Chinese New Year, Manchester Science Fest, Valentine’s and more…

REIMAGINE - RESET - RECONNECT | Online | 26th November - 1st April 2021 

In the lead-up to its reopening this spring, Manchester Jewish Museum has programmed a season of trailblazing performance treats and sneaky peeks - inspired by stories from its vast and eclectic collection. Proceedings kicked off in November with a rollicking digital drag night with Chanukah Lewinsky; further planned events, both online and in-person, include a culinary journey of the archives and a tour of Manchester’s ‘Jewish Quarter.’

FESTIVAL IN MY HOUSE… AND YOURS | Online | Until 27th May

Manchester International Festival is supporting artists and collectives from across Greater Manchester to host online events each month (until May 2021) as part of Festival In My House… And Yours; its popular micro-festival series, reimagined for the digital realm. All events will be free and streamed via MIF’s YouTube channel, with upcoming events spanning clowning workshops to a celebration of Black experiences through imagery, poetry and storytelling. While you’re there, check out MIF’s other online content; this month including Riz Ahmed’s The Long Goodbye: Livestream Edition.

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Riz Ahmed’s The Long Goodbye: Livestream Edition blends storytelling, music and immersive sound


Celebrating North West publishing, this new virtual book fest - a collaboration between 22 regional libraries - promises 10 events spanning poetry and fiction workshops to author talks and readings plus a special panel discussion; with publishers including Manchester’s Carcanet and Comma Press, Liverpool’s Dead Ink, Salford’s Saraband and Newton Le Willow’s Knives Forks and Spoons. Kids love literature too? This month also sees Read Manchester co-host a Digital Family Day on Wednesday 3rd February, headed by children’s author and illustrator Nick Sharratt.

OUTING THE PAST | Online | Various

Outing the Past collates Pride events all year-round but February is particularly busy, with venues nationwide hosting online happenings for LGBT+ History Month. In Greater Manchester, these include Stockport Libraries and People’s History Museum; which will be hosting an evening of talks exploring how migration has influenced LGBT+ history and the fight for LGBT+ rights in the UK and internationally.

Pride Hands
February is LGBT+ History Month

MANCHESTER MEDITATES | Online | 8th - 14th February

Featuring a week of workshops with leading mindfulness and wellbeing experts, Manchester Meditates was curated by local entrepreneur Liane Grimshaw to boost lockdown mental health. Subjects range from boosting resilience to optimism, with all proceeds from the pay-as-you-feel sessions donated to local charity Forever Manchester. It’s a big month for mental health, with February also seeing Time to Talk Day (Thursday 4th February) and Children’s Mental Health Week (1st - 7th February).

CHINESE NEW YEAR | Online | 12th - 14th February

Unable to go ahead in its usual format, Manchester’s famed Chinese New Year festival will sadly be lacking popular staples like the Dragon Parade and Chinatown street events this year (though you’ll still spot vibrant red lanterns adorning trees throughout the city centre). Nevertheless organisers have prepared a similarly colourful feast of online goodies to celebrate Year of the Ox, from tai chi and traditional lion dancing to chicken dumpling cooking classes and even Mandarin taster sessions.  

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Manchester’s red lanterns have returned, to celebrate Year of the Ox

MANCHESTER SCIENCE FESTIVAL | Online | 12th - 21st February

Manchester Science Festival was due to return in 2020 after a hiatus but…well, you know. With restrictions ongoing, the team have decided to go virtual; promising 10 days of free online exhibitions, debates and activities that explore our changing climate and ideas for a better world. Highlights include stunning photography, talks spanning eco-anxiety to the future of fuel and a special event with Planet North - one of several projects designed to inspire young people in helping the environment (also this month, check out Hubbub’s Design By Nature competition). 


From being wined and dined in a restaurant to celebrating your singledom at a party or film night, most of the usual V-Day activities are off limits this year - for those both partnered and not. Fortunately there are still plenty of ways to honour the occasion at home; from events like Escape Hunt’s Lockdown & Thrill and happenings at Selfridges to productions like Romeo & Juliet and Heartbreak’s Love MattersEvents in aid of both Valentine's and LGBT+ History Month, meanwhile, span poetry with Afshan D’souza-Lodhi to For Books' Sake's Queer Heartbreakers Ball. Why not also check out our roundup of Valentine’s food and booze boxes for a truly special occasion? 

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Yep, it’s that time again


Manchester’s fourth annual IMLD event is a collaborative celebration of the city’s impressive cultural diversity which sees almost 200 languages spoken, making it the ‘UK’s language capital’ and likely to be the most linguistically diverse city in Europe. Alongside events by some of its leading literary venues, from translation and comics to family activities, Manchester’s IMLD 2021 will also witness the opening of MMU’s brand new Poetry Library.

MANCHESTER PUBS MATTER FESTIVAL | Online | 17th - 20th February

Hosted by Manchester Beer & Cider Festival (MBCF) - which usually brings over 500 beers, ciders and perries to Manchester Central - the Manchester Pubs Matter Festival is MBCF’s ingenious way of supporting our local watering holes, which have been under devastating restrictions for over 10 months, with a festival to enjoy from home. Join five of the region’s beloved boozers for pub quizzes, beer tasting (thanks to specially curated at-home boxes) and a music night with the Smithfield DJs.

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Participating pubs include Marble Arch (pictured here in happier times)

ALL TIME IS ETERNALLY PRESENT | Online | Friday 26th February

Ever determined to bring world-class music to the masses, Manchester Camerata - ‘Britain's most adventurous orchestra’ (The Times) - will debut on new streaming platform Virtual Circle this month, with a concert featuring visionary musicians Jess Gillam and Pekka Kuusisto plus a special world premiere by leading composer Daniel Kidane. 


AS the UK continues life under yet another lockdown in a bid to contain the pandemic, it’s not yet the Happy New Year we’d hoped for. Fortunately, amidst all the closures and clampdowns, there’s always nature - and the new Nature Greater Manchester website, launched as part of the Green Summit 2020, has lots of fresh inspiration for exploring near you. For more inspiration on exercising both at home and outdoors, see our guide on coping with lockdowns (first published for #1, republished for #2 and still relevant as we undergo lockdown 3...they really are all blending into one aren't they?) 

Lots more entertainment from home

While recreation venues remain closed due to lockdown restrictions, that isn’t stopping many keeping us entertained at home with a diverse variety of online content; from exhibitions to talks, performances and online activities. 

Manchester performance venues, museums and galleries offering digital content include National Football MuseumImperial War Museum NorthElizabeth Gaskell’s HouseScience & Industry MuseumManchester Art GalleryPeople's History MuseumCentre for Chinese Contemporary ArtInternational Anthony Burgess FoundationCastlefield GalleryManchester MuseumThe WhitworthHolden GalleryHOME, The Lowry, Hope Mill Theatre and Waterside.

2018 07 13 How To Spend A Weekend In Salford Quays Imperial War Museum North
The Imperial War Museum is one of many venues offering digital content

Elsewhere, libraries offering online amusements include The PorticoWorking Class Movement Library and Chetham’s while Archives + is offering a fascinating glimpse into local neighbourhoods over the decades. Manchester Libraries has loads of resources and some branches remain open for certain services and click-and-collect. 

As for music, there are socially distanced gigs aplenty in the pipeline for when restrictions lift. Meanwhile, enjoy streamed winter seasons from Stoller Hall and the Halle and keep an eye on platforms like United We Stream.

And the above is just Manchester city centre. With many venues across the region hosting their own range of home-based entertainment, check your local council website for performance venues, museums and galleries near you.

After yet more to do? Why not revisit some of our previous lockdown roundups: from must-read Manchester novels to Manchester-based podcasts and video games