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Things To Do

The Ultimate Manchester Bucketlist: 60 Things To Do In Manchester This Year

Laura Rogan Laura Rogan - Editor of Secret Manchester

The Ultimate Manchester Bucketlist: 60 Things To Do In Manchester This Year

60 things to do in Manchester in 2021.

After the unbelievable year that was 2020, what will you do in the city this year? Get some inspirational ideas for things to do in Manchester with our magical bucket list – including post-lockdown celebrations, the return of festivals and grand reunions with our beloved pints. Here are 60 things to do in Manchester in 2021.

1. Re-live your childhood in an underground arcade bar

Credit: NQ64

Tucked away down an alley-like street in the Northern Quarter, NQ64 is one of our city’s most unique bars – teaming up cocktails and craft beers with retro gaming. It’s an absolute must-do for anyone visiting the Northern Quarter this summer. NQ64, 9 Short St, M4 1AA.

2. Listen to classical music by candlelight

The end of lockdown means the return of Fever’s ever-popular candlelight concerts. Taking place at some of the most beautiful venues in the city, the soothing classical concerts are inspired by a number of famous artists, with jazz homages, tributes to Beethoven and so much more in store for this summer. See all the events here.

3. Fill up on bottomless pizza at Crazy Pedro’s

Nothing says ‘lockdown is finally over’ like bottomless pizza and cocktails. Celebrating newfound freedom in style, Crazy Pedro’s has announced the return of their popular bottomless event, and it’s taking place every single day from April 12. Crazy Pedros, 55-57 Bridge St, M3 3BQ.

4. Visit Alan Turing

The famous Mathematician from Wilmslow is honoured in Sackville Park, Manchester, where you can find his statue sitting peacefully on a bench. Turing is celebrated for the role he has played in the Gay Rights movement, with a law now in his name that retroactively pardoned men cautioned or convicted under historical legislation that outlawed homosexual acts.

5. Visit the Peaky Blinders-themed bar

Getting yourself geared up for the final season? Visit Manchester’s very Peaky Blinders-themed bar before it’s premiere. The bar offers British grub, cocktails and even its very own bottomless brunch. Peaky Blinders Manchester, 23 Peter St, M2 5QR.

6. Take a trip down memory lane with a concert featuring Peter Andre, Atomic Kitten and 5ive

Credit: AFP

Ok, so this is a post-lockdown event we’re really excited about. This 90s-inspired event will see the likes of Peter Andre, 5ive, Atomic Kitten, the Cheeky Girls and many more team up for a huge gig, taking place at the Bowlers Exhibition Centre late this summer. Get tickets here before they’re gone.

7. Or head to Parklife

Parklife is officially back with a bang this summer, and while we’re still waiting for the deets, founder Sacha Lord has promised that it’s going to be epic. Make sure you snap up tickets quick!

8. Claim victory at fancy darts

Flight Club has been one of our most-missed venues throughout the pandemic, so we’re pretty excited to get stuck into a competitive game of interactive darts with our pals, scran on some pizza and chug back some cocktails. Flight Club, Ship Canal House, 98 King St, M2 4WU.

9. Visit the world’s first Tango Ice Blast kiosk

So you’ve probably visited already, given its been open quite some time now, but since cinemas and non-essential shops have been closed, we can’t wait to get our hands on a refreshing Tango Ice Blast again.

10. Get your face on a cappuccino

Because what’s better than a coffee having your name on it? Having your actual face on it. Frankie’s Toasties, 98 Portland St, Greater, M1 4GX.

11. Dine in the dark with this unique foodie experience

If you fancy a dining experience with a difference after lockdown, then you’re in luck, because the sell-out Dining In The Dark is returning this summer – this time, with a brand new venue. The menu is, of course, top-secret, however, trust us when we say – there’s no better way to tantalise those tastebuds. Book it here.

12. Take your dog for a Sunday roast

Since they’ve been our top companions over the past year, we think they deserve a treat. Peru Perdu in Spinningfields created the dog-friendly Sunday lunch just last summer, and we can’t wait to try it with our pooches. Peru Perdu, 74 Princess St, M1 6JD.

13. … Or an ice cream

Not only is Northern Eudaimonia perfectly located on the beautiful New Islington Marina, but they also serve epic desserts and best of all – doggy ice cream. It’s the perfect place to visit on a sunny day. Northern Eudaimonia, 6 New Union St, M4 6FQ.

14. Go swimming outdoors

It’s been a long, long year with no summer holidays – we’re getting in our swimmers and taking a dip! Check our guide to outdoor swimming locations here.

15. See the city from 20 Stories high

One of the most beautiful venues in Manchester, 20 Stories is situated high above the city, with incredibly unbeatable views. Drink cocktails, enjoy an afternoon tea or dine from their beautiful menu of perfectly presented dishes. 20 Stories, NO. 1, 1 Hardman Square, M3 3EB.

16. Visit the filming locations for huge Hollywood blockbusters

Over the past few years, Manchester has become a hotbed for Hollywood productions – including Marvel’s Captain America and the explosive new series of Netflix’s The Crown. Take a stroll around the city and explore the filming locations with our guide.

17. Enjoy a candlelit jazz performance at this magical open-air venue

Credit: Hatch

Celebrating some of the most acclaimed artists in jazz history, Fever’s popular Candlelight event is going ‘open-air’, this time, taking the production to Hatch. From Marvin Gaye to Ray Charles (with more yet to be announced), the event is the perfect way to catch up with friends over ambient entertainment. Book tickets here before they’re gone.

18. Try out Manchester’s first Chicago deep-dish pizzeria

One of 2021’s tastiest new openings, American Pies is finally here – and they’re serving up Manchester’s first Chicago-inspired deep-dish pizzas. The restaurant has been a huge hit already for those who’ve been lucky enough to try out their takeaway service, however, IRL dining is set to open for the first time once lockdown is over. American Pies, Unit 1, 58 W Mosley St, M2 3HZ.

19. Or go for a full English in a giant Yorkshire pudding

If there’s one thing we Northerners are good at, it’s Yorkshire Puds. And if anyone’s gone all out with the theme, it’s Porky Pig. The Kings of the Yorkshire Pudding wrap at the annual Christmas Markets, Porky Pig also has its own restaurant in town, where you can enjoy Yorkshire puddings every day of the year. Porky Pig, 7 Cooper St, M2 2FW.

20. Eat at UK’s first toastie restaurant

Everyone loves a cheese toastie. They’re probably one of the most underrated dishes in British cuisine. Not only do they make you feel warm and fuzzy, but you can put pretty much anything between those two slices of bread and call it a meal. That’s the beauty of it. And thanks to Frankie’s Toasties, we can now enjoy them made by the pros – with noodles, Nutella and more sealed up inside. Frankie’s Toasties, 98 Portland St, Greater, M1 4GX.

21. Or drink outdoors in one of the gorgeous beer gardens

Credit: Dukes 92

Beer gardens are our best friend this summer, and luckily for us, we have a plethora of them right on our doorsteps. Book your spot in one of Manchester’s best sun traps with our guide here.

22. Let your hair down at this ‘Bougie’ Drag brunch

One of the most fun events taking place in Manchester this year, Bougie Drag Brunch is returning for a number of shows this summer – with a fantastic line-up, a delicious bottomless brunch and a whole lot of fun to be had with the squad. Tickets are selling fast, so book yours quick.

23. Reunite with your girls at this pretty-in-pink sleepover club

Planning the perfect girl’s night? Fire up the group chat, because we’ve found just the place to reunite. Complete with its own bar, Instagrammable touches throughout, and plenty of beds, Copper and Blossom is a fantastic venue to enjoy all to yourself, before heading out on the town and returning for your very own after-party.

24. Check out a gospel performance while chowing down on one of Manchester’s best Sunday roasts

Albert’s Schloss offers one of Manchester’s best Sunday roasts, and not only is the food unbelievably delicious, but they also offer an incredible experience alongside it. Bringing out some of their finest performers for the occasion, diners can enjoy the sounds of a wonderful gospel choir while having their lunch, or stick around for a jazz performance hosted by one of their best singers.

25. Potter around one of Manchester’s amazing markets

Missed pottering? Us too. And where better to do just that than Manchester’s fantastic markets? From those packed with quirky, handmade merchandise, to the more food-orientated markets packed with home bakes, pizza and more – check out our guide to our faves here.

26. Pay tribute to Daft Punk at this unique concert

Devastated by the news that Daft Punk are splitting up? Pay homage to the duo at this incredibly unique event this summer, which will see the Kaleidoscope Orchestra come together to perform some of their biggest hits. Kaleidoscope has performed live at some top festivals and venues including Creamfields, Sheffield City Hall, Manchester Academy and the O2 Ritz, Manchester, so you know you’re in for a real treat with this one. Sign up for the waiting list here.

27. Grab a cuppa at the city’s first mental health cafe

The Feel Good Club opened just before the second national lockdown, so if you didn’t get a chance to visit before indoor dining had to close, now’s the time. The cafe has a focus on mental health, with mental health first aid trained staff, positive messaging throughout, and generally very good coffee. Feel Good Club, 26-28 Hilton St, M1 2EH.

28. Or pay it forward at this lovely little coffee truck

Located in Monton, The Coffee Collective stole our hearts last October when they launched a lovely pay-it-forward scheme, which allowed customers to ‘pay with a post-it’ if they were struggling (either financially, or mentally). The post-its are paid for by other customers who are feeling generous, and it’s a wonderful community project that has put a smile on the faces of many during the pandemic. Pay it forward if you can.

29. Stay at Manchester’s first beer-themed hotel

BrewDog’s first hotel in England is opening in Manchester this summer, and in true BrewDog style – it’s beer-themed. From beer fridges in the showers to taps in every room – the hotel promises to be a fantastic new experience in the city, with a rooftop bar on top, BBQ grub and a ground floor bar, too.

30. Celebrate our LGBTQ+ community at Manchester Pride

Manchester Pride is back for 2021, with their sell-out Manchester Pride Live event, the Gay Village celebrations and the touching candlelight vigil. The event may be scaled back in some areas as a result of COVID, however, it’s expected to be back with a bang following its cancellation last year.

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31. Listen to beautiful music under a rare Concorde plane

Sit under one of the last remaining Concorde planes in the world, all while enjoying the sounds of some of the most iconic soundtracks of all time. From Jurassic Park to Harry Potter, some of the most talented musicians in the country will perform surrounded by candlelight in an extra special event taking place this June. Book tickets here.

32. Book an al-fresco dinner at one of the city’s new outdoor dining spaces

Planning your first outing once lockdown is over? From April 12, we can finally enjoy Manchester’s gorgeous makeshift outdoor terraces – which took over the streets just last summer. Many of the city’s best restaurants are taking bookings already, and you can check out our guide to some of our faves here.

33. Celebrate Manchester’s hospitality scene at the Manchester Food & Drink Festival

Manchester Food & Drink Festival has announced its grand return for 2021, with a celebration of the city’s hospitality scene to commemorate what a bumpy year its been for the industry. The festival was cancelled last minute last year as a result of the yo-yo-ing restrictions, so it’d be an understatement to say we’re excited that its back.

34. Escape to an isolated cabin overlooking Saddleworth

If you’re actually fancying an escape over a celebration this summer, we’ve got just the spot. Nestled away from society overlooking Saddleworth and the Pennines is a cosy little cabin, with room enough for just two. Wildlife potter around outside, so it’s just you, the sound of the birds chirping and your own little outdoor terrace complete with a BBQ.

35. Check out the new Nerf laser battleground

One for all the family, Nerf is opening up its first ‘Action Xperience’ in the UK, choosing the Trafford Centre as its new home. The huge laser combat battleground will be home to a number of experiences, including a challenging obstacle course, a ‘create’ zone and more.

36. Attend a very cheeky bottomless brunch with butlers in the buff and male dancers

The Boy Toy Drag Brunch sent Mancs into a spin when it arrived in the city last year, and it’s back for another round. Bringing the Boy Toy butlers in the buff and dancers in tow, the event will be hosted by one of the UK’s best drag queens and will combine a brilliant bottomless brunch and bubbles with immersive performances, games and more. Get tickets before they’re gone.

37. Escape the outside world in one of Manchester’s lovely bookshops

Whether you’ve picked up reading as a hobby during lockdown or are a long-time book worm, there’s no better place to fall into a world of fiction than a small, independent book shop. Nothing beats a browse through the shelves while you discover new titles and old classics, and it’s a great excuse to boycott Amazon for a week or two. Check out our guide to some of the loveliest bookshops in town.

38. Do a DIY tour of Manchester’s street art

The Northern Quarter is the street art capital of Manchester, with mesmerising murals at every turn. Even the alleyways are peppered with creative pieces by local artists, and now, you can uncover them all thanks to this fantastic app.

39. Get to know Greater Manchester with a summer canal walk

Looking to explore Manchester a little further? Take on one of these gorgeous canal walks, perfect for the summer months.

40. Get behind Marcus Rashford’s food poverty campaign and donate to Fareshare

The pandemic brought a lot of things to light, but one of the most heartbreaking was how many families have really struggled over the past few months. Food poverty has never been more prevalent, and thanks to the awareness raised by Marcus Rashford, many have stepped up to help those in need. The work doesn’t stop after lockdown, however, and the Fareshare charity still rely on donations to help those using food banks get what they need.

41. Take a tour of one of Manchester’s favourite breweries with Seven Bro7hers

Find out exactly where the magic happens at Seven Bro7hers Salford-based brewery. Running regular tours, the brewery takes guests behind-the-scenes to where they make all of our favourite brews, with a pitstop at their taproom to enjoy afterwards. Find out more here.

42. Try out Solita’s Sunday roast burger

Solita Sundays are an experience you have to try at least once, if only for the novelty of the Sunday roast burger. Topped with all the trimmings, the dish combines everything that Northerners love – good grub with gravy. Solita, Turner St, M4 1DW.

43. Check out the new First Dates restaurant

Credit: Dave King/Channel 4

Now that lockdown is almost over, we can finally see the new First Dates restaurant for ourselves. Now set at The Refinery in Spinningfields, Fred and co have given the restaurant a whole new look – which you can check out for yourself once we’re free to go out again. The Refinery, XYZ Building, 1 Hardman Blvd, M3 3AQ.

44. Enjoy one of the city’s many drive-in experiences from a social distance

Celebrate the end of lockdown at a social distance this spring, with a number of fantastic drive-in events – all of which are taking place in Manchester. From Queen by Candlelight to a fantastic Rocky Horror Show, check out the full list of events taking place this year here.

45. Make your way through 2021’s newest restaurants

Despite the pandemic, Manchester’s restaurant scene has continued to thrive – with new openings blessing our city over the past year. And it’s not stopping there. There’s a number of new spots set to open this year, and we want to try them all.

46. Check out the wonderful wisteria-covered restaurant in Alderley Edge

One of the North West’s most beautiful restaurants, Victor’s is absolutely dripping in wisteria and the perfect spot for dinner and cocktails. If anywhere screams Instagram-worthy, it’s definitely here.

47. Try the city’s only Michelin star restaurant in Ancoats

Treat yourself to some Michelin star grub at Manchester’s only restaurant to hold the honour. Situated in Ancoats, Mana is decorated with beautiful, simple touches and is known for its avante garde menu and wine pairings. Mana, 42 Blossom St, Ancoats, M4 6BF.

48. See Little Amal arrive in Manchester as part of her 5,000-mile walk

Credit: Walk With Amal | Nick Wall

Making up part of Manchester International Festival’s opening weekend, Little Amal will embark on a 5,000-mile walk this summer, in a bid to “rewrite the narrative” about refugees. Covering the Turkey-Syria border through to Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium – Amal will arrive in Manchester on July 4, 2021, with a free public event taking place in Manchester city centre for all to attend.

49. Wind down at a Disney-inspired classical concert

Forming part of the impressive Candlelight series this summer, Disney fans can enjoy an inspiring magical movie-themed edition, with a beautiful 65 minute performance by an amazing string quartet. Expect tracks from The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Lion King and more. Candlelight events often sell out, so you’re best snapping up tickets fast here.

50. Wonder around one of Manchester’s best and quirkiest attractions, Affleck’s Palace

Affleck’s Palace is arguably one of Manchester’s best attractions, thanks to its Aladdin’s Cave-like approach to retail. Each floor offers something different, with food, clothing, accessories and so much more to discover during your visit. Affleck’s Palace, 52 Church St, M4 1PW.

51. Pay your respects to the Manchester Arena victims at the brand new memorial garden

Currently scheduled for completion this November, Manchester City Council is currently working on a beautiful memorial garden to honour the victims of the Manchester Arena attack, with a halo-like structure that will feature the names of the 22 who sadly died during the attack.

52. Visit Manchester’s bright pink burger wonderland

Credit: Archie’s

Archie’s Piccadilly restaurant is more than just a burger place – it’s a hot pink paradise. Filled with many social media opportunities, the restaurant has its own bar pit, outdoor terrace, a banana swing, and of course, all the Archie’s grub your heart could desire. Archie’s, 6 & 7, Gateway House, Piccadilly, M1 2GH.

53. Enjoy brines and steins at Manchester’s newest speakeasy

Salt Dog Slim’s is making its way over from Liverpool for its newest venue, and we couldn’t be more excited to tuck into ‘steins and brines’ – aka, beers and hot dogs. The speakeasy will be located around the King Street area and is the perfect place to visit for a casual drink.

54. Learn about a whole host of intriguing topics at one of these mind-blowing talks

Feel the need to re-calibrate your brain after a year of ongoing restrictions? Fever Talks are set to return this summer, with a number of fantastic topics hosted by experts to delve deeper into. Check out the schedule here.

55. Pamper yourself after months stuck in lockdown

If there’s one thing we deserve this spring, it’s a good old pamper. Nails did, hair did, spa day – the whole shebang. And we have just the guide to where to get the star treatment.

56. Explore one of the many picturesque villages near Manchester

Stretch your legs with a little bit of scenery while exploring one of the most picturesque villages in and around Manchester. We’re talking waterside scenery, cobbled streets and period homes tucked away in quiet little streets. Check out our guide here.

57. De-stress at Manchester’s famous smash room

Because how else are you supposed to let our your pandemic frustrations? Manchester’s only smash room, Temper Tank, is set to return after lockdown – and thank heavens because we’re more than ready to get suited up and smash some stuff. The calming experience has proven incredibly popular with Mancs since its opening, and bookings can be made now.

58. Wander around Manchester’s fantastic galleries and museums

One thing we can’t wait to get immersed in this spring: culture. From Manchester’s gorgeous galleries to some of the most interesting museums in the country – our city has a lot to offer by way of culture.

59. Get tipsy at one of the city’s best bottomless brunches

We’ve truly missed our monthly bottomless brunch while Coronavirus has wreaked havoc on our lives, and we’re looking forward to our first refill when restaurants open again this spring. In need of some inspo? Check out our guide to the best boozy brunches here.

60. Enjoy the atmosphere of Derby Day

One of the most defining events in Manchester culture is Derby Day. Whether you’re blue or red, it really brings the city together, as hundreds flock to the pub to support their team. We miss the footy atmosphere, and we can’t wait for the first Derby match when life is back to normal.


Also published on Medium.