Things to do in Manchester: what’s on this weekend (20-22 January) including Chinese New Year celebrations

No plans? No problem! Here are some events to look out for in Manchester this weekend.

The big event taking over Manchester this weekend is Chinese New Year. The red lanterns are already lining the streets of the city centre ready for the Dragon Parade, which returns for the first time in three years.

Elsewhere, there are some interesting shows at both The Bridgewater Hall and Lowry theatre, as well as a free art exhibition and the start of a month-long festival celebrating the creative talent of the North West.

Here are the events that we’re looking forward to in Manchester this weekend.

Chinese New Year

Manchester is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a day of events on Sunday 22 January. The parade kicks off at 12pm at Manchester Central, led by a 175m Chinese dragon, as well as traditional lion and ribbon dancers, Chinese Opera performers, 12 Zodiac animals and Ancient Army characters. Between 12pm and 7pm, there will be Chinese street food stalls, traditional arts and crafts and live stage performances taking place in Chinatown, as well as two special illuminated night dragon performances at 5pm and 6pm. More information can be found here.

The Chinese New Year parade will return to Manchester in 2023 Credit Chris Payne

The Halle – Game On!

Bridgewater Hall, Saturday 21 January

For the first time ever the Halle orchestra and choirs will be bringing the soundtracks of some the gaming world’s biggest hits to life at The Bridgewater Hall. The program includes themes from Assassin’s Creed, Guild Wars 2, The Witcher 3, Civilization, World of Warcraft, Ori and the Blind Forest, BioShock, League of Legends and many others. The performance will also feature brand new, high-definition (HD) clips of the games projected on the big screen.

Ticket prices range between £17.50 to £46.50 and can be purchased via The Bridgewater Hall’s website.

Noughts and Crosses

The Lowry Theatre,  Wednesday 18 – Saturday 21 January

A stage adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s seminal young adult novel Noughts and Crosses is coming to The Lowry theatre this week. It tells the Romeo and Juliet story of two young people as they navigate a dystopian society divided by race. Tickets start at £16 and can be purchased via the venue’s website.

(M)other exhibition

Great Northern Warehouse

A free and family-friendly exhibition is opening at the Great Northern Warehouse this Saturday. It has been curated by (M)other, a group of ten North West based creatives, aiming to break down the barriers to parents attending private art exhibitions. The work explores the experiences of parenting, the gaps between, or as a place to escape from those responsibilities.

Some of the work that will be on display at the (M)other exhibition at the Great Northern this weekend. Credit: (M)other

Between 14:00-16:00 on Saturday 21st, the collective will be hosting a family friendly launch event, and then on Monday 23 January from 11am-12pm (M)other will host the collective’s first workshop, a body positive art session. The (M)other exhibition is open Sunday 22nd 11am-3pm, Monday 23, 10am-2pm, Tuesday 10am-2pm and Wednesday 25, 12-14pm.

Push Festival


HOME’s month-long festival celebrating the North West’s creative talent starts this weekend. The festival includes newly commissioned works across a range of artforms, such as theatre, film and visual arts. There will also be workshops and opportunities for creatives to meet industry professionals, share ideas and inspiration and develop their skills. More information and the program of events can be found on the HOME website.