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Greater Manchester Tourism Watchlist 2024

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Following a busy year of new openings in 2023, find out what’s new and coming soon in tourism across Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester in 2024: what’s new and coming soon in tourism

Following a busy year of new openings in 2023, including the much-anticipated reopening of Manchester Museum, complete with three new gallery spaces; the extension of Castlefield Viaduct, the city’s sky park taking over a former Victorian viaduct; and, the milestone opening of Aviva Studios, a major new arts venue for the North, Manchester enters 2024 with an attractive offer of new things to do for visitors.

The year ahead is set to offer a strong cultural programme of events and exhibitions, and key themes like music, which have always been synonymous with the city, continue to chime when we see the opening of Co-Op Live in April 2024, the UK’s biggest new music venue; and the city’s food and drink scene shows no signs of slowing with a rolling list of restaurant and bar openings for visitors to eat their way around the city. Read on for our list of reasons to visit in 2024…


Music, culture, attractions, and tours Everyone Welcome:

Manchester LGBTQ+ Trail - Launched in August 2023

From Victorian drag balls to Canal Street, the Campaign for Homosexual Equality and the city’s famous Pride Parade, Manchester has always led the way with LGBTQ+ activism. To celebrate this proud heritage, the Everyone Welcome: Manchester LGBTQ+ Trail has been created to take visitors on a journey of key historic spots in the queer movement.

Manchester Music Trail - Launched in October 2023

Visitors to Manchester can now follow a dedicated music trail taking in some of the city's most-loved music venues. The new Manchester Music Trail features 15 locations, including the city’s oldest venue, Band on the Wall, and its newest, Aviva Studios. The trail also uncovers the history of each venue and its importance to Manchester’s musical heritage.

Manchester Wine Tours: wine and walk the city’s best spots - Launched in October 2023

Food and drink journalist Kelly Bishop has launched Manchester Wine Tours, offering a ‘non-stuffy’ wine walk taking in 20 of the best wine bars, restaurants, and shops in Manchester. Guests will stop at four locations trying six wines, matched with snacks, and in groups of no more than 12 people.

Aviva Studios: cultural landmark opens with a premiere new show - Opened in October 2023

Following a hugely popular preview exhibition from Yayoi Kusama in Summer 2023, Aviva Studios, home of Factory International, officially opened in October with a premiere production of Free Your Mind, a performance based on The Matrix films, which takes the audience to follow performers around the 143,000 sq ft venue. Further programming for the venue’s first year have been announced including a series of welcome events chosen by the people of Greater Manchester.

Visit Manchester Pass: city’s first tourist pass launches - Launched in December 2023

Manchester’s first visitor pass launched in October with the Visit Manchester Pass, offering 1, 2, and 3-day passes with entry to attractions including Manchester City stadium tours, RHS Garden Bridgewater, and East Lancashire Railway. A total of 30 add-on offers are also available with hotels, bars, restaurants, and spa treatments.

Club de Padel: first dedicated padel club arrives at Deansgate Square - Opened in December 2023

Manchester’s latest sporting venture, Club de Padel, has opened in the emerging New Jackson neighbourhood. Featuring four state-of-the-art courts, it brings the first dedicated venue to the city as the sport continues to grow. Federal, the popular Australian-inspired café, has partnered with the club to provide a selection of coffee and snacks to members.

Co-op Live: UK’s biggest new music venue announces first live concerts - Opening in April 2024

The new 23,500 capacity live music venue Co-op Live is confirmed to open in April 2024 at a site next to Manchester City Football Club. The venue, backed by Harry Styles and Bruce Springsteen, has now announced the first wave of its opening acts which has so far included Olivia Rodrigo, Eric Clapton, and a residency from Manchester-born band, Take That. The venue is planned to have 32 bars, restaurants and lounges, and features a smart bowl design to bring fans closer to the stage.


Heritage, libraries, and museums:

Manchester Museum: last chance to see Golden Mummies at expanded museum - Reopened in February 2023

After a three-year closure, Manchester Museum reopened in February 2023 following a £15m transformation that added a two-storey extension with a South Asia and Chinese Culture Gallery, alongside a temporary exhibition space. It’s also the last chance to catch Golden Mummies of Egypt, its premiere temporary exhibition, which closes on 14 April 2024.

Queer Lit: LGBTQ+ book and coffee shop opens as the largest in the UK - Opened in October 2023

Starting life as a tiny shop in the Northern Quarter neighbourhood, independent LGBTQ+ bookseller, Queer Lit, has opened its new, larger store in Ancoats. With a coffee shop that can host events, the new store is now the UK’s largest LGBTQ+ bookshop with over 4,000 titles.

Rochdale Town Hall: restoration continues at Grade I listed building - Reopening in March 2024

An incredible £16m restoration is taking place to allow Rochdale's Town Hall to be fully opened to the public for the first time in history. The Grade I listed building will feature new exhibition spaces and a new hall for community events. An iconic location, Rochdale Town Hall has also appeared in film and TV including Tolkien, Peaky Blinders, and World on Fire.

Hollingworth Lake Country Park: new accessible garden to open in Rochdale - Opening in early 2024

In the Rochdale town of Littleborough, Hollingworth Lake Country Park will be unveiling a new £60,000 accessible sensory garden. Located near the new café, wheelchair-friendly paths, vibrant flora and interactive features like wind chimes and sculptures will cater to diverse abilities and ages. Further support from a local memorial scheme and local company will enhance the space, making it an all-season, educational hub that will host horticultural events and classes. 

John Rylands Library: transformation of city’s first public library to begin - Reopening in Late 2024

The Grade-I listed John Rylands Library, opened in 1900 and renowned for its impressive Victorian Gothic architecture, is preparing for a one-year project that will transform its exhibition spaces, provide a refreshed main entrance, and enhanced academic facilities. The library, now owned by the University of Manchester, is approaching its 125th anniversary in 2025, whilst the University celebrates its bicentenary in 2024.

Manchester Town Hall: iconic Victorian building to reopen following transformation - Reopening date TBC 2025/26

Manchester’s impressive 19th century Town Hall will reopen to the public 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 heritage building, whilst giving visitors access to previously unseen areas, including the Victorian police cells, courtyard, and clocktower on new guided tours.


Food and drink:

Higher Ground: local ingredient restaurant makes the Michelin Guide - Opened in March 2023

Starting life as a pop-up in 2020, Higher Ground now has a permanent spot in the city with a focus on seasonal dishes with locally-sourced ingredients. The restaurant, run by three friends, was also named in the Michelin Guide and praised for its “top quality produce”.

Diecast: further developments at metals factory turned dining destination - Opened in July 2023 with new developments

Set inside a former metals factory, Diecast opened in July 2023 offering locals a post-industrial style bar, kitchen, and dance floor. The latest development at the sprawling site includes four vintage caravans, that can be booked for private dining and party experiences. Further plans at Diecast include a night market, brewery, and independent shops.

Sexy Fish: luxury Japanese restaurant opens with eye-popping interiors - Opened in October 2023

Featuring lavish interiors with custom artworks by Damien Hirst, and Murano glass columns, Sexy Fish has opened in Manchester’s Spinningfields, offering a menu inspired by Asian dining, including an Omakase sushi experience. The 152-seat restaurant is also home to the largest champagne collection in the UK, and has dishes designed exclusive to Manchester by chef Bjoern Weissgerber.

Central Bay: 20 independent kitchens open at new food hall - Opened in October 2023

Named after the original dock that was once heart of the industrial revolution, Central Bay is a new food hall at the heart of MediaCity in Salford. Twenty independent kitchens bring food from around the world, alongside restaurant pop-ups, and live music with waterside views. New traders are set to be announced, with 11 Central, a new bar and microbrewery joining from local brewers, Seven Bro7hers.

House of Fu: ramen favourite opens second UK location with karaoke rooms - Opened in October 2023

The second location of popular ramen and karaoke restaurant House of Fu arrives in Manchester following popularity in Leeds. Upstairs you’ll find delicious ramen, homemade gyoza and Sake flights, whilst the basement hosts karaoke rooms for up to 8 people.

Fenix: High-end Greek restaurant brings top chefs to £7m opening - Opened in November 2023

The first new restaurant to open in the new St. John’s neighbourhood (home of new Aviva Studios), Fenix is set to bring modern Greek food from chef’s who have graced some of Greece’s finest restaurants. Designs for the £7m space include light technology to mimic the setting sun and promises to ‘bring Mykonos to Manchester’.

Dear Sailor: enigmatic cocktail bar brings 1930’s Tokyo to life - Opened in November 2023

Spinningfields has welcomed a new stunning bar to its neighbourhood. Dear Sailor is veiled in mystery, with a private Instagram page and no listing on Google Maps, with its own set of rules and inspired by the speakeasies of prohibition-era Japan. Its drinks menu includes a Yuzu Meringue Martini and its food menu is broken into three sections – Import, Naval & Tidal and Export.

Dainā: Asian-inspired dining comes to St. John’s - Opened in December 2023

The first kitchen residency in Side Street Studios collaboration initiative has arrived in the new St. John’s development. Dainā, from chefs Jake Huxley and Samuel Jethro, brings a creative new menu of bao buns and small plates to the venue, which also offers a stacked line-up of entertainment.

Rigatoni’s: pasta restaurant opens four locations across Greater Manchester - Opened in January 2024

While the popular SUD restaurants might have closed in the final month of 2023, the team behind it is now ready for a new adventure. Rigatoni’s is opening in the four former restaurant’s locations, serving up heartwarming and affordable house made Rigatoni, alongside other delicious dishes including focaccia toasts and a Nutella mousse and whipped cream.

Lamb of Tartary: new concept from Edinburgh Castle team arrives in Northern Quarter - Opening in February 2024

The team behind the much-loved Edinburgh Castle pub in Ancoats have revealed a brand-new concept replacing the former Cottonopolis site. The new ‘all day dining’ menu for the Lamb of Tartary is designed by Executive Chef Shaun Moffat as the Grade II listed building gets a full makeover to match it. The name is inspired by the tale where a lamb grows from a cotton plant, continuing the links to Manchester’s industrial past.

Maya: three-storey restaurant and bar to open LGBTQ+ neighbourhood - Opening in early 2024

Taking over the ground and lower floors of the LEVEN hotel in the heart of Manchester’s main LGBTQ+ neighbourhood, affectionately known as The Village, Maya will open as a brasserie serving modern-European classics and a separate dining room with a focus on ingredient-led, locally-sourced and seasonal menus, headed up by Mancunian chef Gabe Lea, formerly of Le Manoir and The French.

Fairfield Social Club: Red Bank neighbourhood welcomes new multi-space events venue - Opening in early 2024

Community-focused, Fairfield SocialClub takes over a former industrial garage with a street food and events venue next to the historic Angel Meadow Park. Led by the team from popular street food stalwarts, GRUB, the space will have a beer garden and barbecue, and will host artist events, film screenings and live comedy.

Skof: L’Enclume and Simon Rogan chef to open first restaurant - Opening in Spring 2024

Northern-born Tom Barnes will open his first restaurant, Skof, in the city’s NOMA neighbourhood offering a 36-cover restaurant with a vision to create unpretentious yet ambitious dining. The opening is Barnes’ first solo restaurant venture and comes with a glittering career including The Roux Scholarship, 12-years with Simon Rogan as Head Chef at Rogan & Co, gaining a Michelin star, and work as Executive Chef at L’Enclume.



Malmaison Deansgate: second property opens with rooftop bar views - Opening in February 2024

Their second property in Manchester, Malmaison Deansgate will open opposite the iconic Albert Square and Manchester Town Hall on 1 February. 70 guest rooms and suites will offer 60s and 70s retro design, whilst a rooftop restaurant, SORA, will serve Pan-Asian tapas and cocktails.

Treehouse Manchester: second UK location for playful hotel brand - Opening in mid-2024

Taking over 14-storeys, with 224-bedrooms, Treehouse Hotel Manchester is set to open in April with a £200m redevelopment of a former hotel on Deansgate, in Manchester City Centre. The second location for the London-brand, the property will feature nature-inspired interiors, and a line-up of food and drink offerings will include a rooftop restaurant, and a ground floor zero waste eatery.

Station Agent’s House: historic property on museum site to become holiday property - Opening in mid-2024

For the first time in 100 years, the Grade I listed Station Agent’s House at the Science and Industry Museum, once the world’s first passenger railway station, will open as a holiday let to the public. The partnership between the museum and The Landmark Trust will see the Georgian building, dating to 1808, provide accessible accommodation for up to eight people.

Mollie’s: third UK site to open at former TV studios - Opening in early Summer 2024

Its most ambitious project to date will see Mollie’s, the UK hotel and diner concept come to Manchester opening its third and largest site in the Old Granada TV studios. Taking over 100,000 sq ft of the historic 1950s building, it will offer 130-bedrooms, a 150-cover diner-style restaurant, with the top three floors of the building to be shared with Soho House, which will offer a club, swimming pool and private spaces.

Victoria Warehouse: warehouse music venue to add 200-room hotel - Opening in 2024

Plans to redesign the iconic Victoria Warehouse have been submitted, which, when complete, will see its bedroom offer increase from 64 to 200 rooms. The venue, which hosts major live music concerts, opened in 1925 as a cotton warehouse, becoming a music venue just outside the city centre in 2006.



Manchester Film Festival - 15 to 24 March 2024

Celebrating its 10th edition, the Manchester Film Festival returns in 2024, bringing some incredible documentaries and features to ODEON Great Northern. Film buffs will have the opportunity to watch UK and world premieres and experience the red carpet during this acclaimed festival.

International Brewing and Cider Festival, at Depot Mayfield - 22 and 23 March 2024

The first ever edition of the International Brewing and Cider Festival is set for Manchester this March. Open to both traders and the general public, the Bar Zone will see over 30 brewers and cider makers showcasing their products, with plenty of beers and ciders to sample. The Competition Zone will celebrate the best of the brewing and cider industry.

World Snooker Tour Championships, at Manchester Central - 1 to 7 April 2024

One of the biggest events on snooker’s global circuit, the World Snooker Championship Tour will bring the world’s best players together in Manchester for the first time, with events taking place at Manchester Central over seven days.

RHS Urban Show, at Depot Mayfield - 18 to 21 April 2024

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), will brings its first ever large indoor show to Manchester with the RHS Urban Showset to be held at Depot Mayfield. The event will celebrate the “gardening boom” taking place in cities, and will feature talks on design for small spaces, advice, practical workshops and more.

Manchester Flower Festival - 24 to 27 May 2024

The bright colours and fresh scent of flowers will flood Manchester city centre across the late May Bank Holiday weekend. With a new ‘Icons’ theme for 2024, the Manchester Flower Festival is open to professional gardeners and amateur florists alike to create stunning displays that will transform the streets of Manchester. Alongside the floral trail, visitors will enjoy live entertainment, talks, demos and workshops, while food and drink stalls will be available around the festival.

We Invented the Weekend June 2024 (date TBC)

In 1843, Greater Manchester invented the weekend when the Early Closing Association lobbied for workers to have leisure time on Saturday afternoons. Over 180 years later, Salford is celebrating this milestone with an ambitious cultural festival at MediaCity and Salford Quays, with 200 free events, 85 artists, and 150,000 visitors set to visit the city over one weekend in June.

The Hundred, at Emirates Old Trafford - July and August 2024

After record-breaking attendance numbers in 2024, 100-ball cricket competition The Hundred is coming back to Manchester with four fixtures hosted at Emirates Old Trafford. Both Manchester Originals men’s and women’s team will face Welsh Fire on home ground on 25 July, before matches against Trent Rockets, Oval Invincibles and Northern Superchargers. General on-sale ticket release dates will be announced soon.

Manchester Science Festival - 18-27 October 2024

The biennial Manchester Science Festival returns in 2024 with a line-up of events that explore some of humankind’s biggest questions while looking into the ‘Extremes’. Produced by the Science and Industry Museum, visitors to the festival will experience performances and activities for all ages, as the programme brings science’s most cutting-edge developments to the city. Meanwhile, the largest online study into the relationship between body and mind is being conducted and the findings will be showcased during the festival.

WOMEX: international music convention comes to the city - 24-27 October 2024

Worldwide Music Expo – WOMEX – will come to Manchester for the first time, bringing the world’s biggest music conference with a trade fair, talks, films and showcase concerts at venues across the city. The four-day event will feature a range of music genres and will attract over 2,600 music professionals and artists.



Manchester universities celebrate 200th anniversaries

From January 2024, the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University will both celebrate their founding roots as the Manchester Mechanics Institution in 1824. The institutions will celebrate the bicentennial throughout 2024 with exciting events and activities that shine a spotlight on students, staff, and alumni. Manchester Metropolitan University has kicked off their celebrations with stunning light projections in historic buildings across the city, while the University of Manchester is setting up for a Bicentenary Festival in June.

Greater Manchester: 50 years since the region was created

On 1 April 1974, the new region of Greater Manchester was formed, comprising 10 boroughs, including the cities of Manchester, and Salford. Historical counties of Lancashire, Cheshire and the West Riding of Yorkshire were broken down to improve services for local people. 50 years on from its inception, 2024 offers an opportune moment to visit the region to explore the varying history, green space, and contrasts of the towns and villages that are home to 2.8m people.