Ten great things to do this summer in Manchester

Our round up of the very best things to do in the city when the sun comes out for the summer
The Skriker - Maxine Peake
Image: Jonty Wilde
Things to do, Festivals

Manchester International Festival 2015

Every other year, summer in the city gets a huge boost as MIF transforms the place into a cultural European capital. Whether you want to see Maxine Peake in a play, see Bjork do her wonderful stuff or just sit back and relax in Festival Square, MIF is surely the highlight of the summer.

Dates: Thu 2 - Sun 19 July

Flower hats on five models
Rob Martin

Dig the City

Dig the City is Manchester’s summer garden festival and newest summer attraction. The seven day event transforms the city’s shopping streets with Show Gardens, horticultural talks and workshops, children’s activities, music, entertainment and fine food, leading names in garden design – and special shopping events and promotions.

Dates: Fri 31 July - Thu 6 August

The Lowry, Manchester

The Quays Summer Festival

Who doesn't like to be beside the water when it's sunny? Enjoy The Quays festival this summer with international artists Umbrellium livening up the outdoor spaces. Meanwhile there's the new extended Lowry Favourites exhibition to see, plus everything else that The Quays has to offer, which is rather a lot.

Dates: Tue 14 - Sat 18 July

Quinn Dombrowski
Bars and pubs

Manchester's best beer gardens

There's nothing better than a cold beer on a hot day, so let's hope the summer is full of hot days so we can all enjoy some relaxed time outdoors.

Art, Film and video


Summer should show our newest cultural venue off at its best, with the wide open spaces inside and outside benefitting from sunny weather. So, on top of what's actually on there in its cinemas, theatres and art galleries, it's going to be a wonderful new space to hang out.

Photo by Angie Wynne

Be out, loud and proud at Pride

Whilst not quite the political animal it used to be, and not raising as much funds as it once did, the 2015 LGBT street party is still great fun and sees the likes of Texas, Little Boots, DJ Fresh and, yes, Atomic Kitten, lined up amongst others to perform this year. The highlight of course is the parade and there's the candlelit vigil to close the weekend too.

Dates for The Big Weekend: Fri 28 - Mon 31 August

Visit the Pride website. 

MJF Manchester Jazz Festival

Manchester Jazz Festival - 20th year

Presenting ten days of live music each July, MJF hosts about 80 events across different venues throughout the city, making it a perfect musical cousin to MIF, especially given the use of Albert Square as the main Festival hub. More visitors than ever are expected this year to mark the 20th birthday of the festival. Performers for 2015 range from Mr Scruff to 52 Skidoo.

Dates: Fri 31 July - Sun 9 August

Visit the Manchester Jazz Festival website

Kersal Dale
Rob Martin
News, City Life

Get out for a walk

If the sun is shining there are some lovely parks in Manchester for a long walk, and here are ten of the best.

Free things to do in Manchester all year round

Attractions, Libraries, archives and foundations

Chetham's Library

icon-location-pin Central Manchester

Astonishingly, Chetham's Library, founded in 1653, is the oldest public library in the English speaking world, still providing public access to over 100,000 books free of charge, right in the middle of Manchester. As you can imagine, it's quite something to behold. 

Museums, Military and maritime

Imperial War Museum North

icon-location-pin Trafford Park

Architect Daniel Libeskind's astonishing building, an aluminium-clad landmark on the banks of the Manchester ship canal, could easily have overshadowed the content within. Brilliantly, it does not. Sloping floors and obtuse angles inside are a deliberately disorientating attack on the senses. 

Art, Galleries

Manchester Art Gallery

icon-location-pin Central Manchester

Slap bang in the middle of the city centre sits on oasis of calm in the grand shape of Manchester's main art gallery, housing its superb collection alongside temporary exhibitions. And what a collection it is. Nearly 13,000 paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs and other art forms, plus a similar number in the craft and design collection, all making for one genuinely world class gallery. 

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