14 Fun Things To Do in Manchester
There are loads of fun things to do in Manchester. In fact, there’s so much to choose from that we’ve had a hard time whittling them down to just 14.
But after lots of debate we’ve finalised our choice - and here they are - officially the most fun activities Manchester has to offer:
National Football Museum
Situated near the Arndale Centre, the National Football Museum is a must-visit attraction for any football fan.
There are loads of things to see in the museum, including the Hall of Fame, celebrations of the greatest Clubs and Players in the game, see how football is developing globally, see football-based toys and games and lots more.
There are too many football-related exhibits and activities to list here.
The museum offers a very comprehensive view of all aspects of the beautiful game.
Admission is free, but you’ll probably want to buy credits for the Football Plus+ experiences which add seven exciting and interactive challenges to your visit, including Penalty Shootout, Shot Stopper, On The Ball, One-Two, Pass Master and more:
Wine Tasting at Manchester Wine School
If you love wine, but would like to know more about it - or even if you just love wine, you’ll enjoy a Wine Tasting at Manchester Wine School.
Each wine tasting covers a different subject or area - so you can really get to know more about the wines of one particular region.
For example: Explore Australia and New Zealand, Discover Chile and Argentina, Champagne Verses Sparkling Wine, South Africa and the USA, or Introduction to the World of Wine.
The wine tastings are friendly and relaxed events - a fun way to find out more about wine and perhaps discover some new favourites.
Breakout Manchester gives you 60 minutes for you and your team to escape from a locked room using nothing but your brain.
There are challenging puzzles to solve, and clues to help you - but the puzzles are tricky and the clock is ticking. Do you have what it takes?
There are lots of exciting themed rooms to choose from, including
The Detective Office - A detective has been murdered and you’ve been framed as his killer - can you find out who the real killer was and save yourself?
Virus - You have 60 minutes to save mankind from the deadly virus.
Madchester - Zak collects Manchester-related items - and you’re a team of thieves trying to steal them. Only problem is you’ve become trapped in his bedroom, and you only have 60 minutes to steal the items and get out of the room before he returns.
Sabotage - Get behind enemy lines and prevent a missile strike that might just be the end of the world. You have 60 minutes to break into the control centre before the missiles launch.
With a total of 12 different scenarios like these to choose from, there’s plenty of fun and excitement in store.
Jazz and World Music at Band on the Wall
Offering live music from around the world, Band on the Wall has been a mainstay of the Manchester music scene since the first half of the 20th century.
Re-opened in 2009 after extensive refurbishment, and with a new high quality sound system, this famous venue aims to offer the best live music experience available.
The Picturehouse Bar is open daily, offering great beer and great music - and there’s no need for a gig ticket either.
Check the website to see upcoming events, and have a great musical night out.
Taster Session at the HSBC UK National Cycling Centre
If you’re into cycling, what could be more fun than trying track cycling on the same circuit that all-conquering Team GB trains on?
If you’ve seen cycling at the Olympics, and want to try riding on the banked track at a proper velodrome, why not try a 1 hour taster session at the HSBC UK National Cycling Centre?
The taster sessions are for ages 12 and over - but there are also Family Tasters for over 9s accompanied by an adult, and Junior Tasters for 9-15-year-olds. Women only sessions are also available.
You’ll get a track bike and a helmet, and a coach will give you some basic skills to practice. There are normally about 15 people on track in a taster session.
There’s a BMX Intro Session available too, if that’s more your style.
Have you come to Manchester in search of fun, but find you’re missing your cat? We have a solution - the Cat Cafe.
For an hourly fee the Cat Cafe gives you an hour of cat time with unlimited hot and cold drinks included. Snacks such as cakes, biscuits and muffins are also available.
With 10 cats living in the cafe, it’s the perfect venue for cat lovers to relax and refuel. Children over 10 are welcome in the Cat Cafe.
You can book in advance online, or just walk-in if the cafe isn’t full - the Cat Cafe operates a 50% pre-book and 50% walk-in policy.
Manchester Climbing Centre
Manchester Climbing Centre is a great place to go for experienced climbers and beginners alike.
With routes created by expert route-setters and changed frequently, there’s always something new to challenge you.
There are always plenty of entry-level climbs for beginners and new climbers to enjoy - as well as advanced climbs that will challenge even the most expert climbers. With 75 lines, split between top-rope and lead climbs - you won’t run out of climbs to try.
Bouldering is a separate type of climbing at lower levels and without ropes - and Manchester Climbing Centre has two bouldering areas and a traverse room, so there’s no need to climb high walls if you don’t fancy it. Anyone over 5 can try bouldering (accompanied by an adult).
There are also four Auto-belay lines - again available for ages 5 and over when supervised.
Located in a converted church, the Manchester Climbing Centre makes good use of the height available. There’s a mezzanine level with a viewing area, cafe and shop so even if you’re not climbing yourself, you’ll get a great view of the action.
Courses are available including Intro to Bouldering, Intro to Climbing Taster and a full Beginners Course.
Climbing’s a great sport that’s growing in popularity all the time - why not give it a try?
Think you might be the next Lewis Hamilton? At Teamsport Karting in Manchester, you’ll get a chance to prove it.
Located right in the city centre, with a new multi-level 550m circuit under the Manchester Arena car park and new electric karts that can do up to 40mph, you’re guaranteed all the thrills and excitement that karting can offer.
The track features more than 15 corners and a flyover, so there’s plenty to test your driving skills.
If not everyone in your group wants to drive - that’s ok - there are great spectating facilities including a bar and a trackside gallery.
With full safety briefings and tips from the TeamSport pros before you get out onto the track, you can race friends to see who’s the fastest - or just try to beat your own fastest lap.
Kids from 8-12 get their own karts, and from 13+ they can use the adult’s karts.
Catch a Waxi
There’s no reason for the fun to stop just because you need to get around. Why not catch a Waxi?
Waxis are Manchester’s Water Taxis, and travel between Castlefield, Hotel Football, Old Trafford and the Trafford Centre on the Bridgewater Canal.
Travelling by canal is a more leisurely activity than going by road - and you’ll see the city from a different angle that you won’t see any other way. There’s also the chance to spot some wildlife on your journey.
Much more fun than going by bus - but allow a bit of extra time for your journey!
The Comedy Store
What could be more fun than a great night out - and the Comedy Store in Manchester is a great place for a laugh.
There’s also a restaurant, so you can book a meal, and your booking will include reserved seating for the show.
There are lots of shows to choose from - with world-class stand up comedians, so you’re guaranteed loads of laughs:
There’s Stand Up Thursday with three comedians plus an open spot, Best in Stand Up every Friday and Saturday Night - over two hours of entertainment with 5 great comedians, or try your luck with King Gong - where members of the public get a chance to perform - at least until the Gong sounds.
Manchester Ghost Walk
Hosted by the inimitable Flecky Bennet, you’ll spend 90 minutes discovering the darker side of Manchester and its ghost stories from the past.
Your tour will start as the bells chime - look out for the ghostly policeman at Manchester Town Hall!
As you travel through the back streets of Manchester you may start to feel there’s a ghost or apparition around every corner.
The tour ends at Chethams Library and a terrifying tale where the devil himself is summoned!
As you might expect, this scary tour is for over 18s only…
GoAir Trampoline Park
Styling itself as Manchester’s biggest and best trampoline park, GoAir offers 37,000 square feet of jumping, bouncing and fun.
As well as the main trampoline area, there are two dodgeball courts, battle beams, an airbag jump zone, tumble tracks and more.
For younger visitors, there’s a jump arena for under 6’s, and a soft play area for under 3’s, so everyone gets to join in and have fun.
There are even parkour courses available, for people who want to learn this exciting urban sport and improve their jumping, vaulting and rolling.
Bali Health Lounge Spa
If all these energetic activities are wearing you out - and your idea of fun is being pampered at a luxurious spa, then you’ll love the Bali Health Lounge.
With some of the finest spa treatments available in Manchester, it’s the perfect place to de-stress and unwind.
Choose from a range of Elemis facial treatments including anti-ageing and skin solutions to help you look and feel your best.
Or go for one of the Massage Therapies on offer, including Deep Tissue Massage, Swedish Massage, Indian Head Massage, Reflexology and more.
A range of Lycon Waxing treatments are also available.
CBBC Interactive Tour
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Manchester with kids - then the CBBC Tour is sure to be a hit with fans of CBBC.
Located within MediaCityUK, and suitable for kids aged 6-11, they’ll love the chance to look behind the scenes and see how their favourite programmes are made.
You’ll see the Blue Peter Garden, and kids can have a go at presenting Newsround or perhaps the weather forecast!
All children must be accompanied by an adult throughout the tour - and pre-booking is essential because the tours are extremely popular. The tour lasts about an hour and a half.
There are photo opportunities within the tour, so make sure to bring your camera.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our selection of the best fun things to do in Manchester. If you have, then why not check out these other articles:
If you're visiting as a couple, have a look at our choice of Romantic Things to do in Manchester.
On a budget? There are tons of brilliant Free Things to do in Manchester.
Our main Things to do in Manchester has lots more ideas and information about exploring this great city.
And for fun activities ideal for grown-ups, check out Fun Things to do in Manchester for Adults.