With multiple performance spaces, bars, restaurants and shops, this contemporary arts centre attracts more than a million visitors a year to its myriad functions, which include everything from big-name theatrical productions to comedy, kids' theatre and even weddings. The centre is also home to 300 beautifully humanistic depictions of urban landscapes by LS Lowry (1887–1976), who was born in nearby Stretford, and after whom the complex is named.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Manchester attractions

1. Imperial War Museum North

0.16 MILES

Inside Daniel Libeskind's aluminium-clad modern building is a war museum with a difference, exploring the effects of conflict on society rather than…

2. MediaCityUK

0.25 MILES

The BBC's northern home is but one significant element of this vast 81-hectare site. Besides hosting six departments of the national broadcaster (BBC…

3. Science and Industry Museum

1.75 MILES

Manchester's rich industrial legacy is explored in this excellent museum set within the enormous grounds of the old Liverpool St station, the oldest rail…

4. People's History Museum

1.87 MILES

The story of Britain's 200-year march to democracy is told in all its pain and pathos at this superb museum, housed in a refurbished Edwardian pumping…

5. John Rylands Library

2.04 MILES

Less a library and more a cathedral to books, Basil Champneys' stunning building is a breathtaking example of Victorian Gothic, no more so than the…

6. Central Library

2.15 MILES

Britain's largest municipal library was built in 1934 to resemble the Roman Pantheon. A major refurbishment has seen the addition of a wonderful Children…

7. Town Hall

2.18 MILES

Manchester's most impressive building is the Grade I–listed town hall, completed in 1877 after a design by Alfred Waterhouse. The Great Hall is decorated…

8. Manchester Art Gallery

2.27 MILES

A superb collection of British art and a hefty number of European masters are the highlights at the city's top art gallery. It's home to the best…