Things to do this February

February is a huge month for Oxford Road with a busy fixture list for gig-goers, several excellent new exhibitions, Queer Contact and the long-awaited return of Manchester Museum.

The wait is over as Manchester Museum returns following a £15 million capital project which has transformed the space, and realigns its purpose as a place that builds understanding and empathy between cultures, across generations and time. The opening exhibition is Golden Mummies of Egypt, a free exhibition that offers unparalleled access to the museum’s Egypt and Sudan collections.

February is LGBT+ History Month, the annual celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of gay rights and related civil rights movements. There is no better place to mark the occasion than at Queer Contact which delivers yet another extraordinary line-up of LGBTQ+ talent. Elsewhere, centred around key themes that include Queer Gaze, Performativity, Chosen Family, Mythology and Activism, (Un)Defining Queer at The Whitworth is a new exhibition which seeks to challenge the heteronormative gaze.

Another major exhibition launching this month is Tale of the Frozen Bits at Castlefield Gallery, it explores the rich and surprising history of fertility drugs, a witch’s brew of ingredients that laid the path for our modern-day medicines. HOME has three new exhibitions opening as part of their Spring Season from Parham Ghalamdar, Nick Jordan and Chris Paul Daniels. At Central Library, In The City explores the work of photographer Richard Davis.

After a bit of a quiet January, Oxford Road’s famous music scene is beginning to warm to 2023 with standout gigs from Temples, Weyes Blood, Luke Haines and Peter Buck, Lil Mariko and Jockstrap. It’s looking like a great year for live music in the area. At RNCM, Artists-in-Residence, Manchester Collective, return with Alice Zawadzki’s Bag of Bones. Described as a pinch of a romantic song cycle, stirred with studio theatre with a touch of jazz and filtered through dark Central European folklore, it’s one not to be missed.

Other highlights of the month include International Mother Language Day which takes place on the 21st of February. This year, Manchester City of Literature and their partners have over a month of activities and events to mark the occasion. Finally, at HOME, Will Young returns to the stage in a new production of Song From Far Away by Olivier Award winner Simon Stephens and musician Mark Eitzel.

Top things to do this month

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One for the road…

To celebrate the opening of North Taproom at Circle Square and the end of dry January, we take a look at some of the best spots around Oxford Road for beer enthusiasts.

Peveril of The Peak Pub Oxford Road Corridor Manchester
Peveril Of The Peak

Peveril Of The Peak is Manchester’s most iconic pub adorned with the sorts of bottle green, yellow and brown Victorian tiles that are a reclamation yard’s dream.

The Briton’s Protection

An iconic pub with an impressive whiskey list running into the hundreds. A welcoming atmosphere and a sprawling beer garden.

Interior shot of Temple Bar in Mancheter
The Temple

Originally called The Temple of Convenience owing to its former life as a public toilet block, this is a tiny bar with some of the finest bathroom graffiti in town.

External shot of The Lass O' Gowrie pub in the sunshine
The Lass O’ Gowrie

Take a seat by the river at The Lass O’ Gowrie and watch the world go by in this refined and ancient watering hole.

internal image of The Thirsty Scholar pub with a glowing bar
The Thirsty Scholar

The Thirsty Scholar is a free music venue, pub and nightclub on Oxford Road serving vegan pub food including all-day breakfasts.

An image of a sign outside Sandbar on the Oxford Road Corridor

Sandbar, just off Oxford Road in Manchester, is a well-loved watering hole, with a great selection of ales and some eccentric seating.

External shot of ivy growing up the Ducie Arms pub in Manchester
Ducie Arms

Ducie Arms is a traditional pub near Manchester Science Park, with top-class pub food, real ales and a cracking atmosphere.

photo of roof terrace at big hands
Big Hands

Big Hands at the South end of Oxford Road may be small, but it comes with added rock n’ roll swagger, a great atmosphere and a lovely roof garden.

The Old Abbey Tap House via Facebook
The Old Abbey Taphouse

The Old Abbey Taphouse is a pub in a community hub, and one of Hulme’s true gems. Come for the beers, stay for the arts and culture activities.

More things to do this month

exhibition At Home with the Pankhurst Family
The Pankhurst Centre | 29 August 2021 – 31 August 2025

The transformation of the Pankhurst Centre exhibition space is incredible thanks to its new permanent exhibition, At Home with the Pankhurst Family.

families Fairy Tales
Z-arts | 5 April 2022 – 15 April 2023

Fairy Tales is Z-arts latest exhibition, an interactive world of play and storytelling for children up to 8-years old and their grown-ups.

exhibition Althea McNish: Colour is Mine
The Whitworth | 21 October 2022 – 23 April 2023

The Whitworth presents the first major retrospective of Althea McNish, one of the UK’s most influential and innovative textile designers and the first designer of Caribbean descent to achieve international recognition.

exhibition In the City
Manchester Central Library | 7 January – 1 April 2023

A collection of Manchester images centred around culture and football by photographer Richard Davis.

exhibition (Un)Defining Queer
The Whitworth | 26 January – 26 November 2023

(Un)Defining Queer delves into the Whitworth’s collection to examine how we can use a queer lens to define what the term ‘queer’ means.

exhibition Natural Interaction
HOME | 18 February – 4 June 2023

HOME present Natural Interaction, a solo exhibition by Nick Jordan featuring new films, prints, photographs, painting and sculptural works.

exhibition Is the anybody there?
HOME | 18 February – 4 June 2023

Is there anybody there? at HOME uses archive film to create a monumental study of cultural traditions, procession and ceremony.

exhibition Painting, An Unending
HOME | 18 February – 4 June 2023

Painting, An Unending is a solo show of new work by artist Parham Ghalamdar, his largest institutional exhibition to date.

exhibition Golden Mummies of Egypt
The Manchester Museum | 18 February – 31 December 2023

Golden Mummies of Egypt is Manchester Museum’s re-opening exhibition. This one-of-a-kind cultural experience opens in February 2023.

exhibition Dab Hands
The Manchester Museum | 18 February – 31 July 2023

Dab Hands is an exhibition that celebrates the extraordinary relationship that we have with our hands and the value of the skills that can be acquired

See what’s on
Food and Drink on Oxford Road

The food and drink in Manchester is some of the best in the UK with many of the finest offerings found here on the Oxford Road Corridor.

View of Circle Square from the pavilion at Symphony Park
Circle Square

Circle Square is an exciting multi-million pound, mixed-use neighbourhood, created on the site of the former BBC building on Oxford Road.

Back of Engels statue at First Street Manchester
First Street

First Street is a vibrant neighbourhood between Oxford Road and Deansgate, it is home to a number of businesses and is a popular spot for food, drink and culture.

Where to stay

The lobby of Kimpton Clocktower Hotel in Manchester's Oxford Road Corridor
Kimpton Clocktower Hotel

Kimpton Clocktower Hotel offers an unforgettable stay on Oxford Road Corridor in one of Manchester’s most iconic buildings.

Midland Hotel Lobby Manchester Oxford Road Corridr
The Midland Hotel

The Midland Hotel is one of the most famous places to stay in Manchester, and one of Oxford Road Corridor’s most lavishly decorated hotels.

Image of the chandelier at Holiday Inn Express Oxford Road
Holiday Inn Express

The Holiday Inn Express on Oxford Road is a centrally located hotel that offers visitors great value for money.