When Manchester streets and Metrolink will be busiest this winter - including for Man City and Man Utd games

Manchester is going to be buzzing with activity over the coming weeks

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Halloween and Bonfire Night have been and gone, which means only one thing: Christmas is coming on the horizon at some speed. Manchester will be a hive of activity, with all sorts planned between now and the big day. 

As with most big events in Manchester, getting around town on public transport is recommended. At times, the Metrolink and buses will be busy with people moving around the city heading to various events. Throughout the festive period, TfGM has said that public transport will be at its busiest between 4pm and 7pm on weekdays and 2pm on weekends. 

With plenty planned for the coming weeks, it might be an idea to get to know what is on when, and therefore know when Manchester’s streets and public transport network will be at its busiest. Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has recommended people use the public transport in the city to have a cost-effective and environmentally friendly trip to the city. 

The first of the major festive period events opens up this weekend. The Manchester Christmas Market is back in action from November 10 onwards. The weekend of November 24 to 26 is expected to be busy as a result of the Black Friday sales. 

The start of December will see things pick up further as the Christmas Parade returns on Sunday December 3. Evenings are expected to be at their busiest on Friday 15 and Saturday 16 December, as many workplaces and organisations have their Christmas celebrations.      

December 16 will be a particularly busy day with Manchester City hosting Crystal Palace in the Premier League, whilst there are also three shows of Disney on Ice at the AO Arena. The shows then continue into December 17. This weekend is also the final one for Christmas shopping. It will see a combination of journeys made by showgoers, football supporters and last-minute shoppers.      

Cathedral Gardens during the Manchester Christmas Markets. Cathedral Gardens during the Manchester Christmas Markets.
Cathedral Gardens during the Manchester Christmas Markets.

Around two million fan journeys are expected for City and United over coming weeks, which include the Reds hosting Bayern Munich on 12 December and Pep Guardiola’s men welcoming title rivals Liverpool on 25 November.    

TfGM has reminded people of the options they have on public transport, including the two dozen park and ride options. They said: “Town centres and large shopping centres across Greater Manchester also get much busier as people head out to buy gifts and to enjoy winter days and nights out with friends and family.  And if people do choose to drive, there are 24 park and ride locations, where they can park for free and complete their journey by tram.     

“Those who have to drive into the city centre are advised to park closest to their route out of the city centre. Driving across the city can add additional time to journeys and contribute to overall congestion.”

Key dates of festive events in Manchester

  • Friday November 10 to Thursday December 21– Manchester Christmas Markets

  • Friday 24 to Sunday November 26 – Black Friday weekend, Manchester City v Liverpool and Hits Radio Live at the AO Arena

  • Tuesday November 28 – Manchester City v RB Leipzig

  • Saturday December 2 – The Christmas Markets, Christmas shopping and Peter Kay at the AO Arena

  • Sunday December 3 – Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester Christmas Parade

  • Wednesday December 6 – Manchester United v Chelsea

  • Saturday December 9– Manchester United v Bournemouth

  • Tuesday December 12 – Manchester United v Bayern Munich

  • December 15 and 16 – Busiest days for Christmas parties

  • Saturday December 16 – Manchester City v Crystal Palace and Disney on Ice at the AO Arena

  • Sunday December 17 – Disney on Ice at the AO Arena

To plan your journey to any of these events on public transport, you can visit the TfGM website.