Manchester is one of the top tourist destinations in the UK. It is best known for its music scene and nightlife, including Canal Street – the oldest and liveliest gay village in the country. It’s also home to two Premier League football teams and a number of museums.
So, you know there are plenty of touristy things to do. But, if you are heading to the city for a long weekend and want to see the non-touristy side of Manchester, then here are 12 things to do:
Cocktails and bowling – what’s not to love? Make your way to Dog Bowl where you can work your way down the menu as you aim for a strike. Don’t fancy a cocktail, there is also craft beer and if you’re feeling peckish, there is a New York-inspired food menu too. It’s open until 2 am Sunday to Thursday and 3 am on Friday and Saturday.
If you have a car then you can explore Greater Manchester, as well as the city center. Just 15 minutes from the airport and 40 minutes from the center, you’ll find Dunham Massey. Explore the historic house and grounds, where you can visit a deer park. If you need a car for the weekend, click here for a car hire from Manchester airport.
Experience the thrill of swinging through the trees at this Treetop Trek in Heaton Park. You’ll be 15 meters off the ground and will have to find your way across 36 obstacles alongside 15 zip lines during the zip trek. This is an exhilarating experience you won’t forget in a hurry. If you have little ones with you, there is also a mini trek, which is just five meters off the ground.
Sunday Brunch with TheFoodLab
A long weekend away wouldn’t be complete without Sunday brunch. If you are wondering where to have yours, why not book this experience and learn to make it yourself before tasting what you have created. Across two hours, you’ll discover how to cook the perfect poached egg and blueberry pancakes. Then, wash it down with either a Bloody Mary or a black coffee. You’ll be making Sunday brunch every weekend at home after this.
Do you like playing golf? Did you know you can do it in the center of Manchester? In fact, although you’ll be in the heart of the city, you’ll actually be playing on greens across the world. How you ask? The Range is an immersive golfing experience that uses simulators so you can move between 100 courses. There is even a members’ bar to visit afterward for the complete experience.
The Bottomless Singing Cinema
Bottomless drinks and bottomless popcorn while you watch – and sing along – to your favorite films. December saw Hairspray, Frozen, Elf, Home Alone and Love Actually on the big screen. So make sure you check what is going to be showing while you are in the city.
Escape Hunt Manchester
Do you want to test your skills in a series of challenges? At Escape Hunt you have 60 minutes to crack the code or you may find you are stuck in here for the duration of your long weekend..! You have four themes to choose from: The Fourth Samurai, Escape The Wild West, The Last Vikings Escape and Blackbeard’s Treasure.
You might be thinking that taking your clothes to a laundrette isn’t a particularly fun non-touristy activity. In fact, you can probably wait until you get home from your weekend away to wash your clothes. But, not all is as it seems – you don’t need to bring any clothes at all. You will, however, need to call and book a washing machine and when you arrive buzz and let them know you are there to do a load. But, you’ll actually step right through the washing machine and into a hidden bar. Now you just need to find the phone number. it’s all part of the fun.
John Rylands Library
Visit Manchester has described the Victorian Gothic architecture as looking more like a castle or cathedral, than a library. Step inside and wander the impressive book-filled corridors, stopping to admire a 1476 William Caxton edition of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and the oldest known piece of the New Testament. The library is open 7 days a week and is free to visit.
Twenty Twenty Two
One of the trendiest neighborhoods in the city, the Northern Quarter is definitely worth exploring. The streets are lined with shops and bars including Twenty Twenty Two. Here, while having a drink, you can challenge your friends to a game of ping pong. If you are here on a Monday, the tables are free. If not, it’s just £5 for half an hour.
If your weekend in Manchester is during the summer, especially on a particularly hot day, then you may be looking at the Salford Quays longingly. You wish you could jump in just to cool off. Well, you can at Salford Wake Park while also screaming with glee as you cling to an inflatable.
You’ll reach speeds of 30mph and see the city from a whole new angle. At Helly Hansen Watersports Centre you can also experience windsurfing, kayaking, paddle boarding and wakeboarding – to name just a few.
Flecky’s Haunted Underground Experience
Make your way below street level and while the tourists are exploring the city above your head, you’ll be discovering the city’s underground. This secret part of Manchester was abandoned for more than 200 years and dates back to Georgian times.
This isn’t for the faint-hearted as it’s allegedly the most paranormally active underground location in the world. In the pitch-black, your ‘Ghost Host’ will tell you the city’s scariest stories before summoning ‘Maria’, ‘Scary Mary’ and ‘Derek’ in the most haunted part.
Now you know where to head for, you can ensure you see the non-touristy side of Manchester during your long weekend in the city as well as the most popular attractions.