Whether a born and raised Manc or an adopted one, we know all know rain is never far away in our dear city. However, poor weather doesn’t need to dampen your spirits – or your plans. We’ve got you covered in for things to do in Manchester on a rainy day.
1. Enjoy the comfort of the big screen cinema
Who doesn’t love the cinema? The latest films, popcorn – and an ice blast, of course. It’s a perfect activity for any time of the day. So if showers scupper your plans but you’re not prepared to put them completely off why not head to the cinema? I mean, you’ll be entertained for an hour or two, giving the rain time to pass. Worst case scenario: you’ve just watched a really great film. Best case scenario: you’ve watched a really great film and it’s stopped raining. Making it even more worthwhile is the fact that we can offer you a tasty discount on both Odeon tickets and Vue tickets. Result. Various locations.
2. Bring out your competitive side at NERF Action Xperience
Gear up for the ultimate NERF adventure at NERF Action Xperience in Trafford Palazzo. You have an hour to explore various immersive zones, including a skill-testing Training Ground, a heart-pounding sports arena and thrilling, thematic blaster arenas – this huge indoor venue is a haven for NERF enthusiasts of all ages! Once you’ve finished showing off your skills in the Training Ground, and blasting and outwitting your family and friends in the arenas, you can take time to browse the local retail or grab a bite to eat at Archie’s, making this the ultimate rainy day activity in Manchester – you can grab tickets here. NERF Action Xperience, Unit C2- C6, Trafford Palazzo, Trafford City, Manchester M17 8AS.
3. Visit Manchester Art Gallery
Take shelter from the rainy day at Manchester Art Gallery. It is in the heart of the city and been at the heart of city life for over 200 years. It boasts an impressive public collection under its care of over 46,000 objects spanning centuries of fine art, craft and more. This has been shaped by the people, not just those in charge of the museum but by the people of Manchester itself. Besides its impressive collection, it also has a number of rotating exhibitions and events throughout the year. So, with plenty to dive into, why not spend the day down at the historic space and enjoy all it has to offer? Better yet, it’s entirely free to go to the main gallery collections and exhibition spaces. Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley St, Manchester M2 3JL
4. Add a spark to your concert experience with a Candlelight performance
Keeping with the theme of spectacles, we have Candlelight concerts. This might not be one you’ve thought of before, but trust us, it’s an experience you won’t forget. At a Candlelight concert, you will essentially be getting a tribute performance from a live musician, or musicians, based around a certain artist or theme. Manchester can boast about its huge range of candlelight’s happening this year, so whether you’re a fan of Coldplay, Ella Fitzgerald, or even movie soundtracks, there’s something for everyone. Various locations.
5. John Rylands Research Institute – just trust us, it’s not what it sounds like…
If you’re after free things to do in Manchester on a rainy day a visit to the John Rylands Research Institute cannot go amiss. Unless you are studying, or have pretty niche interests, John Rylands probably doesn’t initially come to mind a one of the city’s places to be. However, it should. It is free to access to the public and has so much to offer. As a research institute, it boasts an impressive library that includes some rare collections you would struggle to find anywhere else in the world. It also boasts exhibitions and events across the year for you to enjoy. This all comes housed in a Grade I listed building with exquisite architecture – which, again, you can enjoy entirely for free. John Rylands Research Institute, 150 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3EH.
6. Get locked up with some cocktails at the Alcotraz cocktail experience
Alcotraz is one of the quirkiest places to be in Manchester, ideal for sheltering from a rainy day. The cocktail experience allows guests to step into a fictional prison, interact with fellow convicts, and drink cocktails (of course). Pop on your very own orange jumpsuit and sneak your way into your cell, before being served contraband cocktails from a fellow ‘inmate’. Just watch out for those pesky wardens… Alcotraz, 1A Watson St, M3 4EE.
7. Master the art of snow sports at the Chill Factore
Love a little adrenaline? Swap the rainy weather for a day on the slopes – in Manchester! Chill Factore boasts the UK’s longest indoor ski slope and has plenty of activities on offer for those who like to live life on the wild side. Learn to ski or snowboard, or take on one of their mammoth team building activities, including climbing up to their very own summit, building sledges and more. Chill Factore, 7 Trafford Way, Trafford Park, Stretford, M41 7JA.
8. Escape to a new and immersive world at DNA VR
Providing a unique entertainment experience, DNA VR allows visitors to dive into unimaginable virtual worlds spanning horror, fantasy and music. From surviving a zombie apocalypse, to traveling to the pyramids in Egypt or fighting off dragons, DNA VR has a game for everyone. Offering true escapism from the rain (and life in general), visitors can experience both solo and group virtual reality modes on 70 games providing hours of gameplay. At DNA VR in Manchester visitors can solve an escape room, explore the depths of the deep blue ocean or even save the Earth from an intergalactic disaster. So go on, get that headset on and go gaming like never before. DNA VR, St James Court, 30 Brown St, M2 1DH.
9. Have a ping pong party at Twenty Twenty Two
Twenty Twenty Two has long attracted in-the-know Mancs when the sun decides to hide away for a while; it is tucked underground, so you can truly escape the dreadful weather. Walk in and be greeted with a welcoming bar surrounded by comfy, socially-laid out Chesterfield sofas – where you can kick back and relax while chatting with friends, before heading into the next room where you can book out a ping pong table for a while and play til your heart’s content. Twenty Twenty Two, The Basement, Little Lever St, M1 1EZ.
10. Brighten your day with brightly coloured street art at Colors Festival
The family friendly experience is a delight for all and takes over a giant repurposed space that spans 800m² and is filled with larger than life artwork. Taking over Regent Retail Park in Salford, Colors Festival showcases the works of 30 established and local artists on a huge scale. Whilst it might be bleak and drizzling outside, strolling through brightly coloured immersive rooms is sure to brighten your day and mood. You’ll be treated to art across a range of mediums including photography, street art, paintings and more, leaving you mesmerised. Colors Festival, Regent Retail Park, 100 Regent Rd, Salford, M5 4QU.
11. Taste some of the best street food in Manchester at one of the city’s many food halls
Not only does Manchester offer some of the best activities come rain or shine, it also has quite the assortment of street food. Take cover and cosy up in one of Manchester’s food halls with a bite to eat whilst you hope the showers come to an end and discover what this city’s food scene is all about. Whether it’s tacos from Eat Picos in Mackie Mayor, burgers from Slap and Pickles in Society or plant-based goodness from Herbivorous and elevated chicken parmos from Parmaggedon in Hatch, you won’t go hungry that’s for sure.
12. Discover how Manchester Gin is made on this incredible distillery tour
Unleash your inner gin enthusiast and embark on an extraordinary journey through the mesmerizing Manchester Gin distillery. Witness the magnificent 1000-litre copper still in action and marvel at the intricate craftsmanship that goes into each and every bottle. Indulge your taste buds with an exquisite selection of handcrafted spirits, expertly curated to tantalize your senses, with a chance to try the local spirits for yourself. Then you can immerse yourself in a realm of mixology mastery at the enchanting Three Little Words Cocktail Bar, where the most imaginative concoctions await.
13. Polish up your darts skills at Flight Club
Cocktails, pizza and interactive darts: Flight Club in Manchester has a whole lot of fun in store for your next rainy day visit. From ‘Push for Drinks’ buttons at the tables, to a whole host of competitive games to challenge your mates to (as well as various photo-ops!), you’re sure to be in for a good night. Flight Club, Ship Canal House, 98 King St, M2 4WU.
Also published on Medium.