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 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 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 Brigitte Jurack: Fieldnotes
HOME | 29 October 2022 – 29 January 2023

Artist and climate activist Brigitte Jurack’s largest solo show to date, bringing together works produced in the UK, Spain and India.

exhibition Nina Chua and Daniel Silver
Castlefield Gallery | 30 October 2022 – 29 January 2023

A lively and exuberant exhibition of the work of Nina Chua and Daniel Silver, part of Castlefield Gallery’s ongoing series of two person shows.

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 Tale of the Frozen Bits
Castlefield Gallery | 12 February – 12 March 2023

Tale of the Frozen Bits at Castlefield Gallery is the first major solo exhibition of work by artist El Morgan.

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 Larissa Sansour and Søren Lind Familiar Phantoms
The Whitworth | 2 March – 21 May 2023

The premiere of Familiar Phantoms, a major new film by artists and long-time collaborators Larissa Sansour and Søren Lind.

exhibition Economics the Blockbuster
The Whitworth | 1 June 2023 – 1 January 2024

Economics the Blockbuster is a major new research and exhibition project, developed in collaboration with Alliance Manchester Business School.

exhibition Traces of Displacement in the Whitworth’s Collection
The Whitworth | 30 June 2023 – 10 March 2024

Albrecht Dürer’s Material World is the first major exhibition of the Whitworth’s outstanding Dürer collection in over half a century.

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Latest Gigs & Concerts

music Mood Swings: Fat Dog + Car Boot Sale + Lei Hope
YES | 27 January 2023

Descend the basement steps of YES to catch three bands you’ll be hearing much more of in 2023, presented by Now Wave.

music RNCM Brass Band Festival
Royal Northern College of Music | 27 – 29 January 2023

RNCM Brass Band Festival makes a welcome return featuring eight of the UK’s leading brass bands and top soloists, young and old.

music Lynks
YES | 28 January 2023

Described as a “merchant of pure gay chaos”, Lynks brings their electro pop party to YES as part of Now Waves ones to see in 2023

cinema Covid Song Cycle Watch Party
Contact | 28 January 2023

Covid Song Cycle Watch Party is a poetic musical celebration of process, connection, growth and creativity following the Covid-19 pandemic.

music Temples
YES | 2 February 2023

The bands eagerly awaited return has Temples perform live at YES Pink Room as part of independent venue week!

music RNCM Day of Percussion
Royal Northern College of Music | 5 February 2023

RNCM Day of Percussion returns for its 30th year with a day packed with exciting and informative sessions from internationally recognised performers and practitioners.

music DYLAN
O2 Ritz Manchester | 7 February 2023

One of 2022’s most in-demand rising talents, singer-songwriter DYLAN’s ascent continues with an army of supporters and media tastemakers.

music Lil Mariko
YES | 7 February 2023

Combining elements of hyper-pop and metal, Lil Mariko brings her unique Soundscapes to YES this February.

music Manchester Collective: Bag of Bones
Royal Northern College of Music | 10 February 2023

Bag of Bones is a bewitching new project for Manchester Collective from award-winning vocalist, violinist, songwriter and composer Alice Zawadzki.

music The Hallé – A Night at the Opera
The Bridgewater Hall | 12 February 2023

An evening of glorious, soaring melodies as The Hallé offer up a treasure trove of operatic gems.

music Weyes Blood
O2 Ritz Manchester | 13 February 2023

In support of her critically acclaimed album ‘And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow’, Weyes Blood performs at The Ritz.

music Jockstrap
Gorilla | 17 February 2023

Jockstrap push the boundaries until the boundaries, barriers and boxes no longer exist- just pure unadulterated sensual pop!

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Latest Theatre

theatre Disney’s The Lion King
Palace Theatre | 27 October 2022 – 23 February 2023

Set against the majesty of the Serengeti Plains and to the evocative rhythms of Africa, Disney’s multi-award-winning musical is a unique theatrical experience you can experience at Manchester’s Palace Theatre.

theatre PUSH Festival
HOME | 20 January – 18 February 2023

HOME’s annual celebration of the North West’s creative talent, PUSH Festival, returns with four weeks of events and workshops.

theatre Queer Contact
Contact | 4 – 18 February 2023

Contact celebrates queer culture with an extraordinary line-up of LGBTQ+ talent heading our way for Queer Contact 2023

theatre House of Suarez Presents: Vogue Ball
Manchester Academy | 4 February 2023

House of Suarez takes us back to the glorious decade of disco with their most vibrant and colourful runway extravaganza to date.

Part of Queer Contact

performance Gallifrey Cabaret
Contact | 10 February 2023

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.

Part of Queer Contact

music Manchester Collective: Bag of Bones
Royal Northern College of Music | 10 February 2023

Bag of Bones is a bewitching new project for Manchester Collective from award-winning vocalist, violinist, songwriter and composer Alice Zawadzki.

performance The Bitten Peach presents: Peach Chutney
Contact | 11 February 2023

Come join the Peach Chutney Crew as we celebrate South Asian AWESOMENESS through the skies!

Part of Queer Contact

performance 50 Things That Shaped Me with Fisayo Akinade
Contact | 12 February 2023

Actor and Contact Alumni Fisayo Akinade (Heartstopper, Cucumber) explores the many different elements that have influenced his life and career.

Part of Queer Contact

theatre Grandmother’s Closet
Contact | 16 February 2023

An autobiographical musical adventure that promises mischief and mash-ups, dresses and divas, and a whole lot of heart.

Part of Queer Contact

theatre An Audience with Milly-Liu
Contact | 16 February 2023

The cat’s out of the bag and Milly-Liu is ready to spill the beans on all your favourite celebrity pussies.

Part of Queer Contact

performance Lady Bushra: Robbed
Contact | 17 February 2023

Don’t miss the chance to see the hilarious and iconic drag comedian Lady Bushra as this ‘teenage’ starlet takes you on quite the unique journey!

Part of Queer Contact

comedy Ginny Lemon & Sister Sister: You Keep Me Hangin’ On
Contact | 18 February 2023

Ginny Lemon & Sister Sister present the most disappointing drag show you’ve ever seen!

Part of Queer Contact

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Latest Literature Events

literature International Mother Language Day 2023
Manchester Central Library | 1 February – 3 March 2023

Manchester City of Literature and partners celebrate International Mother Language Day with a month of activities and events.

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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.

January 2023 RNCM at 50

As the RNCM celebrates its 50th anniversary, it’s clear that Manchester’s global conservatoire offers something for everyone.

January 2023 Oxford Road Corridor launch new 2030 vision

The Oxford Road Corridor partnership is launching itsnew 2030 Vision to coincide with this year’s Convention of the North.

November 2022 Henry Royce Institute awarded £95 million to develop the super-materials of the future

The Business Secretary has announced a £95 million boost to develop the super-materials of the future at the Henry Royce Institute.

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