Sure, the famous Manchester Christmas Markets are the flagship of the festive season here in the city. But if you’re tired of the same old sights after visiting season after season, there’s plenty more to see and do outside of those lined-up timber chalets. From quaint and Christmassy food markets to perfect independent gift stalls, here’s our guide to the best alternative Christmas markets taking place in Manchester this year.
1. Italian Christmas Market
A festive collaboration between Deansgate Square and Salvi’s, the Italian Christmas Market will run right up until the 22nd December, offering a warming escape packed full of live music, festive food and drink (Italian, of course), and a number of lovely stalls to shop and enjoy. Once you’ve finished your shopping, guests are invited to retreat to the tipis away from the cold, where the Campari will certainly be flowing, alongside Aperol Spritz and more. Find it at Deansgate Square.
2. Escape to Freight Island
Escape to Freight Island’s ‘Winter Island’ has proven to be a massive hit already, and luckily for us Mancs, it’s sticking around for the whole festive season. Home to a Christmas tree forest, an ‘ice rink in the sky‘ and tons of festive food traders, Winter Island is the perfect alternative to the markets for those who prefer the foodie element of the festive season. Think Northern Soul’s beloved Crimbo Dinner grilled cheese, proper bratwurst and so much more. Escape to Freight Island, 11 Baring St, M1 2PZ.
3. Maker’s Market (MediaCityUK and Northern Quarter)
The Maker’s Markets continue throughout the festive season, with a wonderful market taking place this Sunday 12th December in the Northern Quarter and MediaCityUK’s taking place on the last weekend of the month. There, guests will be able to shop unique gifts from local, independent traders, ranging from food, gifts, art and so much more.
If you happen to miss this Sunday’s market, you’ll find it popping up in Chorlton on Saturday 18th, Sale on Sunday 19th and Stockport on Saturday 11th.
Hatch has transformed into a nostalgic, 80s paradise this Christmas – taking guests back to a time when mobile phones and Covid were yet to exist. Traders have gone all out for the festive season, too, with pigs in blanket parmos on offer, festive sweet treats and plenty of winter-themed tipples to go around. In addition to food, guests can shop at various independent shops while visiting Hatch, too, with vintage clothing, jewellery, vinyl and so much more on offer. Hatch, 103 Oxford Rd, M1 7ED.
5. The Refuge
The Refuge is currently hosting a very wholesome roster of events, including a lovely Christmas market where local indie businesses can set up shop and sell their unique gifts. Accompanied by live choirs, DJ sets, and of course, festive food courtesy of the wonderful restaurant, The Refuge is the perfect destination this Christmas for those looking to escape the busy streets of the main market. The Refuge, Oxford St, M60 7HA.
6. Ancoats Pop-Up
Continuing to support local indie businesses, Ancoats Pop Up will host a special Christmas market this Saturday 11th on Cutting Room Square, with tons of fantastic traders pitching up for the day to sell unique gifts, artworks, food and more. The market is super dog-friendly, and perfect for those who prefer to browse in a quieter environment than the Manchester Christmas Markets.