What Are Some Fun Things to Do in Manchester?

With around one million visitors each year, Manchester knows how to entertain its guests. As one of the UK’s most vibrant cities, Manchester offers activities for all-comers, whether you’re travelling as part of a group or flying solo, no matter your age or interests.

Join us today as we run through some of the fun things we like to do in the city we love. And, while you’re with us, please browse our range of Walking Tours in Manchester.

At Invisible Cities, all of our guides have at one time been affected by homelessness. We place great importance on championing stories that are too often neglected and uncovering unique aspects of city life that can easily be missed.

Cruise on the Manchester Ship Canal

An amazing feat of 19th-century industrial engineering, the Manchester Ship Canal gave ocean-going vessels direct access to the city of Manchester, despite the city being inland.

Though the canals are no longer key arteries in Britain’s industrial heart, they are privately maintained for shipping and there are a variety of cruise options for guests to the city.

Take a sightseeing boat trip from Salford Quays on board the Dutch built ‘Princess Katherine’. With tours as short as 50 minutes to as long as 4.5 hours, a Manchester Ship Canal cruise is a scenic way to learn about the history of the city and the River Irwell.

Explore Manchester’s Green Spaces

Although more famous for its industrial landscape, Manchester has an impressive array of green spaces dotted around the city that are perfect for all the family.

Given that Invisible Cities runs walking tours, it shouldn’t surprise you to know that we think getting outside and exploring on foot is an excellent way to discover a city!

Heaton Park covers around 600 acres and offers a rewarding blend of expansive green space and historical monuments and buildings, such as Heaton Hall or the collonaded facade of Manchester’s old town hall.

Elsewhere in the park you can enjoy a boating pond, ride a historic tram, or meet alpacas at the animal centre.

Discover Manchester’s Sporting Greatness

Perhaps the most famous aspect of Manchester culture today is the city’s dominance in the world of football.

Manchester City have enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past decade and lifted an impressive seven Premier League titles.

Meanwhile, Manchester United are the most decorated team in the English game, with iconic players such as Eric Cantona and George Best having donned the jersey of the Red Devils.

Even if you are not a football fan, getting to see one of these teams play in their home ground is an unforgettable experience.

And if you are an avid follower of the sport, then you’re sure to love the National Football Museum.

Dive into the history of the sport, learn of Manchester’s role in its early development, and explore the many fascinating exhibits, including the English Football Hall of Fame.

Get Bookish at the Burgess Foundation

Manchester is a city well-loved for its creative arts. Over the years the city has given the world the music of indie legends like The Smiths and Joy Division, and the chart-topping anthems of Oasis.

In the visual arts, be associated with LS Lowry, one of England’s most beloved painters (there is an entire museum dedicated to him in Salford). But in the world of letters, the towering Mancunian figure is undoubtedly Anthony Burgess.

Author of over 30 novels, including modern classics like Earthly Powers, Enderby, and his most commercially successful Clockwork Orange, Burgess spent much of his life wandering the globe, but he always remained proud of his home city.

Today the International Anthony Burgess Foundation runs a museum celebrating his life and work and hosting an array of exciting exhibitions.

The bookish among you may also wish to take our Off the Cobbles walking tour of Manchester.

Tour guide Danny unlocks the beauty of Manchester, highlights the city’s stand-out features, and meditates on homelessness in our cities. Throughout the tour he recites poetry inspired by Manchester and his experiences.

Eat International Cuisine

It is estimated that around 200 languages are spoken in Manchester today — this is one of Britain’s most diverse, multicultural destinations. Unsurprisingly, this mix of cultures brings vibrancy to many elements of life in Manchester, and perhaps no more so than to the city’s food culture.

Whatever your taste, you’re going to find a host of options available to you when you go out to eat.

Whether you are craving Caribbean food, Mexican, Sushi, a curry, or regional English delicacies like Eccles cakes, Vimto, or Bury black pudding, you’ll get it in Manchester.

Altrincham’s Market House food hall or their city-centre location of Mackie Mayor are the perfect choices for visitors who want to explore an eclectic assortment of taste sensations.

This brings to a close our list of some fun activities to do with your time in Manchester. We hope we’ve inspired you to begin planning your next visit! If you have any questions about this blog or our Manchester Walking tours, please get in touch.