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

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.

exhibition Open House
The Whitworth | 26 November 2021 – 10 December 2022

Wallpapers began arriving at the Whitworth in 1967, this exhibition delves into the galley’s collection of around 10,000 examples.

exhibition Exchanges
The Whitworth | 19 February 2022 – 10 February 2023

Exchanges sets art and artist together, sometimes in harmony, sometimes in opposition – always with insight and intention.

families Fairy Tales
Z-arts | 5 April 2022 – 26 February 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 The World Reimagined
HOME | 12 August – 31 October 2022

The World Reimagined sees trails of large globe sculptures in cities across the UK. In Manhcester you can find one at HOME.

exhibition The MA Show
Manchester School of Art | 10 September – 7 October 2022

The MA Show celebrates the work of Manchester School of Art’s postgraduate students.

exhibition Matthew Bamber and Ivy Kalungi
Castlefield Gallery | 25 September – 16 October 2022

Artists Matthew Bamber and Ivy Kalungi explore how images, objects and bodies hold memories of personal and social histories.

exhibition Venessa Scott
HOME | 1 October – 20 November 2022

Venessa Scott presents a new exhibition exploring impact and legacy through a collection of paintings and colour moments inspired by nature.

exhibition With My Ear to the Wall
Contact Theatre | 9 October 2022

With My Ear to the Wall is a tactile audio installation of tumblers, placed to the wall. Inciting empathy, curiosity and a sense of closeness, With My Ear to the Wall is an opportunity to eavesdrop on the tender insights of the lives of strangers. Created with local people.

exhibition Rooms of Our Own
Manchester Central Library | 11 October 2022 – 3 January 2023

Rooms of Our Own is an exhibition at Central Library, part of a project to reveal the hidden ‘herstory’ of the Pankhurst Centre.

exhibition Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair Manchester
Victoria Baths | 13 – 16 October 2022

Victoria Baths welcome back the excellent Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair Manchester, a must-attend event for craft lovers.

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.

See what’s on

Latest Gigs & Concerts

music Pilkington Lecture: Gus Casely-Hayford OBE
The Whitworth | 6 October 2022

Friends of the Whitworth invite Gus Casely-Hayford, OBE, director of the new V&A East, cultural historian and tv presenter to present the Pilkington Lecture.

music Maxïmo Park
Manchester Academy | 6 October 2022

Naughties alt-rockers Maxïmo Park visit Manchester Academy in support of their latest record, Nature Always Wins.

music The Lemonheads
O2 Ritz Manchester | 8 October 2022

Celebrating 30 years of their fifth studio album It’s a Shame About Ray, American rockers The Lemonheads will be play the album in full in Manchester.

music Black Angel 25
Contact | 8 October 2022

Late night late 90s pioneering club night Black Angel returns to Contact to celebrate their 25th birthday.

music SOAK
Yes | 9 October 2022

Northern Irish singer-songwriter SOAK comes to Manchester, performing at YES in support of their latest album If I Never Know You Like This Again.

music Sampa the Great
Gorilla | 12 October 2022

Coming to Gorilla, Sampa the Great is a poet and singer-songwriter expressing herself through music, poetry and visual art.

music Sinead O’Brien
The Deaf Institute | 12 October 2022

Having garnered international critical acclaim for debut album Time Bend and Break The Bower, Sinead O’Brien’s latest show at Deaf Institute is one you won’t want to miss.

music Manchester Folk Festival 2022: The Jackie Oates Trio
International Anthony Burgess Foundation | 13 October 2022

Jackie Oates brings elements of the English folk tradition to new people and places; in turn bringing a much-needed calm and joy to those who hear it.

music Manchester Folk Festival 2022: Douglas Dare
International Anthony Burgess Foundation | 13 October 2022

Douglas Dare’s music speaks of his own experiences of universal themes like love, loss, and childhood.

music Dinosaur Jr
o2 Ritz Manchester | 14 October 2022

Alt-rock pioneers, Dinosaur Jr. return to UK shores to tour their fifth album, 2020’s Sweep It Into Space.

music Manchester Folk Festival 2022: Lucy Farrell
International Anthony Burgess Foundation (IABF) | 14 October 2022

Expect odd, unconventional melodies, poetic, sophisticated song-writing and the bewitching clarity from Kent-born, Canada-based Lucy Farrell.

music Manchester Folk Festival 2022: Stolen From God
HOME | 14 October 2022

A narrated song cycle by Reg Meuross, unfolding the history of England’s involvement in the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

See what’s on

Latest Theatre

theatre English National Ballet: Swan Lake
Palace Theatre | 5 – 8 October 2022

The world’s most famous ballet returns to cast its spell in English National Ballet’s stunning production.

dance Outbox: Groove
Contact | 5 October 2022

Be immersed in lights, lasers and video, and era-defining and defying original beats. Prepare to leave it all on the dance floor… get ready to GROOVE.

theatre Roma Havers: LOB
Contact | 5 – 8 October 2022

LOB is a tennis, poetry bonanza about moving through sporting spaces as a queer body, written and performed by Roma Havers.

comedy Dave Gorman: Powerpoint to the People
Palace Theatre | 9 October 2022

Dave Gorman, the man behind hit show Modern Life Is Goodish as well as Are You Dave Gorman? and Googlewhack Adventure, is back on the road with a brand new live show.

theatre Beautiful
Palace Theatre | 11 – 15 October 2022

Long before she was Carole King, the chart-topping music legend, she was an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent.

music Manchester Folk Festival 2022: The Jackie Oates Trio
International Anthony Burgess Foundation | 13 October 2022

Jackie Oates brings elements of the English folk tradition to new people and places; in turn bringing a much-needed calm and joy to those who hear it.

music Manchester Folk Festival 2022: Douglas Dare
International Anthony Burgess Foundation | 13 October 2022

Douglas Dare’s music speaks of his own experiences of universal themes like love, loss, and childhood.

music Manchester Folk Festival 2022: Fiona Bevan
International Anthony Burgess Foundation | 14 October 2022

Fiona Bevan is a singer and a hit songwriter. She had a number 1 album with Kylie Minogue and has worked with Lewis Capaldi, Matthew E. White and many more.

music Manchester Folk Festival 2022: Pedler // Russell
International Anthony Burgess Foundation | 15 October 2022

An original collaboration sees BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winner Greg Russell and historian and musician Danny Pedler take a unique approach to presenting the social landscape.

music Manchester Folk Festival 2022: Group Listening
International Anthony Burgess Foundation | 15 October 2022

The pair are constantly seeking to subvert the minimalism of their sonic palette, creating a subtle but constant tension that every now and then catalyses’ the music to somewhere unexpected.

comedy Adam Kay – This is Going to Hurt… More
Palace Theatre | 16 October 2022

Award-winning writer and comedian Adam Kay’s debut book, This is Going to Hurt, is a literary sensation now brought to the stage.

theatre Amy Vreeke: Glowing
Contact | 18 October 2022

Candid, ferocious, funny and loud, Glowing debunks the myths that pregnant women are having the time of their lives and new mothers spend their days softly singing nursery rhymes to sleeping babies.

See what’s on

Latest Literature Events

literature Manchester Literature Festival
Various Venues | 6 – 23 October 2022

Manchester Literature Festival is a celebration of imagination, ideas, stories, and voices from around the world.

literature A. M. Homes in Conversation
Martin Harris Centre for Music & Drama | 8 October 2022

A.M. Homes joins Manchester Literature Festival to discuss her new novel ‘The Unfolding’ about how that night led us to where we are now.

Part of Manchester Literature Festival

literature An Evening with Kamila Shamsie
Martin Harris Centre for Music & Drama | 8 October 2022

BBC Presenter Razia Iqbal hosts an evening with prize-winning writer Kamila Shamsie.

Part of Manchester Literature Festival

literature Jan Carson & Louise Kennedy
Manchester Central Library | 9 October 2022

Manchester Literature Festival is joined by two award-winning stars of Irish writing, Jan Carson & Louise Kennedy.

Part of Manchester Literature Festival

literature Kit de Waal
Manchester Central Library | 9 October 2022

Kit de Waal discusses ‘Without Warning and Only Sometimes’ a memoir of a childhood of opposites and extremes.

Part of Manchester Literature Festival

literature Paterson Joseph in Conversation
Manchester Central Library | 9 October 2022

In his captivating debut novel, ‘The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho’, actor Paterson Joseph tells a story hidden for 300 years.

Part of Manchester Literature Festival

See what’s on

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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.

September 2022 £105million investment agreed for new First Street net zero carbon office

Ask Real Estate and The Richardson Family has completed a £105m transaction with Pension Insurance Corporation to enable delivery of the next phase of office development at First Street.

September 2022 Keisha Thompson on a new era for Contact in its 50th year

Contact’s Artistic Director & CEO Keisha Thompson introduces us to a new era and marks the venues 50th year.

June 2022 £21m Net Zero Operational Tech Hub at Manchester Science Park Reaches Practical Completion

Bruntwood SciTech’s 1 million sq ft masterplan for Manchester Science Park has taken another step forward as its £21m development, Base, reaches practical completion.

View all news