What to see and do in Manchester
Best time to fly to Manchester
The best time to visit Manchester is in the summer months of June to August. The weather reaches its warmest, with average temperature highs of the mid to upper 60s – but you’ll still want to bring an umbrella to this infamously rainy town.
If you’re hoping to beat some of the summer crowds, then you could book tickets to Manchester during the spring seasons of March to May. Temperatures begin to rise again, but you’re less likely to encounter as many tourists as in the summer. Meanwhile, August marks the exciting start of the football season that sees plenty of fans flock to the city.
Booking flights to Manchester from September to December is another good option. The weather cools down from September onwards, but there are still the occasional bouts of sunshine and crisp, fall days to be enjoyed. The city’s festive markets come alive in the buildup to Christmas, and you’ll be spoilt for choice at Manchester’s many shopping centers and stores.
Come rain or shine, you can still enjoy all the events and festivals that Manchester has to offer.
Getting around Manchester
There are lots of options for traveling around the city.
The most notable is the free bus service – formerly known as the Metroshuttle – which operates on three circular routes covering all main city-center areas. All buses are wheelchair accessible.
The tram is an alternative mode of transport that’s synonymous with the city, and cycling is also a good option to explore Manchester first-hand.
You can also get black cabs or other private hire services like Uber.
If you want to explore Manchester’s outer boroughs or go further afield, you can travel by train from one of the city’s two main stations: Piccadilly and Victoria.
Things to do in Manchester
Northern England is a hub of urban delights, overflowing with pubs, live music, museums and restaurants. In the buzzing hub of Manchester - and neighboring Liverpool - history fills the streets, but many visitors come to pay homage to sporting heroes and music legends.
Manchester was shaped by the Industrial Revolution, and some museums cleverly detail the city's rich heritage. The People's History Museum does a super job telling the stories of Manchester's boom. There are also great art galleries, a brilliant war museum, and one of the world's oldest public libraries.
A considerably newer addition to the city is the National Football Museum, where exhibits draw out the historical and cultural significance of football to the city of Manchester. Visitors will leave with a clear understanding and appreciation of what the game really means to the Mancunians.
Pay homage to Manchester United on a tour of their home stadium, Old Trafford (also known as the Theater of Dreams). You can tour Manchester City's home ground, too, to compare facilities and stoke fierce intercity rivalries.
Dining and shopping in Manchester
The city's dining scene is booming, and you'll eat well, especially in the Spinningfields and Northern Quarter districts. Spinningfields is a modern development that's become a sleek dining and shopping hub, while the Northern Quarter has a more creative, bohemian feel. In the city center, check out the remarkable Corn Exchange - a grand Edwardian building from 1903 that has been reborn as an upmarket food hall, home to a dozen or so restaurants.
For something less sleek, peruse the offerings of the so-called 'Curry Mile', part of Wilmslow Road running through the center of Rusholme in South Manchester. Here, flavors from the subcontinent and the Middle East are big, cheap and aromatic.
There are good shopping areas in the city center (where Harvey Nichols and Selfridges reside), along King Street, the Spinningfields quarter (for high-end international brands), and in the indie-minded Northern Quarter. 5 miles west of downtown, you’ll find Trafford Centre - home to three department stores, cinemas, restaurants and 200-plus stores of retail therapy.
Check out the quirky offerings at Affleck’s indoor market - we're talking vintage clothes, vinyl records and offbeat treasures.