Whether you’re a shade-seeker or the kind who likes to soak up every inch of sunlight while it’s around, you’ll want to finally break out of hibernation this July. From fun music festivals to epic activities to try out with friends, here’s our guide to the best things to do in Manchester this July.
1. Witness the emotional story once more as Titanic: The Musical heads to The Lowry
Sailing into Manchester this summer for its 10th-anniversary tour, the Tony award-winning Titanic: The Musical is set to take over the stage at The Lowry this July, as the show docks up at some of its favourite theatres across the country. Telling the personal stories of some of the real people on-board, Titanic: The Musical shares the ‘hopes, dreams and aspirations’ of the ship’s passengers in what would become the ship’s final hours – from the third-class immigrants to the glamorous wives and Barons of the first class.
2. Join Craig David for an electrifying night of garage, R&B and old school hits
Get ready for the ultimate night of garage, R&B, and old school vibes as Craig David presents TS5. Manchester Barton Aerodrome will come alive on July 14 with the infectious energy of Craig David’s exclusive TS5 party. From Miami penthouse to worldwide sensation, Craig David brings his signature style and stage presence to this one-night-only event. Get ready to dance to massive old school anthems, R&B grooves, garage beats, and contemporary hits, all curated with the singer’s personal touch.
3. Get a good dose of art, culture, music and more at Manchester International Festival
Manchester International Festival (MIF) provides the first opportunity for audiences to experience Factory International‘s new venue, the largest new national cultural project since the opening of Tate Modern in 2000, ahead of its official opening in October. Taking place from June 29 to July 16, the festival will be the biggest yet, with the best of music, art, theatre, film and so much more on display in our city. Attendees can expect appearances from international superstar Janelle Monáe and Greater Manchester legend Maxine Peake, in addition to a jaw-dropping exhibition from surrealist Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.
4. Listen to the likes of Hacienda Classical, Blossoms and Bastille at Sounds of the City
Sounds of the City is the beloved summer series that takes over Castlefield Bowl in Manchester city centre every year. There’s always a cracking line up for this music festival with local artists ecstatic to play, and this year is no exception. Headliners include Hacienda Classical, Blossoms and Bastille, all of which will certainly pack out the heart of the industrial area of Castlefield with adoring Mancs.
5. Experience the sun-soaked fun of Miami as Backyard Cinema returns to Depot Mayfield
Take the white sands and lofty palm trees of Miami Beach, the cloud-brushing height of a rooftop venue and a big screen showing all your favourite flicks; throw it all together and you get Backyard Cinema Miami Beach. Washing ashore on the rooftop of Depot Mayfield on July 5, you’ll be transported to an 80’s beach oasis in the sky, complete with delicious street food, irresistible photo ops and exotic cocktails. Even better, there’ll be singalongs, drag shows, Pride celebrations, parties and – break out your hot pink jumpsuits – screenings of the upcoming Barbie film, because, you know She’s Everything.
6. Travel like a poo through the digestive system at this interactive exhibition
This July, the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester welcomes the world premiere of immersive exhibition Food, Poo and You, from the brains behind CBBC hit Operation Ouch!. The exhibition is truly for the whole family, providing interactive education on the digestive system and human biology. It promises plenty of giggle-worthy grossness, from exploring a set of super-sized gnashers, to slipping down the oesophagus and investigating the innerworkings of the intestines.
7. Tuck into Korean corn dogs as the viral street food spot Bunsik opens in Manchester
Korean corn dogs have become quite the staple at Manchester Christmas Markets but now lovers of the street food can soon experience it all year round with the arrival of Bunsik. The popular London brand has announced that it is heading North, opening a new site in Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens from July 7. These corn dogs are made up of skewered sausage, cheese, or a combination of the two, dipped into a cornmeal batter, rolled in breadcrumbs and studded with crispy toppings before hitting the fryer and cooked to a perfect golden brown.
8. Take on challenging obstacles through muddy conditions as Tough Mudder comes to Manchester
The popular muddy assault course challenge, Tough Mudder, is set to host its next event of the year in Manchester for a weekend that promises “an electric and unforgettable course”. With upgraded and classic obstacles, participants (old and new) can push their limits and get a taste of the unique and muddy experience. Taking place at Heaton Park on Saturday 15 July and Sunday 16 July, Tough Mudder will test participant’s grit, teamwork and camaraderie, with the duration of the course forcing entrants to experience a range of emotions.
9. Enjoy music, culture, art and science as bluedot festival returns to Jodrell Bank
Bluedot is perhaps the festival that Greater Manchester is most proud of, bringing together amazing music and important science education and environmentalism. With headliners such as Róisín Murphy, Pavement and Grace Jones this year, the music is, as usual, well taken care of, and of course the rest of the schedule is jam-packed too. The arts and culture section will provide award-winning visual arts and exclusive commissions, side-splitting comedy and insightful debate, whilst the science set-up will allow visitors to observe, explore and experiment with iconic science speakers and cutting-edge researchers.
10. See a world of pure imagination by watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory The Musical
Confirmed to roll into the Palace Theatre Manchester Violet Beauregarde-style on July 4, the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical will bring the iconic Roald Dahl story to life on-stage – including a number of hits from the favoured film from the 70s. Based on a blend of the famous novel by Roald Dahl and the iconic Warner Bros movie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory The Musical reinvents the tale of Charlie Bucket for the stage, unravelling the story of how he meets the enigmatic Willy Wonka at his equally mysterious chocolate factory.
11. Head to thishuge art, fashion and music festival at Manchester’s newest open-air club
Manchester’s newest esteemed open-air club, The Progress Centre, will host one of their biggest events to date. On Saturday 8 July, a day to night festival will be hosted by Berlin-based DJ duo, label owners and dedicated dance party starters The Ghost. The set-up includes vintage clothing stalls courtesy of Gone Fishing Vintage and Me To A Tee, in addition to the floating record shop, Rub a Ducky Records, distributing vinyl records. There will be live art on the day, with canvases set-up for celebrated local artists, Caroline Dowsett, Madi Marcantonatos and Grace Biddle to mark their stamp, painting special The Ghost murals.
12. Hear all of the 90s classics at this summer festival with B*witched and Five
The epic all out 90s show 90s Baby, bringing legends like B*Witched, Five and 911 together for a pop extravaganza, is heading back to Manchester – and it’s bigger than ever. Taking over Manchester Barton Aerodrome this July, the 90s Baby Summer Festival will be a complete and comprehensive one-day celebration of that golden musical era. Expect next level light and sound bringing each stage to life, with a mix of the most anthemic tunes and magical memories.
13. Sip on a selection of beers at this waterside garden party at Kampus
Following a successful event last year at city centre hotspot Kampus, Summer Beer Thing is set to bring back beer, food and music to the waterside destination again this year, as part of a three-day garden festival with some of the best local brewers. Summer Beer Thing will be a celebration of all things beer, and is set to take place between June 30 and July 2 below Kampus’ bustling bungalow. With DJs bringing the garden party vibes all weekend long, beer taps will be nestled through the lush gardens, offering hoppy, session, fruits and sours amongst others.
14. Discover more about much-loved book characters like The Gruffalo at this free exhibition
This July, popular children’s books The Gruffalo, Zog, Stick Man and Room on the Broom will all be brought together for a new free exhibition opening at The Lowry in Salford. The major new exhibition in collaboration with publishers Macmillan Children’s Books and Scholastic will celebrate the acclaimed partnership between writer Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler. Known as Julia and Axel – Thirty Years of Favourite Stories, the exhibition will bring to life some of the world’s best loved characters in contemporary children’s fiction.
15. Watch a musical adaptation of Disney’s Winnie The Pooh at Manchester Opera House
Deep in the Hundred Acre Wood, a new adventure is about to happen. A.A. Milne’s beloved characters, Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin and their best friends Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit and Owl (and Tigger too!), will all arrive on stage in a beautifully-crafted musical stage adaptation. Coming to Manchester Opera House between July 24 and 26, this fresh stage adaptation is told with impressive life-size puppetry, exciting new stories and featuring characters that have played iconic roles in the lives of children for generations.
16. Taste your way around this boozy festival for craft beer fans in Manchester
Taking place over two days in July (Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd), Manchester Craft Beer Festival will pop up at the historic Depot Mayfield – which has been recently redeveloped as an urban events space, attracting huge events such as Warehouse Project as well as screening sports matches. And now, beer lovers will get the chance to enjoy the much-loved venue as it’s filled with over 50 world-class breweries offering a taste of their fantastic craft beers.
17. Hear iconic tunes from The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones at this candlelight concert
Calling all fantasy film and TV buffs, this is the candlelight concert for you. From The Lord of the Rings to Game of Thrones soundtracks, you can hear them both surrounded by glimmering candelight within Manchester Cathedral. Nothing says magical quite like the ethereal notes of The Passing of the Elves or the trumpets and cymbals of The Cavern of Isengard sound across the sanctuary – you can’t help but get the chills as you’re reminded of Saruman’s rise to power. Plus, you’ll hear renditions of popular soundtracks from the Game of Thrones franchise, including Winter Is Coming and Fire and Blood (House Targaryen theme), as well as highly recognized scores from Rings of Power.
18. Explore Greater Manchester’s newest walking trail for the very first time
Greater Manchester’s brand new walking trail, the GM Ringway, takes a step forward next month with the organisers planning a test run of some of the stages in the borough of Trafford with a walking weekend. Local people are invited to join any of five free guided walks on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 July. The guided walks include a ramble from Manchester city centre that passes Old Trafford along the beautiful Bridgewater canal, a step-free walk around Sale Water Park, a gentle ‘walk for all‘ around Longford Park with the MileShyClub, and a circular walk from Altrincham to Dunham Massey.
19. Browse over 90 independent stalls at The Night Market‘s event at Love Factory
This July, Mancs will able to wander through a sea of independent stalls surrounded within the transformed warehouse behind the N.O.M.A district, as The Night Market returns to Manchester. From the hours between 6pm and 11pm on July 7, the organisers will create the ultimate shopping experience meets an alternative festival night out. The Night Market will showcase the finest Mancunian small business talent with over 90 independent stalls, as well as offer plenty of street food under the stretch tent to feast on with fabulous Manchester based food trucks.
20. Get a taste of Texas right here in Manchester with music, food and drinks inspired by the state
The Blues Kitchen Manchester has launched A Taste of Texas, an eight-week series showcasing the finest music, food and drinks from the legendary US state of Texas. A Taste Of Texas starts from July 1 until August 31, where The Blues Kitchen will transport guests to the soulful US state with an expertly curated food offering and music programme. Known for serving-up American Soul-food plus rare and vintage bourbon, Manchester’s authentic Southern-inspired venue has partnered up with beloved Texas restaurants Beto & Sons and Nitro Burgers to curate a truly authentic limited-edition menu that will be available throughout the eight-week series.
Also published on Medium.