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.

Manchester Open Exhibition 2024
HOME | Until 28 April 2024

HOME’s Manchester Open returns in 2024. Greater Manchester’s largest open art exhibition will showcase the work of nearly 500 artists.

40 Years of the Future: Painting
Castlefield Gallery | Until 23 June 2024

40 Years of the Future: Painting welcomes back five artists who exhibited as part of Castlefield Gallery’s 1984 inaugural programme.

Matthew Bamber: Dream Home
HOME | Until 9 June 2024

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

Shirley Craven
The Whitworth | Until 11 May 2024

Over 80 of Shirley Craven’s bold abstract textiles are displayed together for the first time in over 60 years alongside newly acquired works.

Home Run
SEESAW | Until 9 May 2024

Home Run – is a group exhibition showcasing works by Manchester-based artists Jack Berry, Jasper Cheng and Beth Murray.

Ayo Akingbade – Show Me The World Mister
The Whitworth | 3 May – 20 October 2024

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

John Lyons
The Whitworth | 10 May – 25 August 2024

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

Africa Day Late
Manchester Museum | 22 May 2024

Join Manchester Museum for a celebration of Africa Day, Curated by Cultureville, where history, culture, and creativity converge.

Manchester Museum | 5 June 2024 – 1 June 2025

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

40 Years of the Future: Where Should We Be Now?
Castlefield Gallery | 7 July – 6 October 2024

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

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Latest Gigs & Concerts

WCLC: Songs of Sustainability
Martin Harris Centre for Music & Drama | 18 April 2024

A concert concerned with the environment and sustainability, born from a collaboration between poet John McAuliffe and composer Richard Whalley.

RNCM Chamber Orchestra with Royal Northern Sinfonia Players
Royal Northern College of Music | 18 April 2024

RNCM welcome four principal players from Royal Northern Sinfonia to Manchester to work side-by-side with their students.

Manchester Academy | 19 April 2024

A pop-star fed through a Nutribullet. A human bag of speed. The fourth horseman of the queer apocalypse. Lynks is here.

Elias String Quartet
Royal Northern College of Music | 19 April 2024

Elias String Quartet returns to RNCM to round off their exploration of Mendelssohn’s exuberant canon of chamber music works.

She Drew The Gun
Victoria Baths | 20 April 2024

Victoria Baths has announced She Drew The Gun as the headline act for an evening of music, drink, food and more.

Maya de Vitry
Retro Bar | 23 April 2024

Maya de Vitry’s dynamic and vibrant voice seems to rise out of some necessity of bringing songs to life, embracing sincerity and playfulness.

The Hallé – Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto
The Bridgewater Hall | 24 April 2024

Music Director of the Ulster Orchestra and of Opéra National de Lyon, Daniele Rustioni returns to the Hallé.

BBC Philharmonic – Nordic Noir
The Bridgewater Hall | 27 April 2024

John Storgårds conducts The BBC Philharmonic in an evening of Nordic Noir featuring Lotta Wennäkoski, Sibelius and Bruckner.

Nine Nights TV presents Channel B Manchester
Yes | 27 April 2024

Nine Nights TV bring Jamz Supernova, Kings of Amapiano, Prido, Obeka, Me Gusta Collective and SHEwillprovidee to The Pink Room.

Manchester Wind Orchestra’s 10th Anniversary
Royal Northern College of Music | 27 April 2024

Ralph Corrigan conducts Manchester Wind Orchestra in an evening of classics, including Gregson’s Piano Concerto.

The Hallé Rush Hour: Fauré’s Requiem
The Bridgewater Hall | 2 May 2024

Kahchun Wong, incoming Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Hallé returns to conduct Fauré’s contemplative Requiem in a special post-work Rush Hour concert.

Shabazz Palaces
YES | 5 May 2024

Expect scintillating tapestries of old-school rap with, soul, jazz and proggy psychedelia ad Shabazz Palaces visit YES.

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Latest Theatre

Is This Thing On?
Contact | Until 20 April 2024

Meet flatmates Mary and Liz, one a musician and the other a poet, as they battle over integrity, ownership, the spotlight and whose turn it is to buy the f*cking toilet roll.

The Bell Curves
Ascension Church | Until 20 April 2024

An all-female cast confronts the topic of science experimentation against the backdrop of a gospel church rehearsal.

We’re All Just Wasps in Glass Houses
HOME | 19 – 20 April 2024

We’re All Just Wasps in Glass Houses, is a thought-provoking journey into Manchester’s apocalyptic streets, where you will laugh, cry, riot and even dance.

Alasdair Beckett-King
HOME | 21 April 2024

Join the award-winning comedian Alasdair Beckett-King on a ramshackle jaunt through a multiverse of wonders.

The Wizard of Oz
Palace Theatre | 24 April – 5 May 2024

The sensational new production of one of the world’s most beloved musicals, The Wizard of Oz, comes to Manchester.

The Promise
HOME | 25 – 27 April 2024

This striking world première is inspired by the extraordinary experiences of deaf people living with dementia.

HOME | 9 – 11 May 2024

Drawing on the personal narratives of its company of refugee actors, Tender explores the true cost of the migration journey for young people.

Frankie Goes to Bollywood
HOME | 15 – 25 May 2024

HOME is excited to announce a brand new co-production musical Frankie Goes to Bollywood, coming to Manchester in Summer 2024.

From England with Love
HOME | 6 – 8 June 2024

Playful and poignant, full of pride and paradox, From England with Love plays like a ‘Dear John’ letter… a farewell note to old England

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.

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Latest Literature Events

George the Poet
Manchester Central Library | 24 April 2024

Blackwell’s present George the Poet in conversation with Okechukwu Nzelu for the launch of the ground-breaking new memoir Track Record.

Festival of Libraries
Manchester Central Library | 12 – 16 June 2024

Festival of Libraries celebrates the role that Greater Manchester’s 133 libraries play in wellbeing, culture, creativity and more.

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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.

March 2024 ¡Viva! The Spanish & Latin American Festival turns 30

Tom Grieve looks at what makes audiences return year after year, how ¡Viva! has evolved and what the future holds for the festival.

March 2024 Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Manchester’s Bicentenary Year

Jonathan Schofield explores the fascinating shared history of Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Manchester.

February 2024 The ID Manchester partnership to reactivate the Renold Building as Innovation Hub

ID Manchester partnership announce plans to reactivate the Renold Building as as Innovation Hub for forward-thinking entrepreneurs and SMEs.

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