Payday has arrived, January is over, and we’re one day closer to winter being over for another year. Phew. Instead of hibernating from the chill this month, we’ve rounded up the very best things to do in Manchester this February – all indoors, we promise.
1. Watch a mesmerising candlelit ballet performance at Manchester Cathedral
Few things can improve the classical renditions of Vivaldi, which enchants the audience and instils joy from the moment the first note is played. However, on this occasion, we think we may just have found a way. The lovely folks of Fever are hosting an utterly magical night of candlelit ballet on February 9 at Manchester Cathedral – making for an unforgettable display of music and dance. With a string quartet, professional ballet dancers, and a beautiful venue bathed in the soft glow of candlelight, it might just be the most romantic date you’ve ever been on.
2. Celebrate the most romantic day of the year with a these Valentine’s Day ideas
For many, February of course means Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re in a relationship or single, Manchester has everything taken care for those looking for a bit of romance. From set menus curated for the occasion to plenty of date ideas, whether it be your first date or fiftieth, there’s plenty to eat, see and do in the city. And if you don’t fancy spending it alone, there’s plenty to do with your mates from bottomless brunches to wonderful walks.
3. Get in formation at a Beyonce-themed Bottomless Brunch
Get the squad together, because the Queen B Bottomless Brunch is back – and it’s set to be four hours of Beyoncé-themed fun. Starring drag queen Cara Melle, guests can fill up on delicious pizzas while enjoying 90 minutes of free-flowing prosecco – before dancing the day away alongside immersive performances from the queens and great music from the DJ.
4. See artists battle it out to create the best masterpiece at The Science and Industry Museum
The Science and Industry Museum is set to host the city’s most energetic art event: Art Battle Manchester live in a museum for the first time on February 9 from 7pm to 10.30pm. Surrounded by world-changing ideas on display across the museum’s galleries, 10 artists will be challenged to create a masterpiece in only 30 minutes. Move around the action, watch the art come to life, and cast your vote for your favourite creation. Look out for pop-up performances and as you explore Revolution Manchester and the Textiles Gallery and see the museum spaces brought to life in this special after-hours event.
5. Tuck into free chicken wings at The Blues Kitchen
The Blues Kitchen will host an all-new Friday Happy Hour in Manchester, from 5pm to 7pm, giving out 1,000 free chicken wings in personal portions, every Friday from February 2. Alongside the wings, guests can get into the Friday mood with a choice of £6 cocktails from across The Blues Kitchen’s entire cocktail menu such as the Fig Negroni, Burnt Pear Old Fashioned, Ginger Mojito, Spicy Margarita, Paloma or Lychee Martini. Guests can also kick off the weekend with £6 cocktails and wings to the soundtrack of the best in soul, funk, rhythm and legendary blues, with live music at the venue from 8pm.
6. Get your creative juices flowing at this Paint in the Dark experience
If your new year resolution is to become more creative or try new things then this immersive painting experience is for you. This one-of-a-kind event invites you to tap into your creative side under the brilliant and luminous glow of neon lights. Explore vivid colours and paint whimsical waves or whatever your inner artist tells you while sipping a drink.
7. Watch all the Six Nations action unfold on the big screen
The Six Nations is officially back from February 3, and luckily for us Mancs there are plenty of places to watch it with mates, from food hubs to sports bars. Pull up a seat in front of the big screen, order a beer and relax with our guide to where to watch the Six Nations this year in Manchester.
8. Gorge on perfectly-made pies throughout the month of February at The Black Friar
The Black Friar in Salford has brought back its popular festival dedicated to the magnificent pie for two months (and the coldest ones of the year too) so soothing and tasty that it might just convince you to put your shoes on, grab your coat and head out for some proper pub grub. The Salford pub and restaurant claims to have the best pies in the city, all of which will be showcased on their specially-curated pie menu. The festival of pie runs up until the end of February, when pies will be just £10 each all day Monday and between 12pm and 6pm Tuesdays to Fridays.
9. Celebrate the Year of the Dragon in Manchester’s Chinatown
The Lunar New Year festivities will take place throughout Chinatown and across the city, where Mancs will be able to bring in the Year of the Dragon in style – with plenty of events and activities happening. The celebrations are free to attend and will kick off on February 10, where you can potter around the city and enjoy the thousands of red lanterns that are dotted in the trees. On February 11, you can witness the legendary Dragon Parade, watch live performances, visit stalls and be entertained at the funfair.
10. Groove on over to Manchester Opera House to see Madagascar the Musical
Madagascar The Musical is heading to Manchester Opera House in February and I’m already bopping to ‘I like to move it, move it’. Join Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria as they escape captivity and head to the mysterious and elusive “wild”. In this crack-a-lackin’ adaptation of the animated motion picture, you’ll witness all of the chaotic adventures from the film but with the added joy of a wonderfully wacky soundtrack. Of course King Julien and his right-hand man Maurice will also make an appearance, as well as those pesky penguins, Skipper, Rico and Private.
11. Battle it out with your friends (or foes) at NERF Action Xperience
Unleash your inner action hero at NERF Action Xperience, the epic indoor attraction in Manchester’s Trafford Palazzo. Here you can put your NERF blasting skills to the test with four fun-packed zones which include battlefields, a training ground and a variety of energetic sports games that are sure to get your heart-pounding and brain in the game. Suitable for kids (and big ones too), it will definitely keep all entertained over half-term, weekends or even after-work.
12. Watch the Super Bowl, America’s biggest sporting match live
February is not just the month for one sporting event but two as the popular Super Bowl game takes place. American expats and lovers of football (the other one) will be gathering together to watch the big match play out and luckily some of Manchester’s bars will be staying open late to screen the event. The teams in the play-off are yet to be confirmed but one team will be crowned this year’s champion of the National Football League (NFL) and there will be a half-time performance from Usher.
13. Admire the biggest celebration of Greater Manchester’s creative talent at HOME
Taking place every two years, the Open Exhibition is the biggest celebration of Greater Manchester’s creative talent. Between February 3 and April 28, the HOME Gallery walls will be filled with work created by you, selected by a panel consisting of art experts and community representatives. Open to all, those who already identify as artists and those who don’t, the Manchester Open exhibition brings together artwork including paintings, prints, photography, sculpture, ceramics, digital and mixed media, video, audio and more.
14. Indulge in some flippin’ good pancakes on Shrove Tuesday
Don’t fancy the epic clean up after covering the kitchen in pancake mix? Yeah, us neither. So get yourself some sensational stacks from a range of Manchester spots this Pancake Day instead. From traditional crêpes to huge American-style stacks, you’ll want to try them all and there are plenty of places to hit up for pancakes in Manchester this coming Shrove Tuesday (February 13).
15. Discover all of the cheesiest spots in Manchester on this tasty tour
Sure, there are plenty of walking tours that you could go on that would take you around all of the historic parts of the city; showing you all the best tourist spots, most haunted spots or prime street art spots. But there’s only one way to truly get to know Manchester: by touring all of the cheesiest spots, of course. On this tempting trip around town you’ll not only get to fill your stomach with dairy delights, but there’ll be a cheese whizz quiz and an unmissable insight into the cheese-making process.
16. Listen to music for a good cause at this new fundraising concert
Famous Mancs Gary Neville and James are hosting Music Feeds Live – a new fundraising concert to tackle food poverty at the O2 Apollo on February 27. Chart-topping musicians and performers are joining forces and voices to help fight food poverty in the North West. Led by James guitarist Saul Davies and his partner Vanda Guerreiro, more than 10 artists will perform at the Music Feeds Live concert, raising funds for foodbank charity The Trussell Trust.
17. Head to Fête of Britain, a four-day takeover of Aviva Studios
Brian Eno, Es Devlin, Cornelia Parker, Jon Ronson, Jeremy Deller and Louis VI are among a group of musicians, artists and creatives who are launching a new movement called Hard Art. They have come together to develop a cultural response to the major critical issues facing the world today, such as climate change, injustice, cost of living, and the crisis in our democracy. Hard Art will be launched with The Fête of Britain (February 22-25), a four-day takeover at Aviva Studios, Manchester. Through a mix of play, workshops, people’s assemblies, talks and performances The Fête of Britain will explore the intersecting crises affecting the UK – with a focus on the cost-of-living crisis and climate collapse – and ask how we can draw on our history of resistance, art, culture and assembly, to find our collective power today.
18. Soak up the incredible views from this brand new hotel‘s rooftop bar
A brand new hotel from Malmaison is set top open in Manchester this February, which has its very own rooftop bar that will overlook the city and beyond. Sat a stone’s throw from the bustling Deansgate thoroughfare which connects the city’s many neighbourhoods, this 4-star property will offer 70 rooms and suites, many with picturesque views. The Manchester Deansgate hotel will also play host to the second rooftop bar and restaurant in the UK from Malmaison, known as Sora, with a restaurant and intimate terrace that overlooks the historic Manchester Town Hall.
19. Sample some of Manchester’s best brews on this craft beer tour
Back on the booze after Dry January? Well for all lovers of craft beer this tour is one way to sample the finest brews in the city as you get to taste 10-12 beers (1/3 pints) of superb craft beer locally brewed in Manchester. Starting at Beatnikz Republic Bar, you’ll be introduced to breweries and beer houses off the beaten track, with a unique beer to try. After all, wandering the city can be thirsty work!
20. Pay a visit to Oldham Gallery to see the iconic Lowry painting ‘Going to the Match’
The hugely important and much-loved work of art by LS Lowry, ‘Going to the Match’, has been on public display at The Lowry since they opened in 2000. But now, the masterpiece ‘Going to the Match’ is going on tour and will be on public display at Gallery Oldham for a limited time. The 1953 work, which will be on display in Gallery Oldham until February 24, shows fans arriving for a Bolton Wanderers game at their former home, Burnden Park. The painting’s iconic status has been recognised and loved by visitors of all ages: those who love art, those who love football and those who celebrate this quintessentially Northern experience.
21. Play bingo like never before at this wild bottomless brunch
Forget what you know about bingo already, because local drag queen Anna Phylactic is about to change all that. Bringing a wild version of the game to the city alongside the Boy Toy butlers, the fun bottomless brunch will bring four whole hours of interactive entertainment, from games, prizes, dancing and more.
22. Be starstruck by the clear night sky at the annual Dark Skies Festival
OK, so not exactly in Manchester, but it’s a very magical festival worth the journey to this February, as it’s a chance to see the full expanse of the night sky (which is rare in Manchester city centre). One of the best places to see the stars and less light polution is the Forest of Bowland, just over an hour’s drive from Manchester, which is hosting a brand-new photography exhibition alongside its annual Dark Skies Festival, celebrating the practice of stargazing. The Dark Skies Festival returns on February 10 where you can hang out at the observatory, cosy up by the campfire or get educated on superfoods under the stars.
Also published on Medium.