We’re all starting to wind down for 2023; those email replies can wait until next year. But while we should be relaxing ahead of the double-whammy that is Christmas and New Year’s Eve, we’re already buzzing about these things to do in Bristol in 2024. There’s a good reason the city was recently crowned the best place to visit in the UK – with many returning and new cultural events and spaces. So what has 2024 got in store for Bristol?
1. We The Curious
Bristol’s super-fantastic science centre, We The Curious, has been shut since 2022. But in one of the most anticipated reopenings ever in Bristol – since the Bristol Beacon – it will reopen in “early 2024”. Visitors can expect all the hands-on experiences upon its return, plus some new surprises too. Across We The Curious’ two floors, you’ll find more than 200 interactive exhibits and new shows in the 3D Planetarium.
We The Curious, 1 Millennium Square, One Millennium Square, Anchor Rd, Bristol BS1 5DB
From returning greats to newbies on the block, BoxHall will be a brand-new food, beer and music hall on the Floating Harbour in 2024. Coming from the team behind London’s award-winning dining, retail and leisure operator, Boxpark, it’s taking over the O&M sheds on Welsh Back. It will boast a roster of acclaimed Bristol-born chefs – creating more than 100 local job opportunities – and an events programme showcasing the best of Bristol’s music scene throughout the week.
3. Wake The Tiger
No, it’s not new, but the world’s first ‘Amazement Park’ is getting a mind-bending expansion in the new year. Reopening More than 250,000 visitors have visited Wake The Tiger since its arrival and all will have an exciting excuse to return in 2024. The fantastical, immersive adventure for all ages – which blurs the lines between an experiential art gallery, interactive theme park and detailed film set – will reopen with new rooms, new installations and whole new areas on February 2.
Wake The Tiger, 127 Albert Rd, Bristol BS2 0YA
We didn’t get an Upfest in 2023, switching to a biannual model, but it will return in 2024 – in some form or another. Europe’s largest street art & graffiti festival will be back at Greville Smyth Park, with temporary and purpose-built installations, children’s activities, food stalls and a music stage if it can secure funding. But, even if it can’t, organisers have confirmed it will at least revert to the old model of creating new artworks on the houses and buildings of Bedminster. To learn more head here.
5. New Bristol Cinema
We lost two important cinemas in the space of a week this year. Cineworld in Hengrove and Showcase in Cabot Circus are sorely missed already. But a slither of hope lives in the opening of a brand-new cinema in the city centre next year. New Bristol Cinema will be an independent three-screen cinema screening a diverse range of films – anything from Lord of the Rings marathons to Rocky Horror Picture Show sing-a-longs. It is unlikely to open anytime before late 2024, but we can expect a 6- to 10-week pop-up in Broadmead sometime early next year.
Talking of cinemas, Watershed is opening a new “immersive gallery” in the spring of 2024. Undershed will feature a year-round programme of immersive work, which could be anything like an immersive dining event, a VR experience or listening to audio in the dark. Honestly, we have no idea what to expect, except that it will be bold, brilliant and engaging.
Undershed, 1 Canon’s Rd, Bristol BS1 5TX
7. Massive Attack
It’s been five years since the Bristol legends last played in their home city. But Massive Attack is back in 2024 with one of the most unique shows we’ve ever heard of. The trip-hop collective will put on a huge gig at the Downs next summer on August 25 – aiming to be the most environmentally friendly concert of this size. Some of the initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint include using only electric vehicles; hosting meat-free food vendors; and creating a new woodland in the South West after the show.
The brand new festival showcasing BIPOC artists is debuting across the early May bank holiday weekend. With a long-term vision to become the ‘Edinburgh Fringe’ of diversity arts, DIASPORA! will showcase an eclectic range of theatre, dance, music, visual and digital arts, as well as poetry and spoken word, crafts, talks and more. Created by the Diverse Artists Network, majority of these artists will be Bristol-based too. You can learn more about it here.
Mayfest, Bristol’s biennial festival of contemporary theatre, makes a return in 2024. Since 2008, it has built a reputation as a vibrant and boundary-blurring event for live performances from artists all over the world. What we can expect is still being kept under wraps, but we can guarantee it will blow you away!
10. Simple Things
Is 2024 the year of comebacks or something for Bristol? Simple Things returns to Bristol after four years to celebrate its 10th edition. It’s taking over the newly reopened Bristol Beacon on February 24 with a day and night programme filled with some of the most eclectic and groundbreaking names in music. The likes of Max Cooper, Warmduscher, Les Savy Fav, Gilla Band, Wu-Lu, Flowdan, Jeshi, Giant Swan, Spectres and more will perform, while avant-garde trailblazer Fever Ray will play a special show on February 29.
Bristol Beacon, Trenchard St, Bristol BS1 5AR