Things to do on Oxford Road, Mancheser

A vibrant nightlife and home to many of the city’s most iconic music venues, theatre spots and high-end cultural offerings such as the Whitworth, HOME and RNCM.

With one of the most concentrated, diverse and distinctive collections of cultural attractions in the UK, there are always things to do on the Oxford Road Corridor. Home to many of Manchester’s iconic music venues, auditoriums and exhibition spaces, Oxford Road also has a vibrant night-life and an abundance of cafés, restaurants and bars. Nestled between the beautiful architecture and significant landmarks and memorials are a number of historic parks and contemporary green spaces to discover.

Oxford Road Corridor’s love affair with live music dates back as far as 1858 when Sir Charles Hallé formed Manchester’s symphony orchestra at the Lesser Free Trade Hall. Fast forward to 1966 and the Free Trade Hall would become part of musical history again when Bob Dylan was famously heckled for going electric. Ten years later the Sex Pistols played the “gig that changed the world”. Punk was born with Joy Division, The Fall, Magazine and The Smiths, not far behind. 

With over six million items from across the world, spanning over four floors of displays and exhibitions in 15 galleries, Manchester Museum (reopening in Feb 2023) is an extraordinary space with a vast collection dating back as far as the early 1800’s. South of the museum and transformed by a £15 million development is the Whitworth, the first English gallery in a park, providing contemporary exhibition programmes that have gained global attention.

At the opposite end of the Oxford Road Corridor, presenting the most diverse, contemporary and challenging visual art, cinema and theatre in the region is HOME Manchester, who have specialisms in artist film, performance and participation.

The area is steeped in literary history, with the life and works of both Anthony Burgess and Elizabeth Gaskell immortalised here alongside iconic venues like Manchester Central Library and contemporary spaces like Manchester Poetry Library.

Latest Exhibitions

At Home with the Pankhurst Family
The Pankhurst Centre | Until 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.

Matthew Bamber: Dream Home
HOME | Until 1 September 2024

Matthew Bamber explores themes of memory and trauma, greed and power, queerness, and identity in his work.

Greater Mancunians
Manchester Central Library | Until 29 July 2024

A student led photography project celebrating those who have in some way shaped the city and its surrounding boroughs.

Ayo Akingbade – Show Me The World Mister
The Whitworth | Until 20 October 2024

Show Me The World Mister is a solo exhibition by Ayo Akingbade comprising two new film commissions.

John Lyons
The Whitworth | Until 25 August 2024

The spring begins with the first major retrospective exhibition of Caribbean British artist and poet John Lyons.

Brass Art: rock, quiver and bend
HOME | Until 1 September 2024

An exhibition of new work by Brass Art, bringing together immersive video, sculpture and lens-based media.

Manchester Museum | Until 1 June 2025

Wild is an exhibition that explores our relationship with the natural world and unique approaches to environmental recovery.

Landscapes of Change
Manchester Poetry Library | Until 31 August 2024

Landscapes of Change brings together poetry and science to explore the impact of the climate emergency

The ‘Death’ of the Life Room
The Whitworth | Until 12 January 2025

Set against the backdrop of the 1950s this collection display highlights the challenges faced by the life room tradition from the mid-20th century.

Alison Wilding: Sculptor’s Drawings
The Whitworth | Until 12 January 2025

The Whitworth is showing a display of newly acquired works on paper by the British sculptor Alison Wilding.

40 Years of the Future: Where Should We Be Now?
Castlefield Gallery | Until 6 October 2024

An exhibition from artists Jeffrey Knopf, Theo Simpson and Hope Strickland – a sculptor, a photographer and artist-filmmaker.

Nepali everday objects and belongings
Manchester Museum | 20 July 2024

A temporary exhibition of everyday items and artefacts representing Nepal’s regional, cultural, social, religious, and ethnic diversities.

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Latest Gigs & Concerts

YES | 25 July 2024

Melbourne punk power trio CLAMM come to Manchester this July in support of their latest single, ‘Change Enough’.

Gorilla | 27 July 2024

M24 brought his saucy brand ofdrill to the UK mainstream inthe late ‘10s and early ‘20s. Coming up under the 150 Banner.

Thomas Dolby
o2 Ritz Manchester | 17 August 2024

GRAMMY Award-nominated Thomas Dolby’s impressive career has spanned over 35 years. Catch him at The Ritz this August.

Gorilla | 22 August 2024

NEIL FRANCES is a Los Angeles-based duo comprising Australian-born Jordan Feller and Southern California native Marc Gilfry.

Manchester Psych Fest 2024
Various Venues | 31 August 2024

Manchester Psych Fest is an all-day celebration of psychedelic music and art, returning to the Oxford Road Corridor in August.

The Lemon Twigs
Manchester Academy | 12 September 2024

The Lemon Twigs—the much-hyped New York City rock band fronted by brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario—visit The Academy this September.

o2 Ritz Manchester | 30 September 2024

Masked Manchester rapper Meekz is back with his latest release Tru, which follows his debut mixtape Respect The Come Up.

The Dandy Warhols
o2 Ritz Manchester | 2 October 2024

Portland alt-rockers The Dandy Warhols are back on the road with their latest album, Rockmaker.

Duff McKagan
Manchester Academy | 3 October 2024

Duff McKagan, legendary Guns N’ Roses bassist stops by Manchester Academy this autumn in support of his latest solo outing, Lighthouse.

Neighbourhood Festival
Gorilla, YES, The Ritz | 5 October 2024

Neighbourhood Festival returns to Manchester this October with a takeover of venues across the Oxford Road.

o2 Ritz Manchester | 8 October 2024

JET hit the UK for the first time since 2009 to celebrates 20 years of their brilliant 2003 Platinum debut album, Get Born.

Max Cooper
o2 Ritz Manchester | 10 October 2024

Max Cooper merges electronic music and visual art with scientific enquiry to create an unforgettable immersive live performance.

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Latest Theatre

Hairspray The Musical
Palace Theatre | Until 27 July 2024

Hairspray took Broadway by storm, winning multiple awards worldwide. This feel-good classic is back at The Palace this summer.

Gallifrey Cabaret
HOME | 25 – 27 July 2024

Jump aboard the queerest TARDIS in time and space for a night of cosmic drag and cabaret, all inspired by the greatest TV show in the universe – DOCTOR WHO.

101 Dalmatians
Palace Theatre | 30 July – 10 August 2024

The smash hit musical 101 Dalmatians is coming to Palace Theatre this summer, starring Kym Marsh as the greatest villain of them all, Cruella De Vil.

My Son’s a Queer, (But what can you do?)
HOME | 19 – 25 August 2024

Award-winning production My Son’s a Queer, (But what can you do?) will take the stage ay HOME this summer ahead of Manchester PRIDE.

Who the f–k is shakespeare?
Contact | 3 – 4 October 2024

Following a sell-out run, four of Shakespeare’s (in)famous characters are back for a national tour, ready to tell their side of the story.

Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells
The Bridgewater Hall | 22 October 2024

Tubular Bells is world-renowned as one of the most celebrated examples of music in film for its soundtracking of horror classic The Exorcist.

Palace Theatre | 3 December 2024 – 12 January 2025

Wicked the smash-hit theatre show is coming to Manchester’s Palace Theatre in November 2024 as part of a UK tour.

The Bootleg Beatles
The Bridgewater Hall | 10 December 2024

Regarded the world over as the gold standard of tribute, The Bootleg Beatles return this Christmas for another nostalgic trip.

Pretty Vacant
The Bridgewater Hall | 6 February 2025

From its birth in New York City to its adolescence in London and onto its maturity across the globe, Pretty Vacant celebrates the legacy of the punk and New Wave movements.

Coraline – A Musical
HOME | 15 May – 7 June 2025

After worldwide success as a bestselling book and movie, Coraline – A Musical is now set to thrill audiences when it comes to HOME in May.

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Latest Literature Events

Landscapes of Change
Manchester Poetry Library | Until 31 August 2024

Landscapes of Change brings together poetry and science to explore the impact of the climate emergency

Love Stories etc Festival
Manchester Central Library | 20 July 2024

28 Authors and publishers across the UK will be gathering in Manchester for tLove Stories etc Festival in July.

Rebecca Watson in conversation with Jess White
Blackwell’s Bookshop | 23 July 2024

Join Blackwell’s for the launch of I Will Crash – the stunning new novel from Rebecca Watson, acclaimed author of Little Scratch.

Queer Hope + Joy
The Whitworth | 22 August 2024

Join the Whitworth to explore queer joy through movement and creativity, and to celebrate the launch of ‘(Un)Defining Queer’, the book

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Where to stay

All you need to know now is where you are going to stay. There are plenty of hotels on the Oxford Road Corridor which cater for all tastes and budgets.

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.

Latest News

Stay up to date with the latest news from Oxford Road Corridor.

June 2024 Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell portrait unveiled at the Whitworth

A portrait of The University of Manchester’s first female President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell was unveiled at the Whitworth.

June 2024 £6 Million Transformation Of 117-119 Portland Street Approved

Bruntwood SciTech Gains Approval For £6 Million Transformation Of Historic Manchester City Centre Workspace.

June 2024 The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University enjoy success in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings

Both The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University enjoy success in the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings 2024.

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