Museum of Liverpool
Photograph: Shutterstock

The 25 best things to do in Liverpool right now

From theatre and nightlife to art and architecture, here are all the best things to do in Liverpool

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Liverpool ain’t all about The Beatles. Sure, there’s an immersive experience all about the Fab Four, and sure, the locals love a bit of Beatles tourism as much as they always did. But once you’ve ticked those off your list, there’s plenty more to get stuck into in this brilliant city. 

To start with, there’s the rich architectural heritage, from the city’s two magnificent cathedrals to the historically significant Albert Dock and the Tate art gallery. Then you've got amazing theatres, museums, galleries, and on top of that? Excellent nightlife and food scenes. Well, there. You’ve got yourself a winner. Here are the best things to do in Liverpool right now.

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This guide was recently updated by Alice Porter, a writer based in Liverpool. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

What to do in Liverpool

  • Things to do

What is it? The northern home of Britain’s famous Tate galleries.

Why go? Formerly a warehouse, Tate Liverpool is now one of the most impressive art galleries in the UK. Take a trip to Albert Dock to see how James Stirling converted the historic building into a modern behemoth that makes an architectural virtue out of the building’s original features. Recent exhibitions include Keith Haring, Lucian Freud and Louise Bourgeois.

 

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens

What is it? A green haven in the south of Liverpool.

Why go? When city life gets a bit full-on, head to Sefton Park and enjoy 250 acres of beautiful green space. Granted Grade I-listed status (and well deserving of it), this urban oasis has hidden caves, waterfalls and a Victorian Palm House. Get house-plant inspiration in the Botanical Gardens and breathe a little easier on the bus ride home.

 

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  • Shakespeare

What is it? A brand-new theatre and community hub inspired by the only sixteenth-century indoor playhouse in the UK outside of London.

Why go? It might not be the most centrally located theatre in the city, but it's worth the journey to Prescot for its excellent programme of plays by Shakespeare as well as contemporary theatre, comedy and other live events. Shakespeare North Playhouse represents a massive addition to Liverpool’s cultural scene, made all the more impressive by being outside the city centre.

4. FACT Liverpool

What is it? An independent culture hub, featuring cinemas and art galleries.

Why go? A pioneering creative space located just off of Bold Street, FACT has long championed independent talent, as well as offering a space for locals to explore and develop new ideas. Check out some of their free exhibitions, which often focus on digital art, or book yourself in for a film followed by a drink at the Picturehouse Bar, which often hosts cultural quizzes, themed nights and acoustic gigs too.

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5. Liverpool Philharmonic

What is it? The main venue in the city for classical orchestral performances as well as other types of music, from pop to folk.

Why go? For starters, Liverpool Philharmonic is a hugely impressive concert hall, home to Liverpool’s very own orchestra, so if you’re into your classical music, there’s no better venue in the city. You can marvel at the architecture and the acoustics and enjoy the diverse programme, from Gustav Mahler to Martha Wainwright.

6. The Bluecoat

What is it? The oldest building in Liverpool city centre, this Grade I-listed former school is now a centre for contemporary arts with shops and a café.

Why go? Aside from the stunning building itself, the changing exhibitions in the excellent gallery spaces and a constantly inspiring events programme, Bluecoat is the base for a whole host of cool organisations like DaDa (Deaf and Disability Arts) and the Arabic Arts Festival. There’s always something interesting happening, in other words, and often in the centre’s glorious central courtyard. Plus, the café is one of very few places that do proper, thick wedges of toast dripping with butter.

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7. The Beatles Story

What is it? An immersive experience dedicated to Liverpool’s most famous quartet.

Why go? This award-winning homage to the Fab Four isn’t just for fans. Not only will you find out more than you’ll ever need to know about the band, you’ll get a taste of the swinging ’60s too, with recreations of The Casbah, Mathew Street and The Cavern Club, plus cabinets filled with one-off memorabilia and interactive areas. There’s also the largest selection of official Beatles merchandise in the world, should you fancy splashing out on a memento.

8. Liverpool Central Library

What is it? The city's biggest library, featuring the Grade II listed Picton Reading Room.

Why go? Whether your interest lies in literature or architecture, the Liverpool Central Library, which features a stunning Victorian-era reading room, won't disappoint. The Picton Reading Room, which first opened in 1879, was the first ever electrically lit library in the United Kingdom and it's been well-preserved, so that you can spend a relaxed couple of hours there reading, or explore the archival and rare collections, which are also featured in glass cases in a part of the building known as the Hornby Library.

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9. Bongo’s Bingo at CONTENT

What is it? The boozy bingo event in the city where it all started

Why go? You can now go to Bongo's Bingo events all over the world, but the booze-fuelled event which involves dance-offs, karaoke and cash prizes for winners started off in Liverpool in 2015, so it’s only right to dedicate an evening to it during your visit to the city. Its new home, Content, is a purpose-built venue located in The Baltic Triangle made from reclaimed shipping containers and a fantastic sound system. Plus, you’ll be in a great location to finish the night partying in the Baltic, which is quickly becoming the city’s nightlife hub.

10. Radio City Tower

What is it? A bit like Seattle’s Space Needle, this pointy landmark has towered above the city since 1969.

Why go? There are few places with better views of Liverpool than the observation deck of Radio City Tower. Officially known (but never referred to) as St John’s Beacon, this structure is 138 metres tall and its 360-degree panoramas are incredible. In case you hadn’t figured it out already, Radio City also broadcasts from here.

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11. Mersey Ferry

What is it? A hop-on-hop-off ride along the Mersey.

Why go? If Gerry And The Pacemakers thought it was worth singing about, it’s probably worth a ride. At the very least you’ll get good views of the city. Choose from a standard hop-on-hop-off cruise or a combination ticket that includes entrance to other Liverpool attractions, including the family-friendly interactive Spaceport attraction and the U-Boat Story, where you get to mooch around a genuine German submarine. In 2018 one of the riverboats was ‘dazzle painted’ by pop artist Sir Peter Blake to commemorate the centenary of the World War I Armistice.

12. Liverpool Cathedral

What is it? A Gothic behemoth at the heart of the city.

Why go? Liverpool Cathedral is the largest religious building in Britain and the fifth-largest cathedral in the world. Built between 1904 and 1978, it’s now open to the public every day of the year. Here you can admire the world’s highest and widest Gothic arches, the UK’s largest organ and an array of stunning stained-glass windows. The cathedral also plays host to art exhibitions and charity dinners throughout the year, so it’s worth checking the website before your visit.

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13. Shopping on Bold Street

What is it? Bold Street is Liverpool’s thriving independent shopping quarter.

Why go? Few places embody the creative spirit of Liverpool like Bold Street. This haven of independent businesses has long been held by locals and tourists alike as one of the city’s coolest areas. At once bougie and innovative, Bold Street is the place to head for one-off vintage pieces, second-hand books, vinyl or quirky homeware by local designers. Don’t forget to stop off at one of the many tempting cafés, bars and restaurants to refuel while you browse.

14. Museum of Liverpool

What is it? Well, you can probably guess. This museum is dedicated to Liverpool itself and is perched on the banks of the glistening Mersey.

Why go? From Liverpool’s unique geography to its rich history and vibrant culture, the Museum of Liverpool will tell you everything you need to know about this fabulous city. Just a short gallop away from RIBA North, the museum documents the importance of Liverpool in relation to the rest of the UK and the vital role the port has played throughout its history. Once inside, you’ll be bombarded with a host of Liverpool-centric things, including archaeological finds, the mythical liver birds, sporting paraphernalia and some (very) iconic tunes.

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15. Merseyside Maritime Museum

What is it? A museum dedicated to Liverpool’s rich maritime history, appropriately based at Albert Dock.

Why go? No visit to Liverpool would be complete without a trip to Merseyside Maritime Museum, an ode to the city’s sea-trading legacy – especially since it provides fun for all the family. First, there’s a load of model ships and full-sized vessels to examine, as well as eye-catching maritime paintings and posters, films and even a genuine lifejacket worn by a Titanic survivor. You’ll also find the rather harrowing International Slavery Museum on the third floor and the National Border Force Museum in the basement.

16. Beatles and sightseeing walking tour

What is it? A chance to get the skinny on the city from a local guide.

Why go? Your guide will have a wealth of local knowledge – including plenty of titbits on the Beatles. After all, a tour of Liverpool wouldn’t be complete without dipping into the story of the Fab Four, right? En route, explore the waterfront, learn about the historic docks and find out how the place has changed since John, Paul, George and Ringo made it big. Then you can take in a Beatles film and see loads of locations only accessible by foot, including the site of Brian Epstein’s record shop, NEMS, the Eleanor Rigby and Cilla Black statues, and the Cavern Club, where it all began.

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17. Port Sunlight

What is it? A picturesque village on The Wirral founded by William Hesketh Lever in 1888 as a place for ‘Sunlight Soap’ factory workers to live.

Why go? Home to the magnificent Lady Lever Art Gallery, the entire village of Port Sunlight is a conservation area, where the original worker’s houses are Grade II-listed and set in some stunning parkland. It’s a perfect excursion for a sunny day, and you’ll need to take the ferry or go through the Mersey Tunnel from Liverpool to get to it.

18. The Cavern Club

What is it? The legendary nightclub that has played host to all manner of illustrious figures from Liverpudlian musical history.

Why go? This underground cellar started life in 1957 as a jazz and skiffle joint, before playing an instrumental role in the birth of the Beatles. Lennon and McCartney played here in the Quarrymen before forming the Fab Four and setting up for almost 300 gigs on its stage. Other major acts followed them, including the Hollies, Rolling Stones and the Kinks, before the venue was bulldozed in the early ’80s. Thanks to investment from Liverpool FC player Tommy Smith, the Cavern Club reopened in 1984 and is once again a vibrant live music venue. Visit now and you’ll either encounter one of the club’s resident acts – including a killer Beatles tribute – or an up-and-coming singer-songwriter.

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19. The Baltic Triangle

What is it? Start-ups, street food and stunning arts venues – you’ll find it all in this trendy area.

Why go? Occupying an industrial district that was heavily bombed during World War II, the Baltic Triangle’s historic warehouses now overflow with music venues, arts spaces and independent boutiques. Don’t miss the Baltic Market, a street-food haven inside the striking Cains Brewery building. Expect things like halloumi fries, prosecco ice lollies and Neapolitan fried pizzas.

20. The Royal Liver Building Clocktower Tour

What is it? An office block, but not any old office block.

Why go? Built between 1908 and 1911, the Grade I-listed Royal Liver Building (that’s ‘liver’ to rhyme with ‘diver’) is one of the sights that earned Liverpool its Unesco World Heritage status. It was designed by Walter Aubrey Thomas for an insurance company and was one of the first structures in the world to be built using reinforced concrete. Its most notable features are its two clock towers, on top of which perch two mythical, cormorant-like liver birds. A tour of the clocktower offers superb views from what is the city’s most famous landmark. 

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21. British Music Experience

What is it? An exhibition that tells the story of British pop music.

Why go? In this sprawling, vibrant and interactive exhibition, visitors can find out just about everything there is to know about pop music in the UK. Highlights? Genuine outfits worn by stars such as David Bowie, as well as instruments that once belonged to Noel Gallagher and the Sex Pistols. You can also have a go at rock stardom yourself by picking up one of various guitars, drum kits and keyboards, or belting out a tune or two in a vocal booth.

22. Love Lane Brewery Tour

What is it? A look inside the Baltic Triangle-based brewery, with an optional beer and gin tasting.

Why go? Looking for a boozy way to spend the afternoon? Tour the breweries of Love Lane based in an old rubber warehouse at the centre of Liverpool's Baltic Triangle, while sampling local, fresh beer. If beer isn't your thing, you can also tour their gin distilleries and settle in for a tasting of their Ginsmiths of Liverpool gin. With a delicious food menu featuring chicken wings and dirty fries, it's a great spot to line your stomach too.

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23. Vintage Shopping at 69A

What is it? A treasure trove of vintage items, antiques and bric-a-brac.

Why go? Remember as a kid when you hoped that wardrobes and doorways in garden walls might lead to some magical place? Welcome to 69A, the closest Liverpool has to that. Step inside and you’re transported into an emporium where you might come across a small toy reminding you of your childhood for just a few quid, a first edition you’ll need to take a loan out to buy or some vintage clothing you just have to have. You can get lost in here for hours.

24. Pins Social Club

What is it? A bowling alley with a rooftop bar, as well as ping pong, shuffle boards and live music.

Why go? If you’re trying to find a place that will please everyone, you can't go wrong with PINS. It’s one of the best nights out in the city, with a huge rooftop which is a great place to soak up the sun in the summer, and transformed into an Alpine Village during the winter. Inside, there’s plenty to keep you occupied, with impressive bowling alleys and ping pong tables. There’s also an array of live music and DJs playing until 2am at the weekend.

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25. The M&S Bank Arena

What is it? A 11,000-capacity arts and sports venue that opened in 2008.

Why go? Those seeking an action-packed outing should check out the M&S Bank Arena, which regularly plays host to massive gigs, live sporting events, comedy shows and family-friendly performances. Sir Paul McCartney has graced the arena’s stage, and so too have Beyoncé and Iron Maiden. They’ve also held the Mobo Awards and the Davis Cup here, as well as telly favourites ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and ‘The X Factor’. And in 2023, the venue is playing host to actual Eurovision. Plenty of strings to its bow, then.

More great things to do in Liverpool

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