Manchester Off-campus living

Reconnect with the city: What’s on in Manchester

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Ever since the government made its first steps in bringing us out of lockdown, Manchester has been buzzing with activity. Within hours of the reopening of outdoor spaces and non-essential retail/leisure, the city was brought back to life, offering a cheerful glimpse of normalcy.

I’m sure many of you have already been making the most of our new-found freedoms, particularly as the sun has begun to make a reappearance in recent weeks. But if you’re still looking for inspiration, we thought we’d give you the low-down of events coming up in and around Manchester.

Remember, you’ll most likely need to book in advance so it’s best to get organised ahead of time!

New outdoor bars and restaurants

You only have to take a stroll around Northern Quarter or Canal Street to see how some of your favourite bars have adapted to the new outside-only rule. Much to our excitement, the streets have become occupied by outdoor seating to adhere to government guidelines – so much so that it almost feels like a European holiday (if a little more overcast)! There are also a great number of notable new and exciting faces on the hospitality scene:

  • Escape to Freight Island is the lively regeneration of Depot Mayfield. This outdoor market and festival space is home to a number of different bars, restaurants, food trucks, music performances, immersive entertainment, and retail businesses.
  • Boujee is every instagrammer’s dream. This new outdoor terrace bar is the perfect spot for lovers of all things pink and prosecco!
  • The much-loved Hatch has re-opened its doors with some fabulous new additions.
  • Beer Nouveau offers the perfect rustic feel for craft beer lovers.
  • O’sheas Irish Beer Garden is a huge new outdoor space in the heart of the city, perfect for a sunny day.
  • Say yes to Yes, as they’ve opened two new outdoor street spaces, along with their rooftop terrace.
  • Ramona is a new hot spot offering pizza, beer and cocktails in an outdoor space littered with campfires, canopies and fairy lights.

If you’re planning on going out now that many pubs and bars have re-opened, have a great time, but please remember: Plan your journey home before you go out, look out for each other when you’ve had a few drinks and make sure you travel home with friends. Don’t walk home alongside the water after drinking: find a better route home . For more advice and information visit the Manchester Water Safety Partnership website. We also advise you to make use of our safety tips, resources and safe spaces, both on campus and around the city.


As large-scale events and festivals aren’t likely to take place this summer (at least not to their normal capacity), many of your Manchester favourites have moved online in the coming months…

  • Band on the wall are hosting a great series of online events throughout April and May. Their “Live-ish” events feature some of Manchester’s greatest up and comings.
  • The Queer Contact Festival is returning for 2021. A great celebration of LGBTQ+ creatives, the festival is “a fully digital extravaganza delivered straight to your screens”.
  • MINDSCAPES is bringing art back to the streets of Manchester in an exciting year-round programme of activity. Go on a hunt around the city to view the artworks in person, or join the free online events happening this spring.
  • If you’re a fan of all things mystery, join the whodunnit virtual event hosted by Oldham Coliseum Theatre.
  • The Great Northern Maker’s Market is back, giving you the chance to support local businesses selling crafts, jewellery, food and drink.

Many people are feeling anxious about meeting in larger groups at the moment, so these events are the perfect way to keep socialising.

The gradual return of cultural venues

Whilst many of Manchester’s cultural sites await reopening, they have adapted to online showcases and events. If you’re desperate to get a cultural fix, check out what they’ve got to offer:

  • Manchester Museum hopes to open its doors to the public on 19 May, but for now, why not take a virtual visit to the Vivarium on your study break?
  • Ahead of the opening of Manchester Art Gallery and the much anticipated Grayson’s Art Club exhibition, you can watch a livestream tour from the curators to familiarise yourself with the artwork from series one of the hit lockdown TV show.
  • The Whitworth have created a fascinating podcast to help keep us informed of what is happening both in and outside of the gallery.

The Great Outdoors

As the good weather (hopefully) continues, we recommend visiting one of the many green spaces in the Greater Manchester area. If you’re bored of Platt Fields, why not have a socially distanced meet-up a bit further a field?

  • Heaton Park in North Manchester is the perfect place to go for a picnic on a sunny day.
  • Sale Water Park is a great spot for water-sport lovers – as long as you don’t mind the cold!
  • You can visit Fletcher Moss Gardens in Disbury for a stroll, or even join as a volunteer in the coming summer months.
  • Vale Country Park in Stockport is perfect for nature lovers and features a new butterfly park.

We know most of you have important deadlines and exams coming up, but it’s important to not become overwhelmed: find the time to unwind and appreciate the city, particularly in our last semester. For some, this may be your last few months in Manchester, so take some time to explore and have fun!

Always remember to remain COVID safe by wearing a mask and maintaining social distance. You can also get regular tests on the University campus to feel more secure: find out more here.

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