Things to do in Manchester this weekend (2-4 December) from Saddleworth Santa Dash to Christmas markets

Here’s what’s happening in Manchester this weekend, including plenty of festive events to mark the start of December.

For the Love of Sci-fi

Bowlers Exhibition Centre, 3-4 December

A huge sci-fi convention is taking place this weekend, featuring stars and props from some of the genre’s biggest shows and franchises. There are some big names on the line-up this year, including Jean-Claude Van Damme (Universal Soldier), Mads Mikkelsen (Rogue One, Hannibal, Fantastic Beasts), as well as actors from Star Wars old and new, Stranger Things, Back to the Future, Maze Runner and The Orville. You can also check out some replica sets, including the Cantina space bar, Batman’s bat cage, and Scoop’s Ahoy from Stranger Things.

Day tickets are £24.75 for adults, £8.80 for children aged 6-12 and weekend tickets are £41.25. There are also group booking options for up to 10 people at £170. If you want to get an autograph and photo, you have to pay for and book these separately. Prices vary between the celebrities so check out the website for more details.

Mads Mikkelsen (Rogue One, Doctor Strange, Hannibal) will be at the For the Love of Sci-fi convention on Manchester this weekend. Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Sustainable Indie Christmas Market

GRUB, Sunday 4 December, 12-5pm

This Sunday, over 15 independent makers and creatives will be selling art, jewellery, homeware, skincare, and vintage items at the GRUB sustainable Christmas market. There will be several vegan food vendors on site, as well as mulled wine and other hot winter drinks. Entry is free but it is advisable to book a table via the website if you’re staying for lunch. Blossom Flowers will also be on site hosting a wreath making workshop from 2pm. Tickets for the workshop cost £32 and can be purchased via the GRUB website.

Hallé Family Christmas Concert

Bridgewater Hall, Sunday 4 December, 10:30am

December is here, which means it’s socially acceptable to listen to Christmas music. Start the season with the Halle Family Christmas Concert. There will be singing, dancing and a full symphony orchestra to get you and the little ones in the festive spirit. Adult tickets are £27.50 and £17.50 for 16s and under. Family tickets are £69.50. More information can be found on the Bridgewater Hall website.

All I Want for Christmas is…Retro Silent Disco

Central Library, Friday 2 December, 8pm-12am

Manchester’s Central Library will be hosting a silent disco this weekend. Credit: Manchester World

Kick off the Christmas party season this Friday at Manchester’s Central Library, where DJ John Ryan will be playing out pop classics from the 70s, 80s and 90s at the Retro Silent Disco. The bar will be open all evening and Christmas jumpers are encouraged. Standard tickets cost £10, but there are also concessionary tickets for students, over 60s and low income households at £7. More information can be found via Eventbrite.

Saddleworth Santa Dash 2022

Uppermill, Saturday 3 December, 12pm

One of the region’s more unique Christmas events is taking place this weekend in Oldham, as runners take to the streets in Santa costumes for the annual Saddleworth Santa Dash. There will be stalls and mulled wine available for anyone coming along to watch, or you can take part yourself, with 5km and 2km route options. The festive event culminates in a firework display. More information can be found via Eventbrite and the Oldham council website.