Books on a table in a book shop with Joe and Dusty Save the World leading the stacks
Photograph: Ian Lowey

Things to do in Manchester this weekend

Check out some great things to do this weekend in Manchester

Rob Martin
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We've rounded up some of the best things to do in Manchester this weekend, so there's no excuse to let your downtime go to waste. Whether theatre is your bag, you're mad for music or you'd rather stroll around an art exhibition, you'll find it all in our list, plus much, much more.

If you're looking for things to do in Manchester beyond this weekend, take a look at The Best Things To Do In Manchester.

 

This weekend's best things to do

Bopcap Books in Levenshulme sits inside the famous Levenshulme Antiques Village and offers, for sale, a carefully curated collection of books and ephemera (posters, magazines etc), in the following areas; art, photography, design, pop culture, children's books and illustration, cinema, fashion, the occult and cult fiction, beat lit, crime noir, graphic novels and pulp fiction. Find books by local authors or order online.

Sometimes, it's rolling hills and fresh air that you're after. A nice stroll through majestic landscapes and small villages can really give you a sense that you've earned your lunch. That's when a trip to a country pub for a hearty meal and a pint of ale or a glass of wine, is all that you want, and here are some of the best in the region.

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In the past, we’ve named this fast-changing neighbourhood centred around Cutting Room Square one of the coolest places in the world. And now it seems the idea is catching on. These days, Ancoats features regularly in all sorts of ‘best of’ lists from publications all over the world. Like many places that see a sudden regeneration, places to eat, drink and be entertained come and go until things start to settle down and residents decide what’s right for the community, and so it has been in Ancoats.

With cinemas, galleries, a bookshop plus fantastic food and drink, HOME is one of Manchester's cultural highlights. Film-wise, the superb screens, with probably the best sound in the city, there's everything from brand new releases to re-issued classics, plus festivals and celebrations of world cinema. And whilst the gallery content can sometimes leave you scratching your head, you'll never say it's boring. Go just to hang out too - you'll be well-catered for in the bar and restaurant. 


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Inspired by the mix of Middle Eastern flavours and tastes of the Parisian district of Le Marias (get it?), Maray has now been going for almost a decade, with restaurants in Manchester and Liverpool. It's rare to find food of such quality at such a reasonable price in an unfussy setting and with a friendly bunch of people waiting to guide you through it. Head over to Lincoln Square (where Lincoln's statue now faces a different way) and make sure to check out the full vegan menu they're offering throughout Veganuary on top of their regular delicious offer.

This first-of-its-kind exhibition at the Whitworth delves into the gallery’s collection to explore how we can use a queer lens to define what the term ‘queer’ means. Examining same-sex love and desire and gender fluidity across different cultures, the exhibition offers a survey of artworks that seeks to redress historic omissions that have existed because of heteronormative museum practice. Presenting collection works alongside loans the exhibition includes artists Ajamu X, Niki de Saint Phalle, General Idea, David Hockney, Maggi Hambling, Pearl Alcock, Keith Vaughan, Matthew Bamber, Sarah-Joy Ford, Wolfgang Tilmans, Chester Tenneson and Jez Dolan. 

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Whilst it's an important reminder that a dog is for life, not just for Christmas, if you did welcome a new furry friend to your family in December, there's a shop in Ancoats that's just perfect for you. Sticks & Socks may be a little tucked away but, once you find it, you'll be a regular visitor to a place that places your dog's well-being as highly as your own. With products emphasising sustainability and kindness to the planet as well as animal comfort, it’s more like stepping into a boutique than a pet shop. You’ll find luxurious food items, ethical dog wash, leads, collars and harnesses from recycled materials, and much more. Pop in this weekend, and take your dog too.

This fine Ancoats pub has been around long enough - since 1811 to be precise - to know a thing or two about lying on delicious food. In fact, its famed Sunday lunch is up there with the best in the city. Throughout January, they're offering a set menu at £30/£35 for two or three courses but you'll have to be quick as it's available for bookings made Wednesday to Friday only between 5pm and 6:30pm. Still, not a bad start to your weekend...

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A huge number of people signed on for Veganuary this year and the city hasn’t been slow to acknowledge the trend, just look at the best vegan restaurants in Manchester as proof of that. Not only are we seeing more and more vegan options on every menu in town, entire eateries are now taking the step beyond the veggie. From takeaways to fine dining, vegan food is the thing that’s standing out in our food scene right now.

 

If you feel the need to escape on Sunday afternoons there's nowhere better in the city than Freight Island. With a host of different restaurants under the same roof, or even outside in some cases, plus as many bars as you could wish for, you're well-catered for in every way. And if you fancy, you could even indulge in a bit of a spin with Good Life Skates whilst you're there! 

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A few miles outside Manchester City Centre, Prestwich, the unassuming town you pass through on the way to Bury, is fast becoming one of the most desirable places to be in Manchester. In fact, in April 2022 ‘The Sunday Times’ voted it the best place to live in all of Greater Manchester. So what's all the fuss about? Take a look at our guide.

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