Between the post-Christmas comedown and the failed New Year’s resolutions, January can be a pretty depressing month. But whether you’re going dry or staying firmly off the wagon, there’s plenty going on in Manchester this month to help beat those January blues. Check out the best things to do in Manchester to liven up your January.
1. Snap up a bargain with some food and drink offers
Thought you were all carbed out after Christmas? You were wrong. Enticing us back into our stretchy pants after a season of carbs and chocolate, many bars and restaurants in Manchester have some seriously epic food and drink offers available this January – and who are we to say no? With some venues offering irresistible bargains including as much as 50% off your meal, these offers are sure to get you out the house and save you some dollar on dining out.
2. Hear some of Ed Sheeran’s best tracks at this Candlelight tribute concert
If you are a fan of one of the most popular singers today, then you won’t want to miss out on this one-of-a-kind tribute to Ed Sheeran. A talented string quartet is taking to the stage at Manchester Cathedral to perform classical takes on some of the singer’s greatest hits. Songs such as “Bad Habits”, “Lego House”, and more are being reimagined during the 60-minute concert celebrating Ed Sheeran’s distinctive discography.
3. Watch the smash-hit musical The King & I at The Lowry
The King & I comes to The Lowry, Salford in January, starring Helen George as Anna, ahead of a West End run at London’s Dominion Theatre. Set in 1860s Bangkok, The King and I tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher whom the modernist King, in an imperialistic world, brings to Siam to teach his many wives and children. The King and I is a sumptuous, timeless romance from the golden age of musicals and boasting one of the finest scores, including Whistle a Happy Tune, Getting to Know You, and Shall We Dance.
4. Experience the buzz of the bar at this alcohol-free pop-up at Kampus
After a hugely successful two week pop-up at Kampus to test the waters, alcohol-free pop-up bar experience Love From has agreed a three month residency from January to March 2024, following a pop-up bar at Kampus’ new General Store. Love From is set to host a series of alcohol-free events for those who are off the booze, sober-curious or just looking for something outside of their norm to try at Kampus. The space aims to provide all the buzz of being in an amazing bar without the alcohol, hosting queer disco nights and casual alcohol-free drinking opportunities in a bar environment.
5. 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.
6. Get stuck into some proper good vegan grub (that even meat-eaters will love!)
In the spirit of Veganuary, we’re trading our love for the carnivorous diet for something a little more eco-friendly: veganism. Proving the plant-based diet is so much more than all things green and healthy, Manchester’s vast array of vegan restaurants are serving up some seriously tasty dishes – from Neapolitan pizzas to saucy, juicy burgers that rival even those made of beef. Trust us.
7. Break Dry January with this unique prison cocktail experience
Not one for a January challenge? Spice up this month’s night out with Alcotraz’s unique drinking experience – which leads guests into incarceration at Cell Block Three-Four. Smuggle in your own booze while avoiding the watchful eye of the guard and enjoy contraband cocktails in your very own private cell. Orange jumpsuits included.
8. Jump to the left as The Rocky Horror Show returns to Manchester
Cult musical favourite and queer extravaganza Rocky Horror Show is coming back to Manchester. The rock ‘n’ roll musical will be gracing the stage of Manchester Opera House from January 23-28, promising to thrill audiences with fun and naughty moments straight out of Transylvania. Everyone knows the classics, from Sweet Transvestite to Time Warp, and even the most hard-faced of attendees won’t be able to keep a smile off their faces from the get-go, with the show having thrilled and fulfilled fully costumed audiences totalling more than 30 million over the years.
9. Let out the January Blues with a bit of axe throwing
Feeling a bit of pent-up frustration after the tiring festive season? Whistle Punks is one of the most unique experiences Manchester has to offer, allowing guests to try out a bit of axe throwing in a safe environment. Whether it’s with your other half or a day out with mates, guests can enjoy 70 minutes of throwing, with high stakes as Whistles Punks searches for its axe-throwing King or Queen.
10. Try out a new fitness class
Whether you’re a complete novice, or simply wanting to get back to the gym, January is never an easy time to restart your health and fitness regime. But that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. From fun ballet-style classes to boxing, here’s our guide to some of the best fitness classes in town.
11. Enjoy unlimited drinks and hip hop beats at this bottomless brunch
Looking for a new boozy brunch this January? Guests can go bottomless for 90 minutes of unlimited Rum Punch, Mimosas or Prosecco for only £35 per person, with a delicious main dish of your choice included within the price from 11am-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Start the day right with brunch dishes like Smoked Salmon & Eggs, vegetarian Huevos Rancheros, the Breakfast Burrito or Buttermilk Pancakes. Every Saturday, brunch goers can also enjoy the Hip Hop Orchestra Brunch alongside the bottomless offer. Expect three incredible live shows from The Untold Orchestra performing live renditions of RnB and Hip Hop classics throughout the early afternoon.
12. Be mesmerised by this candlelit flamenco performance at Manchester Cathedral
Combining Candlelight’s classic concerts with the infamous Spanish dance, Mancs can be treated to an evening of music, flickering candles and flamenco. You may be in Manchester Cathedral but you’ll be transported to the intimate Andalucian caves where the dance derived from as the flamenco dancer moves fluidly to the beat surrounded by glowing candlelight. It’s definitely one fun and unique way to brighten up your January!
13. Enjoy a ‘blackout’ dinner by candlelight at Manchester’s stunning sky-high restaurant
Bringing back their Blackout Dinner for January 2024 after its sell-out autumn event, the Manchester bar and restaurant recently crowned one of the best rooftop bars in the world, 20 Stories, has announced that guests can do exactly that. The Manchester spot is hosting a special event in partnership with Nyetimber, which will see the stunning restaurant completely blacked out, with only candlelight and the light from the view of the city to provide the mysterious ambience.
14. Battle it out with your mates at NERF Action Xperience
As one of the coldest months of the year, indoor activities are high up on the agenda. It’s also a great option if you’re looking for something to do with your pals sans alcohol. The epic indoor attraction at Manchester’s Trafford Palazzo invites you to put your NERF blasting skills to the test with four fun-packed zones which includes battlefields, a training ground and a variety of energetic sports games that are sure to get your heart pounding and brain in the game.
15. Sample some of the best brews in the country at GRUB’s Winter Beer Fest
Street food venue GRUB is here to brighten up the cold month with their annual Winter Beer Fest. Taking place from January 18-20, the festival will bring together some of the best breweries in the UK, serving a selection of their best winter brews. The street food destination will feature pop-up brewery bars and will also be running tasting events over the weekend, alongside an independent street food market, a mulling bar and more.
16. Kickstart 2023 with a bang at this Britney-inspired bottomless brunch
If there’s anyone who can make an epic comeback it’s Britney and this brunch should give you plenty of inspiration for yours this 2023. This bottomless brunch pays tribute to the platinum-blonde queen of pop Britney Spears, revisiting the star’s iconic repertoire with sparkling performances from the UK’s top Britney Spears impersonator and tribute, not to mention a host of dazzling drag queens. Also on the agenda are games, top DJ Billy Andrew, juicy burgers and, of course, an hour of bottomless bubbles. By the end, you’ll be begging for them to gimme more of these timeless Britney bops.
17. Tuck into hearty pies for a tenner 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. Plus if this isn’t enough to get you out the door and battling the elements, all of the pies at the festival are just a tenner, meaning you can enjoy that hearty pastry-covered goodness on a budget.
Also published on Medium.