Updated: December 2022
Greater Manchester’s visitor economy is thriving with an array of reasons to make the region top of your list for travel in 2022 and beyond. Our latest Tourism Watchlist – curated by Marketing Manchester – details a wide range of new openings and stories that you should have on your radar, featuring significant cultural moments, new outdoor experiences, exceptional hotel developments, and an ongoing list of the hottest restaurant and bar openings, alongside some significant musical, cultural, and sporting events.
Culture, heritage and museums
Science and Industry Museum: interactive music exhibition opens at new gallery
A new Special Exhibitions Gallery was added to the Science and Industry Museum in 2021, with a bold new exhibition premiering this autumn, Turn it Up: The Power of Music, exploring the impact of music on our bodies and minds. Wider transformation of the museum, which is on the site of the world’s first passenger railway, includes restoration of its Grade II listed Power Hall steam engines, and a new walkway which will connect it to Factory International (details below).
Manchester Art Gallery: dedicated Fashion Gallery opens with exhibition on Dandy Style
Exploring 250 years of men’s fashion from the 18th Century to present day, Manchester Art Gallery’s new exhibition Dandy Style will open as the inaugural exhibition of their dedicated new Fashion Gallery. Featuring work from artists including David Hockney, Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen, the exhibition will be on display until May 2023.
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House: permanent Brontë room opens
A new permanent exhibition has opened at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, exploring the relationships the Cranford author had with other notable female reformers, including Charlotte Brontë, Florence Nightingale, and Beatrix Potter. The exhibition joins the existing permanent collection, which explores the novelist’s life in the house and gardens where she lived.
Manchester Museum: much-loved museum reopens with extension and added galleries
Opening in February 2023
The passionately progressive Manchester Museum has a vision to be the most imaginative, inclusive, and caring museum you might ever encounter. It will reopen in February 2023 after a £15m transformation, adding a two-storey extension, new exhibition hall, South Asia Gallery, and Chinese Culture Gallery. Its opening exhibition will be the UK premiere of Golden Mummies of Egypt – Manchester Museum’s first international touring exhibition – following a successful tour of the USA and China.
Factory International: Northern cultural powerhouse to open
Opening in June 2023
The highly anticipated Factory International – a major new cultural space designed by Rem Koolhaas’s Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) – will open in the heart of Manchester in 2023. The new venue will form the centrepiece of the biennial Manchester International Festival, with You, Me and the Balloons (June 2023), featuring spectacular inflatable sculptures from artist Yayoi Kusama. Factory International’s standalone opening production, Free Your Mind (October 2023), will showcase the building’s ultra-flexible spaces with an immersive performance based on The Matrix films and will be directed by Danny Boyle.
Manchester Town Hall: Victorian heart of Manchester reopens following six-year transformation
Opening in 2024
Closed since 2018, Manchester’s impressive 19th century Town Hall will finally reopen to the public in 2024 following an extensive renovation project to protect it for future generations. One of the most significant heritage projects in the UK, the Our Town Hall project will open with a new exhibition telling the story of the iconic building, whilst giving visitors access to previously unseen areas, including the Victorian police cells, courtyard, and clocktower on new guided tours.
Haigh Hall: Historic Wigan venue to be restored
Opening in 2024
Wigan’s historic Haigh Hall is set to undergo a £37.5m renovation transforming the landmark site and derelict zoo with a brand-new, five-story visitor attraction and educational facility. The proposals include a cinema set in an underground bunker, a multi-purpose garden pavilion, an art gallery, and a rooftop terrace for astronomy.
Music and entertainment
New Century: iconic music venue reopens with music and food offering
New Century, a legendary music venue whose past performers include Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones, has been reborn. Opened in September 2022 in the NOMA area of the city, the 800-capacity venue comes complete with a sprung dance floor and 60’s style “disco ceiling” alongside an all-new food and drinks space with six vendors, including a butty shop concept from renowned local chef Adam Reid, bao’s from Baobros23, Wild by Ply pizza, Zumuku Sushi, and Tallow steaks and burgers.
AO Arena: UK’s largest indoor venue set to expand
Completing in summer 2023
The UK’s biggest arena is due to become even bigger in 2023, thanks to a new £50m reconstruction project that will raise the 21,000-person capacity to 24,000. In addition to increased capacity, AO Arena will create brand-new entrances, premium experiences, custom designed lounges, and premium seating. Plus, the venue’s production areas will be dramatically upgraded with a complete overhaul of the backstage experience for artists, production, and crew.
Co-op Live: UK’s greenest new live music venue to open
Opening in late 2023
With construction well underway adjacent to Manchester’s Etihad Stadium, Co-op Live is preparing to open its doors to 23,500 fans in late 2023. The venue will feature an impressive 32 bars, restaurants and lounges, sourcing enticing homegrown food and drink across its four levels. With a music-first focus, Co-op Live will host over 120 major live events in its first year, maintaining its sustainable ethos through solar panels the size of two football pitches, rainwater collection, air source heat pumps and by planting a new biodiversity ring.
Green space and gardens
Castlefield Viaduct: derelict train line transformed into urban park
The National Trust has taken the first 330m of a long-abandoned Grade II-listed railway bridge to create Castlefield Viaduct, a new urban park reminiscent of New York’s The High Line. After years of locals calling out for the space to be transformed, the attraction opened the first phase of a public consultation in July 2022 which could see it extended to up to 1km. The park features planting that reflects Manchester’s industrial heritage and will change throughout the seasons.
Mayfield Park: the city’s first new park in over 100 years
The 6.5-acre Mayfield Park is Manchester’s first new city centre public park for over 100 years, and takes over the sprawling Mayfield site adjacent to Piccadilly Station and award-winning food and drink venue, Escape to Freight Island. Featuring a children’s play area, 146 new trees, and natural planting to support fish and insect biodiversity, the park also has sustainability at its heart, with former Victorian wells used for sustainable irrigation.
Northern Roots: ambitious eco project moves forward
Northern Roots is moving closer to its ambition to be the UK’s largest urban farm and eco-park and take shape as a fully functioning visitor destination. Set on 160 acres located just outside Oldham town centre, future plans include a visitor centre with a shop and café, a learning centre, an outdoor swimming pond, a natural amphitheatre, beekeeping, animal husbandry and a large market garden. Plans for a bike hub and trails facility will open by Summer 2023.
Food and Drink
Great Northern Warehouse: historic building set for major transformation
A raft of new independent food and drink openings at Great Northern Warehouse and Deansgate Mews have seen the openings of restaurants including, Another Hand, Siam Smiles Thai, Holy Grain and Platzki. Further developments are set to transform the site with plans for the public realm promising a ‘green oasis’, and further retail and leisure space in the former railway goods warehouse.
Sterling: luxury new bar joins historic Stock Exchange Hotel
The third opening from the award-winning Schofield Brothers, whose success includes Schofield’s Bar (named 59th best bar in the world) and Atomeca, comes Sterling, a luxurious new bar underneath the historic Stock Exchange Hotel. Expect live music, vintage spirits, rare wines, and cocktails, served alongside bar snacks by Tom Kerridge.
Kampus: emerging neighbourhood becomes foodie destination
Manchester’s newest neighbourhood, Kampus, is becoming a foodie hotspot in its own right with recent openings including Nell’s New York Pizza, sell-out bakery Pollen which has opened a second outlet following roaring success in Ancoats, local brewing legends Cloudwater opening their new Beer House, award-winning pies with Northern Pie Co, Yum Cha for Chinese dumplings and roast meats, and Beeswing, an all-day eatery and wine bar.
Exhibition: trio of independent kitchens open at former museum site
Offering three independent kitchens, two bars, and a dedicated exhibition space for local artists, Exhibition has opened in the Grade II listed St George’s House, which was once home to the Museum of Natural History back in 1909 (now merged with Manchester Museum). Food is 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 dining with nightly DJs and entertainment.
MUSU: Japanese fine dining concept to open
High-end Japanese restaurant MUSU will open this November with a three-menu option dining experience which includes a theatrical and educational sushi experience described as “the only true one of its kind outside of London”. The restaurant will feature a 14-guest private dining room and at night will transition for cocktail-style late-night drinking following the Japanese tradition of ‘nijiki’.
Climat: rooftop restaurant debuts with outdoor terrace
Opening in December 2022
Taking up the eighth floor of 1920’s Blackfriars House just off Deansgate, Climat will open its rooftop restaurant on 5 December complete with outdoor terrace featuring sweeping 360-degree views of Manchester. The 100-cover restaurant will offer over 250 wines from around the world, with a changing daily menu and a ‘Parisian-style’ aesthetic. Diners can expect small plates described simply as ‘food you want to eat’.
Diecast: new creative neighbourhood on site of former diecast factory
Opening in February 2023
Diecast will open as a new 3,000-capacity food hall, brewery, night market, urban garden, and beer hall complex in the emerging Piccadilly East neighbourhood. From the team behind Manchester favourites Ramona and The Firehouse, the new large-scale venue takes over a former metals factory and will also feature a bakery, coffee bar, record store, gym, small traders’ workshops, and meeting spaces.
Soho House: three-storey club to open Manchester outpost
Opening in early 2023
Soho House is set to open its first Northern venue in Manchester, taking over the former Granada Studios with a terrace featuring a rooftop pool, workspaces that will be transformed into a music venue and club space at night, and plans for Italian concept restaurant Cecconi’s to join the private members club. In addition, the Soho House team will bring a Mollie’s Motel and Diner to the same building (see below).
Forty Seven: new luxury 5-star boutique to open on Peter Street
Opening in early 2023
Set to be one of Manchester’s most luxurious new hotels, Forty Seven will open with 32 one and two-bedroom suites in a Grade-II listed building on vibrant Peter Street. Restaurant Asha’s, run by Bollywood legend Asha Bhosle, has now reopened at its original location within the hotel to serve guests, and a new bar at The Peterman will offer drinks.
Treehouse Hotel Manchester: new northern outpost for playful hotel brand
Opening in spring 2023
Opening in Spring 2023, the 206-bedroom Treehouse Hotel Manchester will open as the brand’s second location in the UK. The opening is part of a £200 million redevelopment of the brutalist former Renaissance Hotel on Deansgate and will see a line-up of food and drink led by celebrated chef’s restaurateurs Luke Cowdrey and Justin Crawford of The Refuge fame, Mary-Ellen McTague from Chorlton’s The Creameries, and Sam Grainger behind revered Madre.
Malmaison Manchester Deansgate: second location to open in the city
Opening in spring 2023
Following a refurb of their original Manchester property, Malmaison will open their second site in the city in early 2023. With guestrooms featuring retro 60s and 70s designs, the hotel will be opposite the iconic Albert Square, offering views of Manchester Town Hall from its rooftop restaurant, which will offer Pan-Asian Tapas and Cocktails from Sora, alongside its signature Chez Mal French restaurant with up to 114 covers.
Mollie’s: Soho House-inspired hotel to open at iconic former TV studios
Opening in September 2023
From the team behind Soho House, Mollie’s Manchester will take over the historic former Granada Studios in St John’s neighbourhood – once home to TV soap Coronation Street. Opening in early 2023 with 140 rooms, the hotel will feature a 164-cover diner restaurant, a lounge bar with live music, plus an outdoor heated terrace.
Northern Quarter: celebrating 30 years as one of Manchester’s coolest neighbourhoods
In 2022, the Northern Quarter marks 30 years since it was transformed from a run-down area to the thriving, creative hotspot it is today. Now home to artists, food hotspots and bars, the Northern Quarter’s popularity continues to grow. Known for independent shopping, the area is also home to Afflecks, an Aladdin’s-cave emporium featuring three floors of independent stalls, which this year is celebrating 40 years of trading.
Stretford and Sale: town’s become foodie hotspots
Stretford and Sale, traditionally associated as cut-through towns on Manchester’s A56, are quickly becoming some of the most sought-after places in Greater Manchester. Both are undergoing substantial redevelopment projects that will see them expand their thriving town centres, and are already awash with quirky craft beer bars such as both the Stretford and Sale Foodhalls, Head Stretford and Stanley Square’s Hops and Boogie, independent boutiques such as Emporium M33 and Stitched up and a variety of cultural food and drink offerings such as Stretford Canteen, Pestico and Roti Sale, all making these Trafford towns the place to be in 2022.
Events and Exhibitions
RNCM: celebrating 50 years of musical heritage
October 2022 – June 2023
The Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) is marking its 50th anniversary with a programme of events leading up to a week of celebration in June 2023. RNCM, one of the world’s leading conservatoires, will soon announce a line-up of concerts, including the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, and performances at iconic venues like the Bridgewater Hall as part of celebrations.
Rugby League World Cup: competition to be played across the region
The rescheduled 2021 Rugby League World Cup and Women’s Rugby League World Cup are taking place in October and November 2022, with Old Trafford playing a significant role by hosting a double-header final of both tournaments on 19 November, whilst the Wheelchair Final will be held at Manchester Central. There will also be additional fixtures at the University of Bolton Stadium and Leigh Sports Village.
MediaCity: The Art of Banksy shows original work by the artist
21 October 2022 – 8 January 2023
Following a successful global tour, The Art of Banksy, will come to MediaCity in Salford to display 145 iconic and original pieces from the works of street artist Banksy. Working with leading Manchester arts centre HOME, the exhibition will be hosted in a purpose-built 1,200 sq meter structure featuring rarely seen works on loan from private collectors.
IWM North: exhibition reveals impact of war in Ukraine
14 October 2022 – 1 January 2023
Until 1 January 2023, Ukraine: Photographs from the Frontline presents a series of photographs taken during the invasion of Ukraine. The touring exhibition has its premiere in the IWM North at Salford Quays before moving onto London in early 2023.
Major developments beyond Greater Manchester
Jodrell Bank: new experiences and storytelling for UNESCO attraction
The First Light Pavilion is a new £21 million addition to the University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the iconic Lovell Telescope located approximately 20 miles south of Greater Manchester. The First Light Pavilion opened in May 2022 as a new gallery dedicated to telling the story of Jodrell Bank, with an immersive projection space and auditorium, and a new education hub and café.
Deep Time: new public art programme comes to the Lake District
Opening in spring 2023
A series of new public art installations will see works pop-up across the Lake District coast throughout 2023. Deep Time will create six permanent art installations across a 60km stretch of coastline that makes up the UNESCO Lake District World Heritage Site. A public vote will also be held at The Beacon Museum, with four proposals for a new landmark artworks.
Liverpool Biennial: 25th anniversary of arts festival
June – September 2023
The UK’s largest contemporary visual arts festival, Liverpool Biennial, will return from 10 June to 17 September 2023, marking 25 years since the festival began. Public spaces, art galleries and historic sites across Liverpool will be taken over with more than 50 artists from 30 countries exhibiting works of art and new commissions. Details of the 2023 festival will be released in due course.
PEAK: major new activities resort planned in Peak District
Opening in 2025
A major new development on 300 acres of reclaimed land in Chesterfield, about an hour from Manchester, is set to be developed into PEAK, a 2,000-bed hotel, with 250 holiday lodges. Thirty years in the making, this new £120m scheme will feature indoor activities, a wellness centre, and will be connected by the creation of the PEAK express, a zero-carbon transport network.