15+ Things to Do in Manchester for Young Adults

Discover the vibrant spirit of Manc with our ultimate guide to the best things to do in Manchester for young adults.

Whether you're a local or just visiting, The “Rainy City” offers a treasure trove of things to do in Manchester for young adults (and it doesn’t even rain that much, tbh). 

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Explore hidden nooks in the Northern Quarter, strike out at boutique bowling alleys, or laugh out loud at top comedy clubs. Each activity is tailored to add excitement and unforgettable moments to your Manchester experience. 

So, lace up your walking shoes, grab your mates, and prepare to explore all that Manchester has to offer young adults looking for fun, culture, and adventure.

And just so you know - nobody pays us to be featured on this list. They’re just our recommendations to you,so you can find the best things to do in Manchester

The Best Things to Do in Manchester for Young Adults

Go on a Treasure Hunt in One of Manchester’s Coolest Neighbourhoods

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Where? Various start/finish locations

Kicking off our list of the best things to do in Manchester for young adults, a sure-fire way to include any number of people and pander to everyone’s varied interests with a treasure hunt.

Treasure hunts like these are by far the easiest way to squeeze some fun into a few hours, and they can even double up as a more interactive (and interesting) pub crawl as recommended rest stops are included along the way. 

If pubs or cafes aren’t your thing, treat them as locked quests that take you around cool hidden spots, reveal interesting city quirks and draw your attention to things you would never have noticed before. 

I’ve done these as a dynamic duo (just me and my bestie) and as a group (two couples) and honestly, both were the most fun we’ve had in ages. 

Practical information: Start and stop your game whenever you want, make sure your phone is charged and wear comfortable walking shoes. Price: £15 per person.

Visit The National Football Museum

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Where? Todd Street, near Manchester Victoria Railway Station

I’ll be honest with you, I’m quite a half-hearted football fan. I know the rules (even the offside one), watch a few matches here and there and can name a few players from the “big” teams, but nobody’s calling me any time soon for a football-related million pound question.

That said, I still think this is one of the best places to visit for things to do in Manchester for young adults. 

Die-hard fan or casual viewer, this is information about “the beautiful game” as you've never experienced it before. Interactive, interesting, and full of historic memorabilia, you’ve just got to visit.

Practical information: Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. Price: Admission is free for city residents; charges apply for special exhibitions and everyone else. Book your tickets online to save money, admission is £14 online or £16 at the venue. Check National Football Museum for more details. 

Challenge Your Mates to Play Urban Exploration Game


Where? Various start/end locations

If you’re looking to kill a bit of time with competitive mates or your partner, this is for you.

Unleash your inner explorer with urban exploration games like these that take you through the lesser-known streets of Manchester. 

Solve puzzles, unravel riddles and search high and low for clues - even if you’re a lifelong resident, I can pretty much guarantee there’ll be something in here you never knew existed. 

By far the best way to discover new places and challenge your navigation skills, all while having a blast with your friends.

Practical information: Price: £15 per person. Ideal for groups of friends looking for a unique day out or as a date idea. 

PSST: Looking for things to do as a couple in Manchester? Find more ideas here!

Get Enrolled in a Barista School at 200° Degrees

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Where? Moseley Street

We’re worlds apart on some things (jeans, for example), but there’s one thing millennials and gen-z’s alike just can’t resist: a proper cup of coffee.

Finding affordable activities in *this* economy is getting harder than ever, but you can do yourself a favour by doing one that will save you money in the long run - like enrolling in barista school.

200° Degrees Barista School is the place to go if you want to perfect the art of coffee, master your milk frothing and nail the perfect espresso shot - or just learn the difference between a flat white, latte and cappuccino. 

Practical information: Classes and pricing are available at 200 Degrees

Set a New Leader Score at NQ64

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Where? The Northern Quarter venue is my favourite but there’s another on Peter Street

It’s unlikely you’ve never heard of NQ64 bars if you live in a big city but if you haven’t, buckle up – this is where nostalgia comes to thrive.

NQ64 arcade bars are sensory overload in terms of decor, think neon, graffiti, loud (great) music, and constant whooping, booing and the familiar sounds of arcade machines. But it’s the games that keep me coming back. There are PlayStations and Xboxes that you can play for free, and also classic arcade games like PacMan, Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero, Pinball…you get the picture. 

Play some classic video games, set a high score, grab a drink (the games-themed drinks are the best, I swear by the Aku Aku) and enjoy the retro arcade vibe. 

Practical information: For opening hours and entry costs, visit NQ64. Also, don’t miss out on watching the 2024 Euros on their rooftop terrace! Perfect for gamers and sports fans alike.

Fun Things to Do in Manchester for Young Adults

Grab a Drink (With a Discount) at The Salisbury Ale House

Where? A stone’s throw away from Manchester Oxford Road Railway Station

I’ll be honest, I was on the fence about sharing this one. 

Firstly, it’s every Manchester gig-goer’s secret weapon. Second of all, I love it, and as long as you leave some room at the bar for me, we’ll say that sharing is caring (after all, the more people that come here the likelier it is to stay open, and I’d be absolutely gutted if we lost it). 

Nestled right next to Manchester’s music venues, The Salisbury Ale House is your go-to spot for post or pre-gig drinks. Kind of like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory for music and beer lovers, this place has top pub grub (the pizzas are fabulous), live music (typically rock) and an impressive selection of ales. 

And the bigg’n: If you flash your gig ticket at the bar, you’ll get a nifty drink discount!

Practical information: Check out The Salisbury Ale House for opening hours and more info.

Go Behind The Scenes of Manchester’s History with a Self-Guided Walking Tour


Where? Various start/stop locations

Next up on our list of things to do in Manchester for young adults, something that has probably never crossed your mind before (but you should give it a try). 

If I say “walking tour”, you’ll probably scroll away instantly. DON’T! Self-guided walking tours like these are a million miles away from what you’re expecting. 

There’s no tour guide, no strangers, no official starting or stop times and you can do them all at your own pace. Most importantly, they’re fun - so much fun, in fact, that we went and did two more of these in other UK cities. 

Basically, they allow you to explore Manchester at your own pace, uncover the rich tapestry of the city’s history and so much more besides.

Practical information: Stop and start whenever you want, any group size, whenever it suits you. Price: £15 per person.

Check Out Manchester’s Massive and Mini Museums

Where? Everywhere!

It’d be remiss of me not to mention Manchester’s many wonderful museums on this list.

Devoted as I am to Manchester’s museum scene, I kind of get that some people aren’t into them. I’ll be that annoying person who tells you that even if you haven’t been to a museum in years, and the only ones you have visited were boring, give them a second chance - they deserve it!

Manchester is full of incredible treasure troves of knowledge ranging from natural history to the city’s role in the suffragette movement. I’ve included some of my personal faves below for you to check out, but really, they’re all fab!

Personal Recommendations: Manchester Museum, John Rylands Library, Pankhurst Museum, Science and Industry Museum, People's History Museum

Play Your Way Through an Outdoor Escape Room Game

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Where? Castlefield, Spinningfields and The Gay Village

If you’re into competitive games and brainteasers, combine fresh air with brain-teasing challenges in an outdoor escape room experience by playing Through The Ages. 

This game turns Manchester’s most vibrant neighbourhood into a giant board game, where you and your team are the players and the city is your arena. 

Navigate through historic Castlefield, bustling Spinningfields, or the vibrant Gay Village, solving puzzles and unlocking Manchester’s secrets as you go.

Practical Information: Stop and start whenever you want, any group size, whenever it suits you. Price: £15 per person.

Watch an Outdoor Theatre Show at a 750-Year-Old House

Where? Ordsall Hall, Salford

Looking for things to do in Manchester for young adults that involve a bit of drama? You’re in the right place.

Manchester has a crazily good theatre scene - shows at Palace Theatre, the Royal Exchange and Hope Mill Theatre are all top-notch venues that I’d recommend to any fellow dramatics lover, young or older-than-they-used-to-be.  

But if you want to put a summery twist on your theatre plans, head to Ordsall Hall. It’s one of Manchester’s oldest buildings (and it’s Grade I listed), but if you aren’t interested in the history side of it, don’t worry. All shows are held outdoors under Manchester’s incredible skies, and you can bring a picnic along to make a real day of it.

Practical information: Find all show times and ticket prices, visit Ordsall Hall website. 

Explore All of The Northern Quarter’s Nooks

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Where? Starts at Piccadilly Station

If I had to pick a favourite part of Manc, it would be the Northern Quarter.

Once the hub of Manchester’s textile industry, the Northern Quarter has become the city’s creative hub, brimming with quirky boutiques, street art, and indie cafes. 

But there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. Explore its nooks with a guide to discover hidden gems and the stories behind this eclectic neighbourhood by playing Northern Quarter Nooks, a self-guided urban exploration game that shows you everything you need to know - and a bit more.

Practical information: Stop and start whenever you want, any group size, whenever it suits you. Price: £15 per person.

Hit the Lanes at Dog Bowl

Where? Dog Bowl, Whitworth Street West

When’s the last time you went bowling? Probably a while ago.

One of the best things to do in Manchester for young adults who are hanging out in a big group is undoubtedly hitting the bowling lanes at Dog Bowl. Why? It’s great, inclusive, relatively cheap, and being bad at it is part of the fun. 

Rack up some strikes and spares, enjoy the Americana vibes and claim your bragging rights. It’s only fair!

Practical information: For lane availability and pricing, check out Dog Bowl. Arrive hungry or thirsty (the cocktails are a little steep but worth it, they’re delicious) and they’ve got a good selection of beers if that’s more your vibe. Don’t forget to have a little play on the arcade machines and consoles! 

Swing a Victory at Treetop Golf

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Where? The Printworks, Dantzic St

Similarly, you can’t go wrong with mini golf.

There are a few places you can swing some mini clubs in Manchester, Junkyard Golf Club being one of the most popular alternatives with its eclectic junkyard-themed decor.

Personally, my favourite mini golf course in Manchester is Treetop Golf, which has a lush, jungle-themed environment. Apart from the setting (which really is great, btw), this place is really good value for money and the staff are so welcoming and friendly. The loos have always been spotless when I’ve visited and there are lockers for your stuff 

Practical information: Plan your visit by checking Treetop Adventure Golf and Junkyard Golf Club. Both venues are fun for groups looking for an active and quirky night out.

Eat Top Nosh at Grub

Where? 50 Red Bank, Cheetham Hill

Osaka Local (Okonomiyaki)

Manchester is one of the best cities for foodies in the UK (dare I say, the world?), but one of the classic booby traps of friendship is deciding what to eat together. 

We all have different likes, dislikes, allergies, and preferences, and compromising isn’t at the top of everyone’s list. If all that sounds familiar to you, head to Grub.

Grub is an amazing space that houses a rotating lineup of the best street food vendors and craft beer purveyors in Manchester, often with accompanying entertainment. Best of all, there is truly something for everyone to be found here: Indian, Chinese, dumplings, pizza, pittas - you name it, you’ll find it right here. 

If you’re lucky enough to visit on a day when Osaka Local is serving up, I highly recommend giving the Okonomiyaki a try (it’s my absolute favourite!).

Practical information: Visit Grub for the latest vendor schedule and opening hours. If you need the loo, go upstairs - the queues are always immensely long for toilets downstairs. 

See a Comedy Show at The Comedy Store


Where? The Bierkeller, Printworks

What’s better than letting loose and letting your “real” laugh have a moment in the spotlight? 

Whether you’re students up to your ears in coursework or young professionals with 10,000 emails in your inbox, it’s never really a bad time to take a night off to just enjoy yourselves.

My favourite venue in Manc is the Comedy Store. Now housed in The Bierkeller, Comedy Store has lost a tiny bit of its charm compared to when it was over by Deansgate Locks, but the atmosphere and acts are still second to none. 

The best shows are, in my opinion, work in progress acts or when you get to catch some new material - but the comperes always do a fantastic job at keeping momentum going. Regardless, it’s a cornerstone of Manchester's nightlife - give it a try! 

Practical information: For show times and ticket bookings, visit The Comedy Store online. 

Find More Things to Do in Manchester with CityDays

Manchester treasure hunts

So there you have it! 15+ things to do in Manchester for young adults! 

If you need more inspiration, read our guide to date ideas in Manchester or quirky things to do in Manchester

But if it’s adventure you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place. 

At CityDays, we create fun, interesting and challenging trails around the world to help you immerse yourself in a city’s culture, history and hidden secrets.

Want to find out more?

Check out all our available activities in Manchester here and embark on an adventure in the city you’ll never forget: CityDays awaits!