Updated: September 2022
Greater Manchester is bouncing-back with a range of new outdoor experiences, cultural developments, exceptional hotel, restaurant and bar openings, and world-leading musical, cultural, and sporting events. Our watchlist is your definitive guide to the experiences, new openings and key moments happening across the visitor economy in Greater Manchester over the next 18 months.
Culture, heritage and museums
Science and Industry Museum: new special exhibitions gallery and ongoing site redevelopment
A new Special Exhibitions Gallery has been added to the Science and Industry Museum, offering visitors changing exhibitions which have so far included the popular runs of Amazonia, and Cancer Revolution, and newly announced Turn it Up: The Power of Music, opening October 2022. Wider transformation of the museum’s site, which is home to the world’s first passenger railway, include a restoration of the Grade II listed Power Hall, and a new walkway connecting to neighbouring The Factory development (see below).
Manchester Museum: much-loved museum reopens with extension and added galleries
Opening in February 2023
The passionately progressive Manchester Museum, part of the University of Manchester, has a vision to be the most imaginative, inclusive, and caring museum you might ever encounter. Currently closed for construction work, it will reopen in early 2023 after a £15 million transformation that will add a two-storey extension including a new Exhibition Hall, Belonging Gallery, South Asia Gallery (a British Museum Partnership), and Lee Kai Hung Chinese Culture Gallery.
The Factory: Northern cultural powerhouse to open
Opening in mid 2023
This world-class new cultural space designed by internationally renowned architects Rem Koolhaas’ Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), will open in the heart of Manchester in 2023. At 13,350 square metres, The Factory will be ultra-flexible, enabling large-scale artistic work of invention and ambition that isn’t made anywhere else in the world. Programming plans will be announced from September 2022.
Manchester Town Hall: Victorian heart of Manchester to reopen after 6-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 to protect it for future generations. One of the biggest heritage projects in the UK, the Our Town Hall project will include 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.
Music and entertainment
Band on the Wall: city’s oldest music venue expands
Band on the Wall has been entertaining Manchester for generations with a history stretching far back to the 19th Century. In March 2022, it reopened its doors following an expansion project taking the venue to a 500-capacity, a new bar, and new smaller 80-capacity stage for more intimate performances. The venue also recently launched a partnership with This Charming Naan, who have taken over the kitchen to serve up 100% plant-based naan’s, calzones, and small plates.
Sonata: late-night piano and cabaret lounge opens
Tucked away off St Ann’s Square, an all-new late-night piano and cabaret lounge has opened in a historic building with speak-easy style entrance. Sonata is inspired by the cabaret clubs of New York and Berlin and is offering live music seven nights a week with full table service, complete with cocktail list to complement its line-up of cabaret, jazz, and even opera-comedy.
Canvas: 600-capacity music venue and dining club opens
Set in the Circle Square district of Manchester’s Oxford Road corridor, Canvas is a new cross between a 600-capacity music venue and a members’ club, offering a ground-floor kitchen and bar serving small plates until 2am, lounge, and exclusive access to gigs and DJ sets. The venue promise wellness, dance and fitness classes, a sauna, and plunge pool, offering members somewhere to work and rest.
New Century: iconic music venue reopens
A legendary music venue, which has seen the likes of Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones grace its stage reopened in September. With an 800 capacity, sprung dance floor, and 60’s style “disco ceiling”, the Grade II listed New Century hall flaunts its historic legacy with all original features fully restored. An accompanying food and drinks space welcomes two-time Great British Menu winner Adam Reid with a new concept called The Butty Shop, alongside other local favourites.
Co-op Live: UK’s largest new live music venue to open
Opening in late 2023
A new game-changing music and entertainment venue will open in late 2023 when Co-Op Live comes to Manchester. The 23,500-capacity arena will be the largest new venue of its kind in the UK, offering an impressive 32 bars, restaurants and lounges, and expected to host 120 major live events in its first year. The new venue, which has sustainability at its heart with solar panels, air source heat pumps and will be zero-waste, will take up permanent residency in Eastlands, adjacent to Manchester City FC’s Etihad Stadium.
Green space and gardens
Castlefield Viaduct: derelict train line transformed into urban park
The National Trust has begun turning the long-abandoned Grade II-listed Castlefield Viaduct into an urban park reminiscent of New York’s famous High Line. After years of locals suggesting it, the National Trust has taken on the site and is planning to open around half of the 330m viaduct to the public from July 2022 as part of a phase one trial that will inform permanent plans for the site.
Mayfield Park: the city’s first new park in over 100 years
The 6.5-acre Mayfield Park will be Manchester’s first new city centre public park for over 100 years. It is under construction on the sprawling Mayfield site adjacent to Piccadilly Station, which also currently houses the award-winning food and drink venue, Escape to Freight Island. The park is aiming to be ready for its initial opening in autumn 2022.
Northern Roots: ambitious eco project moves forward
After establishing a masterplan in 2021, 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 in 2022. Set on 160 acres located just outside of Oldham town centre, plans include a new visitor and learning centre as well as hands-on community projects such as beekeeping, animal husbandry and growing plots, as well as a bike hub, mountain biking trails, arts, culture and events, and a natural amphitheatre and swimming pond.
RHS Garden Bridgewater: Blue Peter Garden to be added in BBC centenary year
Salford’s RHS Garden Bridgewater will be home to the New Blue Peter Garden in 2022; the centenary year of the BBC. It will be the second garden inspired by Blue Peter, which is the longest running children’s programme in the world. The original Blue Peter Garden was relocated from Television Centre to MediaCity in 2012 when production of the show moved to Salford. The New Blue Peter Garden previewed at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May, will open at RHS Garden Bridgewater in autumn.
Food and drink
Kitten: striking new Japanese fine dining opens
New Japanese fine dining restaurant Kitten has delighted locals with its dazzling interiors which feature a five-meter-high bonsai tree, walls of bamboo and Venetian plastering. Headed up by chefs whose accolades include Ivy Asia, Sticks and Sushi, and Peter Street Kitchen, diners can expect centre-stage sushi chefs in action, and the option to dine al fresco in the setting of Deansgate Square.
Peter Street Kitchen enters a new era with Whispering Angel
Peter Street Kitchen, the award-winning Japanese and Mexican restaurant housed within the Edwardian Manchester has unveiled a new era for its popular dining experience, which will will see a new and enhanced dining menu, innovative cocktails, and an enriched wine list, all developed by its London-based, multi-award-winning culinary team. Peter Street Kitchen is also introducing an exclusive residency with Whispering Angel, the renowned Provençal rosé from Château d’Esclans.
Maray: much-loved Liverpool restaurant finally debuts in Manchester
Acclaimed Liverpool-born restaurant, Maray, have announced their opening in Manchester bringing their famed Middle Eastern flavours to a new restaurant in Albert Square. The site, which will be their fourth overall, and largest restaurant to date, will finally bow to demands to bring their famed Disco Cauliflower and stand-out cocktails to the city.
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, acclaimed 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, and Beeswing, an all-day eatery and wine bar.
Diecast: new creative neighbourhood on site of former diecast factory
Opening in early 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, which takes over a former metals factory 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 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 October 2022
Plans for one of Manchester’s most luxurious boutique hotels have moved forward with Forty Seven, which will take up space at an existing Grade II-listed property in the city centre. The 32-bedroom property will offer luxury one- and two-bedroom suites, alongside fine dining at Asha’s, whilst a new bar, The Peterman, will open. The hotel joins the vibrant Peter Street, which is now home to a growing number of venues including award-winning Rudy’s Pizza, Brewdog, and Albert’s Schloss.
Mollie’s: Soho House-inspired hotel to open at iconic former TV studios
Opening in early 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.
Treehouse Hotel Manchester: new northern outpost for playful hotel brand
Opening in mid 2023
Opening in spring 2023, Starwood Capital and Property Alliance Group’s 206 bedroom Treehouse Hotel Manchester will be the brand’s second location in the UK. It forms part of a wider £200 million redevelopment of the brutalist former Renaissance Hotel on Deansgate, which will also include new retail and public realm alongside the River Irwell for pop-up food and drink vendors led by celebrated chefs restaurateurs Luke Cowdrey and Justin Crawford of The Refuge fame, Mary-Ellen McTague from Chorlton’s The Creameries, and Sam Grainger behind revered Madre.
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 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
Stretford and Sale, both traditionally associated as cut-through towns on Manchester’s A56, are quickly becoming some of the most sought-after places to live 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, HeadStretford 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 Hive, Pestico and Roti Sale, all making these Trafford towns the place to be in 2022.
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.