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

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

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?

Belfast 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.

If you’re only going to visit Belfast 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 – for a beautiful stroll around Northern Ireland’s 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 is built on a beautiful estate outside the city centre that is surrounded by greenery.

It 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 a safe bet!

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

19. The Victoria Square Dome – 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 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 Belfast.

This impressive attraction is free to visit and can be easily accessed by lift or stairs.

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.

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.

Botanic Gardens is 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 Belfast 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!

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

17. Queen’s University – a beautiful university campus

Queen's University is a great place to visit in the city.

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

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
Credit: ssearenabelfast.com

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

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 the city of Belfast.

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

Kingspane Stadium is perfect for Ulster Rugby games, and one of the top things to see in Belfast.
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!

Address: 134 Mount Merrion Ave, Belfast BT6 0FT

14. C.S. Lewis Square – 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!

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 another of the top things to see in Belfast.
Credit: Tourism NI

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

This park is located on the edge of south Belfast 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.
Credit: seedheadarts.com

Belfast may be known for its political murals in areas outside the city centre, but in the heart of the 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 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, Belfast, BT1 2NB. More information can be found on their website: www.seedheadarts.com

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

Grabbing drinks in the Cathedral Quarter is one of the top things to see and do in Belfast.

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

This area of the centre, which is named after Belfast’s 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. Belfast Beer Bike – to experience the city on a beer bike

Belfast beer bikes are another of the best things to do in Belfast.
Credit: weetoasttours.com

If you are in Belfast 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…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: Amelia St, Belfast BT2 7GS

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 Cavehill 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.

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 and another of the best things to do in Belfast.

The River Lagan is a major river in Northern Ireland, and it runs right through the heart of Belfast.

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 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.
Credit: thepointsbelfast.com

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

Our suggested pub crawl would consist of The Points, The Crown Bar, 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 – for a unique view of the city from the ridge trail

The views from Divis and Black Mountain are truly one of the best things to do in Belfast.

If you are looking to find the best view of the city, look no further than Divis and the Black Mountain.

These imposing mountains rest in the heart of the Belfast Hills, which provide the backdrop to the city’s skyline.

This beautiful trail along the edge of Belfast’s hills starts at the main car park on the Divis Road. 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 to Belfast 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 another of the best things to do in Belfast, check it out.
Credit: Tourism NI

Another incredible view of Belfast 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 Belfast from different vantage points on the hillside.

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 Belfast in all its glory!

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 Titanic – the famous ship which tragically sank on its maiden voyage. Well, this legendary ship was built in Belfast, and the city is home to the world’s most substantial Titanic visitor experience!

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

Here 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!

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

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

Another of the best things to do in Belfast is St. George's Market for delicious food.
Credit: discovernorthernireland.com

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

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 is another of the best things to do in Belfast.

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 Cabs. They are really worth the trip if you want to understand the city of Belfast 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 best things to do in Belfast.
crumlin road gaol3

Possibly the best and most intriguing historical museum in Belfast is Crumlin Road Gaol.

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

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Stevie Haughey is an Irish author and entrepreneur from Belfast. Since starting Ireland Before You Die from his university bedroom in 2014, he has grown Ireland Before You Die to a website with over 1 million readers per month. In 2019, Stevie was nominated for Northern Ireland’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. He loves exploring Ireland and is enthusiastic about sharing his experiences with others. In his spare time, Stevie enjoys photography, sports and writing.