There are two types of people in this world: those who love autumn, and those who don’t. We think Manchester is pretty good at catering to both demographics, with lots of things to do this autumn whether you want to avoid it at all costs, or embrace it now it’s finally time. From dressing up for Halloween and Oktoberfest festivities, to hunkering down at the theatre and getting into games and activities far away from the outside world, Manchester is ready for autumn, even if you’re not.
1. Join in the Oktoberfest celebrations in Manchester this autumn
Not that we need an excuse to drink copious large glasses of beer, don lederhosen or a dirndl and tuck into a big ole’ bratwurst but the Oktoberfest celebrations taking place this autumn do help. From oompah bands to beer tapping taking place, you can get into the Bavarian spirit at any one of the plethora of events in Manchester, whether it’s the official party at Platt Fields Park, the German extravaganza at Albert’s Schloss, or a good old knees up at Bierkeller. Prost!
2. Freak yourself out with a spooktacular Halloween event
With the onset of autumn, we’re automatically braced for (in our opinion) the best time of year – All Hallows’ Eve, or Halloween for those so inclined. Whether you’re adding the final flourishes to a year-in-the-making costume or digging out crooked cat ears from the back of your cupboard, the haunting holiday promises plenty of dastardly fun in the form of ghost tours, candlelit concerts and even a ‘scare skate’ ice rink.
Ghoulish immersive experiences like Scare City and Newsham Scream Park will have you shaking in your boots, horror movie marathons will ensure something spooky for those who dare enter the cinema, and the annual decor around town will keep kids and adults alike entertained throughout the festivities.
3. Grab a drink at one of Manchester’s newest bars
Of course, we have some new openings of bars and pubs in Manchester, and the autumn season is truly looking up. Why not try your luck at The Mean-Eyed Cat, or grab a swift pint at the upcoming Victoria Tap before your train? There’s bound to be many more popping up this season, so keep an eye out.
4. Witness the changing of the seasons in Manchester with a wholesome autumn woodland walk
We love a good ramble here in Manchester, and whether you stick to the city or fancy going further afield, there’s so much to see. City centre walks allow you take in the seasonal decorations that we love in Manchester, think pumpkin lanterns and inflatable monsters, with the aroma of pumpkin spice lattes and roast dinners filling the air as the season goes on. Going further out, the vast expanse of woodland towards Chorlton, Cheshire, Stockport and Prestwich shows us just how lucky we are to live in this part of the world with such beautiful nature on our doorstep, and let’s face it, we’re not remotely bothered about a bit of rain here in the north!
5. Catch one of the wonderful exhibitions happening in Manchester this autumn
From the classics of L.S. Lowry, to the wonderful world of modern art, Manchester can exhibit with the best of them. Whether you’re looking for something interactive with the kids at the Science and Industry Museum, or somewhere to wander round and marvel at incredible art with friends, there’s an exhibition for you. Our galleries and museums are packed full of culture, art and education, and are often free – it doesn’t get much better!
6. Taste your way through Manchester’s cosiest restaurants
A cosy restaurant is something we do really well in Manchester, with wooden interiors making you feel like you’re in a French chalet, blankets, fireplaces and the food to match. The likes of The Ivy and The Botanist are surprisingly cosy spots to hang out on a dark day, with classics like Albert’s Schloss and Bay Horse Tavern also doing roasts and good vibes. With so many vastly different food spots on offer, you’ll want to try at least one or two.
7. Immerse yourself in autumn live theatre shows and gigs in Manchester
They don’t call Manchester the UK capital of music for nothing, and in that vein, our live music and performance industry is as strong as ever. Whether you’re a live music enthusiast looking for all the niche musicians and bands playing tiny pubs and clubs in Manchester, or after the large-scale, blockbuster-type gigs, you’re covered here in the city. The likes of Gullivers and SOUP host lesser known future stars, where we have the mighty arena and Apollo for the likes of Elton John, The 1975 and Kylie – with the Co-op Live Arena still to come.
Similarly, our theatres, namely the Palace, Opera House and Lowry Theatre, host world-renowned shows, including Hamilton and Pretty Woman, in addition to iconic comedians like Frankie Boyle and Julian Clary, all year round, with so much to look forward to this season.
8. Gear up for the festive season with the start of Manchester’s Christmas markets
It might seem a bit soon to be thinking about Christmas, but it was recently announced that the legendary Manchester Christmas markets will get underway on November 10 – meaning an autumn start for festivities. Get in early and beat the near-Christmas rush by getting your bratwurst, mulled wine and pretzels in November, plus get that Christmas shopping boxed off early doors. November can often be that bland, boring, mildly depressing month between the fun of Halloween and the cosiness of Christmas, so why not bring that festivity forward? You deserve it.
9. Catch a couple of Rugby World Cup matches with pint in hand
Taking place until October 28, the Rugby World Cup returns after four years, so why not watch all the action on the big screen? If you weren’t lucky enough to nab some tickets to the live matches in France do not fear as plenty of Manchester venues have got you covered so you won’t miss a try. So go on, grab your mates, get the pints in and scrum on down to the likes of Freight Island, Walkabout and BOX, all bursting with World Cup atmosphere through the trials and tribulations of the tournament.
10. Pay a visit to the annual Manchester Art Fair
Since its launch in 2008, Manchester Art Fair has quietly become one of the UK’s largest and most significant art fairs with its aim of making viewing and buying quality art accessible and enjoyable. Returning to Manchester Central between November 17 and 19, the fair will be the biggest to date, increasing its footprint by 35% on 2022 and with even more new artists and galleries to discover.
Over 170 UK and international individual artists, galleries, and artist led spaces will show, with new entrants including Demif Gallery, British Art Portfolio, Art Court and First Contemporary. They will feature alongside returning exhibitors Saul Hay Gallery, Hidden Gallery and Carnes Fine Art amongst others. Why not check it out?
11. Immerse yourself in the iconic Warehouse Project
Luckily, autumn is the time when The Warehouse Project comes into full force, with the season usually starting in September, continuing up until New Year. If you’ve always wanted to experience an incredible boogie at Depot Mayfield, this is the time to do it, with the best line-up of any year so far. Between September and December the likes of Peggy Gou, Solardo, Skrillex, Bicep, The Blessed Madonna, Mall Grab, Idris Elba and Hannah Wants will all be gracing the former train depot, alongside so many others. Find the perfect fit for you and dance the night away.
12. Book in for some interactive activities with the kids, or big kids
We’ve seen a resurgence in interactive activities and gaming in Manchester over the past few years, with gaming bars like NQ64 expanding and The Crystal Maze Experience setting up shop in the city. There’s even more fun to be had right now with more popping up both in the city centre and further out, where there’s even more space for fun.
Climb higher than ever before at RockUp Manchester, get some target practice in with the new NERF Action Xperience or show off your bowling, curling and basketball prowess at King Pins. What’s more, the incredible VR go-karting experience Chaos Karts takes you to the land of Mario Kart in the centre of Manchester, which is a great option for the inevitable rainy days we’ll have this autumn.
13. Have a wholesome autumn day out pumpkin or apple picking near Manchester
Tis the season for hoarding pumpkins and making/eating apple pie, and nothing is more satisfying or wholesome than going to pick the raw ingredients yourself. We’re lucky here in the UK that pumpkins and apples have been grown for centuries on our ground, and the appearance of them heralds the autumn season. Whether you’re doing it for the ‘gram or just absolutely love getting your carve on, there are so many spots around our region where you can don your wellies an get stuck in, with pumpkin picking available at the likes of National Trust site Dunham Massey and Smithills Open Farm, and apple picking readily available too.
14. Hunker down with some good old Manchester pub grub
The opportunity for warming pub grub has us feeling all the cosy feels once the leaves start to fall. Which is exactly why we’re fully prepared and ready, stretchy pants on hand, for a season of pub grubbin’ in the North, from sausage and mash to fish and chips, and of course the classic Sunday roast. Manchester pubs with incredible grub of course include The Edinburgh Castle, Bay Horse Tavern and The Wharf, with special mentions going to The Oast House and Worsley Old Hall – yum.