Things To Do

94 Fantastic Free Things To Do In Manchester

Laura O'Neill Laura O'Neill

94 Fantastic Free Things To Do In Manchester

You won’t have to spend a penny with our roundup of 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

5. People’s History Museum

6. Bury Transport Museum

7. Museum off Hatting

8. Touchstones Rochdale Museum

9. Salford Museum and Art Gallery

10. Museum of The Manchester Regiment

11. Greater Manchester Museum of Transport 

12. Portland Basin Museum

13. Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum

14. Stockport Museum

15. Rochdale Pioneers Museum

16. Bolton Museum, Aquarium and Archive

17. Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre

18. Saddleworth Museum

19. 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.

20. The Royal Northern College of Music Afternoon Recitals

21. Jazz Gigs at Matt and Phreds

22. Live music on Sundays and Mondays at Bunny Jackson’s Juke Joint

23. Jazz and Blues bands at The Fitzgerald every Thursday night

24. Live entertainment most nights of the week at the Thirsty Scholar including bands, comedy nights, and poetry nights

25. Be in the audience for TV shows including Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Mastermind, A Question of Sport

26. Enjoy live music and performances most nights of the week at Albert’s Schloss

27. 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…

28. Northern Quarter Makers Market

29. Altrincham Market

30. Levenshulme Market

31. Arndale Market

32. Bury Market

33. Stockport Market

34. Castlefield Market

35. Heaton Moor Market

36. 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.

37. The Whitworth

38. Manchester Art Gallery

39. Castlefield Gallery

40. The Holden Gallery

41. Caustic Coastal

42. The Weavers Factory

43. Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art

44. HOME

45. Paradise Works

46. Bankley Studios and Gallery Manchester

47. Salford Museum and Art Gallery

48. Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre

49. ARTZU Gallery 


50. The Lowry

51. 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.

52. The Pankhurst Centre

53. Manchester Airport Runway Vistors Park

54. The Donkey Sanctuary

55. 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.

56. Free Manchester Walking Tours 

57. Tour The Plaza

58. Reddish Vale Country Park

59. 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.

60. Alderley Edge

61. Werneth Low 

62. Cloud 23 (You’ll have to buy a drink but it’s free to go up and worth it for the view)

63. The tram ride from Cornbrook to St. Peter’s Square

64. The Air Shard at Imperial War Museum North

65. The Casket Works in Cow Lane, Salford

66. Station Approach (the walkway that leads up to Piccadilly Station)

67. Winter Hill in Rivington Moor

68. The grassy hillock in Liverpool Road that overlooks The Ox

69. Salford Quays

70. Chorlton Water Park

Beautiful places to visit for free

Photo: photosofbritain

Behold, the beauty of Manchester!

71. The Northern Quarter

72. Salford Lads Club to recreate The Smiths album photo

73. John Ryland’s Library

74. Chetham’s Library

75. Manchester Cathedral 

76. Ordsall Hall

77. Manchester Town Hall

Free parks and gardens in Manchester

Photo: _ashutterbug_

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

78. Heaton Park

79. Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens

80. Burrs Country Park

81. Haughton Dale

82. Whitworth Park

83. Reddish Vale Country Park

84. Chorlton Water Park

85. Buile Hill Park

86. Alexandra Park

87. Stalybridge Country Park

88. Werneth Low Country Park

89. 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.

90. Afflecks Palace

91. Altrincham Market

92. The Trafford Centre

93. Barton Arcade

94. Hatch

Also published on Medium.