7 Interesting Date Ideas in Manchester

Taking someone special out in the North West? Here are some of the most exciting, flavoursome and fun date ideas that Manchester has to offer.

Emma in the web team

Written by our web team

5 min read | Published 20 February 2020 | Updated 23 October 2023

Manchester is a fantastic place to be if you’re looking for a memorable date. Whether you’re an established pair or a new duo just kindling a connection, Manchester offers a wide range of date options.

From comedy club nights to culinary delights, adventurous activities to live sports, there's something for every couple here. In this article, we'll explore seven fun and original Manchester date ideas that will make your quality time in the city unforgettable.

1. Have a laugh

View of River Irwell in Manchester at night, illuminated by streetlights.
There’s no better way to break the ice than laughter, so heading to a comedy club is a winning date night idea in Manchester.

The city has some great established venues. There’s the Comedy Store, the Frog and Bucket, and the Hot Water Comedy Club. Book tickets to see some of your favourite comedians alongside up-and-coming acts.

Also, keep your eyes open for the major theatres like the Lowry and the AO Arena, where the megastars of mirth perform. But don’t forget the countless open-mic nights in pubs all across the city.

2. Treat yourself to Tapas

An array of Spanish tapas dishes.
If you're always the one to get the best deals, you'll know all about the fantastic restaurants in Manchester you can visit on a budget.

The buzz around the Manchester City Centre is unmistakable, with celebrity haunts like The Ivy setting up shop here. And hotspots like the much respected French at the Midland continue to raise the bar.

There are also the gastronomic thrills of El Gato Negro and Fazenda for some high-quality Mediterranean delights. And for cocktails with a view, head to the 20 Stories terrace. With 360 vistas of the city below, it’s a date spot sure to make an impression.

3. Get wild at bingo

Neon bingo sign
Forget any preconceptions you have of this game. For a Manchester date night you won’t forget in a hurry, head to Bongo’s Bingo.

Here, traditional bingo is combined with dance-offs, rave intervals, and a lot of audience participation. Expect music, quirky prizes, and fun games to entertain you and your date throughout the evening.

It's suitable for all ages from 18 to 92 and is guaranteed to break the ice. Plus, you might even leave with a little memento from your date. There are iconic prizes up for grabs at each and every show, from giant pink unicorns to karaoke machines.

4. Go bowling

Bowling alley and pins
Manchester loves ten-pin bowling, and it’s a great way to spend an hour before a meal or a drink. When it comes to the venue, you’ve got options, too. Sure, there are the chains.

You’ve got the big multi-lane bowling alleys in the Trafford Centre and the Printworks, where you can usually just turn up and get rolling. But if you book ahead, you can go for something like the Dog Bowl, an altogether more intimate place with just five lanes and a cool 1950s vibe.

5. Hit the slopes

A couple choosing skiing equipment for Chill Factore indoor skiing.
If you sense your new date likes the active lifestyle, why not take them skiing? Don’t worry, you don’t have to fly them to Courchevel (that’s a second date thing). You can go skiing right next to the Trafford Centre at Chill Factore.

As well as the huge slope with real snow, you can try tobogganing or indoor climbing. There are also a few bars and restaurants in the venue for a little après-ski entertainment.

In winter, the city usually also puts on a skating rink or two around the Christmas markets, so look out for them if it’s seasonal.

6. Watch a football match

Fans cheering at a football match at Old Trafford.
There’s nothing quite like the roar of the crowd to get your pulse racing. If you or your partner have an affiliation one way or the other, why not take them to Old Trafford or the Etihad?

You can watch the city’s heroes battle it out with whoever’s unlucky enough to be visiting, then make your way to the city centre. Whether the home team wins or loses, the night will be lively and fun.

7. Challenge an Escape Room

Escape room
Escape rooms have taken the world by storm in recent years. So, if you’re looking for unusual things to do in Manchester, it’s worth a spin.

There are all sorts of themed escape rooms, from WW2 code-breaking to bank jobs and horror. Whatever floats your boat, this is a great way to get to know someone well. Check out Escape Reality and Breakout Manchester for inspiration.

Other fun activities in Manchester include the city’s own Crystal Maze (yes, the one off the telly). Although with a minimum booking of four people, it’ll have to be for that double date.

Bonus: More ideas for dates in Manchester and beyond

Young couple
If you've exhausted our list of date ideas and are eager for more, there are plenty of other romantic adventures to consider. Turn your date into a weekend getaway, perhaps, with our guide to the perfect weekend in Manchester.

Thanks to the city's excellent rail connections, you can plan day trips to nearby towns and attractions. Hop over to Chester, where there are plenty of romantic things for couples to do.

If you're looking for more extended escapes, we've got you covered with recommendations for the best romantic breaks for couples in the UK.

A date for every taste

If you love good food, laughing, unique experiences, and sporty endeavours, Manchester is full of fun ideas for couples new and old.

Whether you’re just planning a fun date night in Manchester or have a whole day to spend together, we hope these ideas get the ball rolling. Maybe even literally!

And don’t forget, if you’re coming from afar, book your train to Manchester in advance. You’ll be able to save some pennies for the date itself.

Buy train tickets for your next journey

Buying through our website or app saves you money because we never charge booking fees.

To take a look at more ways to save including using a Railcard, booking in advance, and booking as a group, visit our ways to save page.

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