The best music venues in Manchester for students.

29 March, 2023

A city of bricks, mortar and music, Manchester has some of the best venues in the UK. Here's some of our favourites.

Manchester music venues

Manchester is the home of many iconic bands and musicians and the music capital of the north, as some would say. They’re not wrong! Well, this city is flooded with a range of fantastic music venues, perfect if you’re looking for a gig after your day of studying.

Manchester live music venues

So, let’s get to it! Here are some of the best Manchester music venues for students. Why not head to a couple of these places to see for yourself?

The Night and Day Cafe

Located on Oldham Street in the heart of the Northern Quarter, this venue has been the starting point for many local bands over the years. In fact, this is where local Stockport band Blossoms played their first gig back in 2013, and look how far they’ve come! The Night and Day Cafe is a fantastic place to catch the upcoming local talent. It might be one of the many small music venues in Manchester, but they can really pack-a-punch!

Band on the Wall

A historical music venue with music events from a range of genres, including rock, funk and soul, jazz, and DnB. Anything you fancy, they’ll have it. Are you a fan of BBC Radio 6 Music presenter Craig Charles? Well, he’s regularly putting on shows at Band on the Wall featuring guest DJs ready to blow you away.

Castlefield Bowl

There are not enough superlatives to describe this outdoor amphitheatre when it’s packed out for a gig in the summer evenings. Host of the annual ‘Sounds of the City’ concerts, this is a fantastic place to see some of your favourite artists.

The Warehouse Project

One for those who love the dance scene. With everything from house to techno and trance to electro, the Warehouse Project offers all dance lovers a late-night party with music from some of the best DJs and producers in the world.

O2 Ritz

Now some iconic names have graced the stage at the Ritz; the Smiths, the Stone Roses, the Happy Mondays and the Arctic Monkeys, just to name a few. Oh, and don’t forget about the Beatles and Frank Sinatra. Now that’s what we call an excellent track record!

Royal Albert Hall

Wow! What a stunning venue this is. A special place to play for all artists, we’re sure. With two floors made up of overlooking stalls and a lower circle area, when the lights are flashing, music is blasting, and fans are singing, it’s a truly transcendent experience. This is a venue you need to see.

AO Arena

The biggest venue in Manchester. Need we say more? The most famous artists often have their concerts here so all fans in the city can come and watch. The AO Arena holds a whopping 21,000 people, mostly seated and some standing. You’ll have a pretty good chance of getting hold of the tickets you want at this venue because of the enormous capacity, which is why this is one of the greatest Manchester music venues for students.

Manchester Academy

On the campus of The University of Manchester, you’ll find the great Manchester Academy, which is close to home for some of you. This venue is split into four smaller venues: Academy 1, 2, 3 and Club Academy, so there are usually a few events going on here at one time. If you fancy it, there’s always a tribute band or two gigging here, an opportunity to see some of your favourite bands play (sort of). 


Looking for a hip place to listen to live music, have a bite to eat and maybe a cheeky drink? Gorilla is the place for you. It’s another wonderful venue that loves to support those up-and-coming artists on the music scene. Gorilla is fit for any purpose! Whether you’re looking for a nice chill place for some mid-week music or a big weekend party, Gorilla is a great place to be.

Establish your place in the music scene!

Do you see yourself getting involved with music? Whether you’re an undergraduate or postgraduate looking for our Music Production courses, we offer a BA (Hons) Music Production course and a MA Music Production course. Or if you prefer to get into music management and event organisation, then our Music Business courses are just for you!

Our Sound Engineering courses are fantastic if you’re interested in learning how to record and deliver high quality audio. We’ll help you gain the essential skills you need to rock the music industry! Want to plan some incredible shows? Well the skills you’ll develop on our Event Management courses will help you do exactly that! 

You’ll get real opportunities, learn from industry experts, and develop your skills on your journey to a music and sound career. Take a look at our expansive range of subject areas, or see first-hand how student life with Spirit Studios would be on one of our open days.

If you’re ready to kickstart your music career, then apply now for the course that suits you. Contact us today if you want to find out more.

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