Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

The Best Things To Do In Belfast, Northern Ireland


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Trula Moose



Located in Northern Ireland, Belfast is a vibrant city that offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and scenic beauty. As the capital city, Belfast has a rich and compelling history, with a diverse range of attractions and activities that cater to all types of travelers.


With its dynamic city center, Belfast is a haven for shopaholics, with a mix of high-end boutiques, bustling markets, and designer stores. For history buffs, the city is brimming with historical landmarks and sites, such as the Titanic Quarter and Belfast Castle. Nature lovers will appreciate the picturesque landscapes and gardens, like the Botanic Gardens and nearby Ulster Museum.


Belfast also has a unique political legacy, and visitors can gain an insightful perspective by taking a Black Cab tour of the city’s political murals or walking along the Peace Walls. Additionally, the city boasts a thriving food and drink scene, with opportunities to savor traditional Irish delicacies and enjoy live music performances.


In this article, we will explore the top things to do in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or a foodie, Belfast has something to offer everyone. So, let’s dive in and discover the best experiences this captivating city has in store!


Exploring Belfast City Center

Belfast City Center is the bustling heart of the city, filled with a vibrant atmosphere, historic buildings, and a range of shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions. Begin your exploration at the iconic City Hall, an impressive architectural masterpiece that offers guided tours and hosts events throughout the year.


From there, take a stroll along the bustling streets and indulge in some retail therapy at Victoria Square Shopping Centre, a modern retail complex that houses a variety of high-end brands and eateries. Don’t forget to visit the famous St. George’s Market, one of Belfast’s oldest attractions, where you can browse through stalls selling fresh produce, local crafts, and vintage items.


Make sure to visit the Cathedral Quarter, a vibrant area known for its arts and entertainment scene. Here, you’ll find an array of trendy bars, traditional pubs, and live music venues, making it the perfect spot to experience Belfast’s nightlife.


No visit to Belfast is complete without exploring the historic Linen Quarter. This area was once the heart of the city’s linen industry and is now home to a variety of shops, galleries, and eateries. Discover the rich history and heritage of linen production at the Linen Hall Library, one of Belfast’s oldest cultural institutions.


If you’re interested in history, explore the nearby Albert Memorial Clock, a remarkable landmark that stands tall and offers panoramic views of the city. For a deeper understanding of Belfast’s history, head to the Ulster Museum, located in the beautiful Botanic Gardens. The museum showcases an impressive collection of art, history, and natural sciences, offering a fascinating insight into the region’s past.


As you wander through Belfast City Center, take in the stunning architecture, street art, and vibrant atmosphere. Stop by local cafés and pubs to enjoy a traditional Irish breakfast or a refreshing pint of Guinness. The city center is also well-connected with public transportation, making it easy to explore other areas of Belfast.


Whether you’re interested in shopping, history, or simply soaking up the lively atmosphere, exploring Belfast City Center is a must-do when visiting Northern Ireland’s capital.


Visiting the Titanic Quarter

The Titanic Quarter in Belfast is a must-visit destination that pays homage to the city’s legacy as the birthplace of the iconic RMS Titanic. This historic waterfront area is a hub of maritime history, culture, and innovation.


Start your visit by exploring the award-winning Titanic Belfast, an interactive museum housed in a striking building that replicates the design of the Titanic. Through immersive exhibits, you’ll learn about the construction, launch, and tragic sinking of the ship. Discover the stories of the passengers and crew, as well as the innovative technology of the early 20th century.


Next, take a walk along the Titanic Slipways, where the Titanic and her sister ship, the RMS Olympic, were both constructed. This expansive outdoor space offers a unique perspective on the scale and magnitude of the shipbuilding industry in Belfast during the early 1900s.


Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the SS Nomadic, the last remaining White Star Line vessel. Built in the same shipyard as the Titanic, this beautifully restored ship offers a glimpse into the luxurious world of transatlantic travel during the early 20th century.


For a different kind of experience, take a leisurely boat tour of Belfast Harbor, where you can explore the city’s maritime past and enjoy picturesque views of the Titanic Quarter. Board the SS Nomadic or opt for a modern boat tour that takes you through the historic harbor.


Afterward, take a stroll on the Titanic Walkway, a scenic promenade that follows the course of the shipyard and offers stunning views of the waterfront. As you walk, you’ll pass by notable landmarks such as the Samson and Goliath cranes, which were used to construct the largest ships in the world.


Finish your visit to the Titanic Quarter by dining at one of the waterfront restaurants or enjoying a drink at one of the trendy bars. The area is also a popular venue for concerts and events, so be sure to check the schedule for any upcoming performances.


The Titanic Quarter is not only a tribute to the ill-fated ship, but it’s also a symbol of Belfast’s resilience, innovation, and vibrant cultural scene. It’s a truly unmissable experience for visitors to the city.


Discovering the Historic Belfast Castle

Nestled on the slopes of Cave Hill, Belfast Castle is a magnificent landmark that offers breathtaking views of the city and its surrounding landscapes. This historic castle combines stunning architecture, beautifully landscaped gardens, and a rich history that dates back to the 12th century.


Start your visit by exploring the castle’s interior, which showcases intricate woodwork, stained glass windows, and opulent decor. Take a guided tour to learn about the castle’s fascinating history and its role in Belfast’s past. The knowledgeable guides will share stories of the castle’s various owners, including the Donegall family, who played a significant role in shaping Belfast’s development.


After immersing yourself in the castle’s history, wander through the enchanting Castle Gardens. With formal terraces, meandering paths, and vibrant flower beds, the gardens provide a serene setting for a leisurely stroll. Admire the ornamental sculptures, including the famous cat statues, and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.


For nature enthusiasts, the surrounding grounds offer wonderful walking trails that lead up to Cave Hill Country Park. Follow the trails through wooded areas, enjoy panoramic views of Belfast Lough, and discover the natural beauty of this tranquil landscape.


While at Belfast Castle, be sure to visit the Cellar Restaurant, located in the castle’s basement. Indulge in a delicious meal or traditional afternoon tea while enjoying the castle’s grand ambiance.


If you’re looking for a unique experience, consider attending one of the castle’s events or exhibitions. From art exhibitions to live music performances, there’s always something happening at Belfast Castle that showcases the city’s vibrant arts and cultural scene.


Don’t forget to capture the stunning views of Belfast city and beyond from the castle’s terrace or the nearby Napoleon’s Nose lookout point on Cave Hill. On a clear day, you can even see as far as Scotland.


Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or simply seeking a picturesque spot for a leisurely day out, discovering the historic Belfast Castle is an absolute must. Immerse yourself in the grandeur of the castle, explore the beautiful gardens, and soak up the incredible views that make this attraction a hidden gem in Belfast.


Enjoying the Vibrant St. George’s Market

No visit to Belfast is complete without experiencing the lively atmosphere and diverse offerings of St. George’s Market. Located in the heart of the city, this historic market is a vibrant hub for food, crafts, and local culture.


As you step into the market, you’ll be greeted by a sensory overload of sights, sounds, and smells. The market is housed in a stunning Victorian building, which adds to its charm and character. Take a moment to appreciate the beautiful architecture before diving into the bustling market atmosphere.


St. George’s Market is best known for its extensive selection of fresh produce. Wander through the stalls filled with colorful fruits, vegetables, and artisanal bread. The vendors are friendly and passionate about their products, and you’ll have the chance to sample local delicacies as you go.


But it’s not just food that you’ll find at St. George’s Market. The market is also a haven for arts and crafts enthusiasts. Browse through the stalls showcasing handmade jewelry, artwork, clothing, and unique souvenirs. You may even have the opportunity to chat with the craftsmen and artists themselves and gain insight into their creative process.


One of the highlights of St. George’s Market is its live music performances. Local musicians serenade shoppers with their tunes, adding to the vibrant atmosphere. Find a spot to sit, enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee, and let the music transport you into the spirit of Belfast.


If you’re feeling hungry, head to the Food Court area where you’ll find an array of international cuisines and local delicacies. From freshly baked pastries to exotic street food, there’s something to satisfy every taste bud. Indulge in traditional Irish dishes like Ulster Fry or Irish stew, or opt for flavors from around the world.


St. George’s Market is open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, with each day offering a slightly different experience. While Saturdays are known for being the busiest, Fridays tend to have a more relaxed vibe, making it a great time to explore at a leisurely pace.


Whether you’re browsing for unique souvenirs, enjoying the lively atmosphere, or simply immersing yourself in the local culture, a visit to St. George’s Market is a must when in Belfast. Soak up the vibrant energy, taste the flavors, and experience the bustling heart of the city at this beloved market.


Exploring the Botanic Gardens and Ulster Museum

Located in the heart of Belfast, the Botanic Gardens and Ulster Museum offer a delightful combination of natural beauty, cultural exhibits, and educational experiences. This iconic duo of attractions provides a perfect blend of leisure and learning for visitors of all ages.


Start your exploration at the Botanic Gardens, a stunning oasis of greenery and serenity amidst the bustling city. Established in 1828, the gardens boast an exquisite collection of tropical plants, flowering shrubs, and beautiful rose gardens. Take a leisurely stroll through the pathways, or find a bench to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.


One of the highlights of the Botanic Gardens is the Palm House, an imposing Victorian glasshouse that houses a range of exotic plants from around the world. Step inside and be transported to a tropical paradise as you marvel at the lush greenery and vibrant blooms. The Tropical Ravine, a recently restored Victorian-era glasshouse, offers another immersive experience with its unique collection of ferns, orchids, and other tropical plant species.


Adjacent to the gardens, you’ll find the impressive Ulster Museum, a treasure trove of art, history, and natural sciences. The museum’s extensive collection spans various disciplines, covering everything from archaeology and anthropology to fine art and natural history.


Explore the museum’s galleries to uncover the rich history and heritage of Northern Ireland, including its ancient Celtic roots and turbulent political past. Marvel at the impressive Egyptian mummy, discover the story of the RMS Titanic, or delve into the world of modern art. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions throughout the year, offering fresh and fascinating perspectives on diverse topics.


Make sure to take advantage of the museum’s interactive displays, multimedia presentations, and hands-on activities, which provide a fun and engaging learning experience for both adults and children.


When you’ve worked up an appetite, head to the museum’s café, where you can enjoy a delicious meal or a cup of tea while surrounded by stunning views of the Botanic Gardens.


Exploring the Botanic Gardens and Ulster Museum is an enriching and memorable experience. Immerse yourself in nature, marvel at captivating exhibits, and uncover the history and culture of Belfast and Northern Ireland all in one visit.


Taking a Black Cab Tour of Belfast’s Political Murals

A visit to Belfast is incomplete without delving into its complex political history. One of the most immersive ways to explore this aspect of the city is by taking a Black Cab tour of Belfast’s political murals. These tours offer a unique perspective on the Troubles, a period of conflict that deeply impacted the city and its community.


Joining a guided tour provides an opportunity to learn about the historical and political divisions that shaped Belfast. Knowledgeable local drivers, often with personal connections to the events, will share their insights and personal stories as they navigate the city’s neighborhoods.


The tour typically takes you through areas like the Falls Road and Shankill Road, which were once the epicenter of sectarian divisions. Along the way, you’ll encounter striking murals painted on the sides of buildings, depicting scenes of conflict, political figures, and symbols of cultural identity.


These murals serve as visual reminders of Belfast’s troubled past, as well as the progress made in the journey toward peace and reconciliation. The tour guides will provide historical context and explain the significance of each mural, offering a deeper understanding of the complexities and challenges faced by the city and its residents.


One of the most iconic stops along the tour is the Peace Wall, which separates Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods. These towering barriers, adorned with messages of hope, unity, and remembrance, are a powerful symbol of the progress achieved in the post-conflict era.


Throughout the tour, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions, engage in discussions, and gain a unique perspective on Belfast’s past, present, and future. It’s important to approach these conversations with respect and empathy, as the topic of sectarianism and conflict can be sensitive to some.


By taking a Black Cab tour of Belfast’s political murals, you’ll witness the power of public art in telling stories, promoting dialogue, and encouraging understanding. It’s an immersive and thought-provoking experience that allows you to connect with the city’s history and the resilience of its people.


Remember to bring your camera to capture the striking visuals and bring home a deeper understanding of Belfast’s complex political landscape.


Visiting the Crumlin Road Gaol

The Crumlin Road Gaol is a captivating historical site in Belfast that offers a haunting glimpse into the city’s troubled past. This former prison, which operated for over 150 years, holds stories of political prisoners, social change, and personal resilience.


Begin your visit with a guided tour of the gaol, led by knowledgeable and passionate guides who will share the prison’s fascinating history. Explore the various wings and corridors, including the eerie underground tunnel that connected the gaol to the nearby Crumlin Road Courthouse.


As you walk through the atmospheric halls, you’ll learn about the prison’s dark past, the living conditions endured by prisoners, and the various characters who were confined within its walls. Explore the cells and hear the stories of the men and women who were incarcerated here, from common criminals to political prisoners during the Troubles.


One of the most notorious parts of the gaol is the Execution Cell, where capital punishment was carried out. Step inside and reflect on the grim reality faced by those who spent their final moments in this daunting space.


In contrast, the Crumlin Road Gaol also showcases the resilience and determination of those who sought social change. The prison held many figures who fought for civil rights, including suffragettes and leaders of the Irish nationalist movement.


Keep an eye out for the impressive mural artwork that adorns some of the walls within the gaol. These murals tell the stories of the imprisoned resisters and add a poignant artistic touch to the somber surroundings.


For those interested in the supernatural, the Crumlin Road Gaol also offers ghost tours. These spine-chilling experiences delve into the alleged paranormal activity within the prison, adding an extra layer of intrigue to your visit.


After the tour, take a moment to visit the on-site exhibition, which provides further insights into the gaol’s history. Browse through photographs, artifacts, and interactive displays, and deepen your understanding of Belfast’s turbulent past.


A visit to the Crumlin Road Gaol is a sobering and enlightening experience that offers a glimpse into Belfast’s complex history. It serves as a reminder of both the atrocities committed and the resilience of those who endured imprisonment within its walls. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore this significant historical site and reflect upon the stories of its inhabitants.


Walking along the Peace Walls

One of the unique and thought-provoking experiences in Belfast is taking a walk along the Peace Walls. These physical barriers, which still exist in certain areas of the city, were constructed during the Troubles to separate Catholic and Protestant communities.


Walking along the Peace Walls offers a powerful insight into Belfast’s divided past and the ongoing journey towards reconciliation. The walls serve as physical reminders of the conflicts and tensions that once plagued the city, but also stand as symbols of hope and a desire for unity.


As you make your way along the walls, take in the colorful murals and messages of peace that adorn them. These artistic expressions depict themes of unity, cultural identity, and remembrance. The murals provide a powerful visual representation of the city’s progress and the resilience of its people.


Interacting with the local residents who live near the Peace Walls can offer valuable perspectives and personal stories. Many of the communities surrounding the walls have made significant strides in bridging divides and fostering positive relationships.


While the Peace Walls represent a dark chapter in Belfast’s history, they also serve as a reminder of the importance of dialogue and understanding. The walls are open to visitors, and observing them first-hand can prompt reflection on the impact of division and the power of unity.


Guided tours along the Peace Walls are available and provide in-depth historical and cultural context. These tours often include discussions with local guides who can provide personal insights into the wall’s significance and share their experiences of living in a divided community.


It’s important to approach the Peace Walls with respect and sensitivity, as they represent real and ongoing issues. Remember to follow any guidelines or instructions provided by the local authorities for the safety and well-being of all visitors.


Walking along the Peace Walls is not only an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Belfast’s complex history but also a chance to reflect on the importance of tolerance, understanding, and the pursuit of lasting peace. It’s a reminder of the progress made and the work still to be done in building a more inclusive and united society.


Sampling Traditional Irish Food and Drink

No visit to Ireland is complete without indulging in the rich and flavorful traditional Irish cuisine. Belfast offers a myriad of opportunities to savor authentic Irish dishes and experience the warmth of Irish hospitality.


Start your culinary exploration by trying a traditional Irish breakfast, known as the Ulster Fry. This hearty meal typically includes bacon, sausages, black and white pudding, eggs, and grilled tomatoes, all served with a side of soda bread or potato bread. It’s the perfect way to fuel up for a day of exploring the city.


For a taste of Ireland’s coastal heritage, sample fresh seafood dishes such as smoked salmon, mussels, and traditional fish and chips. Belfast’s proximity to the sea ensures that you’ll find a wide variety of seafood restaurants and fishmongers offering the finest catches of the day.


Don’t miss the opportunity to try traditional Irish stew, a comforting and hearty dish made with tender chunks of lamb or beef, potatoes, onions, and other root vegetables. This dish is often slow-cooked, allowing the flavors to meld together and create a deliciously satisfying meal.


If you’re feeling adventurous, try some traditional Irish delicacies such as black pudding, which is a type of blood sausage, or boxty, a potato pancake. These unique dishes offer a glimpse into the traditional flavors and culinary heritage of the island.


Pair your meal with a pint of Guinness, Ireland’s most famous stout. The creamy and velvety texture, combined with the rich flavors of roasted malt and hops, make it a must-try for beer enthusiasts. You can enjoy a pint in one of Belfast’s many traditional pubs, some of which have been serving patrons for centuries.


For those with a sweet tooth, indulge in traditional Irish desserts like apple tart, bread and butter pudding, or a slice of rich fruitcake. These treats are often enjoyed with a cup of tea or a shot of Irish whiskey.


To truly immerse yourself in the Irish food and drink culture, consider joining a food tour or participating in a cooking class. These experiences allow you to learn about the culinary traditions, meet local producers, and even try your hand at preparing traditional Irish dishes.


Belfast’s vibrant food scene offers a mix of traditional Irish establishments and modern eateries, catering to all palates and preferences. Whether you’re seeking comfort food, fine dining, or unique culinary experiences, Belfast has something to satisfy every taste.


Sampling traditional Irish food and drink in Belfast is a delicious journey that will leave you with a deeper appreciation for the flavors, history, and warm hospitality of Ireland.


Enjoying Live Music and Entertainment in Belfast

Belfast has a vibrant and lively music scene that offers a diverse range of genres and venues, making it a perfect destination for music lovers. From traditional Irish music sessions to contemporary performances, the city is brimming with opportunities to enjoy live music and entertainment.


Start your evening by exploring the Cathedral Quarter, a vibrant area known for its thriving arts and entertainment scene. Here, you’ll find numerous traditional pubs and modern bars that host live music performances throughout the week. Immerse yourself in the soulful melodies of Irish folk music, tap your feet to the rhythm of lively jigs and reels, and experience the warmth and camaraderie that live music brings.


For those seeking a larger-scale music experience, the SSE Arena Belfast is the city’s premier concert venue, hosting both international and local artists across various genres. From rock concerts to pop superstars, you’re sure to find a performance that suits your musical taste.


Belfast also boasts several intimate music venues, such as the Empire Music Hall and the Limelight, known for their eclectic lineup of bands and artists. These venues often showcase up-and-coming talent, allowing you to discover new sounds and support emerging musicians.


In addition to live music, Belfast offers a wide range of entertainment options. Catch a theater performance at the Lyric Theatre, which showcases both classic plays and contemporary productions. Alternatively, head to the Grand Opera House, a stunning Victorian building that hosts a variety of theatrical performances, including opera, ballet, and musicals.


If you’re a fan of stand-up comedy, Belfast has you covered. The city has a thriving comedy scene with regular shows featuring both local and international comedians. Laugh your way through an evening of hilarious anecdotes and witty observations at one of Belfast’s comedy clubs or dedicated comedy nights.


Throughout the year, Belfast also hosts numerous festivals and cultural events that celebrate music, art, and performance. The Belfast International Arts Festival, the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, and the Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival are just a few examples of the vibrant cultural calendar that attracts both local and international talent.


Whether you’re a fan of live music, theater, comedy, or all of the above, Belfast offers a plethora of options to enjoy unforgettable entertainment experiences. So, immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant cultural scene and let the music and performances captivate you.



Belfast, Northern Ireland’s vibrant capital, is a city with a rich history, captivating culture, and a warm and welcoming atmosphere. From exploring the bustling city center to delving into its complex political past, Belfast offers a diverse range of experiences for visitors.


Whether you’re exploring its historic landmarks, such as Belfast Castle and the Titanic Quarter, or immersing yourself in the vibrant arts and entertainment scene, there is something for everyone in this captivating city.


The Botanic Gardens and Ulster Museum are perfect for those seeking a blend of natural beauty and cultural exploration. The Peace Walls and the Crumlin Road Gaol provide a thought-provoking insight into Belfast’s troubled past and the ongoing journey towards peace and reconciliation.


Sampling traditional Irish food and drink is a delightful culinary adventure, with a variety of flavors and tastes to savor. And no visit to Belfast is complete without experiencing the live music and entertainment scene, whether it’s a traditional Irish music session in a local pub or a concert by international artists at the SSE Arena.


Belfast is a city that continues to evolve, embracing its past while confidently moving forward. It’s a place where you can feel the spirit of resilience, creativity, and community. Through its history, culture, and warm hospitality, Belfast leaves a lasting impression on visitors.


So, plan your trip to Belfast and immerse yourself in the charm and vibrancy of this remarkable city. Explore its rich heritage, engage with its passionate locals, and take in the breathtaking sights and sounds that define Belfast as a truly unique destination.