There are lots of free things to do in Manchester in terms of entertainment for students. Manchester is a thriving city full or art and culture amongst other things and it caters for students on all levels with a number of tastes. Students are always looking for things to do in Manchester and the city does not disappoint. Here are our top picks for free things to do and places to go in Manchester for students.

Parents coming? Check out where to take your parents in Manchester.

Explore Manchester

Manchester is a great city to explore and there are tonnes of free things on offer for the intrepid explorer. You can relax in the city centre at Piccadilly gardens and watch (or listen to) the street performances that are on offer or even just have a wander around the boutiques in The Northern Quarter.

The best thing about exploring is that you can go where you want to suit your tastes. If architecture is your thing then check out Castlefield but if you prefer the hustle and bustle why not head to the city centre.

You could try walking or travelling in a number of ways. Check out our article on student travel in Manchester to see where you could end up.

Check out the markets

There are a lot of markets in Manchester throughout the year. Some are year round events and some are more seasonal, such as the Manchester Christmas market. It can’t be missed and is a must attend for students in the jolly season.

Check out more Manchester markets.

National Football Museum

National Football MuseumThe national footie museum relocated to the Urbis in 2012 and is now even bigger and better.

It contains art inspired by football, football memorabilia and much more including interactive exhibits.

Whatever team you support, even if you don’t like football, it’s worth a look.

Find out where it is here.

Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI)

There is loads to do at this museum with changing exhibits all the time. You can really get a feel for how Manchester used to be and discover how the buildings in Manchester today have got there.

There is so much to do here that you could easily spend the day inside the museum. You can see where it is along with more information at our Museum of Science and Industry listing.

Urban Heritage Park

Urban Heritage ParkCastlefield is a great area to take a wander. You can take a stroll around the reconstruction of a Roman fort, take a look at the world’s oldest railway or even have a gander at the first ever industrial canal.

Also, even though they aren’t technically free, there are some nice bars around this area where you can have a nice drink to cool off (alcoholic or otherwise).

This area is especially bustling and lively during the summer months and lots of students like to go there for a BBQ and a tanning session.

Imperial War Museum North

You get so much at this museum for the free entry. It is a must for most University students during their time at University in Manchester. The museum has lots of exhibitions on all year and there is plenty to do if you are interested in recent history.

Check out the Imperial War Museum listing for more information.

Manchester art gallery

The Manchester art gallery has re-opened after a very expensive refurbishment. The gallery is now twice the size and there are lots of exhibits going on throughout the year. If you have a bit of cash to spend there are special art pieces on show in an extra gallery for around £8 otherwise it’s completely FREE!

See the Manchester art gallery listing to find out where it is.

Manchester Museum

manchester museumThis is a museum that you won’t be able to miss as it’s right in the middle of the University of Manchester campus. Is is just down the road from the union and across from the big silver “baked bean tin” building.

The displays here are changing all of the time and you might want to look out for “Ancient Worlds” in 2012. There are displays that are on all year called prehistoric world, living worlds, live animals and the solar system.

Why not take a look at our listing for Manchester museum.

John Rylands Library

If reading and ancient architecture is your thing then this is the place to go. It has also been recently refurbished and has a number of books and ancient manuscripts in an idyllic setting.

Don’t get it confused with the University John Rylands library. It is simply just The John Rylands Library.

People’s History Museum

This museum is a great way to see 200 years of history in the city of Manchester. It all starts with the Peterloo massacre of 1819 and brings you right through the industrial revolution into the thriving city that Manchester is today.

For opening times and more info. check out our listing for The people’s history museum.

Parks (Platt Fields)

platt fields parkWhen it’s a sunny day in Manchester (which is quite rare) it can be nice to visit a park near to your house. There are plenty about but by far the best one for students is Platt Fields park in the heart of Fallowfield.

There is plenty of space for a cheeky BBQ or picnic and a lake. There are also tennis courts and a concrete 5-a-side footie pitch if you fancy getting active.

Also, look out for the huge BMX track and cool skate park.

Whitworth Art Gallery

There is rarely a student in Manchester that doesn’t attend the Whitworth art gallery at least once. It’s location means that you can pop in between lectures or after if you like.

The exhibitions change all year round and include some of the greatest pieces of modern and traditional art. Check out Student Maps listing for the Whitworth Art Gallery for opening times.

Failing all that, you can go to a mates

If you are really stuck for things to do and hard of cash then make sure you tick off each thing on the list above. If you have done that then sometimes there is nothing better than going to a friends flat/house and simply chilling. There is a lot of fun things you can do for free at a friends and if you don’t know them already you can use it as an opportunity to get to know their housemates.

Unfortunately we don’t have a listing for your friends’ houses!



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