Manchester Arena
Manchester Arena
Manchester Arena, managed and operated by SMG Europe, is one of the busiest venues in the world and the largest indoor arena in Europe. Since opening in 1995, the Arena has hosted the biggest names in live entertainment including U2, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Pavarotti and the record-breaking 2010/2011 residency by local comedian Peter Kay. In addition to live music, we've also staged some of the biggest events in the UK sporting calendar including several 2002 Commonwealth Games' events, the 2012 Olympic basketball warm-up match between team USA and GB, the 2008 FINA World Swimming Championships and international boxing bouts by Mike Tyson, David Haye, Joe Calzaghe and local champions Ricky Hatton and Amir Khan. We've also played a key part in Manchester's rich musical heritage with historic shows by local bands Take That, Oasis, Elbow, New Order, James, Happy Mondays, The Charlatans, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, M People, Doves, The Inspiral Carpets, The Verve, Simply Red and The Courteeners. Attracting over one million visitors each year, the 21,000 capacity Arena is a former winner of the industry's prestigious International Venue of the Year award.
Duration: 2-3 hours
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  • Victoria • 2 min walk
  • Exchange Square • 4 min walk
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  • Ellie T
    1 contribution
    Really let down by staff at the arena.
    Security was appalling! To the point my friend walked through the metal detectors and they went off (she didn’t know why) but security didn’t even stop her and instead just rushed her through raising her anxiety. I also asked if security could keep hold of a ticket for a friend who was further back in the queue and they refused and purposely kept misgendering me even after correcting them I’m trans MTF and obviously presenting that way. The only thing that redeemed it was Yungblud. The show was amazing! Security needs to tighten up though 110%
    Visited February 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written February 20, 2023
  • Louise Shaw
    Sheffield, United Kingdom16 contributions
    Mini backpacks aren’t allowed in!!!
    Went to the Tom Grennan concert at the weekend. Had a mini backpack with me that apparently is too big and wouldn’t be allowed in - back to the hotel to get my smaller one. Can’t understand why the doors open at 6 then you have to wait another 1/2hr to get into your seats once in the arena. I really don’t understand that part. Steps very steep also. Great view though and a fantastic concert!
    Visited March 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written March 20, 2023
  • Barbara T
    1 contribution
    Constant drunken disruption
    Usually enjoy a visit to the AO arena, but not tonight. Dermot Kennedy was amazing, but way too many drunks in the audience, leading to constantly having to get out of my seat to let people pass. How anyone legless can navigate the stairs without breaking their necks! Drink spilt all over my daughters jacket. Then on the way out, the foyer was full of vomit. I understand people want to have a good night but it was like being at Wetherspoons rather than a concert. Night ruined with constant disruption
    Visited April 2023
    Written April 7, 2023
  • Hannah T
    Liverpool, United Kingdom20 contributions
    Vaping epidemic within the arena.
    Really fast entering the arena and great safety checks from security. Only issue is that there is a serious lack of management of vaping inside the arena we had probably around 20 people vaping directly around us. The response from a rep at the arena was that they would check in with security on this but due to the pyro-technics and smoke machines that it wasn’t possible to take control of the issue. (That was the jist). Vaping is no different than smoking no matter how you want to ‘sugar coat it’ most of the time the substances within the vape itself are questionable without even mentioning the nicotine strength. It is a public place and vaping should not be allowed, children are allowed to enter the arena as well as people with ailments which could be exacerbated. Please bring in more stringent rules regarding the use of vapes within the arena space, I make a choice not to vape and should be able to enjoy my experience!
    Visited March 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written April 13, 2023
  • mayfair132018
    Cheshire, United Kingdom75 contributions
    £8.45 a pint !! Ripping people off
    Went to the darts Weds 3rd May, the drinks prices were through the roof!! £8.45 a pint for larger or cider .. comes on Manchester thats too much. £9 for a tiny 200ml cocktail can.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written May 6, 2023
  • Di T
    Bodmin, United Kingdom49 contributions
    Rude Security Staff
    We came to see Elton John and paid over £3000 as a family, had to be at the arena at 4.00pm, no signage as to where to queue, 3 surly miserable security guards just grunting, when we had to go through security I was actually shouted at and manhandled by a miserable sod to make me go through another lane! Steps down into the arena are lethal, how people haven’t had serious injury’s beggars belief! Talk about a sheer drop! During the concert the security thought it a good idea to grab people from way behind us to get to the front of stage which upset us and others who had paid VIP prices and were treated like dirt! Miserable rude security certainly took the shine off which was a special one in a lifetime occasion, thanks Manchester! We travelled from Cornwall and certainly didn’t receive a warm Manchester welcome!
    Visited June 2023
    Written June 3, 2023
  • evansm19
    Warrington, United Kingdom30 contributions
    Great show, pity about everything else
    Elton John show 3/6/23 was great. However, the experience elsewhere was poor. Security turning people away because their bag was slightly larger than A4 size. High tech security devices are great but its to stop people taking drinks and snacks in. When queuing to have tickets scanned, the queue stopped as one stupid security female, 5 foot 2 inches, late 50s, grey hair (hoping someone at venue will read this) decided to stop doing her job and have a chat with a couple of people, we entered quicker by going to the back of another queue. Huge queues for the bar with no room for people passing by. £29.95 for cheap bottle of wine, rip off. £9.90 for two standard Fanta drinks, rip off. Huge queue for female toilets. Wonder why doors cannot be opened earlier to accommodate for a full house and queues. Liverpool's arena so much better, though not on prices.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 6, 2023
  • Tina P
    26 contributions
    Good location
    I went to the Arena to an Elton John concert. Good location just next to Victoria station and a short walk away from the Premier Inn where I stayed. Very helpful staff. I am not good climbing lots of steps with no hand rails, soa member of staff escorted me to my room by the easiest route via a lift. Plenty of clean toilets. I had to go to the box office which opened at 4pm on the event day to get a paper ticket as I don't have a smart/I phone. Staff very good. Well done.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written June 13, 2023
  • Duane H
    1 contribution
    Poor bar service
    Arena staff very helpful and the venue is overall great for shows. The bars and refreshments counters however were awful. Slow and operating with zero urgency. Particularly at an intermission where there's a 20min window. Ended up missing part of the second part of the show due to slow service. Would advise not to use in the intermission. Other venues operate with some element of urgency.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written June 16, 2023
  • AmblerRambler
    Salford, United Kingdom35 contributions
    I understand that renovations are needed, but why close both bars on the ground floor at the same time? If that had to be done, why at least not have a cans bar like they've had in the past? The number of people going from floor level to the first to get drinks was awful, causing jams on the very steep, dangerous stairs. I was OK, but I can imagine someone less able bodied would have real difficulties, as there are no hand rails. With the opening of a new similar venue not far off, the Arena really needs to get itself sorted if it wants a chance of competing.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written July 9, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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2,890 reviews
Very good

The Travels Of Francis
Nottinghamshire, UK1,098 contributions
Apr 2019
Manchester Arena is situated on Hunts Bank Road but you can get in through the entrance in Victoria train/tram station, which is very handy, if coming by that mode of transport.

If coming also from Manchester Piccadilly, also very accessible on foot and easy to find, if like us go for a few beers on the way as Manchester does have plenty of bars.

For those of you who haven't been before, it's one of the largest arenas in Europe and has around a 14,500 to 15,000 capacity.

Security was tight which is understandable, I had been told by email to take small bags which she did, we went to the matinée of Mrs Brown da musical.

We were sat at floor level, with a good view of the stage, the show was brilliant, a laugh from from start to finish, I bet you could hear our woman in the upper rafters with her laugh.

Understandably, you're not allowed to record comedy acts or use professional photo equipment, handheld cameras (do people still use these) but a small camera or mobile is fine.

Cracking venue to go to, matinée great idea on a day sesh.
Written January 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Harvey Morton
Sheffield, UK48 contributions
Mar 2022
I've visited the AO Arena Manchester twice this week with friends. First to see Stormzy and most recently to see Hans Zimmer. Both shows were spectacular and the venue is excellent compared to other arenas I have visited. The queues might look large when you're waiting to get in, but the efficient venue and security staff always ensure things are moving quickly. The leg room on offer is good and the acoustics are great too. Food and drink is expensive, I paid £7 per pint, but that is to be expected for a concert venue like this. Manchester Arena will always be my favourite arena to visit, it blows Sheffield Arena out of the water.
Written March 26, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ian N
27 contributions
Apr 2022
Andre and the JSO were amazing lived up to our expectations in every way but you know something was wrong when throngs of people were still trying to find their seats some 40 minutes into the show. It definitely took the shine off the show and I felt so sorry for the people who couldn't get to their seats because they had mobility issues. I understand a lift was broken but this arena is not fit for purpose given the age and demographic of the audience attending. The staff seemed overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people needing help, the signage was awful and none existent once the show began.

Such a shame for all affected and AO Arena should take responsibility for those that had their evening ruined. The arena is not fit for purpose and they need to significantly improve the access arrangements or simply don't take people's money.

The management need to take responsibility for this not the poor staff who battled on and tried their best. I would have delayed the start and made sure people were seated. It was very dangerous for those people being led down the very well steps and if there had been an emergency evacuation then I had to think how they would have kept safe.
Written April 22, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dave B
Kirkham, UK37 contributions
Jun 2022
I went with my wife to the Barry Manilow concert. He still puts on a great show, as did his support act, Curtis Stigers, but the behaviour of a lot of the audience was appalling. Some were still strolling in half an hour late, others spent the whole of Curtis Stigers' set talking, and the man two seats along from us spent the time playing with his mobile phone. None of these were kids, and the staff did absolutely nothing for the majority of the audience who had spent a substantial amount to see the show.

The worst offenders were two women, clearly hoping to be spotted for a role as supporting actors in a Cinderella pantomime, who insisted on standing up throughout, blocking the views of all the disabled and elderly people behind them. They refused to sit down and apart from one valiant 'front of house' gentlemen who tried to persuade them to show a little consideration, the security staff refused to show any interest. I suppose the venue was happy that this pair probably spent as much on drink, as they did on their tickets. Sadly they managed to spoil the whole evening for a lot of their fellow patrons.

I expected the high drinks prices, the long distance views and the less than comfortable seating, but I also expected to be able to see the show, and there seems to be no policy in place to guarantee that this is ensured. There will definitely be no future visits to this arena, which is poorly managed compared with Leeds and Birmingham.

I can only hope the offending audience members enjoyed their evening, because a lot of other people had to meet the cost of it.
Written June 17, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Chapel-en-le-Frith, UK21 contributions
Apr 2022
Andre Rieu show on 20th April at Manchester Arena.....the show itself was brilliant as ever however....don't use the Sky Lounge for £20 per person I ordered a coke and a white wine and lemonade and was told I would have to pay for the coke or the lemonade. One drink for £40 per couple too nexpensive. They were to take us to our seating but were short staffed so we had to find our wn way down the stairs & my wife has mobility issues!!1 Not good. we were sat on the ground floor and we picked seats at the aisle for my wife's access and to be able to greet the orchestra. However people were arriving up to 40 minutes after the show started. andre Rieu even commented on this. Of course our view was blocked by people standing in the dark looking for their seats. People should not be allowed in after the show started. Our tickets were over £240 and was spoilt by peoples late arrival. tHer was a family with young girls and va father who thought it would be fun to sit on the floor in the aisles. The MEN staff did try to get them to move. This took 15 minutes more of people standing and obscuring our view. they did go back to their seats but then came back. Once again spoling our view. We ended uo watching over 50% of the show on the big screen as opposed to watching the performance directly which is what we wanted to do and indeed what we paid for.

Come on the Arena you need to manage events like this with a high percentage of elderlay people much much better. The show was 10/10 your staffing and management of the event was only 3/10!!
Written April 23, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Market Drayton, UK83 contributions
Nov 2023 • Couples
My first trip to this venue last night to see the fabulous Peter Kay and to say I’m disappointed with choosing to buy tickets at this venue is an understatement.
I’ve been an enthusiastic “Gig” goer for nearly 40 years and have visited various venues all across the world but I’ve never experienced such a shambles of a venue
So out dated , so crowded with pinch points by bars and food outlets , so poorly managed and maintained in the toilet departments (in this day and age toilets DO NOT NEED TO SMELL THIS BAD!)
The worst managed stewards I’ve ever seen
Honestly how there isn’t more bad reviews of visitors gets seriously hurt by sheer negligence of the stewards who seem to treat the majority of their work time as an ideal time to stand and chat rather than organise clear pathways through the concourse is more luck than judgement
Fortunately myself and my wife are big enough not to get bundled over but the sheer panic on many older frail patroons was clear to see , also the disabled facilities looked woefully underdeveloped
It’s 2023 , nearly ‘24 and this place feels like something straight out of the early 90’s
It’s out of its time and woefully not fit for purpose.
I’m so disappointed the first thing I’ve done on waking up is to check availability for tickets at the O2 in London next September for Chris Stapleton as I already have tickets for the AO Arena gig nut really can’t put myself through the pains of going here
I’d rather pay for a train or drive to London then pay for a hotel , lose 2 days pay than visit this hovel again!

Manchester if you want to be seen as a world class place for tourists to visit flatten this out of date relic and build a fit for purpose venue , Oh and employ staff or hire a management company that does more than watch the acts or talk about the latest events on love island

And finally to add to this review
Personally I fully expect the hiked up prices for food and beverages (I’ve paid much more than here for a hot dog 🌭 and a beer 🍺)
But clearer pricing would help or defibrillators near the tills for our more “Northern” cousins that don’t like paying more than £2 a pint in their local clubs!
The cries of anger where almost funnier than the main act 😂🍺😂
Written November 7, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Catherine B
Macclesfield, UK20 contributions
Apr 2022
A completely inappropriate venue for the demographic of the attendees at this concert, many of whom were elderly, disabled or had mobility issues and needed to use lifts to access their seats, the car park etc. I did extensive research before booking for my 95 year old father and myself, and was reassured by the Access Team. However, the venue was overwhelmed by the numbers of people with accessibility needs, apparently one of the main lifts was out of order, leaving just one lift for the people who couldn’t manage stairs, that took a maximum of 10 people. People had arrived at the venue in plenty of time (we were there an hour before the start) but there were only 2 ‘lanes’ dealing with people who could not use the security arches because of metal implants/wheelchairs or similar. The management could have anticipated this and realised that they simply couldn’t get everyone into the venue in time. We missed the start, not our fault, and it took us from 10.40pm until about 11.40pm to get to our car on the AO car park - again because of lack of lifts. It was an expensive night, with super music but completely ruined by an inappropriate venue, with limited facilities for the clientele the concert attracted. I will never go there again. Had the building had to be evacuated tonight, there would have been very serious problems in my opinion. The signage is appalling.
Written April 20, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Leyland, UK128 contributions
May 2022
Attended the Pet Shop Boys Dreamland Greatest Hits tour on 20 May 2022. Good news was that the security staff did seem to be on the ball with checking entry and also bags and were good at keeping the queue flowing at the point we arrived which was around an hour before the concert was due to start.
We've been here many times before and are quite used to crowds etc. but it still baffles me as why they allow so much booze to be sold (and who can afford to buy it anyway!) when it clearly affects behaviour. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a party pooper but I really didn't want to have two drunks sat next to me and my wife and a row full of them in front of me either who spent an hour getting up and down and going back and forwards to get more drinks. The seats are very squashed together and it really isn't ideal if you have people moving around all the time.

Plus, people were vaping non stop - considering this is not allowed, I'm surprised staff aren't on the ball with spotting (or smelling that sweet sickly smell - imho) it. Very poor.

Reading reviews on the PSB Facebook page people thought the concert was great but we sat in block 106, row K and the sound was dreadful. Very boomy and way too loud, really lacking clarity. Such a shame, we've seen PSB at the arena many times and it was decent but we ended up leaving after an hour due to this and the other issues. Such a shame after waiting for 2 years to attend.

Usually I would complain at the venue but really, what are they going to do - come and haul the people away? And us risk being confronted? No thanks.
Written May 24, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Graham H
4 contributions
Apr 2022
We went to see war of the worlds. The show was very good but the venue, the seating is not set out to watch a show or band if you was to seat naturally you are looking across the audience to the seating on the other side of the are sat either looking to your right or left depending which side you are on by the time it finished after 2hrs 30mins you have a pain in your neck. Also for £72 you think you would be able to make out what is happening on stage, it's over priced on food and drink it's just a money making scheme . 1st visit and last
Written April 3, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Northwich, UK85 contributions
Sep 2023 • Couples
Mixed feelings about our Davis Cup experience at AO arena.

The tickets were £10! Wonderful opportunity to see top sport stars for a full day. Amazing value! Yes our seats were very high up, but we knew that before booking the seats and we were relieved that we could see the tennis well. The actual seat is padded and has leg room, the stewards were friendly and helpful to get to the seats. The atmosphere was fabulous and it was a huge treat to see this tournament live rather than on the TV.

However as others have said the policy to not allow any drinks or food into the arena and then not provide adequate refreshment outlets inside the arena caused such upset that in my opinion for the remaining few days of this tournament something will have to change. This isn’t a few hours of a concert, this is an entire day and evening long event. There simply werent enough outlets or staff or choice of refreshments to cope with the needs of 10000 people for a whole day! So many frustrated people queuing for an hour for an extortionately priced drink or unpleasant hotdog, and then feeling as tho they had no choice but to leave the event early. This obviously then hugely impacted on the enjoyment of the event. How sad!
We weren’t sure if we would be allowed to take small clear plastic water bottles in but took two on the off chance, when we got to the entrance we were told we could as long as they were empty. There are a few drinking water taps in various toilet areas so we refilled them there. The queues for the extortionately priced food and drink were so long that we didn’t buy anything because we didn’t want to miss the tennis! By 6pmish we were feeling faint so we asked if we could leave the arena but then return after eating something outside. They said ordinarily in an event you wouldn’t be allowed to reenter but because of the issues over queues and lack of available food they were allowing it, the tickets were scanned and then rescanned on our return. Hardly ideal to have to miss the tennis but we were quicker than the poor people stood in the never ending arena queue! Madness!
For those who have tickets for the rest of the event, you will love the tennis so don’t be put off but take a small clear plastic refillable bottle for water so you don’t dehydrate and be prepared to leave and return if they haven’t made better provision inside the arena by then.
Written September 14, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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