As the April showers finally begin to blow over, we’re finally ready to crack out the shorts and t-shirts and run (like our lives depend on it) straight to the beer garden – or basically, any activity that doesn’t involve bundling up with a blanket in front of the telly. From fun festivals serving up cold craft beer, tasty street food or a good dose of colourful artwork to epic parties celebrating key events this month such as Eurovision and the coronation of King Charles III, here’s our guide to the very best things to do in Manchester this May.
1. Enjoy an adorable day out at this cute Corgi café
A Wiggle (yes, Wiggle) of Corgis are set to descend on a doggy-friendly restaurant and bar in Greater Manchester, courtesy of POP+BARK, as recently seen on BBC’s Dragons’ Den. The Botanist at MediaCity in Salford will be hosting the Corgi Café pop-up this May, and it will be in Manchester for just for one day only and you can expect it to emotionally supportive and just plain cute. Corgis in attendance can expect Puppuccinos from the world’s only Puppuccino Bar, pupcorn from the Pupcorn Bar with lots of tasty toppings, a bathtub ballpit, off-lead fun, a doggy bakery and pop up boutique.
2. Be immersed in huge, brightly coloured artwork at Colors Festival
Colors Festival in Manchester is set to display the works of 30 established and local artists on a huge scale. The event will be taking over Regent Retail Park in Salford, with the 800m² space being completely reimagined. Expect artwork that covers entire walls in a venue that’s been completely repurposed for the exhibition. You’ll find yourself strolling through brightly coloured immersive rooms that have the XXL sized art plastered across the spaces creating a unique art experience you can interact with.
3. Sip on top beers at Manchester’s Craft Brew Festival
For Mancs who can’t get enough of the beautiful, golden nectar, you’ll be hoppy to know that the first ever Craft Brew Festival is set to arrive in Manchester this May. Cheers to that! Taking over Manchester’s iconic Victoria Warehouse on Friday 19th May and Saturday 20th May, the festival will bring together a selection of the best micro and independent craft breweries from across the UK.
4. Get into the Eurovision spirit at these Manchester screening parties
Like the rest of the UK, and the world really, we’re absolutely buzzing for Eurovision this year, especially since it’s just down the road in Liverpool. Obviously, it’s only the lucky few that’ll get to see the campy extravaganza in the flesh, so the rest of us need somewhere to let out our Eurovision excitement, and there’s so many events going on around Manchester for that very function. From karaoke parties at Escape to Freight Island to chilling in the cinema popcorn in one hand and score card in the other watching the music competition, you’ll definitely want to get involved.
5. Switch off from the world at this candlelit sound bath therapy and meditation event
At the Mindful Glow candlelit sound bath experience, you and your inner peace take centre stage. The tranquil, meditation-style sessions will be returning this May, bringing hundreds of candles and a whole lot of zen to Manchester. Mindful Glow is a meditation session that uses sound therapies to centre you. As you sit in the sound bath (not a literal bath, just FYI), illuminated by hundreds of candles, the sound waves from Tibetan and crystal bowls, tuning forks, shamanic drumming, and more will wash over you, and encourage you to completely unwind.
6. Celebrate the coronation of King Charles III
This May will see King Charles III officially be crowned king and there are a host of events taking place in Manchester to celebrate the monarch’s coronation. Everyone’s getting in on the action, with special afternoon teas, screenings and more. Mancs tuck into a royal feast, binge watch British film classics, attend a street party as well as head to the likes of Piccadilly Gardens and Manchester Cathedral to watch the historic event unfold on the big screen.
7. Visit the UK’s first ‘out of water’ immersive shark experience
The world’s most innovative ‘out of water’ shark experience making a splash this May at Chester Zoo. Planet Shark: Predator or Prey, aims to highlight the wonder of sharks and the wide-ranging threats they face, including ocean plastics and illegal shark fin trade. The immersive experience, available to visit from May 25, will feature 360-degree underwater digital display, as well as life-sized shark models along with the jaws of a prehistoric giant, and largest fish ever recorded, the megalodon shark.
8. Watch the iconic soul singer Heather Small perform at Manchester Cathedral
Imagine the uplifting sounds of 1,000 Mancunians singing the lyrics “what have you done today to make you feel proud?” in the middle of a cathedral. Well, you don’t need to just imagine it; you can be part of this crowd this May as the distinct vocals of Heather Small fill Manchester Cathedral. Just over 23 years to the day since the release of Proud, Heather Small – one of the most successful British soul singers, and former lead singer in the band M People – will be performing live on May 26.
9. Tuck into a beautiful Chinese brunch including a cherry blossom dessert
We love a brunch here in Manchester, and what’s not to like? Food, drinks, mates… the best! Now elegant Chinese masters Tattu have added a special brunch to their roster, and it’s most definitely a Manchester brunch to try. Available on the upcoming bank holiday weekends – Sunday 7th May and Sunday 28th May – the ‘Tribe of Tattu Brunch’ offers a curated and delicate menu to choose from. The decadent brunch consists of three stages that finishes with an almost too beautiful to eat cherry blossom dessert.
10. Head to a rooftop cabaret show with circus acts and comedy
Trailblazing cabaret, La Clique, is coming to Manchester for its very first North of England residency on the rooftop of Depot Mayfield. La Clique will showcase the world’s best circus and cabaret acts from Thursday 25th May for an exclusive and limited 6-week run in a beautiful 1920s Spiegeltent venue. Alongside La Clique and the Spiegeltent, entertainment company Underbelly will bring its signature summer pop-up experience with a beautiful outdoor bar and local street food traders, making it the perfect space for outdoor summer drinking and eating for pre and post-show.
11. Listen to Calvin Harris’ greatest hits like never before at this candlelight concert
We’re all used to blasting Calvin Harris‘ hits at parties and hearing them in nightclubs, but this event is giving them the Candlelight treatment transforming the feel-good songs into thrilling, classical pieces of music. On May 27, the Kaleidoscope Orchestra is making its way to Manchester Cathedral to perform three mesmerising tributes inspired by Calvin Harris. Get ready to immerse yourself in a one-of-a-kind live music performance at this tribute to Calvin Harris. Simply sit back, relax, and savour Kaleidoscope’s orchestral takes on modern-day hits.
12. Kick off the late bank holiday weekend with street food and live music at Deansgate Mews Festival
Hosted by Manchester’s ultimate dining and leisure destination, Great Northern Warehouse, the free-to-attend Deansgate Mews street festival offers live music, family-friendly activities, independent market traders and plenty of space for al fresco dining and sunshine sippin’! Returning from May 26 to May 28, attendees can expect an outdoor pop-up stage at popular neighbourhood bar Lions Den, which will host 30+ live local acts across the three days. Plus, there will be plenty of food and drinks offers from the restaurants and bars situated on Deansgate Mews including The Mews Bar, Another Hand, Acai & the Tribe and Low Four.
13. Explore the colourful floral installations across the city at the Manchester Flower Festival
The Manchester Flower Festival is coming back in full bloom this late May Bank Holiday weekend and bringing a bit of vibrancy to the city. CityCo and Manchester BID will work with their partners and networks to bring colourful flower installations, outdoor dining areas and a ‘citywide green takeover’. Spanning across the entire city between May 26 and 29, visitors will be able to experience a stunning trail of flowers and greenery around every corner – with areas such as Exchange Square, New Cathedral Street, St Ann’s Square, King Street and Manchester Arndale getting in the botanical spirit.
14. Taste your way around the city with the Manchester Cheese Crawl
Cheese fans rejoice, because there’s an entire tour dedicated to the good stuff – right here in Manchester. Mapping out the most brie-lliant cheese spots across the city, the Manchester Cheese Crawl is set to combine some of the tastiest cheeses, wines and glorious sights of Manchester – with two hours of hopping from venue to venue discovering the finest Wensleydales, Cheddars and more. We Camembert to miss out!
15. Get the drinks in at this free block party beer festival
On May 13th, the taprooms making up Piccadilly Beer Trail will be partnering with craft breweries, street food traders and DJs to bring their annual Block Party to Manchester. Taprooms Cloudwater, Balance, Track and Sureshot will be the pillars of the free-to-enter festival, welcoming in the summer months with some delicious craftery. There will also be a block party raffle – buy a beer to get a stamp from each location and have the chance to win loads of beery goodness.
16. See artwork come to life on stage at this live painting event
Half theatre show, half art exhibition, Arts Battle MCR will bring together 10 artists who will go head-to-head to create a masterpiece in just 30 minutes. From painters and illustrators to street and tattoo artists, contenders take to the stage armed with nothing but brushes and their imaginations, as up to 1,000 spectators circulate the action and cast their votes round after round, leading to knockouts as the battle goes on. It’s a truly unique, one-night-only event taking place on May 5 where the audience decides the winner.
17. 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, 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.
18. Listen to live music at The Oast House with street food and summery cocktails
The Oast House has brought back their spring and summer festival, Mani-Fest, with two dates taking place this May. The free-to-attend music festival will take The Oast House’s terrace on May 7 and May 28, with a packed roster of musicians lined up for the occasion. Guests can enjoy genres such as rock, pop, soul, R&B, funk, disco and blues, as well as delicious street food and flowing drinks.
19. Enjoy New York bagels from Triple B on board this Manchester wine cruise
Greater Manchester wine bar Grape to Grain has teamed up with bagel bosses Triple B and boozy canal boat cruise organisers The Liquorists to host a unique event on the water. Taking place on May 19, from 7pm to 10pm, this cruise is brand new for this year and is one way to experience Manchester at its finest. During this three-hour cruise, you’ll try a variety of wines from all over America provided by Grape to Grain and enjoy bagels and dishes from Triple B in Prestwich.
20. Indulge in authentic mini Dutch pancakes at this quaint cafe
Popular in the Netherlands, Dutch mini pancakes (better known as Poffertjes) are an absolute staple. However, now Mancs can get a taste of these adorable sweet treats as the Altrincham Market trader known for serving Dutch-style mini pancakes, Papa Dutch, has opened a permanent location tucked away within a quaint square in Altrincham. Visitors to the cute cafe can indulge in Poffertjes covered in toppings like fresh fruit, whipped cream, lemon, chocolate sauce, syrup and Lotus Biscoff, all of which are given a good dusting of icing sugar for a sweet finishing touch.