Frequently Asked Questions
How do I book a ticket?
General sale tickets are only available to purchase via our official ticketing partner Ticketmaster. For more information, please check our Buying Tickets page.
The AO Arena is moving to digital tickets and eTickets will be the default delivery option for all seated bookings. If you will be unable to access your tickets via mobile at the event then please contact Ticketmaster here for further assistance.
My show has been rescheduled and I can't make the new date, what can I do?
Can't go anymore? Our official ticketing partner, Ticketmaster have made it easy to sell tickets you can no longer use on via their ticket exchange, meaning another fan can go instead. Less missing out, more going out, click here to find out more.
How do I purchase accessible tickets?
Accessible tickets can be purchased by contacting our accessibility team on 0161 950 5229 (10.00am – 5.00pm Mon - Fri, 10.00am - 4.00pm on Saturdays, excluding Bank Holidays).
Will I be charged a booking fee?
Fees are listed on the Ticketmaster website. They can vary by event, so please check carefully. Tickets are subject to a booking fee and a venue facility fee of £1.70 per ticket. The venue facility fee covers the increased property rates introduced by central government in 2017 and the extensive measures added for public safety relating to increased COVID hygiene protocols.
What seats should I choose?
You can select your seats when booking online through Ticketmaster.
For a venue seating plan please click here.
Our Upper Tier seating is very steep and is not advised for the elderly, infirm or those with an aversion to heights. If any of these apply, please do not purchase seats in the Upper Tier as relocation on the night is not possible. Other audience members are allowed to stand up and dance around you. If you feel this may restrict your view in any way, particularly on shows that have a seated floor, please purchase tickets in the tiered seating sections.
Are there any age restrictions for shows at the Arena?
There are no age restrictions to any shows, however we request that no children under 14 come unaccompanied and no under 14’s are allowed on the floor, unless otherwise stated on the ticket.
Generally children shows allow babes in arms up to 23 months however some shows specifically targeted at younger audiences require a ticket for anyone attending the performance. Please check the relevant show's event page.
Children's ear defenders are now available to purchase. These can be purchased from our merchandise stand.
Planning your visit
How do I get to the Arena?
We're located in Manchester city-centre, on the corner of Trinity Way, Hunts Bank and Great Ducie Street and adjacent to Victoria Station.
There is a 978 capacity multi-storey CitiPark car park on Victoria Station site and approximately 3,500 spaces within a 10 minutes walk of the venue.
There has been lots of building work in areas around the AO Arena in the last few years, and we would advise checking your routes, as well as your preferred parking areas.
We're also well served by public transport from buses, trains and trams and there is a taxi rank outside Victoria Station.
For more details, check our How To Find Us page.
Can I pre-book and pay for parking before I arrive?
Yes you can pre-book your parking for our on site CitiPark car park by visiting their website.
How do I find out event times?
Due to the nature of live entertainment, all timings are approximate and subject to change. We cannot always confirm what time the show will start. However all upcoming show information is shared on our 'Your Visit' page. This is normally updated the week of the show.
When is the best time to arrive at the Arena?
Please refer to your ticket for door opening and start of show times.
Please arrive as close to the advertised door time as possible. We do not encourage fans to arrive early and queue or camp outside any of our entrances. As we have multiple routes into the building, early queuing at any entrance does not guarantee you’ll be first in.
Doors open to the venue between an hour and an hour and a half before most events, though there are some exceptions. The doors time is posted on the event page of the website and is usually printed on your tickets. Please arrive in plenty of time to avoid disappointment and to get through security and ticket checks, to use the bars, buy some merchandise, enjoy the atmosphere and find your seats!
What time will the show finish?
Due to the nature of live entertainment, all times, including end of show times are approximate and subject to change and we cannot confirm what time the show will finish.
Public transport sometimes finishes earlier than the end of concert. Please check timings carefully as individuals are responsible for making sure they leave the venue in time.
How does the block and seat numbering work?
For standard shows the Arena bowl has fixed tiered seating starting at block 102 and goes round in an anticlockwise direction to block 115. Seats are numbered from 1 upwards meaning for blocks 102 - 105 & 202 - 205 seat 1 is nearest to the stage but furthest from the stage for blocks 112 - 115 & 212 & 215. The floor blocks are normally numbered 1 -18 left to right when facing the stage.
What Items are not allowed into the arena?
Backpacks, holdalls, luggage, oversized bags and cushions, are not permitted.
For your safety, and enjoyment, we carefully manage the items that can brought into the venue for an event. The list below includes examples of other items prohibited in the AO Arena. This list in not exhaustive and other items may be refused at the point of entry.
Glass, cans, aluminium bottles or thermoses of any kind including liquid products which can be consumed.
Flammable liquids in any container
Video cameras, recording devices and professional cameras
Laptop computers, iPads, Go Pro’s or tablets with filming and recording capabilities
Large/golf/metal tipped umbrellas
Knives or weapons of any kind
Illegal drugs or substances
Signs, banners or flags on poles, staffs or selfie sticks
Animals (except ADUK registered service dogs)
Air horns, whistles, cowbells or other noise-making distractions
Projectiles (frisbees, beach balls, footballs etc)
Aerosol cans (hairspray, deodorant etc )
Fireworks, confetti, glitter bombs or flares
Use of wheeled footwear, skateboards
Food and drinks
Helmets and full face masks
Large studs and chains
What should I bring with me?
Small bags are permitted but may be subject to searches. No backpacks, or any bag larger than an A3 piece of paper (approx 35cm(W)x40cm(H)x19cm(D)) are allowed into the venue. We have no storage facilities or cloakrooms on site.
Signs may be permitted at certain shows. These must not be larger than A3 and must not have a stick or sign holder. Our stewards on the door will advise if any rules have changed about bringing signs to a specific show.
Can I bring a camera into the Arena?
Our standard policy dictates that anything with a 35mm+ lens, detachable zoom lens, audio, and video recording cameras are not allowed.
Small cameras are permitted at most events. At certain events, the promoter may request a ban on all photography and signs to this effect will be displayed at all entrances.
We do not recommend that you bring selfie sticks into the arena as the use of these can disrupt the experience of other patrons.
Can I bring in food and drink?
No food or drink items are to be taken into the AO Arena. Only food and drink items purchased on the premises are to be consumed in AO Arena.
If you have any specific dietary or medical requirements, please speak to the steward at the door upon arrival and contact us in advance of your visit if you have any questions.
The Arena donates all non-perishable goods that are not permitted into the arena to The Booth Centre.
The Booth Centre is recognised as being one of the country's leading day centres for homeless people. In 2010 the Centre came second in the National Day Centre of the Year awards and was given Champion status by the department of Communities and Local Government in recognition of their pioneering work to reduce the number of rough sleepers in Manchester.
What are you doing to reduce plastic waste?
ASM Global is committed to the reduction of plastic waste to the lowest practicable levels and to the promotion of recycling within its venues. Working in collaboration with industry partners and vendors, we are in the process of devising a comprehensive solution-finding programme to reduce the usage of single use plastics within our organisation.
This ongoing programme involves:
The identification of single-use plastic usage
Reduce, reuse, recycle approach to existing single-use plastics
Substitution of single-use plastics for biodegradable materials wherever possible
Introduction of paper straws and wooden cutlery
Education of staff, suppliers and vendors to assist with the programme
This is an on-going endeavour that reflects our commitment to finding workable environmental management solutions across our venues.
Do you have a glossary for the information printed on tickets?
BL - Block
Upper tier - 200 level - all blocks starting with a 2
Lower tier - 100 level - all blocks starting with a 1
DP - Disabled platform
CP - Camera platform
Side view - on the side of the stage - may be some restriction of view - eg. Can't see the screens
Restricted View - same as side view but obstructions from production and stage equipment
Rear View - Some shows sell in the round and open seats behind the stage and the production quality is unaffected although the view to the artists is through the back-line
I have bought tickets for the standing floor but I have since broken my leg. Can I still come to the concert?
For your safety, and for those around you, we do not allow people using crutches and/or walking aids onto a standing floor. This is because, even though your friends around you could help to look after you, crowd movement on the floor is unpredictable. We will always endeavour to find you an accessible position within the AO Arena so that you can still come to the concert. Please visit our customer services desk at our Hunts Bank Entrance by Block 101 on arrival.
Will there be any pyros, lasers and/or strobes at the event I'm attending?
Most shows will have some form of flashing lighting. A lot of shows may also have strobe lighting, lasers or other special effects, additional signage is in place to advise customers of this. If lasers are in use, they will not scan the audience areas unless an independent inspection is carried out to ensure safety levels. You can be assured that if laser beams come into audience areas, an inspector is in the venue ensuring your safety.
The show’s lighting is determined by the production team and Arena staff do not always receive details of this in advance of the performance.
What should I do if I have a problem on the night?
Any problems should be notified immediately to one of the stewards. They will either be able to rectify the situation straight away or may refer the problem to Customer Services, located at Hunts Bank on the concourse by Block 101..
It is difficult for Customer Services to respond to a problem if it is not reported at the time, so please make sure to speak to a steward or member of staff as soon as possible.
Arriving at the venue
Which entrance should I use?
We have three main entrances - City Room (off Victoria Station), Trinity Way (near the car park entrance) and Hunts Bank. Whilst access to all areas can be gained from each one, the following suggestions are a guide to the closest entrance.
Blocks 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 204, 205, 206, 207, 208, 209
Blocks D, E, F, G, H, J or unreserved standing on the floor
Blocks 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 215
Blocks 101, 102, 103, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121, 122, 201, 202, 203, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222
Blocks A, B, C on the floor
Both our Hunts Bank and City Rooms (off Victoria Station) entrances are accessible via a lift. Please note that our Trinity Way Entrance is only accessible via a number of stairs.
Why can't I enter the standing floor at ground level?
You may or may not notice that the venue is built into the side of a hill so we don’t have any entrances that come in on the ground floor – you have to come in on the concourse level and walk down the steps to the floor. We can help you with this if you are nervous and if you are struggling, we do have a lift as well!
We have six doors you can use to access the floor – 104/105, 106/107, 109/110, 110/111 and 112/113. We close the side aisles at 104/5 and 112/3 about 15 minutes before the act goes on stage because otherwise the people in the queues block the view of the people sitting in the seats! We will then open an extra aisle in the middle at 108/109.
Why do I have to queue for the standing floor anyway?
Due to the venue design and the exit off the floor area in an emergency, we have to limit the capacity of the floor quite strictly. To ensure numbers are controlled and our maximum floor capacity is not exceeded we swap all floor tickets for wristbands.
Does the Arena cater for customers with accessibility requirements?
The AO Arena is proud to have been awarded Gold by Attitude is Everything on their Charter for Best Practice. On-site CitiPark car park offers many spaces for disabled customers which can be booked in advance via their website and there are lifts available both within the car park and giving access to our Box Office and City Room entrance. There is also a lift from platform 3 on Victoria Station and to the right of the Hunts Bank steps.
Designated seating within the venue caters for wheelchair users and their carers or those with walking difficulties. We also offer lowered counters and disabled toilet facilities.
Please check our Accessibility Information for more details.
What can I buy when I'm there?
We offer contactless payment at all our concourse bars and merchandise stands. A select number of concourse bars and merchandise stands will have cash facilities and you can find details of these on your arrival. Please pay by card when possible.
We have a large and varied number of refreshment stands offering a variety of hot and cold food and drinks, including alcoholic beverages. The Arena supports Challenge 21. Please be drink aware and make sure you have a great night out.
Official merchandise is available inside the venue. The venue provides a sales services to a merchandise company affilated to the visting artist and does not supply or provide merchandise themselves.
Do you have a smoking area?
We have a policy of no readmission to the venue. If you leave to smoke, you won’t be able to come back in.
Why can't I leave the Arena and come back in?
There are a number of reasons why we don't allow people to leave the venue and come back in.
The first is a licencing issue. The Arena holds around 15,500 on a normal concert and it is not easy to see when the building has reached its capacity. We use the tickets to keep an accurate count of the number of people in the building.
We are a licensed premise which means that we have a duty to control the consumption of alcohol in the building. It has been known for people to keep stores of alcohol outside a building and keep popping in and out to 'top up'!
We, like many other venues, have ongoing issues with secondary ticketing. People buying tickets from touts or unofficial ticket and auction websites could have bought duplicate or reprinted tickets which look right but may no longer be valid. As a counter measure we limit the opportunity for people to pass tickets to each other by not allowing them to go out and re-enter the building.
On busy concert nights, allowing people to pop out, say for a cigarette or to return to their vehicle can causes congestion with the people trying to come in for the first time. Keeping the flow of people in one direction at any time is the safest way to work.
We do not have a safe space outside our venue for people to congregate which will not block entrances or cause fire hazards or traffic problems. We aim to get people away from doors as quickly as possible both at the beginning and end of the concert.
Letting people out of the building, even with their ticket, is a potential cause of conflict on the doors. If anything happens which means that you cannot get back in - you lose your ticket or have it stolen or the machine can't read it the second time - this is likely to result in an argument. If we allow re-entry, we face people claiming that their tickets have been lost but their family is still inside and so on.
We know the majority of our customers are honest concert goers, but for that minority who will try to get in without paying or break the rules of our licence, we have to create one rule which applies to everyone.
Who do I contact for lost property?
To claim any lost items, please call 0161 950 2102. Lines are open Monday - Friday, 9am - 5.30pm.
The Arena donates all the left lost property that isn’t claimed after a certain time to Barnardos.
As one of the UK's leading children's charities, Barnardo's works directly with over 200,000 children, young people and their families every year. They run over 900 vital services across the UK, including counselling for children who have been abused, fostering and adoption services, vocational training and disability inclusion groups. Every Barnardo's service is different but each believes in the potential in every child and young person, no matter who they are, what they have done or what they have been through.
Items donated by the venue are sold in their shops to generate income to support their work.
I had to swap my standing ticket for a wristband but wanted to keep my ticket as a souvenir. How can I get it back?
To help stewards identify people on the standing floor we have to swap all tickets for wristbands. However, our stewards do keep hold of all standing tickets and you can collect one from the mixer position or the doors on the way out, we just can’t promise the ticket you get back will be your own ticket.
I'm bringing a school party to an event at the Arena and need to carry out a risk assessment in advance. Can we visit the venue before our visit to do this please?
Unfortunately, due to the high volume of requests, it is not possible for us to accommodate individual site visits.
Download our Risk Assessment for Visitors PDF
We hope you enjoy your visit!