Manchester is often heralded as the most LGBT-friendly city in the UK, and at it’s epicentre is the Gay Village. Every day, a huge array of LGBT events and activities lands in Manchester’s Canal Street, lining the cobbles with Drag Queens dressed to the hilts and a jovial atmosphere.
Nestled in between Manchester Piccadilly train station and Chinatown, the Gay Village has blossomed into a thriving community. It has the largest LGBT community outside of London, with bars, clubs, and restaurants decorating the Rochdale Canal. During the day, visitors can dine alfresco overlooking the water. At night, clubs like G-A-Y, New Union, Via and Kiki flooded the street with neon and glitter, cranking up the volume.
Summer is where the Village comes alive, the whole city looking forward to Manchester Pride during the August bank holiday. A huge concert, parade and three day long festival will land in the city centre, joined by the Sparkle Weekend in July, celebrating gender identity.
Whilst the Gay Village might be the centre of the action, Manchester’s LGBT scene is certainly not confined to it. Global Drag Queens and comedy sensations will stop by the Manchester Arena, whilst places like the O2 Apollo and The Lowry host a variety of diverse events.
Drag Shows in Manchester
From RuPaul to local sensations, Manchester has plenty of drag shows happening of an evening. As such, Canal Street is sure to have a show playing daily, although global stars may stop by the O2 Apollo.
LGBT Club Nights in Manchester
The Gay Village keeps the music pumping all night long. With many venues dedicated to the city’s LGBT community, there’s a healthy influx of LGBT club nights. G-A-Y hosts Manchester SoFa So Good each Wednesday, while Vanilla always hosts parties for calendar events like Valentine’s, Halloween and St Patrick’s Day.
LGBT Theatre in Manchester
Likewise, Manchester frequently welcomes in a variety of theatre with LGBT themes and LGBT artists! Stop by places like HOME, the Lowry and the Contact Theatre to see the latest.
Gay Bars and Clubs in Manchester
The city has plenty of LGBT hotspots – mainly populated along Canal Street or around the Gay Village. Popular venues include Vanilla, G-A-Y, Cruz 101, Kiki, Via Manchester, Bar Pop and The Eagle Bar.
The Sparkle Weekend
The world’s largest annual free-to-attend celebration of gender identity comes to Manchester on July 12 to 14! Now in its fourteenth year, the National Transgender Charity are back to host another celebration of trans and non-binary talent. Expect music, entertainment, food, fun and plenty of help and support available for those who need it!
Manchester Pride Festival
Manchester Pride Festival lands in the city on August Bank Holiday weekend, making it August 23rd to 26th in 2019. It’s one of the most celebrated LGBT events in Manchester. Festivities will include Manchester Pride Live, a two day music festival in Mayfield featuring Ariana Grande, Years & Years and Bananarama. On the 24th, the Pride Parade will head through Deansgate and down Princess Street to the Village, paying homage to the Stonewall riots on their 50th anniversary.
Throughout the weekend, you can stop by the ultimate street party up and down Canal Street and Sackville Gardens, fit with markets and parties across the Village’s venues. If that’s not your atmosphere, Superbia Weekend offers an alcohol-free space filled with premieres, cabaret, community workshops and conversations – all free-to-attend! Finally, the festival will close on the 26th with the Candelit Vigil in Sackville Gardens. There, attendees will reflect on those lost to the HIV virus and the stigma against the LGBT community.
The Manchester Heritage Trail
Sightseeing in Manchester? Why not take an alternative route around and explore the landmarks and cornerstones of Manchester’s gay history with the Heritage Trail. Rainbow flags dot the paving stones around the city, leading explorers to visit The New Union and Manto, the Alan Turing memorial, Temperance Hall, Church House and more!