Friday comes around and, once again, your plans are thus: pub, gym, brunch, “out” out, Sunday roast, Netflix sesh.
It’s so easy to fall into the same routine each weekend, but - newsflash - there’s just 52 of these precious two-dayers to enjoy each year, so make each one count and break out of predictable, beige habits.
The cultural powerhouse that is Manchester is a city brimming with one-off, regular or pop-up experiences, making it the perfect place to give your weekend an upgrade. Here’s our pick of the top five:
Start the fans, please! Finally live out your childhood fantasies of jumping around in a giant glass dome, snatching gold tickets up in a bid to be crowned champions of The Crystal Maze. Pull together a gang of up to eight friends, style out those fetching coloured jumpsuits and get ready to compete against other teams in the Aztec, Industrial, Futuristic and Medieval zones in this super-high energy experiential game, all based on the iconic ‘90s TV show. Tickets from £29.99 per person.
There’s more to dinner in Manchester than an Almost Famous burger (although, to be fair, it’s an excellent place to start). The city’s food scene has bloomed over the past few years and it easily rivals the likes of London or New York for cool, independent restaurants, cafes and street food stalls serving up top-notch eats. Not quite sure where to find your future dream dishes? That’s where the wittily-monikered Scranchester Food Tours come in. They’ll guide you and four friends to eight tasty pit stops across the city in a sort of nomadic dinner party, filling you in on the history behind the menus; from Victorian plant hunters and the birth of vegetarianism to the highly-lickable Italian ice cream and the families of Little Italy. Pro tip: come hungry. Tickets £50 per person.
Look, we’ve all got opinions on what the greatest song ever recorded is, but we can surely all agree that Total Eclipse of The Heart is stone-cold banger of a tune. Play it out loud in public and just watch the response to see why: we all love power ballads. Nothing causes a mass-singalong quicker than the likes of Bonnie Tyler, Meatloaf or Bon Jovi, so go and worship at their altars at Ultimate Power (currently at the O2 Ritz), a whole clubnight dedicated to these heroes of music. Yes, there will be air guitar, so come limbered up and ready to (soft) rock out. Tickets £9.
Harbouring dreams of giving up the daily grind to become a small-batch gin distiller? Get a taste of life as a botanical infuser with gin-makers Manchester Three Rivers, who offer a hands-on tour of their Green Quarter distillery. Alongside learning about the history of Mother’s Ruin - and why it’s called that - visitors then get to blend their own personalised bottle of the stuff to take home. Oh, and sup on four free G&T’s during the trip. Ice and a slice for us, please. Tickets £95.
It’s been proven in studies that people who own pets are more likely to be happy and successful, but what if there’s no time in your life to adopt a cat? Then cuddle up to a temporary feline friend at Cat Cafe, which has to be the most relaxing and low-key way to start the weekend. Bonus: there’s unlimited soft drinks and you don’t have to empty their kitty litter trays. Puuurrrrrfect. Entrance £12.
Main image credit: Namenko via Getty Images