The best things to do in Greater Manchester this week | 11 – 17 December 2023
Hello again and you're welcome in advance.
Ay’up, you lovely lot — it’s another week with plenty to do here in Greater Manchester and another step closer to the big day and that post-roast and mince pie-induced nap just because you can.
We have no shame in admitting we’re starting to feel very festive now and while the weather might be a bit cold and miserable of late, it’s not like we aren’t used to it around here and so long as you’re wrapped up, there’s nothing to stop you heading out and enjoying yourself.
To be honest, there aren’t many things that get us in the Christmas spirit quite like seeing Manchester buzzing with people clad in big fluffy jumpers and bobble hats, bags of shopping, giant hotdogs and a cup of mulled wine in hand.
Speaking of which…
Manchester Christmas Markets – City Centre
Manchester City Centre
Monday, 11 – Thursday, 21 December
You’ll be glad to know that Manchester’s iconic markets are still around for plenty of time and while, yes, they might be a bit busy and pricey at times, it’s only once a year and we never feel guilty about treating ourselves to proper Bavarian beer served in a big frosty stein.
We don’t need to talk you through this one: you know them and (most of) you love them and The Manc office will certainly be soaking up as much of the international culture as we can before they disappear again for 12 months. But what else is on in Greater Manchester this week?
Monday, 11 – Sunday, 31 December
In that same breath, another Manc staple during the holidays is the ice rink and, thankfully, Skate Manchester is sticking around right up until 2 January, so you’ve got plenty of time to moonlight as the new Torvill/Dean even if you don’t make it there this week.
Located over in Cathedral Gardens, this little corner of the city centre has plenty to keep you busy while you wait for your booking and afterwards too, from a sizeable chunk of this year’s Christmas Market stalls, the National Football Museum and the Corn Exchange just next door. See you on the ice.
@the.manc Skate your way into 2024 ⛸️ #manchester #iceskating ♬ Ice Skating – Purrple Cat
The Twilight Trail
Monday, 11 – Sunday, 31 December
Manchester’s newest and arguably prettiest park just got even more eye-catching thanks to the truly spectacular Twilight Trail over in Mayfield. Having now tried it for ourselves and still admiring it from afar on the train into town, it’s well worth a visit this winter and only a tenner for adults.
Located just around the corner from Depot Mayfield with food and drink traders spilling over from the adjacent Freight Island, it’s one of the best festive light trails you’ll find anywhere in the region this year — and believe us, there’s plenty to choose from.
Christmas at Heaton Park
Monday, 11 – Sunday, 31 December
Another such one of those light trails is just half an hour away from the city centre, so if you looking for some more Yuletide attractions beyond the bustle of central Manchester, this year’s Christmas offerings at Heaton Park are the perfect option.
With top-of-the-range visuals from the same people behind Christmas at Kew and equally impressive levels of audio production from the Raymond Gubbay division of Sony Music, this is one that will leave you looking like a wide-eye kid whether you are one or not.
Monday, 11 – Wednesday, 13 December
As part of the wider Winter Fest events over in MediaCity, the first half of this week is also your last chance to grab a few bargains and hopefully a real diamond in the rough and do your bit for charitable organisations around Greater Manchester in the process.
The Charity Super.Mkt pop-up is the first of its kind in the UK and has now set up shop in Central Bay over at Quayside. Featuring multiple different non-profits and packed with plenty of pre-loved gems, this is the perfect place to grab a steal whilst also embracing the festive period as a time of giving.
elrow XXL (Delusionville)
Saturday, 16 December 2023
One of the best-loved cult favourite music events on the planet is coming to Manchester, so it only makes sense that it’s taking place at one of the best of the hottest venues in the world, let alone the UK — and these lot should know, they’ve played plenty of them, with residencies in Ibiza and more.
Electronic gig promoters and festival organisers, elrow, are returning to The Warehouse Project on Saturday, 16 December and bringing their XXL experience to raving masses. This time delivering their aptly named Delusionville theme, it’s going to be one of the biggest nights of the WHP 2023 calendar.
You can grab your tickets HERE.
NEW OPENING – One Eight Six is back
Monday, 11 December onwards
Remember this one? The last chapter of One Eight Six’s rollercoaster story might have had a sad ending around this time in 2021 but from the ashes of that fire emerges a new bar reborn and more sleek and stylish than ever.
Having returned to the Deansgate strip and Manc nightlife scene over the weekend, it’s the second phoenix we’ve seen come to life in the North West this winter and we had the honour of being among the first to catch a glimpse of its new. It didn’t disappoint.
The Makers Markets
Chorlton, Sale and West Didsbury
Saturday 16 December – Sunday 17 December
It wouldn’t be a weekend without the Makers Markets popping up somewhere in the area and fortunately, you’ve got the choice of not one, not two but three different collections of stalls in Chorlton, Sale and West Didsbury.
With Chorlton’s pop-ups arriving on Saturday and the other two the following day, if you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy the chaos and fanfare of the main Christmas markets, you’ll still be able to get lots of festive goodies on a smaller scale here, as well as enjoy the usual artisanal charm and sense of community. Here’s what Prestwich looked like this past weekend:
Disney on Ice
Wednesday, 13 December – Sunday, 17 December
Now, THIS is the kind of stuff we want to be doing at this time of year: getting a head start on our festive binge of Disney films through the medium of ice skating and at one of the best venues to see any kind of live performance.
Celebrating ‘100 Years of Wonder’, the legendary Disney on Ice production is enjoying a run of shows at the AO Arena and not only will you get to see all the princesses and classics like Toy Story and Aladdin but the Manchester crowd will also get to see the world of Encanto brought to life for the very first time. A truly unforgettable way to spend a winter’s eve.
Secure your spot to watch the spectacular show HERE.
Great Northern Warehouse and KAMPUS
Monday 11 December – onwards
Bar Hütte’s legendary karaoke cabins are back and they’re bringing alpine vibes, cosy furnishings, twinkling lights, live music sessions and a steady flow of drinks, of course — and this year, there’s not one but two locations in Manchester city centre.
While Bar Hütte at Great Northern is heading back to Deansgate, with 15 cosy private ‘hüttes’ neatly positioned under a heated stretch tent and twinkling lights, Bar Hütte at Kampus also has a nice new outdoor terrace comprising of eight snug, wooden karaoke booths nestled beneath the trees and an ‘Aprés Ski Bungalow’ serving as an indoor alpine bar. Find out more and grab tickets here.
Liam Fray’s acoustic Christmas gig
Sunday, 17 December
What better way to round off a week than by listening to one of Manchester’s most beloved music sons? Liam Fray’s one-off special show is an early Christmas present if we’ve ever heard of one and while we’re not going to kid you about there being any tickets left for this thing, you could still stand a chance of grabbing one on a resale maybe — who knows?
The Courteeners frontman is playing the one and only Albert Hall in what will be a slightly more intimate performance for the local lad who’s used to filling out stadiums and headlining festivals. We swear we can hear him practising a rendition of ‘Fairytale of New York’ as we speak and we’re welling up already.
Christmas Screenings at King Street Townhouse
King Street Townhouse
Saturday, 16 December onwards
A whole host of classic Christmas films are hitting the big screen at the little picture house tucked away inside King Street Townhouse this month. The more we learn about this classy little hotel and spa the more we fall in love with it.
With a marathon of three films set to be screened on each day of the event, the Christmas screening schedule has all the hits: Love Actually, Home Alone and the ever-enjoyable Elf, which is somehow celebrating its 20th anniversary this year if you can believe that.
Other festive favourites on the lineup every weekend leading right up until the big day include It’s a Wonderful Life, The Holiday, The Muppet Christmas Carol, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Bad Santa and more. You can book your perfectly cosy cinema seat HERE.
- Club de Padel: the world’s fastest-growing sport is finally coming to Manchester this month
- Trafford’s £75m surf park and leisure resort project is finally moving again
- Brand new market to ‘bring a new lease of life to Chinatown’ in Manchester
This is, of course, just a taste of the things to do in and around Greater Manchester this week but, lucky for you, you can always keep up to date with the rest of what’s on right here on The Manc.
If you know what’s good for you, you’ll be sure to keep an eye out on our socials too so you don’t miss any of the best bits over the next seven days and beyond.
Have a great week, lovely people!
For all the latest news, events and goings on in Greater Manchester, subscribe to The Manc newsletter HERE.
Featured Images — The Manc Group/Supplied