10 Things Students Must Do In Manchester | [UPDATED 2022]

Manchester is the home of footy, corrie, and bags of culture! 

When living in student accommodation in Manchester, you’re never short of things to do, and it’s the third most affordable city in the UK, which is an added bonus.

Manchester’s nightlife offers something for everyone, from the glitz and glamour at Spinningfields to the edgy nightclubs like Mojo and South.

With a vast amount of green space surrounding Manchester, you really do get the best of both worlds, whether you fancy a walk on the Peak District or a shopping spree.

With more than 100,000 students studying in the city, it’s certainly very popular, and for a very good reason!

We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 things to do in Manchester for students.

Trust us, you won’t want to miss this…

Manchester things to do

1. Wander Down The Northern Quarter

The edgy Northern Quarter has bags of charm and character, situated between Piccadilly and the Ancoats.

Home to cool independent fashion stores, cafés, indie bars and tasty restaurants, it’s easy to lose yourself in this vibrant community!

Until about the mid- 1990s, The Northern Quarter wasn’t really a thing until a number of businesses got together and came up with the branded area and now it’s booming – we love it. 

You can easily spend a day here without leaving the district, where you can discover hidden bars and secret streets tucked away that are proper Insta-worthy. 

If you’re feeling peckish, there are plenty of places to grab some yummy food here too like Liquor and Burn the place to be for North-American road trip inspired scran.

We’re talking everything from nachos to burritos to loaded fries to halloumi sticks – mmm gimme! 

If you fancy a few bevvies with your pals after a busy day, there’s hip bars like Cane & Grain the ultimate gaff for New-York inspired cocktails.

How does a tipple of ‘The Devil Went To Georgia’ with Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Peach Cordial, Southern Sweet Tea and Black Walnut Bitters sound?

Whilst you’re in NQ, you need to do some street art spotting, some buildings have designated spaces for street art who even invite artists to repaint them, pretty cool right?

There are so many spots to discover within the vibrant Northern Quarter, go have a wander around and see where you end up. 

It’s no wonder it was voted Number 30 out of the top 50 coolest neighbourhoods in the world! 


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2. Go To A Vinyl Store

If you’re a music-lover who’s into vinyls (they just sound better, don’t they?) then you’ll be spoilt for choice in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. 

Piccadilly Records is the place to be in the Northern Quarter has a fab eclectic range of records from both local and international artists.

Having opened in 1978, this independent music store has been the ultimate record destination for decades – and more years to come! 

This award-winning venue is so respected it even has its own book, now that’s impressive. 

The staff here are super friendly and of course knowledgeable on tons of albums, so speak to them and they may just give you a few of their fave picks.

There are plenty of other vinyl stores to explore as well as this, including Vinyl Revival, Vinyl Exchange and Eastern Bloc

Independent record stores have enjoyed their second life thanks to a big vinyl craze, so pop down to the Northern Quarter and make the most of it. 

You might just find a few new vinyls to add to your record player collection at your student flat!


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3. Visit The Lowry

Located on the waterfront of Salford Quays, The Lowry is an award-winning theatre and gallery that should be for sure be on your list of things to do in Manchester. 

This registered charity is a not-for-profit organisation that is committed to bringing the highest visual and performing arts to Salford.

Their vision is to be a world-class arts centre, who work hard to make sure visitors always enjoy their experience.

It’s actually named after Laurence Stephen Lowry, an artist who spent much of his life in Salford and is strongly associated with the city.

Their events programme ranges from theatre shows to exhibitions to digital art showcases to workshops. 

Some of the things taking place this Autumn include The Shawshank Redemption, The Black Blue’s Brothers and LS Lowry: The Art And The Artist. 

With plenty of performances on offer, The Lowry is a great excuse to get dressed up with your mates and catch a show on an evening!


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Address: The Quays, Salford M50 3AZ

4. Stroll Around Fletcher Moss Park & Botanical Gardens 

If you’re someone who loves getting out and about and exploring green spaces, then you need to head over to Fletcher Moss Gardens. 

Located in Didsbury, this botanical gardens and wildlife habitat is absolutely stunning. 

As you walk around you can explore the beautiful array of flowers and trees, rockery, rose pergola garden, heather garden, ponds, Wellbeing garden and wildlife meadow.

Remember to take your camera along with you when you visit cos’ you’ll get some amazing photos here. 

Don’t worry, the gardens are open every day of the year so even in the Autumn months you can enjoy this peaceful Oasis. 

Despite being located outside of the city centre, you can easily get to the park using public transport with bus and tram links nearby – there’s no excuses not to give this place a visit! 

Plus, once you’re done why not go for some food and drinks in the buzzing suburb of Didsbury?

There’s loads of nice bars and restaurants to go to with your pals like The Botanist and The Slug & Lettuce. 

Who wouldn’t wanna add this to their list of things to do in Manchester?!


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Address: 18 Stenner Ln, Didsbury, Manchester M20 2RQ

5. The Whitworth Art Gallery

Founded in 1889, The Whitworth Gallery is the first English gallery in a park, transformed by a £15 million development.

Part of the University Of Manchester, the Whitworth gallery is located on Oxford Road and filled with collections of art and design, modern and historic fine art, prints, textiles and a rare collection of wallpapers – oooo! 

When we say filled, we really mean it, there’s 55,000 items within the collection here so you’ll certainly have a lot to discover. 

The art garden was designed by Sarah Price and features a sculptured terrace, an orchard garden, landscape gallery, learning studio and even a café in the trees. 

The best part is, admission to the gallery is free so you only have to pay for a coffee or a bite to eat from the cafe if you fancy it, or take a stroll round the different places on Oxford Road when you’re done! 

If you’re looking for things to do in Manchester to get a cultural fix then deffo give this place a visit. 


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Address: Oxford Rd, Manchester M15 6ER

6. Go To The Manchester Art Gallery

Another cultural place to visit when it comes to things to do in Manchester is The Manchester Art Gallery.

The building itself located on Mosley Street in the city centre, has remained for over 200 years and houses a huge collection of art alongside ever-changing exhibitions. 

Current exhibitions taking place include Climate Justice, Dandy Style and Out Of The Crate to name a few. 

They also host community programmes, events, arts and health projects, and are always thinking of ways to improve the way they deliver their art.

It’s a must see when living and studying in this city, and makes for a perfect trip on a rainy day!

Don’t worry about forking out the cash for this place, it’s free entry. 


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Address: Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley St, Manchester M2 3JL

7. Tour Etihad Stadium

Calling all footy fans, we’ve got to include a bit of sport on our list haven’t we!

Whether you’re a Blue or a red, Manchester is buzzing with football teams.

The Etihad Stadium, home to Manchester City FC is the fifth-largest in the Premier League and the tenth-largest in the UK. 

The stadium tours are £17 for students with a valid student ID, where you can even sit next to a virtual Pep Guardiola in the press room!

There’s even a 360 degree cinema experience and audio-visual experience. 

If you can get your hands on a ticket, why not go to a Manchester City match with your pals?!

It’s definitely worth visiting the stadium when studying here, whether you travel there by bus, tram or car.


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Address: Ashton New Rd, Manchester M11 3FF

8. Old Trafford

Old Trafford is the world-famous home of the premier league team Manchester United.

If you’re searching for things to do, why not take part in the museum stadium tour and experience? 

You’ll be able to see the players’ tunnel, walk next to the pitch, and visit the dugouts, as well as getting the view from the Ability Platform. 

Prices for an adult ticket start at £25 when you book in advance, which is recommended! 

If you visit on a non-matchday, you can enjoy a behind the scenes stadium tour and grab a delicious bite to eat at the Red Café whilst you’re there.

Or, take a look around the megastore and get a gift for yourself or someone else, if you’re a red that is! 


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Address: Sir Matt Busby Way, Old Trafford, Stretford, Manchester M16 0RA

9. Manchester Cathedral

Manchester Cathedral is a stunning Grade I listed building which is well worth a visit when studying in Manchester.

This historical site has been a part of the city for 600 years, and is located in the medieval quarter, a highly historic part of the city.

You’ll find it alongside Chetham’s School of Music, Chetham’s Library and The National Football Museum.

The doors are open 7 days a week and the admission is totally free, which is another bonus! 

Plus, this place offers plenty of Instagram opportunities for the perfect selfie opportunity.


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Address: Victoria St, Manchester M3 1SX

10. Shop Till You Drop 

Feel like treating yourself? What better way than to hit the shops in Manchester!

There’s plenty of shopping centres to go to like the largest shopping centre in the city, Manchester Arndale, the Trafford Centre and high street destinations like Market Street and Exchange Square.

If you’re feeling extra boujee, you need to head over to Spinningfields, King Street and New Cathedral Street for the boutique districts.

Everybody loves a bit of glitz, which is why you need to visit the thriving Jewellery quarter too, even if it might be a little pricy, there’s no harm in having a gander!

You’re for sure spoilt for choice when it comes to retail therapy in this city, go hit the shops and splash the cash. 

Or, wait until Black Friday and see if you can get some good deals in-store! 


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As you’ve discovered, there are absolutely tons of things to do in Manchester for students.

So, get a move on and go and see what this city’s all about!

We’re sure you’ll find an activity to suit you and keep you busy when you’re not at uni.  

Plus, we reckon your student accommodation will have tons of things on to keep you loving student life too. 

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