89 Fantastic Free Things To Do In Manchester

Laura O'Neill Laura O'Neill

89 Fantastic Free Things To Do In Manchester

We love top-notch cocktails and extravagant pop-ups as much as the next person, but if your bank account is feeling the pinch, Secret Manchester is here to lend a hand. We’ve put together an all-singing, all-dancing roundup of free things to do in Manchester, and it’s a humdinger of a list (if we do say so ourselves).

Free museums in Manchester

Photo: scienceandindustrymuseum

Those looking for a cultural fix are in luck, as we’ve got loads of free museums in Manchester boasting ancient art, fascinating objects, and even a dinosaur skeleton.

  1. Greater Manchester Police Museum
  2. Museum of Science and Industry
  3. Imperial War Museum North
  4. The Manchester Museum (closed until late 2022)
  5. People’s History Museum
  6. Bury Transport Museum
  7. Museum off Hatting (temporarily closed)
  8. Touchstones Rochdale Museum
  9. Salford Museum and Art Gallery
  10. Museum of The Manchester Regiment (temporarily closed)
  11. Greater Manchester Museum of Transport
  12. Portland Basin Museum
  13. Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum
  14. Rochdale Pioneers Museum
  15. Bolton Museum, Aquarium and Archive
  16. Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre
  17. Clayton Hall Living History Museum

Free gigs in Manchester

Photo: bunnyjacksonsmcr

Hearing about free stuff is just music to my ears. From jazz gigs to classical concerts, music flows freely across Manchester.

  1. The Royal Northern College of Music Afternoon Recitals
  2. Jazz Gigs at Matt and Phreds
  3. Live music on Sundays and Mondays at Bunny Jackson’s Juke Joint
  4. Jazz and Blues bands at The Fitzgerald every Thursday night
  5. Live entertainment most nights of the week at the Thirsty Scholar including bands, comedy nights, and poetry nights
  6. Be in the audience for TV shows including Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Mastermind, A Question of Sport
  7. Enjoy live music and performances most nights of the week at Albert’s Schloss
  8. Live jazz, blues and more at The Blue’s Kitchen’s New Orleans-style bar

Free markets in Manchester

Photo: altymarket

They’re only free if you don’t buy anything, but there are always free samples to be had…

  1. Northern Quarter Makers Market
  2. Altrincham Market
  3. Levenshulme Market
  4. Arndale Market
  5. Bury Market
  6. Stockport Market
  7. Castlefield Market
  8. Heaton Moor Market
  9. Ramsbottom Food and Craft Market

Free art galleries in Manchester

Photo: whitworthart

‘There is no must in art because art is free.’ It certainly is with these free art exhibitions and galleries, perfect for an eyeful of thought-provoking paintings, sculptures, and installations.

  1. The Whitworth
  2. Manchester Art Gallery
  3. Castlefield Gallery
  4. The Holden Gallery
  5. The Weavers Factory
  6. Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art
  7. HOME
  8. Paradise Works
  9. Bankley Studios and Gallery Manchester
  10. Salford Museum and Art Gallery
  11. Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre
  12. ARTZU Gallery
  13. The Lowry
  14. Chuck Gallery 

Free attractions in Manchester

Many of the big tourist draws charge for entry, but we’ve found some sneaky ways around that. You wanted free attractions in Manchester? You got ’em.

  1. The Pankhurst Centre
  2. The Donkey Sanctuary
  3. Central Library – Home to the British Film Institute archive

Free walks to go on in Manchester

From free walking tours of Manchester to self-guided ambles, we’re here for you. Stretch your legs, up your step count, and get a proper eyeful of everything the city has to offer with these walks.

  1. Free Manchester Walking Tours
  2. Tour The Plaza
  3. Reddish Vale Country Park
  4. Manchester’s Canal walks 

Free views over Manchester

Photo: cloud23bar

It’s time to get high for free (behave). See stunning, panoramic views of Manchester from high-level platforms or by climbing really big hills.

  1. Alderley Edge
  2. Werneth Low
  3. Cloud 23 (You’ll have to buy a drink but it’s free to go up and worth it for the view)
  4. The tram ride from Cornbrook to St. Peter’s Square
  5. The Air Shard at Imperial War Museum North
  6. The Casket Works in Cow Lane, Salford
  7. Winter Hill in Rivington Moor
  8. The grassy hillock in Liverpool Road that overlooks The Ox
  9. Salford Quays
  10. Chorlton Water Park
  11. Heaton Park

Beautiful places to visit for free

Photo: photosofbritain

Behold, the beauty of Manchester!

  1. The Northern Quarter
  2. Salford Lads Club to recreate The Smiths album photo
  3. John Ryland’s Library
  4. Chetham’s Library
  5. Manchester Cathedral
  6. Ordsall Hall
  7. Manchester Town Hall

Free parks and gardens in Manchester

Photo: _ashutterbug_

Park yourself at one of these spots for a fabulously free afternoon.

  1. Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens
  2. Burrs Country Park
  3. Haughton Dale
  4. Whitworth Park
  5. Reddish Vale Country Park
  6. Buile Hill Park
  7. Alexandra Park
  8. Stalybridge Country Park
  9. Clifton Country Park

Best shops in Manchester to explore

Photo: matthewadshead76

These places are perfect for a browse, but you’ll have to resist the temptation to keep that whole free thing going. From historic market buildings to cute independent shops, this city is a shopping paradise.

  1. Afflecks Palace
  2. Altrincham Market
  3. The Trafford Centre
  4. Barton Arcade
  5. Hatch
  6. Manchester Fort
  7. Quayside MediaCityUK

Also published on Medium.

Things To Do