Manchester’s Giant Santa may not be returning to Albert Square this year but never fear – there’s still lots of Christmas attractions to be enjoyed by all! To get us all in the festive spirit, we’ve created a list of 10 unmissable things to do in Manchester over the Christmas period.
1) Snow Glove Bar – Piccadilly Gardens
This year the Manchester Christmas Markets have expanded to Piccadilly Gardens. Which means more festive fun in the city! And amongst the Christmas markets is a new attraction – a Snow Globe Bar. Specialising in boozy winter warmers such as hot toddies, liqueur coffees and hot chocolates, the bar is open every day from 11am to 9pm. Also in the mix is a range of festive gins and lots of non-alcoholic bevs too.
2) Ice Village – Cathedral Gardens
Cathedral Gardens has been transformed into a frozen wonderland once more. Visitors to The Ice Cavern can marvel at the magnificent ice sculptures that have been hand carved by world-renowned sculptors. You’ll be sure to snap an #iceselfie or two.
An Ice Tiki Bar is a recent addition to the village where you can wet your whistle on a cocktail or two. We like the sound of the ‘Manchester Seafreeze’ which is a mix of vodka, cranberry and grapefruit juice. Yum!
And of course The Ice Rink is back and this year, there’s been an upgrade with the addition of a transparent roof. It’s open now so you can get your skates on until 5th January 2020.
3) This Is The Place – King Street
This Is The Place is a brand new pop-up Christmas shop offering unique gifts by local artists such as Stanley Chow and Factory Records designer Trevor Johnson. The name of the shop is taken from the famous Manchester poem by Tony Walsh. What makes this shop even more special is that sale proceeds go towards community activity across Greater Manchester. So you can buy your nearest and dearest something a bit different and support local charities at the same time!
Be quick! It’s closing on the 23rd of November.
4) Bar Hütte – Spinningfields
Described as “a top spot for after-work drinks, dancing and date nights, and perfect for an après-ski antics too,” Bar Hütte is once again taking over Spinningfields Square. With live music, hot G&Ts and the infamous private Carol-oke, it’s a perfect destination to truly get into the festive spirit. You have to pre-book for a private Hütte of your own and they even cater for bigger parties of up to 20.
5) Christmas Markets
Mulled wine, hot waffles, Brätwurst, macaroons, Yorkshire pudding wraps – what’s not to love about the Manchester Christmas markets?! This year the markets have expanded and you can get your Christmas on at the following locations: Albert Square, King Street, St Ann’s Square, New Cathedral Street, Exchange Square, Market Street, Cathedral Gardens and Piccadilly Gardens. Buy quirky Christmas gifts, or simply fill up on food and drink – either way you’re going to have a mega time.
6) Christmas Shouldn’t Cost the Earth – Hatch, Oxford Road.
Organised by Zero Waste Goods, Manchester’s First Sustainable Christmas Market promises easy, stress-free sustainable shopping, zero plastic packaging and ethical and fair trade products. 25 eco-friendly brands will be offering excellent gift items for all the family for two days (Fri 29th – Sat 30th Nov 2019). As well as eco-friendly shopping, there’s also mulled wine, hot food and festive workshops to enjoy. You can RSVP a FREE place here.
7) The Manchester Festive Happening: A Gospel Christmas – Albert Hall
If you love a good singalong then this will be right up your street. Manchester Festive Happening returns to the Albert Hall where Camerata are joined by the joyous AMC Gospel Choir. The choral event is on from 3-8pm on Sunday 8th December.
8) Santa’s Grotto – Manchester Arndale
Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nick – whatever your name for him is, the man, the myth, the legend himself is going to be in Manchester until Christmas Eve! Kids, and big kids alike can visit Santa in his Scandinavian log cabin where you’ll be greeted by the Wish Keeper and the Wish Elves in the festive, snow-covered garden. Then you’ll meet the man himself in the magical Grotto! Every child who visits will also receive a special Christmas gift. Ho ho ho.
9) Copper Dog Igloos – The Refinery, Spinningfields
If you’re in the mood for a local, cosy hideaway then it doesn’t get much more snug than The Refinery’s Copper Dog Igloos in Spinningfields. There’s wood burner-style heaters, blankets, hot water bottles and Aran jumpers to keep you warm whilst you sample some delights from their dedicated menu. Expect delightfully festive drinks such as caramel apple hot toddies and spiced Old Fashioneds. Groups of 8-10 people can book out an igloo so grab a few friends and get down!
10) The Tavern – Spinningfields
Spinningfields seems like it’s really going to be Christmas-central this year in Manchester with lots of festive bars and events happening. We’re really looking forward to heading down to The Tavern, an Oktoberfest themed bar that gives a huge nod to Bavarian culture. Whether you fancy warm cider, mulled wine or a traditional stein of beer, you can enjoy it under a blanket of twinkling fairy lights. If you’re peckish expect a menu of authentic German cuisine. Chicken Schnitzel anyone?