15 things to look forward to in Manchester in 2016
The Oast House Manchester FB

2015 was a fantastic year in Manchester, with some great gigs and festivals, brilliant restaurant and bar openings (who can imagine the city without Hawksmoor and Alberts Schloss?), and culture and sports events aplenty.

How much do you remember about Manchester in 2015? Take our quiz!

2016 looks to be another cracker of a year for the city. Here’s what we’re looking forward to in 2016 – from Manchester Day and Chinese New Year to restaurant openings, beer festivals, super stand-up, and live music.

1. January restaurant offers

Lots of our favourite Manchester restaurants run special offers in January. So, postpone the healthy eating resolutions for a month, and get the year off to a gluttonous start with 50% off food throughout the month when you book online at The Grill on the Alley, The Alchemist, GUSTOThe Pen & Pencil and Cane & Grain, and 25% off at Solita.

2. Tryanuary

Forget Dry January, and focus on trying something new and supporting your local brewers and independent shops instead. Tyanuary encourages people to try a selection of new ales and beers at a time that’s traditionally quieter for many in the industry, and you can chat about your findings and win prizes on social media too.

10 of the best craft beer bars in Manchester

3. Gigs

Big shows at Manchester Arena include The Libertines (Jan), Janet Jackson (April) and Muse (April), or you can catch Massive Attack (Jan), Manchester band The 1975 (March) or Peter Hook and The Light performing Joy and New Order’s Substance singles in their entirety (Sept) at The Apollo. There’s the NME Awards Tour, headlined by Bloc Party, at the Academy (Feb), Skunk Anansie and Suede at the Albert Hall (both Feb), or catch 90s band Kula Shaker at The Ritz (Feb).

4. Exhibitions

Corpse Bride

There are lots of new exhibitions to get excited about in 2016 – Puppet Masters: Celebrating Animation (at Waterside Arts Centre until 27 Feb) showcases the work of Mackinnon and Saunders (Corpse Bride, Mars Attacks, Clangers); Pitch to Pixel: The World of Football Gaming at the National Football Museum explores two of our national obsessions (until 5 June); and House Proud at Manchester Gallery offers an insight into practical design and art in furniture and homeware (until 1 April).

5. Chinese New Year

Manchester is home to the third largest Chinatown in Europe, and the Chinese New Year celebrations (4 – 7 Feb 2016) are always fun. Watch the parade, see the Chinese dragon, and try some fantastic food at one of the neighbourhood’s many restaurants and street food markets as you launch into the year of the monkey with four days of spectacular celebrations.

6. New restaurant openings

Busaba Eathai Facebook

There’s a lot to look forward to for Manchester foodies in 2016. New restaurant openings include El Gato Negro Tapas, Shoryu Ramen, itsu, Busaba Eathai, Mary-Ellen McTague at The Roadhouse, and a new 1950s New York style steakhouse from Solita’s Franco Sotgiu. We can’t wait.

7. Manchester Beer & Cider Festival

Head to the historic Manchester Central in January for the Manchester Beer & Cider Festival, where you’ll be able to try over 500 of the finest beers, ciders and perries from the UK’s burgeoning craft beer brewing scene, plus draft and bottled beers from innovative and exciting breweries around the world.

8. FutureEverything Festival

Established in Manchester in 1995, FutureEverything – an award-winning innovation lab for digital culture – will hold its annual festival from 30 March – 2 April 2016 in Manchester once again, having been held in Moscow and Singapore in recent years. The FutureEverything 2016 Festival will feature a two-day conference, new commissions and performances that use art and invention to help us rethink resources and navigate the future – including the world premier of Smoke Signals by artists Ed Carter and David Cranmer.

9. Manchester Day

Manchester Day 2014 (website)

Sun 19 June 2016 sees the annual Manchester Day, transforming the city centre streets and squares into a vibrant party celebrating the city and what it means to be Mancunian. This year’s theme is Eureka! Archimedes’ classic exclamation whilst sitting in his bathtub – reflecting Manchester’s pioneering spirit, both as the first industrial city and in the present day.

10. Parklife

Taking place on 11 – 12 June 2016, you can already book early bird tickets to Parklife 2016 music festival in Heaton Park if you just can’t wait. The line-up is yet to be announced, but you can be sure it will be a big one if last year was anything to go by.

11. Manchester Pride Big Weekend

Manchester Pride delivers their award-winning festival throughout August, celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender life. Look out for tickets to The Big Weekend 2016, their flagship celebration which takes place 26 – 29 August, going on sale in the New Year.

12. Manchester Beer Week

The Manchester Beer Week city-wide beer festival will take place 10 – 19 June in 2016, so put the dates in your diary. Bringing together thousands of drinkers through a series of events celebrating brewing and pub culture, the events is sure to cement Manchester’s reputation as the UK’s premier destination for good beer.

13. Al Fresco drinking and dining

The Oast House Manchester FB

Photo: The Oast House / Facebook

We just can’t wait for the sun to show its face so we can hit Manchester’s finest outdoor terraces and beer gardens. We love the south-facing terrace and a gin and tonic at Atlas, hanging kebabs at The Oast House, or a glass of something cold and fizzy whilst people-watching at Épernay.

Our guide to Manchester’s best terraces for summer drinks

14. Theatre and live comedy

Pixie Lott Breakfast at Tiffany's official site

There’s plenty to please lovers of live performance in 2016. Annie Ryan’s courageous and startling adaptation of Eimear McBride’s award-winning novel A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing comes to The Lowry in February, Pixie Lott stars in Breakfast at Tiffany’s in April, Avenue Q is at The Palace in May, and Carrie Cracknell and Lucy Guerin’s ambitious new staging of Macbeth is at HOME in Feb, whilst there’s stand-up from Russell Kane, Ed Byrne and Reeves and Mortimer amongst others.

15. Manchester bands

Manchester has an enviable music history, and 2016 looks to be a big year for new and up-and-coming artists too. All-girl rockers PINS have had a busy year touring in 2015 and we’re looking forward to seeing what they do in 2016 with a UK and international tour planned in Feb, whilst all-male Blossoms (hailing from Stockport) will support The Libertines at Manchester Arena in Jan as well as playing at the Albert Hall.

What are you most looking forward to in Manchester in 2016? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter

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Main photo: The Oast House Manchester on Facebook