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Best Free Events: Free Things To Do In Manchester

21/04/2023

With rising prices affecting all of us, it's a good time to tell you about the best FREE things you can do in Manchester. 

Costs are increasing, making it difficult to plan a meaningful itinerary for city visits. However, Manchester is a haven for things visitors can do without spending a single penny. 

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If you're on a tight budget, we've got you. CitySuites has listed the best, free experiences you can do during your stay! 

What Can You Do Or See In Manchester That's Free?

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Despite the bustling and ever-evolving nature of Manchester, you'll be surprised by how many things you can do without spending money. 

Below is our recommended list: 

[Table of Contents]

Free Live Music in Manchester

Best Inner & Outer Walks in Manchester

Best Free Attractions in Manchester

Free Museums in Manchester City Centre

Best Sightseeing Spots

Window Shopping In Markets

Free Tours in Manchester

Best Free Family Events in Manchester

Free Live Music in Manchester

 

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The Whiskey Jar 

Whiskey lovers rejoice! Whiskey Jar is a music bar in Manchester that offers both high-quality whiskey, and an Open Mic night that showcases the best local musicians. 

This free event runs weekly, showing around 2/3 times per week around Tuesday and Wednesday from 8pm. 

Free live music, a whiskey in hand, equal to an unbeatable night of vibrance at the Whiskey Jar. Check them out when you get a chance.  

Matt & Phred's

Matt & Phred's venue offers a laid-back atmosphere with its live jazz, funk and soul acts. 

With great food, dazzling cocktails, and free entry* on weeknights, Matt & Phred's is a wonderous gem that jazz enjoyers walk into in their free time. 

The club gathers an atmosphere of people from diverse backgrounds and ages, who all enjoy proper jazz, blues and soul music. With consistent live music performances every night - as well as gigs on weekends, the venue offers something unique for Manchester's music scene. 

*Free entry might vary, so check their website or call them up just in case!

The Oast House

If you're looking for free live music that varies, The Oast House live music is the ideal place to go to. 

The Oast House offers live music every night that play a diverse range of styles. So if you're not fussy about what type of music you get to listen to - you've reached the right venue. 

What's more, The Oast House is an outdoor area, meaning you can walk through the area - and if the music is your fancy - you can go in and take in the buzzing energy of the area.

Weekend & Weekday Walks in Manchester

 

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River Irwell's Walk

Starting Point of River Irwell to Peel Park Route 

If you're looking for a fairly quick walk not too far from the city, then the trail from River Irwell to Peel Park will be your go-to. 

This isn't too far from the city, as it's located just beside the University of Salford. The area really pops when the sun comes out, so check it out during your weekday walk!

Mam Tor

Starting point of Mam Tor Circular Walk Route

Mam Tor is a train away from the city, but the trails found in this area is something to behold. Mam Tor has around 3 routes to take, each varying in difficulty, but equally as amazing as the other. 

For something beginner-friendly, we recommend the Mam Tor Circular Walk - a good 3 mile walk that takes at max 2 hours to do.

Manchester Wharf City Trail

Starting Point of Wharf City Trail

This walk is right in the city and takes you through Castlefield, one of Manchester's best-known spots for scenic walks. 

The Wharf is a short walk that allows you to see the best buildings that Manchester has to offer - as well as the natural wildlife seen around the city.

Free Attractions in Manchester

 

 

The Donkey Sanctuary

Do you want a unique experience for the family? The Donkey Sanctuary might just scratch your itch. 

This seven-acre land is open to public pre-booked visits, The Donkey Sanctuary hosts a variety of activities that will educate and entertain people of all ages. 

The Donkey Sanctuary has a fantastic mission of rescuing countless donkeys worldwide. Visit their Manchester site today - don't forget to book! It's a free visit, but a ticket is required for gaining entry.

Outdoor Art at Whitworth Gallery

If you want an outdoor experience that's free of charge, you can go and take a look at the outdoor art display at Whitworth Gallery. 

National Trust Parks

National Trust is a British charity organisation highlighting historical properties in the UK, which you can find across Greater Manchester. 

There are lots of National Trust Parks to visit for free - and the closest to the city all hold an interesting fact about its history. 

Tatton Park, for example, is a great national park, holding

Free Entry Museums in Manchester

 

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Museum of Science and Industry

Discover the wonder and innovation of the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester! With interactive exhibits, workshops, and even a steam train ride, our museum offers a unique and educational experience for all ages.

Explore the groundbreaking scientific inventions that have shaped our world, from the earliest steam engines to cutting-edge technology.

Manchester Art Gallery 

Step into a world of art and culture at the Manchester Art Gallery! With a stunning collection of over 25,000 works, our gallery is one of the finest in the UK. From classic and contemporary paintings to decorative arts and sculptures, our collections offer something for everyone.

Our renowned exhibitions showcase the works of established and emerging artists from around the world, as well as local talents, providing visitors with an exciting and diverse experience.

People's History Museum

Discover the incredible stories of ordinary people who changed the world at the People's History Museum! With a vast collection of political and social history spanning over 200 years, our museum is a treasure trove of inspiration and enlightenment.

From the fight for suffrage to the struggles of the working classes, our exhibitions showcase the stories of those who have campaigned for equality, justice, and progress throughout history. Engage with interactive displays and explore the collection of artefacts, including banners, badges, and posters, that have been used to demonstrate support for various causes.

The National Football Museum

Score big at the National Football Museum, the ultimate destination for football fans! With the largest collection of football memorabilia in the world, our museum celebrates the history, culture, and excitement of the beautiful game. Discover the stories of legendary players and managers, from the early pioneers of the sport to the stars of today, and relive some of the greatest moments in football history.

Our interactive galleries and exhibitions showcase the evolution of the game, from its origins to its modern-day status as the world's most popular sport. Test your skills and knowledge with our hands-on exhibits and fun activities, including a chance to take a penalty against a virtual goalkeeper!

Best Sightseeing Spots In The City

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Manchester's Cathedral 

One of Manchester's biggest sightseeing attractions is Manchester's Cathedral - boasting a long history of facts and narratives, as well as picturesque architecture that dates back to the 1800s.  

Both the outdoor and indoor designs are finely styled, making it a great place for photographs - please remember that taking photos will require you to pay a £1 fee. Otherwise, if you're looking to view Manchester's finest buildings, you can simply admire the beauty without photographs.

Admission to the cathedral is free, however, we suggest also donating if you can to help support the building's cost for operation. Plan your visit with them today.

The Bridgewater Hall

The Bridgewater Hall is a monumental venue for various tours, concerts and activities. The building welcomes everybody and creates fun experiences for music enthusiasts. Its facility is quite a beauty, too! 

These activities can include songwriting workshops, free concerts, and performance opportunities. 

The Bridgewater Hall provides a "Live at Lunchtime" performance that's open to the public, being a platform for talented musicians of various ages and backgrounds. The music starts at 12:45 pm and is free to attend.

MediaCity UK/Salford Quays

MediaCity UK and Salford Quays are both located in the same area roughly, which are reachable by tram from the city.

MediaCity UK is a small, but full park that contains iconic buildings, including the ITV and BBC building. The area also contains a bridged river, and on sunnier days, tourists can even find rowers practising too. 

Salford Quays is the calmer side of MediaCity. It's a larger area that takes walkers around the quay, displaying the full view of MediaCity and its magnificent view!

John Ryland's Library

Anyone that loves looking at interior and exterior designs for buildings can view the masterpiece of Victorian Gothic architecture: John Ryland's Library. 

John Ryland's Library resembles a castle for people seeing it for the first time. This institution is one of the finest neo-Gothic architecture in Europe and contains various historical collections. 

Window Shop in the City's Markets

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Hatch 

Hatch is an award-winning food, drink, and retail destination that's gathered momentum since its opening.

With free entry, every guest will be met with various food and drink stalls - as well as the occasional vintage sale with independent retail products in store. 

Hatch also features great music to vibe to during your stay.

Arndale Markets

Want to get a real taste of independent food stalls? Arndale Markets is located right in the city centre. 

This area showcases some of Manchester's greatest eats - including authentic burritos, Quebec-style poutine, and modernised Asian dishes. 

This space is popular at lunchtime when workers want a great meal during working hours, so if you get a chance, why not check it out? 

Afflecks

This iconic emporium is a source of independent retailers you can find in Manchester's Northern Quarter. 

Affleck is an indoor market that contains diverse stalls selling products from independent businesses. 

Other Free Features The City Offers

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Free Tours

There is a daily free tour of Manchester that new visitors can attend to understand what the city is all about. 

The tour runs every day at 11 am from the Alan Turing Memorial. The guide can be easily identified with its blue and yellow compass logo. 

This tour will be approximately 3 hours long - with a 15-minute break. 

You can find more about their free walking tour through their website.

Free Family Events Manchester

Free Permanent Gallery: Experiment

The experiment is a free gallery at the Science and Industry Museum, allowing anyone to build, sense, and discover various exhibitions that explore science in action. 

Designed for the entire family, you can do various experiments that will have you see through walls, test your senses, check your strength, and much more.

Reading Rascals Reading Group

Reading Rascals is a reading book club for ages 7 and 12. 

This is a great opportunity to introduce children to the wonders of literature, with various activities to do, exciting books to read and equally exciting characters to follow. 

French Storytime 

Let your children share stories, sing songs, and have fun in this French Storytime activity. This monthly session is an interactive experience that's built to educate and engage kids with French vocabulary. 

The experience is interspersed with themed stories, rhymes and a final arts and crafts activity. Check out their event today!

Are buses free in Manchester?

Not all buses are free. However, there are some transport links you can use to get around the city for free.

You have the option of boarding the free bus no.1 or no. 2. 

No. 1 bus takes you through Exchange Square and the areas surrounding it, while no. 2 takes you through St. Peter's Square, Spinningfields and Deansgate. 

Both buses start at Picadilly Gardens and are free to board if you want an easy tour of the city. 

Are there any free parking spaces in Manchester?

Free parking spaces are available in Manchester, although most of them are quite a ways away from the centre. 

There are quite a few to list. However, Road Trip Heroes has listed the parking alternatives you can find closer to the main parking spaces in the city. 

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