Holidays Manchester The city

10 things to do in Manchester this December

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With the festive season quickly approaching, there are hundreds of events happening here in Manchester over the next month. From Christmas markets, to ice villages and pop-up bars, we’ve rounded up just a few of the best events and day trips you can take (most of them being free!), so that you can make the most of the city.

1.Manchester Christmas Markets – 8 November – 22 December

This year is the 20th anniversary of the Manchester Christmas Markets! You’ve probably heard about them before, but they really are worth a visit for the Yorkshire pudding wraps alone! The markets run throughout the city, and have everything from food and drink, to handmade gifts at more than 300 stalls. You can find a list of all the stalls and locations here.

2. Winter Market at Manchester Museum – 5 December

Levenshulme Market is popping up with a special Winter Market at Manchester Museum for just one day. They will be at the Museum on Thursday 5 December, 5-9pm, with a host of beautiful handmade Christmas presents as well as live music and a full bar!

3. Lowry Outlet Christmas Maker’s Market – every Saturday & Sunday

The Maker’s Market will be running in Salford every Saturday and Sunday in December, bringing unique products from local, independent traders.

4. Sustainable Fashion Sale (Student’s Union) – 3 December

Smart Works Manchester is running a Sustainable Fashion Sale in the Student’s Union. Smart Works are a charity that helps women throughout Greater Manchester by providing them with the clothes and confidence they need for success in a job. All the funds raised will go towards helping local women get back into employment.

5. Skate Manchester at the Ice Village (Cathedral Gardens) – 8 November – 5 January

Cathedral Gardens will be transformed into an Ice Village this Christmas, where 250 tonnes of ice has been used to create a huge ice rink, an ice sculpture cave and even an ice bar! The tickets will cost £12.20, which you can purchase here.   

6. Bar Hütte (Spinningfields) – 7 November – 31 December

At this brand new pop-up bar, you can enjoy the après ski experience in the middle of Manchester! You’re free to pop in and enjoy a drink without a reservation, although you can also reserve a large hut for 6 – 10 people if there’s a big group of you. It’s only open up until the end of December so make sure you don’t miss out!

7. The Lodge (First Street) – 31 October – 2 January

This winter, a huge Nordic-style tipi will be coming to First Street, where you’ll be able to try out a selection of Nordic beers. As well as food and drink, there’ll be a whole host of activities on offer, from creative workshops to  a range of exercise classes (including ABBA yoga…).

8. Village Screen Festive Cinema (Victoria Baths) – 6, 7, 8 December

Village Screen Cinema will be transforming Victoria Baths into a magical Christmas cinema, complete with Christmas décor, street food, and festive cocktails. They’ll be showing some Christmas movie favourites (including Home Alone, Elf, and Love Actually!) You can buy tickets here.

9. Trail of festive light sculptures – All of December

As well as the Christmas lights in the city, there is also a trail of festive light sculptures that you can find dotted around the city centre – you may have seen the two huge gold baubles in Piccadilly Gardens!

10. Lightopia Festival (Heaton Park) – 21 November – 31 December

This year, Manchester will be hosting Europe’s biggest lantern festival, with over 2000 lanterns in Heaton Park. As well as interactive lights and lanterns, there will be a water-screen projection, acrobatic performances, and performances from local musicians. You can buy tickets here.

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