3 Days in Manchester: Everything You Should Know
Manchester is a cold, but vibrant city in North West England, proud of its everchanging development and growth. The city of half a million population grows even larger during weekends and peak season.
The summer weather allows for many events and festivals, but crowds can happen any time of the year and season. So, if you are planning on visiting Manchester just for the weekend, you need to prepare for your trip in advance. Although 3 days in Manchester is not enough to get to know and enjoy the city, you can still see a good portion of it.
The weather in Manchester can be rainy and grey, but that doesn't stop Mancunians from enjoying each day to the fullest. This enjoyable city is welcoming and you will be entertained while here. Whether you are looking to do some outdoor activities, visit museums, go shopping, or take day trips to the surrounding villages and towns, plan accordingly and expect a terrific time.
Here is your 3 day itinerary for Manchester, with things to do and see from the morning till the wee hours of the night. Leave your bags with Bounce luggage storage here in Manchester, so you can take your time exploring the city knowing your belongings are safe and sound. And why drag large items that will only slow you down?
Manchester itinerary - Day 1
Morning: Hop-on-hop-off bus tour
On your first day in Manchester, it is best to make yourself familiar with the city and get a sample of what you want to return to later. Attractions in Manchester are many and with a hop-on-hop-off bus tour, you'll get to see most.
On the bus, you will learn a lot about the first industrialized city in the world from the recorded commentary. What's even better is that there is free wi-fi, so you can tag yourself at all locations.
Enjoy this 1.5 hours long tour where you can hop on and off at any of the 15 stops of main attractions, including Manchester Town Hall, Manchester Museum, the National Football Museum, Piccadilly Gardens, the Museum of Science and Industry, and Manchester United Football Club among others.
The earliest tour starts at 10.30 am at Albert Square, near Town Hall and Albert Memorial. This leaves you enough time to enjoy a hearty breakfast at the Vienna Coffee House, just a 1-min walk from Manchester Art Gallery. The location makes this place the best to chill before or after a sightseeing tour.
They open at 8 am on weekdays, and 9 am on the weekends, giving you enough time to enjoy your breakfast and coffee before you get on your hop-on-hop-off bus tour.
Afternoon: Exploring the city centre
Now when you know exactly what you want to see, and you are still in the neighborhood, you can start your Manchester city centre tour. First things first, Manchester’s museums and art galleries. They are free and exciting, and you have a lot to learn and see.
Start your afternoon with Manchester Art Gallery on Mosley Street and then take a walk over to the Science and Industry Museum to see the world's oldest surviving passenger railway station and the Railway Warehouse.
Further south in Whitworth Park is Whitworth Art Gallery, home to 55, 000 items. The Gallery is part of the University of Manchester and is a haven for art lovers. To learn more about Manchester's history of democracy and social justice, you have to make a stop at the People's History Museum on Left Bank Street in the Spinningfields area in Manchester City Centre.
When you have finished touring the People's History Museum, walk over the bridge of River Irwell and enjoy lunch or a cocktail at the Menagerie Restaurant & Bar a trendy venue famous for great food and amazing Instagram photos.
Evening: Pub crawl
When the sun goes down, Manchester has even more to offer visitors, but after all that sightseeing, it is now time to unwind and have some fun like the locals do. Manchester, and the UK in general, has pubs on every corner. So it is just natural for tourists to want to experience the best of Manchester's pubs and bars.
What better way to do that, than booking yourself a pub crawl! You can do a self-guided one, it's all up to you. Most tours will take you to the coolest bars in town, with some great music, great deals on drinks and even free shots. You will also get spoiled skipping the line to get in.
Most pubs and bars are located in the Northern Quarter, the trendiest and busiest area in Manchester, day and night. The pub crawl takes you to see some of the best pubs in the area including Port Street Beer House, The Crafty Pig Manchester, The Bay Horse Tavern, The Whisky Jar, Castle Hotel and many more!
A pub crawl is the best way to experience all these trendy and other hidden gems and have a great night out in Manchester.
Manchester itinerary - Day 2
Morning: Zen moments in Castlefield Urban Heritage Park
The second day of your itinerary should start with the beauty, grandeur and calmness of the largest park in Manchester. Taking a peaceful walk will also be good for you after the pub crawl the night before. Walking around this 7 acre urban park is a great way to start your day, weather permitting.
Wander cobblestone paths, canal-side walks, and tons of little bridges. Marvel at Roman sites, and old warehouses (some converted into waterfront bars and pubs), and enjoy large landscaped open spaces where you can sit down and enjoy a picnic. Getting there is easy with Manchester public transport. There is a free bus that drops you nearby or you can use either the train or the tram. Both will drop you off at Deansgate station.
The surrounding area is also worth checking out while you are there. Visit Manchester Cathedral, the mother church of the Anglican Diocese of Manchester, and Manchester City Council or John Rylands Library within a short walking distance.
When you have worked up an appetite, stop by Moose Cafe in York House, for a hearty American-style breakfast, brunch and coffee. They open at 8 am.
Afternoon: Fun in Trafford Park
When you've only got 3 days in Manchester, visiting Trafford Park is a must. This 4.7 square miles large space is home to many attractions and sports centres. Starting with the Old Trafford Stadium, to Salford Quays, Imperial War Museum North, The Lowry, Crazy Golf courses, Chill Factore indoor skiing, indoor karting, to tons of theme parks, Trafford Park will keep you busy day and night.
If you need to do some shopping, check the Trafford Centre. Are you looking for things to do with the kids? At Trafford Centre, you will also find the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre and the SEA LIFE aquarium. Whatever you end up doing in Trafford Park, rest assured you will have the time of your life.
Evening: Fun with Crystal Maze Escape room
If Trafford Park gave you the buzz for an even more crazy fun evening, make a stop at the Crystal Maze escape room. Located just a 1-min walk from the Museum of Science and Industry on St Johns, Lower Byrom St, this place ensures everyone has great fun, whether you are traveling with family, friends and even solo.
One game lasts about an hour, but it is an hour full of mysteries, solving puzzles, and adrenaline rushes. The game challenges you both mentally and physically so you have to like doing this in order to enjoy it. But you will not know unless you give it a try! So jump right in to play four different themes: Medieval, Industrial, Aztec and Futuristic.
The more the victories, the better, as you win Crystals which give you more time to catch tokens in the iconic Crystal Dome. The place closes at 8.30 pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9.15 pm on Thursday-Saturday, and 7 pm on Sundays.
Manchester itinerary - Day 3
Morning: Sports Stadium fun
With two football clubs to choose from, having a sports-centred morning will be easy to do. Visit either the Manchester City or Manchester United clubs. Head to Etihad Stadium for Manchester City or Old Trafford for Manchester United.
Imagine the fun when you walk beside the pitch, see the actual player's tunnel and even see kit displays and trophies. Plan on about 2 hours with a booked tour. Fans of these teams will be thrilled to learn more about the history of football in the UK.
Afternoon: Northern Quarter
Whether you are traveling solo or with the entire family, you have to at least spend a few hours in the busiest and most fun neighborhood in Manchester, the Northern Quarter. This area is home to vintage stores, vinyl records, top notch restaurants and bars, as well as Manchester Craft & Design Centre, The National Football Museum, The Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art and many more!
Grab a bite to eat at Bundobust, and taste the best Indian street food in the city, not to mention vegetarian and vegan fare. If you prefer Chinese food, Chinatown is nearby and it is the largest Chinatown in Europe, You could easily spend a few hours here.
Alternatively, stroll down the pedestrianized Canal Street in Manchester’s Gay Village, one of the liveliest areas in the city.
Evening: Spa and wellness
The last day of your 3 days in Manchester should be reserved to relax. What better way to do it than to book yourself a spa evening? Incredible spots like Pace Health Club and Nu Spa, Malmaison Manchester, Bali Health Lounge, and Masa Hammam will soothe your body and your mind. Manchester has a bevy of places to choose from! Spoil yourself with a massage, hot stone therapy, and poolside relaxation.
Get ready to feel rejuvenated. Your experience at a health and wellness spot in Manchester will have you coming back for more. But it's also the ideal way to unwind after your whirlwind visit to the city.
3 Days of Fun in Manchester
There is so much to do and see in Manchester that it is just impossible to see it all in 3 days. But this guide helps you enjoy most of Manchester, so you'll know what to spend more time on the next time you come back.
Football and other sports fans will have a blast in Trafford Park, while art lovers will enjoy the museum and art gallery hopping across the city centre. Guided walking tours are an excellent way to explore the city on foot and see the most in a short time. Even if you feel exhausted by the end of the day, there is always something to do in the evening that will help you unwind and recharge batteries for the next day.
Still planning your visit to Manchester? Check out these guides for more ideas!