Known as England’s thriving “Northern Powerhouse”, Manchester has always been a city rich with industrial heritage, cultural vibrancy, and sporting passion. Over the centuries, it has seen dramatic transformation, growing from a modest Lancashire town to one of the UK’s largest and most vibrant cities.

Today, it’s a must-visit destination with a wide array of attractions that appeal to all, from historic landmarks and sprawling parks, to world-class sporting arenas and prestigious academic institutions.

1. John Rylands Library

John Rylands Library
Photo: Twitter/Dave Z Photography

The John Rylands Library, located in the heart of Manchester city, is a magnificent neo-Gothic masterpiece that houses some of the world’s most valuable books and manuscripts. Founded by Enriqueta Rylands in memory of her husband, John Rylands, this public library opened its doors in 1900 and since then, has been a treasure trove for bibliophiles, history enthusiasts, and architecture lovers.

The library holds an extraordinary collection of historical prints, medieval manuscripts, and ancient texts, including the oldest known piece of the New Testament, the St. John Fragment. Its awe-inspiring Reading Room, adorned with stunning vaulted ceilings and intricate stone carvings, is an experience in itself. Besides perusing its extensive collections, visitors can attend exhibitions, workshops, and various events that promote learning and understanding of the library’s historical significance.

Entry Fee: Free; Location: Check Map
Address: 150 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3EH, United Kingdom.

2. Old Trafford

Old Trafford
Photo: Google Maps/Niraj Mehta

Old Trafford, also known as “The Theatre of Dreams”, is one of the most iconic sports venues in the world and the home of Manchester United Football Club. Opened in 1910, it is a symbol of Manchester’s passionate love for football, a sport that holds an important place in the city’s culture.

This legendary stadium is a must-visit for sports enthusiasts, offering guided tours that take you through the tunnel, the dugouts, the dressing rooms, and the impressive museum showcasing Manchester United’s rich history. On match days, the stadium roars with energy, and the thrilling atmosphere is truly unmatched, making it a bucket list experience for football fans worldwide.

Entry Fee: GBP 28; Location: Check Map
Address: Sir Matt Busby Way, Old Trafford, Stretford, Manchester M16 0RA, United Kingdom.

3. Castlefield Urban Heritage Park

Castlefield Urban Heritage Park
Photo: Twitter/Castle Wharf

Manchester’s rich industrial past is encapsulated within the picturesque surroundings of Castlefield Urban Heritage Park. As the site of the Roman-era fort Mamucium, which gave Manchester its name, and the terminus of the world’s first industrial canal, Castlefield holds immense historical significance.

The park is now a calm oasis in the heart of the city, characterized by its beautiful canal system, restored Victorian houses, and repurposed warehouses. Visitors can stroll along the canal paths, take a boat tour, explore the remains of the Roman fort, or simply relax in one of the many waterside pubs or cafes. The park also encompasses several museums including the Science and Industry Museum, where visitors can delve into Manchester’s role in the Industrial Revolution and beyond.

Entry Fee: GBP 32.01; Location: Check Map
Address: Duke St, Manchester, United Kingdom.

4. Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester Art Gallery
Photo: Google Maps/Sanjay Sharma

Manchester Art Gallery, located in the city centre, is one of the country’s foremost art institutions. Established in 1823, it houses an exceptional collection of artworks spanning six centuries. The gallery boasts a significant collection of Victorian art and a wide array of Pre-Raphaelite paintings, along with a constantly evolving collection of contemporary art.

A visit to the Manchester Art Gallery isn’t just about admiring paintings; it offers a diverse range of activities including art courses, workshops, guided tours, and engaging exhibitions. The gallery is also home to a superb café and shop where visitors can enjoy local delicacies or buy unique gifts inspired by the collection. Entrance is free, making it a must-visit for art lovers of all kinds.

Entry Fee: Free; Location: Check Map
Address: Mosley St, Manchester M2 3JL, United Kingdom.

5. Manchester Town Hall

Manchester Town Hall
Photo: Twitter/Philippa Vishnyakov

An architectural gem in the heart of the city, the Manchester Town Hall is a splendid example of neo-Gothic design. Built in the late 19th century, it stands as a symbol of the city’s wealth and confidence during the Industrial Revolution. It is adorned with stunning murals by Ford Madox Brown that depict key moments in Manchester’s history.

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The grandeur of the Great Hall, the ornate ceilings, and the imposing bell tower, all contribute to its magnificence. While guided tours are available for those interested in its history and architecture, the Town Hall is also a functioning office building. Note that as of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the Town Hall is undergoing a significant restoration and refurbishment project, so visitors should check the status of this before planning their visit.

Entry Fee: GBP 6; Location: Check Map
Address: Town Hall, Albert Square, Manchester M2 5DB, United Kingdom.

6. Imperial War Museum North

Imperial War Museum North
Photo: Twitter/ManchesterHist

The Imperial War Museum North, situated at The Quays in Greater Manchester, is one of five branches of the Imperial War Museums. Designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, the museum’s striking aluminum-clad building is an iconic feature of the Manchester skyline. The fragmented design represents a globe shattered by conflict, a theme that echoes throughout the museum.

Inside, visitors will find an array of exhibitions that explore the impact of war on lives and communities. The museum holds a vast collection of artifacts, from personal letters and diaries to vehicles and aircraft, all telling the poignant and powerful stories of people affected by war. Interactive displays, films, and temporary exhibits help bring these stories to life, making a visit to the museum both an educational and emotional experience.

Entry Fee: GBP 22,70; Location: Check Map
Address: Trafford Wharf Rd, Trafford Park, Stretford, Manchester M17 1TZ, United Kingdom.

7. Greater Manchester Police Museum

Greater Manchester Police Museum
Photo: Google Maps/Steven Wright

Housed in a restored Victorian police station, the Greater Manchester Police Museum offers a unique window into the world of policing, crime, and punishment. The museum showcases the history of the Greater Manchester Police Force since its inception in the 19th century.

Visitors can explore a Victorian-era courtroom, a genuine cell block, and an array of exhibitions displaying historical police uniforms, equipment, and memorabilia. Regular ‘open days’ offer the chance to meet retired police officers and hear their fascinating stories firsthand. For those with an interest in crime history or the development of policing, the Greater Manchester Police Museum provides an intriguing and interactive experience.

Entry Fee: Free; Location: Check Map
Address: 57A Newton St, Manchester M1 1ET, United Kingdom.

8. Etihad Stadium

Etihad Stadium
Photo: Google Maps/Mostafa Mosavi

The Etihad Stadium, known for sponsorship reasons as the Etihad, is a stadium located in East Manchester and the home ground of Manchester City Football Club. The stadium, with its unique design and impressive structure, is a testament to the city’s love for football and an iconic part of the Manchester skyline.

Guided stadium tours are available that take visitors through a fascinating journey of Manchester City’s history, its memorable moments, and its future aspirations. Fans can also explore the City Store to get their hands on official merchandise or enjoy a meal at one of the stadium’s cafes. On match days, the excitement and fervor in the stadium are palpable, as thousands of fans rally behind their team.

Entry Fee: GBP 80; Location: Check Map
Address: Etihad Stadium, Ashton New Rd, Manchester M11 3FF, United Kingdom.

9. Afflecks

Photo: Google Maps/Dylan Oliver

No trip to Manchester is complete without a visit to Afflecks, an indoor market located in the Northern Quarter. Afflecks is a labyrinth of stalls spread across several floors, selling everything from vintage clothing and original artworks to handmade jewelry and rare vinyl records. It’s a place where small independent businesses thrive and creativity flows.

Since opening its doors in the 1980s, Afflecks has become a cultural icon in Manchester, known for its eclectic mix of products and its alternative vibe. A paradise for shoppers looking for something out of the ordinary, Afflecks is a true testament to Manchester’s indie spirit and vibrant arts scene.

Entry Fee: -; Location: Check Map
Address: 52 Church St, Manchester M4 1PW, United Kingdom.

10. Royal Exchange Theatre

Royal Exchange Theatre
Photo: Twitter/Jacqueline

The Royal Exchange Theatre, housed in one of Manchester’s most beautiful buildings, is a globally recognized producing theatre known for its bold and dynamic productions. The theatre itself is a unique architectural marvel – a seven-sided, glass-walled capsule suspended in the grand Victorian hall, offering audiences a theatre experience like no other.

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The Royal Exchange offers a varied program that includes classic theatre, new plays, musicals, and family shows, ensuring there is always something for everyone. The theatre is also home to a café, bar, and a craft shop selling locally made goods. With its stunning architecture and outstanding performances, the Royal Exchange Theatre is a beacon of cultural and artistic excellence in Manchester.

Entry Fee: -; Location: Check Map
Address: Old Bank St, Manchester M2 7PE, United Kingdom.

11. Heaton Park

Heaton Park
Photo: Google Maps/Pushpa Hossain

Heaton Park, the largest municipal park in Manchester, offers an oasis of tranquillity and outdoor activities amidst the city’s bustling energy. Spanning over 600 acres, the park is home to an array of attractions including an 18th-century neoclassical house, Heaton Hall, a boating lake, an animal farm, and even a tram museum.

Whether it’s enjoying a leisurely walk in its vast green spaces, participating in outdoor sports, bird-watching, or simply soaking up the park’s natural beauty, Heaton Park promises a delightful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. It also hosts numerous events and concerts throughout the year, making it a vibrant hub of community life in Manchester.

Entry Fee: GBP 22.50; Location: Check Map
Address: Middleton Rd, Manchester M25 2SW, United Kingdom.

12. Science and Industry Museum

Science and Industry Museum
Photo: Google Maps/Gulyás Dávid

Situated in the heart of Manchester on the site of the world’s oldest railway station, the Science and Industry Museum is a must-visit attraction. It celebrates Manchester’s significant contributions to science, technology, and industry, particularly during the Industrial Revolution.

The museum houses a fascinating collection of exhibits spread over multiple galleries, focusing on themes such as transport, power, and computing. Highlights include the iconic Stephenson’s Rocket, the world’s first inter-city passenger railway station, and interactive displays that bring the wonders of science to life. The museum’s dynamic program of temporary exhibitions, workshops, and events adds to the visitor’s experience, making it a perfect destination for both adults and children.

Entry Fee: GBP 25.95; Location: Check Map
Address: Liverpool Rd, Manchester M3 4JP, United Kingdom.

13. Manchester Cathedral

Manchester Cathedral
Photo: Twitter/Manchester Poetry Library

Manchester Cathedral, located near the banks of the River Irwell, is a beautiful example of Gothic architecture and a living testament to the city’s history. Originally a parish church, it was elevated to cathedral status in the 19th century. The cathedral boasts a stunning wooden choir stall, medieval hanging bridge, and magnificent stained-glass windows.

Visitors can explore the cathedral at their own pace or join one of the guided tours to learn more about its history, architecture, and spiritual significance. The cathedral also hosts concerts and cultural events throughout the year, serving as both a place of worship and a cultural venue. Its peaceful atmosphere provides a serene escape from the city’s lively pace.

Entry Fee: Free; Location: Check Map
Address: Victoria St, Manchester M3 1SX, United Kingdom.

14. National Football Museum

National Football Museum
Photo: Google Maps/Allan Lee

As the home of two major football clubs, Manchester is a city where football is not just a game, but a way of life. The National Football Museum, located in the striking Urbis building in the city centre, is a tribute to this passion. The museum holds the world’s greatest collection of football memorabilia, and interactive displays make it a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

From the history of the sport to the stories of the players, teams, and fans who’ve made football what it is today, the museum provides a comprehensive and engaging look at the ‘beautiful game’. Whether you’re a die-hard football fan or new to the sport, a visit to the National Football Museum offers an unforgettable experience.

Entry Fee: Free; Location: Check Map
Address: Urbis Building Cathedral Gardens, Todd St, Manchester M4 3BG, United Kingdom.

15. Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden

Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden
Photo: Twitter/Jack Chambers

Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden, located in Didsbury, is a serene and beautiful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Originally a private estate, it was donated to the city by Alderman Fletcher Moss in 1919. The park is home to a variety of rare plants and wildlife, an alpine house, rockery gardens, and ornamental ponds.

For those seeking tranquillity, the calming atmosphere of the garden offers the perfect setting for a leisurely stroll or a picnic. Birdwatchers will also find it a delightful spot, as the park is known for its avian diversity. With its unique botanical collections and stunning landscapes, Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden offers a refreshing and rejuvenating experience.

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Entry Fee: Free; Location: Check Map
Address: 18 Stenner Ln, Didsbury, Manchester M20 2RQ, United Kingdom.

16. Sackville Garden

Sackville Garden
Photo: Google Maps/Niladri Sarkar

Among the serene places to visit in Manchester, Sackville Garden offers a peaceful oasis amidst the city’s bustling energy. Nestled between the Manchester Metropolitan University campus and the city centre, this small but charming park is a perfect spot to unwind.

Home to the Alan Turing Memorial, the garden holds special significance as a tribute to one of the city’s most celebrated figures. Turing, a pioneer in the field of computer science and a key codebreaker during World War II, is remembered with a bronze statue seated on a bench in the park. Whether for a leisurely stroll or a moment of reflection, Sackville Garden offers a calming retreat in the heart of the city.

Entry Fee: GBP 5.00; Location: Check Map
Address: Whitworth St, Sackville St, Manchester M1 3WA, Inggris Raya.

17. People’s History Museum

People's History Museum
Photo: Google Maps/Paul Whitehead

The People’s History Museum, situated in the Spinningfields area, provides a fascinating insight into Britain’s social history over the last 200 years. Known as the national museum of democracy, it tells the story of the struggles for equality and democracy in the UK.

Interactive exhibits, historical artifacts, and personal accounts bring to life the stories of ordinary people who fought for their rights. Topics such as voting rights, workers’ rights, and social justice are explored in depth. This unique museum offers a thought-provoking and educational experience and a chance to reflect on the progress made and the challenges still faced in achieving equality and democracy.

Entry Fee: Free; Location: Check Map
Address: Left Bank, Manchester M3 3ER, United Kingdom.

18. Chorlton Water Park

Chorlton Water Park
Photo: Twitter/John Diamond

Chorlton Water Park, situated in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, is a local nature reserve and a popular destination for outdoor activities. It features a large lake, woodlands, wildflower meadows, and is home to a rich diversity of wildlife. The park offers numerous activities such as fishing, birdwatching, cycling, and walking.

For families, there are picnic spots and a children’s play area. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful nature walk, a place for a family day out, or an outdoor adventure, Chorlton Water Park offers a delightful and enjoyable experience.

Entry Fee: -; Location: Check Map
Address: 74 Maitland Ave, Manchester M21 7WH, United Kingdom.

19. Platt Fields Park

Platt Fields Park
Photo: Google Maps/Julius Ang

Platt Fields Park, located in Fallowfield, is one of Manchester’s most popular parks. Its 90 acres of parkland include a large lake, various sports facilities, a Shakespearean garden, and the Platt Hall, home to the Gallery of Costume.

The park is a hub of activity, hosting regular community and cultural events throughout the year. Whether you fancy a peaceful stroll around the lake, a visit to the costume gallery, or participating in sports activities, Platt Fields Park provides a green and vibrant space for all to enjoy.

Entry Fee: -; Location: Check Map
Address: Fallowfield, Manchester M14 6LA, United Kingdom.

20. Chinatown in Manchester

Chinatown in Manchester
Photo: Google Maps/Adrian Lunsong

Manchester’s Chinatown, the second largest in the UK, is a lively and colorful part of the city known for its numerous restaurants, shops, and supermarkets selling East Asian goods. Centered around Faulkner Street, the area is marked by a beautiful Chinese arch, or ‘Paifang’, the first erected in Europe.

Apart from offering some of the best Chinese, Thai, Japanese, and other Asian cuisines in the city, Chinatown also plays host to vibrant celebrations for Chinese New Year. Whether you’re looking to enjoy authentic Asian food, shop for unique items, or immerse yourself in a different culture, Manchester’s Chinatown offers a unique and enriching experience.

Entry Fee: Free; Location: Check Map
Address: Manchester, United Kingdom.


Manchester is a city where history and modernity seamlessly merge, offering an abundance of experiences for visitors. Whether you’re a lover of literature, a passionate sports fan, or a history enthusiast, this city has something for you. Each place has its own story to tell, its own charm to reveal, making Manchester a city of endless discovery and delight.