1. Join Pride
This wonderfully star-studded over the top jamboree celebrating gay pride is held over one hedonistic weekend. The Pride Fringe arts event runs for two weeks prior to the Big Weekend every August Bank Holiday and a Manchester Pride Community Festival is now held in the Gay Village in early summer bringing together all of Manchester Pride’s charity partners to showcase their work and raise additional funds. During the Big Weekend the city’s gay community pulls out all the stops in the fabulously flamboyant parade through the city.
2. Go cruising
The 36-mile Manchester Ship Canal was a feat of engineering that transformed the city into a major international inland port. Today, you can take a cruise along Manchester’s waterways over to Liverpool, or do like the locals do and take a barge from Liverpool Road in Castlefield to Old Trafford for the home game.
3. Get musical
Manchester is renowned for being a music mecca and it’s not just pop. The city is home to the famed Hallé Orchestra, Manchester Camerata and BBC Philharmonic, as well as Chetham’s School of Music where you can catch a lunchtime concert within the cloistered medieval building and its contemporary designed £31m extension.
4. Meet the media
Take a trip on the Metrolink to BBC HQ at MediaCityUK and get a glimpse behind the scenes of favourites like Match of the Day, Dragon’s Den and Blue Peter, as well as learn more about the world of broadcasting. For youngsters, there’s also a special CBBC interactive tour, where six to 11-year-olds can even have a go at being a CBBC presenter!
5. Get in the festival spirit
Manchester is a city that likes to celebrate and some events like the International Festival have won it worldwide recognition. This is a unique festival of original new work and special events and is held every two years. A recent line-up of Massive Attack, Adam Curtis, Maxine Peake, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Willem Dafoe, Abida Parveen, Kenneth Branagh, Matthew Barney, Goldfrapp, The xx, Richard Wentworth, Mogwai, Tino Sehgal, Jamal Edwards, Robert Wilson, John Tavener and many more demonstrates the diversity of this prestigious arts event. But the International Festival isn’t the only full on extravaganza the city has on offer. It has a wealth of celebrations all through the year including Manchester Jazz Festival in July and Manchester Food and Drink Festival which runs from September to October this year.
6. Take the tram
The city’s Metrolink is a unique way to travel around the city and beyond. You can hop on the tram up to Bury to stock up on black puddings and Lancashire cheese or travel to Altrincham and catch up with the Cheshire set. Now extended to south Manchester and Ashton-under-Lyne, the network really helps visitors discover the city beyond its boundaries.
7. Follow the Lowry trail
LS Lowry is Manchester’s most famous artist and the Lowry on Salford Quays is where you’ll find the largest collection of his works. But there are other places around the city and beyond that were significant in his life such as Peel building at Peel Park which he painted and his final home, a listed building in Mottram-in-Longdendale.
8. National Football Museum – it’s a goal!
The museum has been a huge hit since it opened in the former Urbis in 2012. Museum collection highlights include a shirt from the world’s first international match played in 1872, the 1966 World Cup Final ball and the shirt worn by Maradona during the infamous 1986 ‘Hand of God’ quarter final match between England and Argentina. It has three floors of objects, stories, ‘hands on’ interactives, and a changing temporary exhibition programme showing that it’s not just football – fashion, art and photography all have a part to play in bringing the story to life.
9. Go bowling
Manchester has gone bowling crazy recently. There’s Black Dog Ballroom’s Dog Bowl on Whitworth Street and All Star Lanes, 10-pin bowling, restaurant and bar at Manchester’s Great Northern both serving up American dining, quality cocktails, and boutique bowling…all with a large helping of retro glamour.
10. Toast the genius of Turing
Have a drink in The Temple on Oxford Road. The former public lavatory, where the Enigma codebreaking genius, Alan Turing, was arrested for importuning, has now been transformed into one of Manchester’s more curious pubs.
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