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8th March 2023

Manchester, City of Art- best galleries in the city

‘On the sixth day, God created MANchester’ and he threw in some great art galleries too
Manchester, City of Art- best galleries in the city
Manchester Art Gallery @Wikimedia Commons

Despite the current soaring costs of living, art in Manchester remains free. Outside the street-scape art of graffiti and collectives, galleries and institutions are working to connect with the changing political and cultural landscape outside. Supporting the arts, in the face of rising costs and greater cuts of funds, has never been more important. So, here’s a list of our favourite art galleries in Manchester (and the Northwest), where you can see some great art and connect with a masterpiece for free.

Manchester Arts Gallery

If you like more classic art, Manchester Arts Gallery is for you. Located right in the city centre, a stone’s throw from St Peter’s Square, it contains work from some of the biggest names in British Art, such as L.S. Lowry. The gallery’s collection ranges from Pre-Raphaelite paintings to ceramics from 1,100BC, as well as costumes and clothes from throughout history. It’s not all classic art though, because if you head to the gallery before the 1st May 2023, you can catch the incredible Dandy Style exhibition. The exhibition takes you through menswear as it has evolved and changed, exploring the clothes and styles of figures like Oscar Wilde to modern day fashion icons like Mick Jagger and Harry Styles. The gallery always has a rotating exhibition, so if you can’t make it to the Dandy Style exhibition an equally exciting one is certain to take its place.

Mosley Street,
M2 3JL

HOME, Manchester

HOME, Manchester @Wikimedia Commons

HOME is probably the gallery everyone is probably most familiar with. As an arts centre, cinema, and theatre complex, HOME boasts five cinemas, two theatres and, most importantly, 500m2 of gallery space. Located just out of the city centre, it’s easy to get to from university or anywhere in the city to break up your afternoon. Featuring work from many local artists, it’s a great place to experience the exciting and flourishing Manchester art scene. Right now, HOME’s collection consists of three artists, with experimental AI inspired art and film-making. It’s open late, which means you can visit for a late-night gallery trip, and, there’s a bar and restaurant so you can drink and eat your way around the gallery too. It’s not a gallery to miss and its glamour is a rite of passage for all students to experience at least once.

2 Tony Wilson Place
M15 4FN

The Lowry, Salford Quays

The Lowry @Wikimedia Commons

Although it’s a little further out, The Lowry (in Salford) is just as bus or tram ride away, in Salford. Although there are, of course, many of L.S. Lowry’s iconic Mancunian works on display, The Lowry also contains many dynamic exhibitions addressing modern day issues, such as its current gallery event LGBTQ Salford which allows residents and visitors to pin their own experiences of being LGBTQ+ or an ally to Salford based illustrator Hannah McLennan-Jones’ map of Salford. Located adjacent to ITV’s and the BBC’s home in the North, MediaCityUK, The Lowry is a gallery on the cutting edge of art today.

Pier 8, The Quays,


M50 3AZ 

The Whitworth

The Whitworth @Wikimedia Commons

A little closer to home than The Lowry, The Whitworth is part of our very own University of Manchester and is located right next to the University, in Whitworth Park itself. Perfect for a quick visit in between lectures or on a sunny day in the park, the gallery has a wide range of works on display and events taking place. One such event is UoM’s very own Monica Pearl’s Queer Salon, an evening of wine and discussions of how far the queer community has come and how far it still has to go to achieve equality.

The gallery has a range of exhibitions too, such as the upcoming Traces of Displacement collection, which details the humanitarian concern of human displacement in the 20th and 21st Centuries. The work here is varied, but has a real community feel, with work from amateur artists and collections that discuss Queer-ness, the loss of children, and immigration. The gallery opens late on a Thursday (until 9pm!) so is perfect for a midweek trip; it also boasts an excellent café for studying, with a scenic view over the park. The Whitworth is great for your quick dose of culture while you’re at the university.

Whitworth Park

Oxford Rd, Manchester

M15 6ER

Tate Liverpool

Tate Liverpool @ Wikimedia Commons

Now, of course, this one isn’t technically in Manchester, but the Tate Liverpool is in the Northwest and only an hour’s train journey away. Containing some of the most innovative and important art of today, it’s unmissable and, most of it, is free. The gallery currently has the works of the shortlisted (and winning) artists of the Turner Prize 2022, such as Ingrid Pollard’s and Veronica Ryan’s stunning exhibitions, on display. There’s an emphasis also on themes of migration and colonialism, so the work is in an important dialogue with the world outside. If you like modern art, that speaks to the past and to the future, then the Tate Liverpool is an essential stop for you and, after you finish, you can have an incredible day (or night) out in Liverpool as well.

Royal Albert Dock Liverpool


L3 4BB


You can check out and plan your visit at the links by each gallery listed. Remember, it’s free and easy to support the arts, but, most importantly, remember to enjoy the galleries while you’re there.


Owen Scott

Owen Scott

Head Arts Editor at the Mancunion and culture journalist

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