eyes of the legends themselves.

Trafford Centre

Trafford Centre

Large indoor shopping centre and leisure complex with regular events, cinema and a range of places to eat.       Visit the website

Water sports

Water sports in Manchester

Salford Water Sports Centre is a state of the art facility. Learn how to sail, canoe, windsurf, kayak, and drive a power boat in a safe and secure environment.

Beyond Manchester

Whilst the city itself has plenty to satisfy your wishes, Manchester also benefits from its geographical position close to plenty of other spots to explore and enjoy. If you fancy some sea air, head up to the coast to Southport or Blackpool, traditional seaside resorts which the kids will love. Alternatively, for a slightly slower pace, set off in the opposite direction towards the Peak District and Lyme Park, a vast house and country estate just 30 minutes from the city centre. Or, if one super city isn’t enough to please you, venture west to Liverpool, again less than an hour away and jam packed with plenty to see and do.

Getting to Manchester

Manchester train

By train

Manchester is served by three mainline railway stations: Piccadilly, Oxford Road, Victoria, which offer regular services to and from virtually all corners of the country.

manchster by bus

By bus

Regular National Express coach services operate in and out of Manchester from across the UK, including services from London, Liverpool and key airports within striking distance of the city. Manchester also benefits from a Metroshuttle service, free bus routes which operate in certain areas, including close to YHA Manchester.

by plane

By plane

Manchester is served by its own airport, just a ten mile journey from the city centre. Trains and trams operate regularly throughout the day between the airport and the city centre, making it easily accessible.

manchester by car

By car

Manchester is well connected to the rest of the UK via excellent motorway links. The M60 ring road connects the city to the M6 and M62, giving access from all directions.

Find your perfect Manchester accommodation

Plan a weekend

There’s so much to do in Manchester, you’ll need at least 48 hours to satisfy your desire to explore! Here’s our guide to a weekend in Manchester.

View of the outside of YHA Manchester


Just a short stroll from the city centre in the Castlefield area of the city, YHA Manchester is a purpose built hostel, ideal for travellers looking to enjoy bright, colourful social spaces and well-appointed en-suite bedrooms. Plus, with a licensed bar, conference rooms, a restaurant, TV lounge, self-catering kitchen and free WiFi, why look elsewhere?

A group eating a meal together

Dining out

Whilst you can happily enjoy delicious meals at YHA Manchester, it’s well worth venturing out and about to enjoy the culinary options available across the city. From high-end dining in Spinningfields, to authentic sub-continental food on Rusholme’s curry mile, and plenty more in between, Manchester is a foodie’s delight.

View of Manchester city centre


Once you’ve enjoyed a bite to eat, there’s every chance you’ll be keen to wash it down with a drink (and possibly a dance). Happily, Manchester has got you covered here too. Whether it’s the glitzy bars at Deansgate Locks, the quirky craft spots of the Northern Quarter or the more weird and wonderful such as the Temple (a converted pubic toilet), that you’re looking for, there’s no shortage of spots to spend an evening.

A night shot of a guitarist

Music scene

If there is one thing that is synonymous with Manchester, then it’s its music scene. If you can, catch a gig at one of Manchester’s numerous music venues. If not, immerse yourself in the wealth of nods to the city’s musical heritage which are apparent throughout the city, from the Hacienda to FAC251. Plus, keep an eye out for the musical mural which adorns the wall at YHA Manchester – you can’t miss it and we think it’s ‘dead cool’.

Best budget accommodation in Manchester

Ideally located for a short walk into the city centre, YHA Manchester is perfect for those on a budget looking to enjoy the sights and sounds of Manchester. With 37 en-suite rooms across a range of room-types, the hostel is perfect for families, individuals and groups seeking to visit one of the UK’s premier cities. Its social areas are vast and bright, with plenty to keep you entertained and refreshed following a busy day.