What's On

The best things to do in Greater Manchester this week | 20 – 26 May 2024

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 16th May 2024

We’re into our final full week of May now, and we just can’t believe how fast the month has gone.

Throughout the month of May so far, the Greater Manchester social calendar has featured the likes of foodie festivals, cultural celebrations, wholesome spring-themed events, and so much more… and thankfully, there’s loads more where that came from this week – especially as we’ve got another bank holiday weekend.

Finding it a bit tricky to pick what to do though? We’ve chosen a few of the best bits for another edition of our ‘what’s on‘ guide.

Here’s some of our recommendations.

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Brilliant Bodies Month

Science and Industry Museum

Monday 20 – Friday 31 May

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Fancy diving into the “gloriously gross” world of our brilliant bodies?

With schools across Greater Manchester breaking up for half term at the end of this month, and parents and carers gearing up to entertain the little ones, the Science and Industry Museum has a wide range of events and activities planned eespecially for the holidays.

The city’s most-visited museum is promising visitors a May half term “full of family fun” inspired by its world-first exhibition Operation Ouch! Food, Poo and You

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Find out more about what’s on at the Science and Industry Museum this half term, and the rest of the month here.

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Manchester Jazz Festival 2024

Manchester City Centre

Monday 20 – Monday 26 May

mjf2024 is currently underway at venues and sites all across across Manchester city centre.

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After kicking off with a spectacular opening weekender at its vibrant First Street urban neighbourhood this past weekend, you can now make the most of a jam-packed programme full of events happening all throughout this week.

There’s nightly gigs at Matt & Phreds, events at RNCM, Stoller Hall, Forsyth Music Shop, St Ann’s Church, and The Carlton Club, and so much more, all before the festival closes out with an extended weekend-long party at Band on the Wall. 

Find out more here.

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Manchester Green Spaces Trail

Manchester & Salford

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Monday 20 May – onwards

Workers and visitors are being invited to discover some stunning outdoor spaces across Manchester city centre and beyond this summer.

Keen to get out and about on foot? Manchester has launched Manchester Green Spaces Trail – a brand-new walking trail celebrating the best green, blue, and outdoor areas the cities of Manchester and Salford have to offer.

Created in collaboration with Manchester tour guide, Jonathan Schofield, the walking trail is free to do and accessible via a downloadable map, and it features 16 garden and water spaces.

Find out more here.

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The Manchester College ‘Greater Mancunians’ Exhibition

Manchester Central Library

Monday 20 May – onwards

The Manchester College ‘Greater Mancunians’ Exhibition / Credit: Supplied

Photography students from The Manchester College are now showcasing their ‘Greater Mancunians’ project as part of a landmark exhibition at Manchester Central Library’s Main Exhibition Hall.

150 students have participated in the groundbreaking photography project, and it features images of some of Manchester’s most famous and influential people shot at numerous locations across the city.

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More than 100 contributors are featured in the project, including musicians Noel Gallagher and Johnny Marr, athletes Diane Modahl and Ricky Hatton, local politicians Andy Burnham, Angela Rayner, and Bev Craig, actors Maxine Peake and Bill Roache, artists Stan Chow and AKSE P-19, and other local figures like Jonathan Warburton, Simon Martin, and Professor Erinma Bell MBE.

Find out more here.

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NEW OPENING – Malibu Beach Club

Great Northern Square

Monday 20 May – onwards

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Malibu Drinks has just opened a pop-up outdoor lounge with a relaxed beach bar theme, bright decor, and an extensive summer cocktail list in Manchester.

The only official Malibu bar outside of London, and aptly-named ‘Malibu Beach Club’, the colourful pop-up has opened right in the heart of Manchester city centre on Great Northern Square, and you can expect cute and colourful aesthetics, an unbeatable beachy charm, quirky lanterns, and palm trees.

There’s also plenty of seating both in the beaming sunshine (… or when it arrives) or undercover and heated for when it inevitably rains.

Find out more here.

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Did you see that Chester Zoo has been named the best zoo in the UK for 2024?

Everyone in and around Greater Manchester and the North West is already familiar with just how brilliant the UK’s biggest charity zoo is and all the work it contributes towards conservation and protecting endangered species all across the world.

But now, it’s got itself a respectable new title to prove it, and it’s all thanks to tens of thousands of positive TripAdvisor reviews.

The world’s biggest travel guidance platform has named Chester Zoo as the best-rated zoo to visit in the UK this year, with more than 11,000 ‘Excellent’ ratings.

Read more here.

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Tales of Manchester 2.0

Kimpton Clocktower Hotel

Monday 20 May – onwards

A brand-new art exhibition curated by visual artist Emma Evans in partnership with six other creators is now open in Manchester, and it’s completely free to visit.

Tales of Manchester 2.0 down at Kimpton Clocktower Hotel is a collection of multi-platform art celebrating our brilliant city, and it’s showcasing six spoken word pieces by established Manchester based poets – Griot Gabriel, Ilaria Passeri, Lisa O’Hare, Mark Jackson aka Keith’s Brother, Matt Concannon aka The Thirsty Poet, and Sarah Attwell.

The spoken word is paired with visual pieces painted by self-taught artist Emma Evans, where the words have served as inspiration for the art.

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Find out more here.

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Disney’s Aladdin

Palace Theatre Manchester

Wednesday 22 May – 7 July

Disney’s smash-hit musical Aladdin is currently touring the UK for the first time ever, and the magic carpet will be landing here in Manchester for the summer from this week.

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Based on the beloved 1992 animated film of the same name, and following several critically-acclaimed and sold-out runs on both Broadway and in London’s West End since it first debuted back in 2011, the Tony and Olivier Award-nominated production will be taking to the stage down at Manchester’s iconic Palace Theatre.

The musical features all the timeless songs we know and love from the film, and it’s set to be a seriously magical show.

Find out more and grab last-minute tickets here.

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NEW OPENING – Summer Town

Diecast

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Thursday 23 May – onwards

Diecast is set to launch its huge outdoor beer garden for the summer this week.

‘Summer Town’ will be the biggest summer garden party space in Manchester once it throws open its doors this Thursday, with space for 800 revellers to make the most of the sunshine over the next few months.

Diecast’s famous daiquiris will dominate at Leno Ex Machina’s central bar, with up 49 flavour combinations pouring from their gigantic Bacardi Frozen Daiquiri machines, while at the centre of the garden is the brand-new ‘Barbecue Kitchen’, where you can took into burgers, chargrilled hanger steaks, hot dogs, kebabs, and chef’s specials while the sun shines.

Find out more here.

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Deansgate Mews Festival

Great Northern Warehouse

Friday 24 – Sunday 26 May

Great Northern Warehouse is getting ready to kick-starting the summer season with the return of the annual Deansgate Mews Festival.

Now in its fourth year, and known for taking over Manchester’s hidden pedestrianised street that’s nestled above Deansgate, the popular festival is taking place this late May bank holiday weekend from Friday 24 – Sunday 26 May, and it’s FREE to attend with no tickets needed.

There’s set to be something for everyone of all ages across the three-day event, and festivalgoers are being promised a “lively outdoor celebration”, with lots of live music and entertainment, shopping from a variety of stalls offering products from talented traders and local artisans, and some seriously-good food & drink to tuck into.

Find out more here.

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Manchester Flower Festival 2024

Manchester City Centre

Friday 24 – Monday 27 May

Manchester will become one of the most picturesque places in the UK this bank holiday weekend.

That’s because the city is getting all dressed up in celebration of the annual Flower Festival, which is back by popular demand for its seventh year, and this means that plants and flowers will be seen covering landmark buildings, shop windows, doorways, balconies, statues, fountains, and more for as far as the eye can see.

There’s also a ‘Manchester Icons’ floral trail, and visitors are being told they can expect to see 10 glorious displays inspired by Manchester-born figures, music icons, and even legendary buildings created by local artists, gardeners, and flower enthusiasts.

Find out more about everything happening at this year’s Manchester Flower Festival here.

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Vintage 1940s Weekend

East Lancashire Railway

Saturday 25 – Monday 27 May

Fancy stepping back in time? The Greater Manchester public is being invited to “dig out your gladrags” and head on down to East Lancashire Railway (ELR) this late May bank holiday weekend, as an ‘immersive’ 1940s-themed weekend is back by popular demand.

The Vintage 1940s Weekend been an absolute hit in previous years, and has always been one of the heritage railway’s most popular events.

You can expect an exciting programme of live music all throughout the three-day weekend, as well as food, fashion, and memorabilia of the 1940s being brought to life.

Find out more here.

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Freight Island’s Spring & Summer Festival Season 2024

Depot Mayfield

Saturday 25 May – onwards

In case you missed it, Freight Island has announced a huge lineup for its Spring/Summer season, with a free-to-attend festival series.

The huge urban street food and entertainment destination, located at Depot Mayfield just beyond Manchester Piccadilly, is now back open in full swing, and is promising its most electrifying season yet throughout this spring and summer.

David Rodigan, Greg Wilson, Crazy P (DJ set), and Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip) are just some of the names on the lineup over the next few months.

Find out more and book tickets here.

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Flashes Festival of Nature 2024

Pennington Flash

Saturday 25 & Sunday 26 May

Flashes Festival of Nature is one of Wigan’s best-loved and most wholesome events, and it’s returning for 2024 this weekend to coincide with the National Nature Reserve Week.

Taking over the popular nature reserve, Pennington Flash, on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 May from 11am through to 3pm, the free two-day festival is all about helping Wigan residents reconnect with nature through a wide range of fun and interactive activities – including workshops, wildlife themed art stalls, eco crafts, and more.

Find out more about everything happening at the festival this year here.

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Great Manchester Run 2024

Manchester

Sunday 26 May

Great Manchester Run 2024 / Credit: Great Run Company

The AJ Bell Great Manchester Run is the city’s original and best-loved running event, and it’s back for another year this weekend.

Taking over the city centre this Sunday 26 May and set to be “an experience like no other”, thousands of runners will be hitting the streets in an attempt to complete either the world-famous 10K or half marathon routes… and not only that, but in true Mancunian style, it’s also set to be a party from start to finish.

There’ll be a high-energy soundtrack, live music, and entertainment zones at every turn, plus some of the loudest and most enthusiastic local support seen anywhere in the UK.

You can find everything you need to know about the Great Manchester Run 2024 here.

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Featured Image – Science Museum Group | The Manc Group | Great Run Company