Belfast Bucket List: the 20 best things to do in Belfast, Northern Ireland

Wondering what to do in Belfast, Northern Ireland? Look no further; we’ve packed all the best things to do in Belfast today into this article.

Belfast Bucket List: the 20 best things to do in Belfast, Northern Ireland

After decades of conflict and division, Northern Ireland’s capital city is experiencing a massive resurgence as a tourist destination and a great place to live. There’re many sights so you may be wondering what is there to see in Belfast?

It is a fantastic city. I know because I was born here, grew up here, and after leaving for many years to explore the world, I now live here.

It is a city with friendly locals, an infectious atmosphere, an ever-expanding range of places to eat, drink, and to be entertained.

To top it all off, it is a small city with everything you would expect from a big city, so you won’t have to go too far to visit anything on this list of things to see in Belfast City.

From the famous Titanic Quarter, the original home of the RMS Titanic, with the HMS Caroline, Titanic Belfast, and the Pump House to top museums, such as the Ulster Museum and the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, there is so much to discover.

If you’re only going to visit the city once, then this is the only article you will need. Here is our Belfast Bucket List: the 20 best things to do in Belfast in your lifetime!

20. Stormont Park – for a beautiful stroll around Northern Ireland’s Stormont Parliament Buildings

Stormont is great for a stroll or  a visit.

Known officially as ‘Parliament Buildings’, Stormont is the official home of the Northern Ireland Executive (the government for Northern Ireland).

Unlike many other houses of parliament around the world, Stormont Parliament Buildings is built on a beautiful estate outside the city centre that is surrounded by greenery.

Stormont Park is an excellent place to go for a peaceful walk, and if you are interested in learning about the houses, they do tours at the weekends. Visit the official website for more details.

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!

Address: Parliament Buildings, Ballymiscaw, Stormont, Belfast, BT4 3XX

19. The Victoria Square Dome, Belfast City Centre – for a unique 360° view of the city

The Victoria Square Dome is a great place to see Belfast from the skies.
via @victoriasqbelfast

If you are looking great 360° views of Belfast City and don’t have time to venture up a hill, why not check out the Dome at Victoria Square? Truly, one of the most amazing things to see in Belfast.

Rising high above the city’s skyline, the Dome at Victoria Square boasts 360-degree views across the city. Look out across the city at the city’s historic buildings, such as Belfast City Hall.

This impressive attraction is free to visit and can be easily accessed by lift or stairs. Plus, this is one of the best places for shopping in Northern Ireland.

Address: 1 Victoria Square, Belfast BT1 4QG

18. Botanic Gardens – for exotic tree species and tropical plants

Botanic Gradens are full of exotic tree species and tropical plants. These gardens are one of the best things to do in Belfast.

Looking for a bit of greenery? Check out Belfast’s Botanic Gardens, another of the top things to see in Belfast.

These gardens can be found just outside the city centre, right next to Queen’s University.

The 19th century Botanic Gardens are an essential part of Belfast’s Victorian heritage and a popular meeting place for residents, students, and tourists.

The gardens were established in 1828 by the Botanic and Horticultural Society, in response to the public interest in horticulture and botany.

Formerly known as the Belfast Botanic Garden, the site contained exotic tree species and impressive plant collections from the southern hemisphere, many of which can still be seen in the park.

Today, the park is extremely popular with residents, students, and tourists alike. It is the perfect place to go for a stroll, a picnic, or somewhere to sit and read a book. It also boasts the incredible Palm House and the Tropical Ravine which are well worth a visit!

The Tropical Ravine is home to various exotic plants, including Birds of Paradise. Plus, the Ulster Musuem is also located here, where you can learn all about the history of Belfast City, Northern Ireland, and even see an Egyptian mummy.

Address: College Park, Botanic Avenue, Belfast BT7 1LP

17. Queen’s University – a beautiful university campus

Queen's University is a beautiful building.

Queen’s University is a beautiful building and one of the great architectural landmarks and a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Northern Ireland.

The university is a highly-respected, world-renowned academic institution ranked in the top 173 universities in the World (QS World Rankings 2020).

The main building, the Lanyon Building, was designed by the English architect, Sir Charles Lanyon, and is a thing of beauty.

The Queen’s Welcome Centre is the official tourist information centre for south Belfast. It hosts a regular programme of exhibitions and serves as an information point for visitors and tourists, as well as offering a varied selection of souvenirs and gifts.

Guided campus tours are available throughout the year on request. Contact the centre to discuss your tour requirements.

Address: University Rd, Belfast BT7 1NN

16. The SSE Arena – to catch a Belfast Giant’s game

Another of the top things to see in Belfast was the SSE Arena

We’re sure you’ve been to loads of sporting events, but you probably haven’t experienced an ice hockey match in the city.

Located in the SSE Arena (formerly the Odyssey), you will find the famous Ice Hockey Team, The Belfast Giants!

Playing in the UK’s Elite Ice Hockey League, the Giants are the local ice hockey team for Northern Ireland. Their logo includes Ireland’s most famous giant Finn McCool with a hockey stick!

Going to a game is a great experience. The atmosphere is excellent, and there are always prizes during the breaks, which will keep the whole family entertained!

So if you love sports and are wondering what to see in Belfast, the Belfast Giant’s are a safe bet!

Address: 2 Queens Quay, Belfast BT3 9QQ

15. Kingspan Stadium – for an Ulster Rugby game

Kingspan Stadium is perfect for Ulster Rugby games.
Credit: ©INPHO / Bryan Keane

Ireland is known for being one of the best rugby nations in the world. From the north to the south, you will never be far from a world-class rugby institution.

Ulster Rugby is one such institution. Representing the northern province of Ulster, they are one of the four professional provincial rugby teams in Ireland. If you are a sports fan, a trip to see the Ulstermen is one of the best things to do in Belfast!

Sports fans will also enjoy a visit to Windsor Park, the National Football Stadium of Northern Ireland.

Address: 134 Mount Merrion Ave, Belfast BT6 0FT

14. C.S. Lewis Square, East Belfast – a square dedicated to a literary great

C. S. Lewis Square is another of the top things to see in Belfast.

Rediscover the Chronicles of Narnia with a walk-through C.S. Lewis Square, a public space commemorating the Belfast-born author, C.S. Lewis.

The square features seven bronze sculptures from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, including Aslan, the White Witch, and Mr Tumnus.

C.S. Lewis Square is located in East Belfast beside the EastSide Visitor Centre. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So if you are a fan of classic literature, C.S. Lewis Square should be one of the best things to do in Belfast for you!

If you want to find out more about Narnia while in Northern Ireland, we recommend visiting the Mourne Mountains, which inspired the tale.

Address: 402 Newtownards Road EastSide Visitor Centre, Belfast BT4 1HH

13. Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park – a stroll around a beautiful park

Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park is a great escape from the city.
Credit: Tourism NI

Wondering what things to see in Belfast outside the bustling city? Look no further than Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park.

Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park is located south of the city and is one of the city’s most popular parks.

Covering more than 128 acres, the beautiful park is made up of rolling meadows, copses, woodland, and gardens. It is home to a wide range of plants and animals.

It is the ideal place to take the dog for a walk, to go for a jog, or to go for a peaceful stroll!

Address: Upper Malone Road, Belfast BT17 9LA

12. Street Art Walking Tour – for some incredible art

Looking things to see in Belfast, check out the Belfast street art.

Northern Ireland may be known for its political murals in areas outside Belfast City Centre, but in the heart of Belfast City, there is an abundance of incredible non-political street art to be discovered. It’s truly one of the top things to see in Belfast.

Like Berlin, which has become famous for its walls, Belfast City has become a place where walls have become galleries for local artists and where street art has flourished.

All the best spots for street art have been compiled into a fascinating, gently-paced walking tour in Belfast City Centre!

The tour begins at Commercial Court, BT1 2NB. More information can be found on their website:

11. Drinks in the Cathedral Quarter – for the snazziest bars in town

Grabbing drinks in the Cathedral Quarter is a great way to spend an evening.

Belfast is an incredible town for a night out and the Cathedral Quarter has all the ingredients you need for a great night out.

Cathedral Quarter, which is named after Belfast Cathedral located there, has become a hub for the city’s finest bars and restaurants.

Start off in the cobbled street outside The Duke of York and see where the night takes you! Top bars that can’t be missed include The Duke of York, The Harp Bar, The Dirty Onion, and The Spaniard.

Address: 7-11 Commercial Ct, Belfast BT1 2NB

10. Beer Bike – to experience the city on a beer bike

Belfast beer bikes are another of the best things to do in Belfast.

If you are in the city as part of a group such as a stag or a hen party, then an adventure on a Wee Toast Tour’s beer bike is worth consideration.

Everyone on the bike helps to pedal the bike around the city while singing along to tunes and having a drink!

It is an entirely different way to see Belfast City Centre, including Belfast City Hall and the Albert Memorial Clock… and it is extremely fun!

Each bike holds a maximum of 15 people and comes with a driver. All food and refreshments are Bring Your Own (BYO) basis.

These tours depart from Amelia Street (close to The Crown Bar in the city centre) and must be booked in advance at Wee Toast Tours.

Address: Wee Toast Tours Departure & Return, 34-36 Bank Street, Belfast, BT1 1HL

9. Belfast Castle – for afternoon tea with stunning views

Belfast Castle in Northern Ireland is one of the best things to do in Belfast.

Looking things to see in Belfast? Check out Belfast Castle. It is set on the slopes of Cave Hill Country Park in the north of the city.

This historic landmark is 400 feet above sea level and shows incredible unobstructed views of the city and Belfast Lough.

The estate contains incredible landscaped gardens and mature, mixed woodland. It offers superb views of the city from a variety of vantage points.

It is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the most scenic afternoon tea you’ll ever experience in the lovely outdoor café at the castle. Nearby, you can also find the famous Belfast Zoo.

Address: Belfast Castle, Antrim Rd, Belfast BT15 5GR

8. The River Lagan at night – to see the city lit up in its glory

The River Lagan is spectacular at night.

The River Lagan is a major river in Northern Ireland, and it runs right through the heart of the city. Along its banks, you will find some of Belfast’s most iconic landmarks.

Possibly the best way to see these landmarks is to walk along the river at night to see them lit up in their glory!

We’d recommend starting at Titanic Belfast, where you can see sights of the Belfast Titanic Quarter that tell a tale of the city’s maritime history, and make your way towards the Waterfront Hall.

It is entirely free to do this beautiful walk, so if you are wondering what to see in Belfast on a budget, this walk is a safe bet!

Address: 1 Olympic Way, Queen’s Road, Belfast BT3 9EP

7. A traditional Irish pub crawl – for some Irish pub culture

An Irish pub crawl is another of the top best things to do in Belfast.

It wouldn’t be right to visit Northern Ireland and leave out the best pubs Irish pubs the capital city has to offer. Why not do them all in one night!?

Our suggested pub crawl would consist of The Points, The Crown Liquor Saloon, the Art Deco-inspired Robinson’s, Madden’s, Kelly’s Cellars, White’s Tavern, McHugh’s, The Harp Bar, The Duke of York, and The Dirty Onion.

Read more about our suggested traditional pub crawl here: The Belfast Pub Crawl.

Address: 12-18, Bradbury Pl, Belfast BT7 1RS

6. Divis and the Black Mountain walk – one of the best things to do in Belfast

The views from Divis and Black Mountain are truly breathtaking.

If you are looking to find the best view of the city, look no further than Divis Mountain and Black Mountain. These imposing mountains rest in the heart of the Belfast Hills, which provide a backdrop to the city skyline.

This beautiful trail along the edge of Belfast’s Hills starts at the main car park on the Divis Road, nearby to Cave Hill County Park. It takes approximately three hours to complete in total.

The walk offers you the opportunity to enjoy some incredible 180-degree views of the city and further afield, including the Mourne Mountains and even Scotland (on a clear day).

Make sure to bring your walking boots as this trail can’t be missed!

Address: Main Car Park, 12 Divis Rd, Belfast BT17 0NG

5. Cave Hill – for another fantastic view of the city

Cave Hill is a great climb with rewarding views.
Credit: Tourism NI

Another incredible view of the city from above is from the peak of Cave Hill, a basaltic hill overlooking the city.

From this view, visitors to Cave Hill Country Park can enjoy panoramic views across the city from different vantage points on the hillside.

See the city’s famous sights, including Belfast City Hall and Belfast Titanic Quarter. You can also see further afield across Northern Ireland, especially on a clear day.

Starting at the car park at Belfast Castle, it is a fairly tough climb, but it is gratifying when you get to the top of this and witness the city in all its glory!

Nearby, you can also find Colin Glen Forest Park, Belfast Zoo, and more.

Address: Antrim Rd, Belfast BT15 5GR

4. Titanic Belfast – learn about the world’s most-famous shipwreck

Titanic Belfast is another of the best things to do in Belfast.

Everyone has heard the story of the RMS Titanic – the famous 20th century ship that tragically sank on its maiden voyage. Well, this legendary ship (as well as the RMS Olympic) was built in Belfast, and the city is home to the world’s most substantial Titanic visitor experience!

Titanic Belfast, located in the Titanic Quarter, opened in 2012 and has since won awards of excellence as one of the world’s top tourist attractions.

At Titanic Belfast, you can do a self-guided and learn all about the famous ship, the people who built it, and the people who were on board its maiden voyage.

After you visit, be sure to pop in next door to the Titanic Hotel for a drink and bite to eat in the room where the ship was designed! Nearby, in the Titanic Quarter, you can also check out the incredible HMS Caroline.

Address: 1 Olympic Way, Queen’s Road, Belfast BT3 9EP

3. St. George’s Market – for fantastic local food and vibes

Another of the top things to do in Belfast is St. George's Market for delicious food.

Located close to the River Lagan is St. George’s Market, the last-surviving Victorian, covered market in the city.

Before the 20th century, historians believe it was an open meat market which contained a slaughterhouse and a meat market.

Today, St. George’s Market is a bustling market with around 300 traders, artists, musicians, and food vendors.

The market is open Friday to Sunday and is the perfect place to soak up a bit of local atmosphere while trying local products.

Address: St George’s Market, East Bridge St, Belfast BT1 3NQ

2. Black taxi tour – for a unique tour of Belfast’s dark past

The Troubles is interesting, and a black taxi tour will tell you all the facts.

The legacy of The Troubles is almost unavoidable if you want to understand Northern-Irish society.

Probably the best way to understand Northern Ireland’s history and how it shaped the present is by taking a black taxi tour.

These are small group tours which are taken in regular London Hackney cabs in the city.

Most tours last about 90 minutes and take you to some of the city’s most famous political murals, intimidating peace walls, and areas of the city which were hugely affected by the troubles.

There are many great black taxi tours available in the city, including Paddy Campbell’s and NI Black Taxi Tours. They are really worth the trip if you want to understand the city better.

Check our Black Cab experience here: 5 Fascinating Things You’ll Experience On A Belfast Black Taxi Tour

1. Crumlin Road Gaol – our favourite thing to do in Belfast

Crumlin Road Gaol is one of the top things to do in Belfast.
crumlin road gaol3

Possibly the best and most intriguing historical museum in the city is Crumlin Road Gaol. Located, you guessed it, on the Crumlin Road.

This former prison is now a museum allowing you to see the prison wings, execution cells, tunnels to the courthouse, and to learn about the history of this building and its impact on life in the region.

The tour is brilliantly delivered and very educational. Daily guided tours last approximately 75 minutes and are open to the public and operate between 10 am and 4.30 pm.

If you are interested in history, this is one of the best things to do in Belfast!

Address: 53-55 Crumlin Rd, Belfast BT14 6ST

Other notable things to do and see

We have rounded up some of the top things to see and do while in the Northern Irish capital. However, there are plenty of amazing sights that didn’t make the list and are definitely worth visiting if you have more time. We recommend taking some time to explore the famous Titanic Quarter, checking out the site where the RMS Titanic and RMS Olympic were built and is now home to the Pump House, HMS Caroline, and Titanic Belfast.

Other great things to see and do include Colin Glen Forest Park, Belfast Zoo (make sure to check out the Asian Elephants!), the Ulster Museum, City Hall, the Palm House, Victoria Park, the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, and St Anne’s Cathedral in the Cathedral Quarter. There are also plenty of green spaces, National Trust properties, and indoor activities, such as bowling alleys and skating rinks for all ages to enjoy.

For a comprehensive overview of the city that will take you around all the top sights, you can also hop on a Belfast Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour. Discover famous areas such as the Shankill Road, the Falls Road, and the Antrim Road, as well as the city centre.

FAQs about things to do in Belfast

Where is Belfast?

Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland. It is located approximately two hours drive from Dublin city.

In what county is Belfast, Northern Ireland?

The majority of the city lies in County Antrim, while the remainder is in County Down.

How to get from Dublin to Belfast?

Belfast can be accessed most easily from Dublin by car (which takes approximately 120 minutes). Although there are direct and affordable options on bus and train, too.

How far is the Giant’s Causeway from Belfast?

By car, the Giant’s Causeway is approximately 75 minutes from Belfast City.

What to do in Belfast?

There are many amazing sights, places to stay, and things to do in Belfast. Have a look below at some of our selected articles which are bound to offer more travel inspiration.

What can you do in Belfast for free?

There are plenty of great attractions in the city that can be enjoyed for free. Some of our favourites are Cave Hill Country Park, Divis Mountain and Black Mountain, the Ulster Museum, the grounds of Stormont Park, City Hall, and a stroll around the Titanic Quarter or Cathedral Quarter.

What should you not miss in Belfast?

Attractions such as Titanic Belfast and Crumlin Road Gaol are unmissable experiences. Taking a Belfast Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour is a great way to see a lot in the city if you’re short on time.

How many days should you spend in Belfast?

The number of days you choose to spend in the city depends entirely on what you want to do while you’re here. If you only want to see the main attractions, you can do so in a couple of days. However, if you want to truly immerse yourself in the city’s life and culture, the amount of time you should spend here is limitless.

If you are visiting Belfast, you will find these articles really helpful:

Where to stay in Dublin

Top 10 hotels in Belfast City Centre

The 10 BEST family hotels in Belfast, Northern Ireland

The 10 BEST Hotels in Belfast, according to reviews

Pubs in Belfast

5 Traditional Irish Pubs in Belfast You Need To Experience

The BEST Guinness in Belfast: A Dubliner reveals the top 5 pubs for the black stuff

7 Belfast bars and pubs with the quirkiest names

10 Pubs: The Traditional Irish Pub Crawl in Belfast

Top 10 pubs and bars outside Belfast City Centre

Eating in Belfast

The 5 best restaurants for foodies in Belfast

Top 5 best restaurants in south Belfast

5 new restaurants in Belfast you NEED to know about

10 Amazing Vegetarian/Vegan-Friendly Restaurants and Cafes around Belfast

Top 10 places for afternoon tea in Belfast

The 5 best breakfast and brunch spots in Belfast

Belfast Itineraries

24 Hours in Belfast: A one-day itinerary in this great city

5 best day trips from Belfast (within a 2-hr drive)

Belfast to Giant’s Causeway: how to get there and key stops on the way

Understanding Belfast & its Attractions

10 fascinating facts about Belfast that you probably didn’t know

Belfast named in the top 10 places to visit this decade

5 reasons why you should visit Belfast in 2020

20 mad Belfast slang phrases that only make sense to locals

10 new developments which could make Belfast the best city in Ireland

£500m plan to regenerate Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter given green light

5 reasons to visit the James Connolly Visitor Centre in West Belfast

Cultural & Historical Belfast

A 360° Virtual Tour of 5 Iconic Spots in Belfast

The 5 most BEAUTIFUL buildings in Belfast 😍

Top 5 prettiest streets in Belfast

Titanic Belfast: everything you need to know before you visit

More Belfast Sightseeing

The 5 best and most scenic cycle routes in Belfast, RANKED

Top 3 best places for crazy golf in Belfast, RANKED

The ultimate 10 best walks in and around Belfast

5 things to do around Belfast which locals swear by

5 Fascinating Things You’ll Experience On A Belfast Black Taxi Tour

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