Our top tips for making the most of the week ahead, with brilliant things to do across the whole of Greater Manchester… For even more ideas, visit our What’s On page. 

Christmas Decorations, Manchester

The UK’s favourite Christmas Markets return this week 

The countdown is nearly over to the start of the festive season in the UK’s capital of Christmas as Manchester gets ready for the opening of its world-famous Christmas Markets on Thursday 10 November. With over 220 stalls across nine sites throughout the city centre, this year's Christmas Markets are set to bring some much-needed festive cheer to the city's streets and squares in the run-up to Christmas. Check out our guide to Christmas in Manchester, including all the top events happening across the region, and 51 Things to do in Manchester this Christmas! 

Enjoy an alternative comedy night with Contact theatre 

Contact Theatre welcomes the UK's first openly neurodiverse comedy night brought to you by neurodivergent performer Sarah Saeed (aka operatic comedy diva Marianna Harlotta). The show, Lava Elastic on Friday 11 November, welcomes those who aren’t considered neurotypical and are known as neurodivergent with differences such as Autism/Aspergers, ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome and other types of brain. Neurodivergent performers often struggle to get booked and navigate the social codes around working with promoters. As a result, there are many talented people you simply don’t get to see. Tickets start from £10. 

Explore a Winter festival at Escape to Freight Island 

The UK’s largest heated outdoor and indoor winter festival, Winter Island, returns to Escape to Freight Island this week. Opening on Saturday 12 November and running through to the end of December, Winter Island will transform the food hall and its festival-inspired space into a magical winter wonderland. Expect a Christmas Tree forest, festive traders, pop-up markets, Christmas workshops and the finest entertainment, alongside delicious winter warming food. 

Go behind the scenes at one of the city’s live music venues 

Join the team at Manchester’s Stoller Hall on Tuesday 8 November and learn about what goes on behind the scenes at a world-class concert hall. From below the stage, you will see the unique hydraulic stage extension, learn how the world-class acoustics are designed, and see banner hoists, lighting and sound installations. Their dedicated tour guide will be on hand to answer all your questions about the remarkable structure.  

Discover amazing wildlife during an illuminating journey to Chester Zoo 

The Lanterns at Chester Zoo are back from Friday 11 November for another magical year. Escape to fantastical worlds, each different from the last, that will take you on an illuminating journey around the UK’s most visited Zoos, which is just an hour from Manchester. Be immersed in this magical and uniquely Chester Zoo evening event, giving you the chance to see the zoo in a whole new light. Tickets start from £11. 

New Opening: Exhibition, Peter Street 

Offering three independent kitchens, two bars, and a dedicated exhibition space for local artists, Exhibition will open in the Grade II listed St George’s House, which was once home to the Museum of Natural History back in 1909. Food will be served by the teams behind Prestwich’s Michelin guide-rated OSMA, Great British Menu Chef Caroline Martins, and fire enthusiasts Baratxuri. The new 400-capacity venue also promises to level up the traditional food hall concept with nightly DJs and entertainment. 

Book Now: Lightopia

Celebrate the festive period with Lightopia this year and explore a trail of sparkling tunnels of light and dancing lakeside reflections from Thursday 24 November. The award-winning Heaton Park festival is back and ready to light up Christmas brighter than ever with brand-new installations and routes. Lightopia is an immersive and visually-dramatic lantern and light festival, that promises to fuse beautiful art installations with human experience. Tickets start from £14.50 


Manchester Christmas Markets
Christmas Market
Manchester Christmas Markets in Cathedral Gardens. Credit to Manchester City Council.

The Manchester Christmas Markets 2023 will take place from 10 November - 21 December.

Lava Elastic
Performer wearing a cape

Join in for a night celebrating humans of all kinds. Vive la difference!

Winter Island
Escape to Freight Island: Halloween Party

The UK’s largest heated outdoor and indoor winter festival, Winter Island, returns to Escape to Freight Island this November and December – launching on Saturday 12th November.

The Stoller Hall - Behind the Scenes Tour
Hydraulic stage extension

Join the Deputy General Manager for a behind the scenes tour of The Stoller Hall.

The Lanterns at Chester Zoo
Family Friendly
The Lanterns at Chester Zoo

Visit Chester Zoo for The Lanterns to see the zoo transformed into a spectacular wonderland, full of sparkle, delight, a sprinkling of snow and some unexpected festive encounters!

Lightopia lantern: Phoenix

The award-winning Lightopia is back and ready to light up Heaton Park this Christmas brighter than ever with brand new installations and routes.



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