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44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland, is a vibrant and eclectic destination that offers visitors an array of exciting experiences. A trip to Belfast with its rich history and culture to its bustling nightlife and stunning natural landscapes, Belfast has something for everyone. Whether you are interested in exploring the city’s many historical landmarks, sampling some delicious local cuisine, exploring your Ulster Scots family or simply taking in the sights and sounds of this unique destination, there are plenty of amazing things to do in Belfast that you won’t want to miss.

Belfast; Northern Ireland - september 15 2022 : the picturesque city

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best activities and attractions that Belfast has to offer, so you can make the most out of your visit to this incredible city. Use this list of things to do in Belfast to choose the attractions of interest to you and put together your personal Belfast itinerary.

Belfast Northern Ireland is an extraordinary city since the Peace Accord gave it some stability and allowed the City to grow and attract tourism to help boost its economy. Attractions in Belfast are easy to get to and this is a really easy city to travel around either on foot or public transport. I have picked out 44 of the best places to visit in Belfast for you to add to your Belfast visit.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

Being Irish, I was born just outside Belfast, and I know the place pretty well. To me, Belfast is a city that should be appreciated much more than it is and trust me the Titanic is not the only thing about Belfast that should attract attention. While it is a small easy to navigate city there are many activities in Belfast to take in. Belfast is also an easy jumping-off point to visit attractions like the Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge, the Giant’s Causeway, and tour the Causeway Coastal Route.

60 Best Northern Ireland tourist attractions

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How to get to Belfast

Where is Belfast? Well, that’s an easy one it is in Northern Ireland at the heart of the north on the Belfast Lough. You can easily get to Belfast from anywhere in the world. There are two airports here Belfast International which is super easy to navigate and Belfast City airport. You can also take a Ferry from England, Wales or Scotland if you are coming from that direction.

The two airports in Belfast: Belfast International Airport and the George Best Belfast City Airport. There are shuttle buses from both airports into the city and it is easy to get into Belfast city from either airport. If you are flying from North America you will go into Belfast International this can be a more expensive trip than flying into Dublin and renting a car to tour Belfast and Northern Ireland.

Getting From The Airport to Belfast City

Both airports are really easy to manoeuvre and there are buses from both to central Belfast. Don’t bother with a taxi unless you have tons of luggage they are expensive. You can also rent a car at the airport, but if you are driving up from Dublin rent your car from My Irish Cousin. They all leave regularly from the Europa bus station, which is the main bus terminal is Belfast.

Best things to do in Belfast

Clearly, Belfast has been phenomenally successful at bringing in visitors to the city through the history of the Titanic and of course the Game of Thrones phenomenon. However, there is much more to the city than these Belfast tourist attractions. In fact when putting together your list of things to do in Belfast you may find yourself spending more time here than you originally planned.

There are many places to visit in Belfast Ireland but don’t forget it is a separate country to Ireland and although you don’t need a passport to cross the border you will need a new currency – Sterling and you should make sure you tell your rental car company if travelling across the border.

things to do in Belfast

101 Landmarks in Northern Ireland

Is Belfast worth visiting?

Yes, Belfast is absolutely worth visiting it is an incredibly young city but it is still trying to shrug off the sombre and ultra-conservative habits of a lifetime. Belfast is growing in leaps and bounds and the younger population is changing everything about the city. It does remain, however, a city that is somewhat conservative and if you walk Belfast’s streets on a Sunday night you will be surprised to see most of the city shuts down completely on Sunday.

Titanic Belfast

These are some of the many attractions in Belfast- not that they are particularly “alternative” as might be believed, as Belfast still has to shed the chains of The Troubles and an ultra-conservative mindset. Having said that doesn’t mean you won’t have fun in Belfast and these are just a few of the places to see and things to do in Belfast that you may pass by in your rush to the Titanic Experience.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Belfast?

I wouldn’t worry about when to come for your Belfast visit it’s a fantastic city to see any time of the year. Obviously, the spring and winter months are cheaper for airfares and most things are still open. If you come in spring or particularly in summer you will find it pretty crowded with tourists and the cruise ships start coming in and packing in the people.

Samson and Goliath the iconic yellow construction cranes that loom over Belfast Harbour.

44 Belfast bucket list items

I don’t care what anyone says about Hop On Hop Off buses they are the best way to scope out the tourist attractions in Belfast so you can get your bearings and go back and explore the ones you are most interested in. As far as I’m concerned this is the best way to check out all the things to see Belfast city centre and decide on what you want to come back to visit. Not to mention the fact that the commentary will keep you in stitches.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

What can you do in Belfast for free?

One of the top things to do in Belfast is to take a walking tour of the best tourist attractions in Belfast and these can be seen on free walking tours of the City along with Political Tours, Pub Crawl tours, and as they say in their own words “discover the city with local experienced and the best-looking guides in Ireland.” How can you pass up things that are free in Belfast?

Top attractions to see in Belfast city centre

Albert Memorial Clock

In 1865 a competition for the design of a memorial to Queen Victoria’s late Prince Consort, Prince Albert, was won by W. J. Barre, who had earlier designed Belfast’s, Ulster Hall. As a result of being built on wooden piles on marshy, reclaimed land around the River, the top of the tower leans four feet to the side. This gave rise to the expression that the tower “has the time and the inclination.”

The crooked clock in Belfast it was a memorial to Queen Victoria's husband but the land was marshy and now the clock has a distinct tilt.

Visit Lady Dixon Park

Well worth a visit is the Lady Dixon Park which was donated to the people of Belfast in 1959 by, Lady Dixon, of course, this gorgeous park covers more than 128 acres, the park has rolling meadows, copses, woodland and gardens. There are various plants and wildlife. An ideal base for exploring nearby Lagan Valley Regional Park, it contains international camellia trials, a walled garden, a Japanese-style garden with water features for quiet contemplation.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland
©Visit Belfast

Visit St. George’s Market

This is one of my absolute favourite Belfast attractions and one of the coolest experiences in Belfast – St. George’s market. A Belfast institution this is the place everyone comes for antiques, food, crafts, and great people-watching.

A seaweed stall in Belfast's St. George's Market what to do in Belfast

The Market is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays and each day has a specific focus. The market was also named one of Britain’s Best Markets.

On Fridays, it’s a Variety Market, which means over 300 stalls selling everything from fish to antiques.

Saturday is the Food and Craft Market where you can try food ranging from French Crepes to Paella and so much more. Head upstairs for a superb Ulster Fry breakfast or simply wander the stalls and pick up some cool t-shirts or hand-made arts and crafts. 

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

On Sundays, the Market tends to specialize in antiques and crafts although there is still a great selection of food on offer. St. George’s Market is one of those great things to do in Belfast with the family.

Best Pubs in Belfast

Looking for things to do in Belfast at night? You can’t go to Belfast without checking out a pub or six. From traditional pubs with live Irish music to cosy haunts serving mouthwatering Sunday roasts, here are a few of Belfast’s favourite pubs.

Which is the oldest pub in Belfast? McHugh’s Bar is a pub on Queen’s Square in Belfast City Centre, Northern Ireland. It is one of the city’s best-known pubs and the oldest building in Belfast.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

It wouldn’t be a visit to Belfast without having a pint at the Crown directly opposite the most bombed hotel in Belfast the Europa. With its gorgeous tiled exterior and it’s cosy never changed interior with snugs to enjoy a private drink the Crown is a Belfast landmark.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

The Duke of York is a traditional Belfast bar crammed with original mirrors and memorabilia, cold beer, great Guinness and the largest selection of Irish whiskeys in Ireland. Catch live music Thursday-Sundays including traditional, acoustic and rock. (Snow Patrol first played there in 1998!).

Bittles Bar is a traditional Irish pub in Belfast, Bittles Bar can be easily identified thanks to its iconic flat iron exterior. Dating back to the 19th century, the Musgrave Channel Road spot offers stellar service and a huge range of whiskeys.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

The Dirty Onion is Belfast’s oldest building with real Irish music and craic, seven nights a week. Dating back to 1780, the building was used as a bonded spirit warehouse since 1921. The distinctive external wooden structure is another original feature, which, following careful restoration, frames the venue’s beer garden to the front of the complex, with a new contemporary courtyard stretching out to Hill Street.

Robinsons houses five bars in one. On the ground floor Saloon, you’ll find original memorabilia from the Titanic including the famous Philomena Doll recovered from the wreckage, while letters and postcards written onboard the iconic ship sit alongside first and second-class china used on all White Star Liners.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

Steeped in Irish tradition and packed to the rafters with little bits of history, the back bar, Fibber Magees. Fibber Magee’s is one of the best pubs in Belfast, Fibber Magee’s is a popular spot for traditional live Irish folk music, roaring open fires and Guinness aplenty. Spread over three floors, with a traditional saloon, popular bistro and relaxed pool loft, it’s the perfect place to while away a day in Northern Ireland’s capital. 

The Morning Star bar and restaurant is a must for anyone wanting to see a living museum piece of old Belfast. The Morning Star is easily identified by the superb Victorian sign hanging from a grandly exuberant iron bracket jutting out from the corner of the bar. Another great rarity is the Winged Lion of St Mark sitting proudly on the corner.

The building is historically listed and can trace its history back to 1810 when it was mentioned in The Belfast Newsletter as being one of the terminals for the Belfast to Dublin Mail Coach. The downstairs bar has its original mahogany counter with its old terrazzo floor.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

St Anne’s Cathedral – Belfast Cathedral Quarter

St Anne’s is located on Donegall Street and the site originally housed a smaller church in Classical style, a gift to the town of Belfast by its landlord, Lord Donegall.

This Parish Church was consecrated in 1776 and called St Anne’s, after the mother of the Virgin Mary. Lord Donegall’s wife was also called Anne, which probably determined the choice of name. When it came time to build a bigger grander church it was decided to build in a Romanesque style. For nearly 80 years the church was a work in progress, with sections completed bit by bit. The final piece the stainless steel Spire of Hope was lowered into place in 2007.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

The only feature of the old St Anne’s Church to remain in the present-day Cathedral is the Good Samaritan Window. Inside you will find stunning stained glass, and ceiling mosaics and a feature of the flooring is the labyrinth, or maze, an image of the journey of life.

The Grand Opera House

Time for some highbrow culture? Actually, the Grand Opera House is an iconic Belfast institution you can see opera, and ballet, watch a concert, take in a panto or hear some of the world’s greatest musicians play here.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

The Grand Opera House has a rich and fascinating history dating back more than 125 years. If you want to know more about the famous entertainers who have appeared on our iconic stage, or the events that have left their mark on this beautiful Grade A-listed building, you can take a Theatre Tour and the heritage exhibition.

Completed in 2021 with the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Grand Opera House Heritage Exhibition charts the history of the Theatre from its 1895 construction on the former site of Ginnett’s Circus, to the present day.

Queens University

Chock full of interesting things to do in Belfast Queens is a fascinating glimpse into this world-renowned research institution. There are over 250 buildings here with some great architecture on view. You can actually take a tour of the grounds and buildings and learn some really interesting history including that of medical research done here. Don’t forget to take a peek into the free Naughton Gallery for some great art or the Queen’s Film Theatre to watch some great films.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

Pub Crawls

Belfast is a fantastic place to party and has some of the greatest pubs to enjoy the craic. There’s a brilliant gay scene with clubs like the Maverick Bar, Boombox, and of course the famous Union Steet Bar.

You can do a bicycle pub tour which means pedalling and drinking at the same time while you tour the streets of Belfast. Or you can do £10 per person tour that hits up 4 pubs 3 of which you get a free whiskey in – what could be better than that you can see the Belfast Pub Crawl website here.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

Hockey Games?

Want something to do that is totally out of the ordinary? This is one of the many fun things to do in Belfast – take in a hockey game. Yes, Belfast has a hockey team the Belfast Giants. Created as an activity that everyone could support (in other words Protestants and Catholics) the Belfast Giants provide some great hockey in a city that doesn’t produce any homegrown hockey players. The SSE Arena can hold 7000 for a game and it is usually packed.

Photo courtesy Belfast Giants

Belfast Giant's hockey game in Belfast one of the fun things to do in Belfast

Ice Skating in Belfast

It should come as no surprise that Belfast’s residents don’t skate a lot but when they do the (literally) only place (in Northern Ireland) is the Dundonald rink which is found near Stormont. If you fancy a bit of bowling you can do that here as well.

Belfast Botanic Gardens

Free to visit the Belfast Botanic Gardens has tropical plants, giant bird feeders, a rose garden, an alpine garden, mature trees, flower beds and sculptures. A stunningly beautiful glass building dating back to 1828, the gardens have been enjoyed as a public park by the people of Belfast since 1895. There is an extensive rose garden and long herbaceous borders and the tree enthusiast can seek out the rare oaks planted in the 1880s, including the hornbeam-leafed oak. The park is popular with residents, students and tourists. It is a venue for concerts and festivals and a fabulous picnic area.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

Titanic Belfast

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Belfast is the Titanic Visitor Experience. I am not a Titanic fan per se so I really didn’t bother to go and see the Titanic Experience although I hear it is just amazing. What fascinated me was the fabulous Afternoon Tea held on Sundays in a replica of the Titanic’s grand Salon including that amazing staircase.

If you really want an in-depth review of the Titanic Experience you need to read Kalyn’s piece on why the Titanic Experience is a must-do in Belfast.

things to do in Belfast the Titanic staircase
Photo courtesy of the Titanic Exhibition Centre

From £25, you can have an exquisite high tea served with speciality teas, finger sandwiches, and lovely little cakes and tarts. When you’re done take those selfies on the grand staircase. Now that’s a Titanic experience.

Hike Black Mountain

Black Mountain is around 20 minutes outside Belfast but it is free both to park and to hike. This is a national park with some outstanding views over Belfast and surrounding areas.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland
©Discover Northern Ireland

Political Walking Tour

Of course one of Belfast’s attractions for history lovers and those fascinated by the legacy of “the Troubles” is a tour of all the political sites in Belfast. A really interesting tour that is led by political ex-prisoners, and activists from the Republican side. The Coiste Walking Tour takes around 3 hours and gives you both a personal take and an in-depth insight (from the Republican side) of the “Troubles” in N. Ireland.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

The tour winds up with a free Guinness at the Felons Club After the tour finishes you are invited for a complimentary glass of Guinness in the Felons Club, a local pub, the perfect way to get a little bit of the Irish craic!

Belfast Black Cab Tours

Personally for me, one of the best things to do in Belfast is to take a Black Taxi Tour. Several companies in Belfast give what has become known as the Belfast Black Taxi tours. These companies give tours of the Peace Wall and the political murals in Belfast. The black taxi tours are unbiased and the drivers will take you to both sides of the wall and along various communities where the famous murals are located.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland
©Discover Northern Ireland

Usually, the tours take in both the Shankill Estate with its Protestant orientation and murals of King William (of Orange) who was the victor in the famous Battle of the Boyne against King James the Catholic king of England.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

From there you head towards the Peace Wall where the troubles began and across the peace line to the Falls Road which is considered the Catholic area.

a section of the Peace Wall in Belfast

The tour heads towards the Bobby Sands mural which is painted on the side of the Sinn Fein headquarters in Belfast and the final stop is the international wall where you will see murals depicting the conflicts in the middle east, the Sandanistas, Nelson Mandela, and South Africa and much more. The tours cost around £30 per tour.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

The infamous Crumlin Road Gaol

In 1996 the Crumlin Road Gaol finally closed its infamous doors. These days a guided tour of the Gaol will cost around £9.00 for an online ticket. You will take a guided tour and hear the entire miserable history of the site. Dating to its early days in the 1800’s up to the days in the 90s when the prison contained both Republican and Loyalists prisoners.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

Cave Hill Country Park

Cave Hill Country Park is about a 5 mile (8 km) drive out of central Belfast. For generations, Cave Hill has been synonymous with Belfast, with its imposing outline visible throughout the city. The landmark, named for the five caves located on the side of the cliffs, contains a wealth of natural, archaeological and historical features, including Belfast Castle.

Belfast Castle

Belfast Castle is located in the Cave Hill area of north Belfast. It was built in the 1860s and is one of the city’s most famous landmarks. The location of the castle is named after the five caves located on the side of the cliffs. Cave Hill’s most famous feature is called Napoleon’s Nose, and it is believed to have been the inspiration for Jonathan Swift’s novel, Gulliver’s Travels.

visiting Belfast Castle

Entrance to the grounds and the castle are free and you can wander around at your leisure – take a camera the views are stunning. The park is home to the Cave Hill Adventurous Playground, archaeological sites, a Visitor Information Area in Belfast Castle, eco trails, and walking and orienteering routes.

Belfast Hop On Hop Off Tour

The best part of this journey is not so much the actual journey but the banter and jokes told by the tour guides. The Hop On Hop Off guides are incredibly funny and loaded with information about the various locations with lots of personal stories in between. All in all a great craic was had. Here are just a few of the moments that are introduced to tourists by the guides or as I call them the Belfast Banterers. These wonderful nicknames revolve around the famous public art sculptures to be seen all over Belfast.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

Public art in Belfast – sculptures

The best and funniest Belfast places to see are the street sculptures in Belfast. The Irish make art out of taking the piss (as they say) on public art, politicians, celebrities and ordinary folk. One of the most entertaining things you can do in Belfast is listen to the Irish and what they have nicknamed all the public art installations.

Rise on the Falls Road

Rise on the Falls Road – Balls on the Falls or the Westicles

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

Spirit of Belfast

Spirit of Belfast in Cornmarket – Onion Rings

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

Beacon of Hope

Beacon of Hope at Queen Elizabeth Bridge –Nuala with the Hula’; ‘The Belle on the Ball’; ‘The Thing with the Ring’

Nula with the Hula Belfast

Salmon of Knowledge

Affectionately known as the Big Fish, this 10-metre-long salmon was created by one of Northern Ireland’s best-known artists, John Kindness and has become iconic in Belfast. Situated in front of the Charles Lanyon-designed Victorian Custom House, the fish is covered in printed ceramic tiles decorated with text and images relating to the history of Belfast, and also contains a time capsule storing information, images and poetry on the city.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

The Glass of Thrones

To celebrate 10 years of filming in Northern Ireland, Tourism Ireland created six giant, stained glass windows depicting some of the most iconic scenes from Game of Thrones. Each window represents a different house or legacy from the show including the Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons, Targaryens, White Walkers and the Iron Throne.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

Monument to the Unknown Woman Worker

Built in 1992 by Louise Walsh in Belfast, the artist chose to focus on the women’s rights issues of low-paid jobs and unpaid housework. This artwork will be the first many visitors to the city will see as it is at the entrance to the Europa Bus Centre and Great Victoria Street Train Station. The statue is often nicknamed “the brazen bronze hussies”.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

Street Art Tours

The Seedhead Arts tour takes you around the Cathedral Quarter showcasing a really cool selection of street art along the way. Here you will see some of those iconic scenes you found in your guidebooks. The guides are fantastic and informative providing you with some great details and information on the artists and their backgrounds.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland
44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

Wee Toast Tour

I heard the Wee Toast Tour before I saw it. Loudly singing I’d Walk 500 Miles” the voices came out of nowhere with whoops and hollers, glasses clinking, and some great craic. The Wee Toast Tour is a self-propelled bike/cart tour of Belfast. It’s sort of a bike-driven bar on wheels that everyone on the bike helps to pedal around the city and drink at the same time as seeing some of Belfast’s iconic sights. The tour is actually a bring-your-own beer, wine, tea, etc, and costs £30 for a two-hour trip.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland
©Wee Toast Tours

Take a Bike ‘n’ Brew Tour

Instead of exploring the city on foot on this tour, you get to grab a bike and head to the brewery. The ride takes you through what is known as the University Quarter and along the River Lagan. You will end up at the Hilden Brewery which is one of the oldest independent breweries in the North. At the brewery, you will have a 45-minute tour that includes some samples.

Experience Belfast City Hall

Belfast City Hall is located in the true centre of the city and it is a stunningly beautiful Edwardian building dating from the early 20th century.

City Hall hosts the Belfast Christmas Market on the front lawns every year and it is a fabulous place to grab a handmade gift of some phenomenal food.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

During the year you can take tours around the building and learn about the history of N. Ireland or simply stroll around the gardens to see the Titanic memorial and statues of a host of famous folks from Queen Victoria to Bill Clinton. There’s even a little coffee shop inside for some tea and scones.

C.S. Lewis Pocket Park – Narnia

The C.S. Lewis pocket park is located in East Belfast and is a little gem in the centre of the community. The square celebrates the life and work of one of Belfast’s most celebrated writers, C.S. Lewis, and contains seven magical bronze Narnia-themed art sculptures created by Irish artist Maurice Harron.  Featuring characters from ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’, they include Aslan, The White Witch, Tumnus, The Beavers, The Robin, and The Stone Table, it is a stunning display of public art.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

The square contains over 200 trees and is a lovely rest stop when touring around Belfast. There is a really nice little cafe in the Visitors Centre where you can get a great cup of coffee and some really good tray bakes and sandwiches. The cafe has a nice offering of both vegan and vegetarian snacks and baked goods; I also have to add here that the staff are excellent, very well-informed and happy to talk forever about the area and of course Narnia.

The Europa

The Europa is a 4-star hotel in central Belfast with the dubious honour of being the most bombed hotel in Europe during the “Troubles”.


the Europa hotel Belfast

It’s a central location and 4-star luxury isn’t horrendously expensive either you can grab a great room for around £100 a night and sometimes they even have some phenomenal performers appearing at the hotel. Van Morrison appears this October and is a frequent performer.

The Crown Pub

Directly across the road from the Europa is the eponymous Crown Pub  Dating back to the 1880s, The Crown is a gem of the Victorian era. Formerly known as The Liquor Saloon in Great Victoria Street, this was a true “Victorian Gin Palace” and it still retains many of the original features which include the authentic gas lights.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland


One of the must do things in Belfast is to visit Stormont which is the official Parliament Building in Belfast. Stormont is built on a gorgeous estate surrounded by a large park just outside the city centre.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

If you are interested in politics or just want a scenic walk or both, Stormont is one of the top things to do in Northern Ireland!

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

I will say the views from the hilltop are pretty spectacular and the gardens are a lovely public space to have a picnic or just rest in the rare N. Irish sun.

The Belfast Entries

These are a series of old narrow passageways mostly in the areas of High Street and Ann Street in central Belfast. Apparently, when the city was first laid out these alleyways led into very dense residential areas. The surviving Entries contain several Victorian and pre-Victorian pubs which still exist and are great places for a bit of Irish craic.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

Shopping in Belfast

All around this central part of Belfast, you will find a plethora of shops and a few shopping centres. The Victoria Square shopping centre is one of the glitziest and the parking is diabolically expensive. However, you will find a ton of name-brand type designer stores in the centre along with some great casual dining places.


Belfast for Foodies

The Linen District flourishes with some of the best restaurants in Belfast. This area boasts top-notch pubs and restaurants including the renowned Crown Liquor Saloon and the esteemed Home and Eipic restaurants, which hold a Michelin star. One of my favourite places on Fountain Street just across from the Lanes is Sawyers Deli it is literally a foodie’s fantasy store. Chock full of goodies from around the world Sawyers also specializes in Irish fish, produce, cheese and so much more There is a little cafe in the shop and you can grab a fantastic cup of coffee and a brilliant sandwich to go or eat in. You could browse this place for ages and spend a fortune.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

Another fabulous deli is on Lisburn Road called Arcadia. This is well worth a trip to visit and taste some of the best Irish cheeses around. The Arcadia is a tiny little gem of a shop that has been around in Belfast for over 80 years

what to see in Belfast

The Arcadia is one of the best places to see and buy some of the fantastic artisanal Irish foods available. They stock a wide range of Irish-produced jams, jellies, chutneys, Abernethy Smoked Butter which is to die for, organic cold-pressed rapeseed oils, Atlantic Sea Salts, and a host of other Irish-produced foods. For a foodie, this is a must-visit.

The Ulster fry is the quintessential food representing Northern Ireland. It is the Northern Irish rendition of the traditional British “full breakfast” that can be found across the United Kingdom and Ireland. Typically, it consists of eggs, sausages, bacon, soda farl, tomato, black pudding, and potato bread

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

Ulster Museum

There are 3 routes within the museum that you can follow

Art is the Blue route and includes a fabulous fashion exhibit including a silk satin wedding dress dating from 1896 and a magnificent and historically important court dress with the train dating from 1911. All of the fashion in this exhibition is from the 1870s to the 1910s, a relatively peaceful period in Western Europe often known as La Belle Époque – “the beautiful era.”

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

History is the Yellow route and includes a look at the cultural stereotypes that surround the population of Northern Ireland. This exhibition poses questions about culture and offers a glimpse into how identities have been, and continue to be, shaped in Ireland and Northern Ireland. See the famous ‘Differences’ blackboard from the hit TV series Derry Girls, on public display for the very first time, and test your preconceptions with an interactive religion calculator quiz.

Nature is the Red route where you can take a journey from actinium to zirconium – from the rocks beneath your feet to the most distant and ancient reaches of the universe. In this unique exhibition – the only one of its kind in Europe – you’ll discover what the elements look like, how they occur naturally, how we use them, and why they can be dangerous.

If you are a Game of Thrones Fan go and see the incredible Game of Thrones Tapestry on the top floor. The exhibit is free and the tapestry is modelled on the famous Bayeux Tapestry in France.

Lagan Boat Tour

It was a rather chilly day when we decided to go on the Lagan Boat Tour on Belfast Lough but we were hopefully going to see some basking seals and pups alongside the Belfast Harbour. The tour takes around 90 minutes or so and the guides are very informative about the history of the waterfront.

Lagan Belfast boat tour

We saw the Titanic building from the water and had a close-up view of HMS Caroline and the bays where the Titanic was built. There was a huge boat getting ready to take some wind turbines out to sea and it was pretty impressive to see it rising up out of the water to load up the turbines.

Unfortunately, we were a little early to see any seals although we are pretty sure we saw a few heads bobbing up and down to watch our boat go by.

HMS Caroline

The HMS Caroline sits in the heart of the Titanic Quarter and dates back to WWI. This vessel has an important part in the history of the wars both WWI and WWII. The interactive self-guided tour includes touch screens and panoramic views of the harbour.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

The Wee Tram

This adorable little tram takes you around the entire Titanic Quarter so you can see all aspects of the Belfast Shipbuilding industry. Close-up views of the HMS Caroline and take a tour of the HMS Nomadic the last remaining ship of the White Star Line. The Wee tram runs every half an hour in season and costs £6 per adult.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

You will get views of Samson and Goliath up close, the slipways of the ships built here like the Titanic and you just may catch of glimpse of the Game of Thrones cast and set when passing by.

Belfast Zoo

Over 1000 species live at the Belfast Zoo including Asian elephants, tapirs, Sumatran tigers, and Giraffes, and they even have sea lions from California and warty pigs from Africa. Tickets for adults are £16 and kids are £6.50


George Best is a Belfast hero and he is still very much loved to this day. The airport just outside Belfast City is named after him and there are walking tours of his birthplace in East Belfast. The tour finishes up at the Roselwn Cemetery which is his final resting place. Murals to George pop up in places like the Narnia Pocket Park and this one in Portavogie where George spent his last days in Ireland.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

As you can see, Belfast is not all bombs and Titanic tours it is a fascinatingly complex city with a vast history and some quirkiness. Belfast is easily walkable and contains many interesting things to do within a small area. Try to go beyond the usual tours and sites and check out the real Belfast.

Where to stay in Belfast

You will find a great variety of accommodations in Belfast from Hostels to BnB’s you can book through to find the best rates and areas. Belfast tourist attractions are for the most part easily walked to if your hotel or BnB is in the centre of the City.

If you would like to stay in an iconic hotel choose Europa the most bombed place in Europe. The Europa is a centrally located hotel with events including concerts with Van Morrison. BOOK YOUR STAY AT THE EUROPA TODAY

I would also highly recommend the Merchant Hotel if you want a luxury stay in a 5-star Grade I listed building dating back to 1860. Located in the Cathedral Quarter you will find the Merchant is within walking distance of many of Belfast’s finest restaurants and bars.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

There is a selection of bars, including the Veuve Clicquot champagne lounge. Berts Jazz Bar serves food and has live music 7 nights a week. The luxurious Spa has 5 treatment rooms and a hydrotherapy area. There is also a sauna and a steam room located on the rooftop.

For the more budget-minded the Jurys Inn is the perfect place to relax. Located next to Belfast’s City Hall and Opera House. It boasts spacious rooms with flat-screen TVs, a 24-hour reception and a restaurant serving modern cuisine. Wi-Fi is available throughout the entire hotel.

44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland

Belfast is an easy place to take day trip from you can reach the Carrick-a-Rede Bridge in no time or head up to the Giant’s Causeway and learn about the legend of Bennadoner or better yet drive through the jaw-dropping Glens of Antrim and visit some thundering waterfalls. Belfast really is a beautiful city so when are you planning to visit Belfast? Have you decided on your bucket list of places to visit in Belfast?

You may also want to read the following

The Ultimate Game of Thrones road trip

101 Landmarks in Northern Ireland

68 Top Northern Ireland Tourist Attractions

Musssenden Temple – a love story

Dunluce Castle – ghosts and hauntings

The Stairway to Heaven

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44 Best Things to Do in Belfast Northern Ireland


  • Faith was born in Ireland raised in Canada and has lived in over 10 countries in Europe including England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, Northern Ireland, Wales, along with Mexico, Antigua, the US and has slow travelled to over 40 countries around the world. Graduating with a degree in Anthropology and Women's Studies Faith is a student of history, culture, community and food and has written about these topics for over 40 years.

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