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Things to do in Manchester this Christmas

Check out the latest events happening in this buzzing city.

Manchester la la la.

The pioneering city that gave the world the computer, the Suffragettes, bands such as Oasis, The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, The 1975 and countless others is not a place that sits still. There is always something going on here.

Whether it’s the world’s biggest pop stars playing at the 20,000 capacity Manchester Arena, a new play opening at one of the city’s many theatres or the next big thing honing their craft in a bustling Northern Quarter bar, there’s always something going on in the city of rain to get stuck into.

Each month we’ll bring you the best events happening in this historic northern powerhouse – here’s what’s going down in December.


Spotlight on: Festive Fun 

Manchester truly comes alive at Christmas (just ask Christina Aguilera) with thousands heading to the city’s famous Christmas markets and hitting the town for festive cheer.

Here are some of the best festive-themed events happening throughout the city this December:

John Barrowman will be performing tracks from his Christmas album – A Fabulous Christmas – at Bridgewater Hall on Monday 2 December.

Nothing says Christmas like a pantomime! See Cinderella at Middleton Arena throughout December.

Power ballad enthusiasts Ultimate Power host their annual Christmas party at O2 Ritz Manchester on Friday 13 December.

Matt Goss brings a touch of Las Vegas glamour to the Hilton Hotel on Deansgate on Sunday 15 December for A Vegas Christmas.

Now That’s What I Call Christmas Live comes to Bridgewater Hall on Tuesday 17 December.

West End vocalists, a full orchestra and the all-star Jingle Belle Dancers perform some of the best Christmas hits at Bridgewater Hall on Wednesday 18 December.

YES keyboardist Rick Wakeman brings his the Grumpy Old Christmas Show to RNCM Concert Hall on Thursday 19 December.

Hard rockers Thunder bring their Xmas show to Manchester Academy on Saturday 21 December.

Mason Collective bring their hugely popular MVSON event to O2 Victoria Warehouse for a Christmas special on Boxing Day.


Other things to do 

Warehouse Project draws to a close with Annie Mac, Slowthai, Fatboy Slim and more set to perform. Find out more HERE

Amnesty’s revered Secret Policeman’s Tour comes to the Palace Theatre on Tuesday 3 December.

Indie rockers Razorlight bring hits such as Golden Touch and America to Albert Hall on Wednesday 4 December.

Friday 6 December sees the outrageously funny Jim Jefferies perform at Manchester Arena.

Manchester United continue their Europa League campaign, welcoming AZ Alkmaar to the Theatre of Dreams on Thursday 12 December.

Legendary glam rockers The Darkness headline Manchester Academy on Friday 13 December.

The hilarious Rob Beckett comes to Manchester this month. Catch him at O2 Apollo Manchester on Friday 13 & Saturday 14 December.

Rising Dirty Hits Records’ artists Beabadoobee, No Rome and Oscar Lang takeover Gorilla on Thursday 19 December.

Ace of Base, Vengaboys, 2 Limited and more head to Manchester Arena on Friday 20 December for We Love the 90’s.

Expect the crude when Jack Whitehall brings his new Stood Up tour to Manchester Arena on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 December.

Enjoy a full symphony orchestra performing the tracks of composers John Williams and Hans Zimmer at Bridgewater Hall on Saturday 28 December.

Nathan Sawaya’s awe-inspiring LEGO® exhibition The Art of the Brick continues to wow visitors at Great Northern Warehouse. Find out more HERE.


Live music venues

Looking for a fun night out with some world-class live music? Manchester is the place to be. Here’s what we recommend catching this December.

Stadium and arena shows:

Mid-sized venues with big atmosphere

  • Dido at O2 Apollo Manchester on Tuesday 3 December 2019
  • The Japanese House at O2 Victoria Warehouse on Wednesday 18 December 2019
  • Shed Seven at O2 Victoria Warehouse on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 December 2019

New music to have on your radar:

  • Witch Fever at YES on Friday 6 December 2019
  • The Chats at O2 Ritz Manchester on Tuesday 10 December 2019
  • Boy Azooga at YES on Saturday 14 December 2019

Iconic attractions 

A city with a rich cultural history, there are loads of things to see and do in Manchester all year round.

Take the tram to Media City and visit the northern homes of the BBC and ITV, or brush up on your history at the famous Imperial War Museum.

Take a stroll around the historic canals in the Castlefield area of the city centre, before a visit to the Science and Industry Museum where you can learn about Manchester’s contributions to those fields.

If art is your thing, head to either the Manchester Art Gallery on Mosley Street or to the Whitworth on Oxford Road.

Manchester has a thriving craft beer scene. Independent beer maker extraordinaires Cloudwater host weekly tours and tastings at their Piccadilly based brewery.

Spend an afternoon in the trendy Northern Quarter for independent shopping and places to eat and drink. Stock up on vinyl at Piccadilly Records and after you’ve built up an appetite, head over to one of the area’s many independent bars and restaurants.

Whether you’re red or blue, Manchester is football mad. The city is the home of The National Football Museum, documenting the history of England’s most popular sport.

Speaking of football, go behind the scenes of one of the world’s most famous football clubs with the official Manchester United stadium tour.


You can do all this and more in Manchester this December. For more, head to our Manchester guide.

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