Being Irish, I was born and raised in Belfast, so I know the place extremely well. I often think that Belfast is underrated, and not enough people visit.
So to encourage you to witness the wonderful Irish charm that Belfast possesses, I’ve created a list of 30 fun things to do in Belfast.
Whilst visiting North America, I came to realize just how popular throwing an axe at a target is, and I'm happy that the trend has spread to Belfast.
Not only is it fun, unique and require some skill, it's a great form of couples therapy ;)
Check out Black Axe Throwing Belfast out for a super unique experience on your next trip.
Definitely more of the more unique fun thing to do in Belfast.
This jail was established in 1845 and closed its doors as a working prison in 1996. It’s a key part of the history in the Northern Ireland troubles.
During those 150 years, the Gaol has housed suffragettes, murderers, and loyalist and republican prisoners.
It has witnessed deaths, births, and marriages and has been the home to escapes, executions,hunger-strikes and riots.
It is truly a place bursting in history and a must-see destination in Belfast!
It’s £9 per adult if you book online (£12 if you buy at the door).
They do theme tours, especially at Halloween on their fright nights.
Stormont is home to our parliament buildings.
The building itself is beautiful!
It’s open to the public and it’s a beautiful walk to the top.
You can see it from different angles as it sits perched on top of a hill.
After you’ve made the walk you can pop into the coffee shop and grab a cup of tea and coffee and a homemade bun or pastry.
Belfast is bursting with a unique and sad history.
It’s important history and one that hasn’t fully resolved itself, despite best efforts.
Take an open top bus tour, or a black taxi cab and visit all the Belfast murals which are dotted around the city.
You’ll need a guide who can explain to you the meaning behind each picture and you’ll even get to visit the famous peace wall that was once used to divide up the two communities that live in the North of Ireland.
You will truly be fascinated by history, and don’t forget to ask lots of questions.
You can book onto these tours via GetYourGuide, or you will often find men in red coats in the city centre advertising the tours.
Bring an umbrella, it can rain even when it says it won’t in Northern Ireland.
Belfast has one of the best nightlife in all of Europe, and I am not just saying that!
It’s got something to suit absolutely everyone.
It’s got a thriving gay scene (With some amazing gay clubs), it’s got nightclubs galore, authentic Irish pubs with traditional Irish music, and much more.
The best way to experience the nightlife of Belfast is to arrange a pub crawl.
There are a variety of companies organizing one via tours online, or you can make your own.
So, if you decide to make your own, these I recommend a spot at these bars/clubs:
Botanic garden is a name you’ll hear once the sun shines in Belfast.
People flock to these beautiful gardens to enjoy a game of football, sunbathing, picnics or even a drink in the park.
It’s spacious and there are walking opportunities and beautiful flowers of course.
Its free to enter, and I think it’s a wonderful place to enjoy a picnic on a sunny day or a place to relax and cure your hangover of that pub crawl I just suggested above!
Read Also: What To Do In Ireland
Black Mountain is a national park area located about 20 minutes outside Belfast city centre.
It’s owned by the national trust and you can take a variety of walks around the mountain for free.
Parking is also free.
If you walk along the edge of the mountain you are greeted with amazing views over Belfast city and the surrounding areas.
For those who love hiking, then this is definitely one of the most fun things to do in Belfast.
Belfast is BURSTING with amazing shopping opportunities.
You’ve got the classic Castle Court which is filled with all the shops you need, including lots of great places to eat.
Castle street which has lots of other shops and home to the massive Primark.
There is also the upscale Victoria Square which is home to an array of designer shops, and TopShop, River Island and Build-a-Bear.
It’s also got an Odeon cinema and some of the best restaurants in Belfast, including TGI Fridays, Five Guys and much more.
W5 is located in the SSE arena, which was previously known as the Odyssey.
The Odyssey itself is a great place to explore since it’s got a brilliant bowling alley which is very cheap.
On Tuesdays, games are around £3 per game, and there is always some sort of discount deal on.
There is also a cinema here, which I will speak more about in my next point.
But it’s home to W5, which is a popular place for children, families and well, adults.
It’s definitely one of the unique fun things to do in Belfast.
It’s basically like an amazing interactive science museum.
You can learn so much whilst actually testing out scientific theories and playing games with over 250 interactive exhibits.
This one is hard to explain, but if you have children, then you can’t go to Belfast and not visit here!
Cost of entry is £8.10 for adult and £7.10 for a child.
They offer family discount tickets. Find out more here.
The Odyssey Cinemas Belfast offers a luxury cinema experience like no other.
If you find it’s raining outside, then treat yourself to a movie at the Odyssey cinema.
Upgrade to the VIP option and get extreme comfort in seats, free popcorn and a free drink in an intimate cinema setting.
A cute couples date idea!
Dundonald ice skating rink is located near Parliament buildings in the same direction.
It’s the only ice skating rink in Northern Ireland and Belfast and it’s a lot of fun.
It’s not expensive either.
So if you want to get your skates on, (one of the fun things to do in Belfast when it's raining), then head to Dundonald.
There is even a bowling alley here too so you can combine double the fun.
Prices start at £6 per adult, and if you want you could even get an ice skating lesson!
Check for more information on their website here.
Known for its picturesque setting and cobbled streets, many visitors find themselves at Cathedral Quarter at some stage during their Belfast city break.
There are a lot of amazing restaurants, brilliant bars and lots of craic.
It’s actually the best place to start off your pub crawl, or a great idea for things to do in Belfast for couples.
Have the perfect date night!
I’ve included some history of Cathedral Quarter and a guide to the bars and restaurants in the area here.
The Grand Opera House in Belfast is an iconic building, and it’s located next to the famous “Europa hotel”, which is famous for being the most bombed hotel in Europe, most bombed hotel in Europe" and the "most bombed hotel in the world" after having suffered 36 bomb attacks during the Troubles.
It’s a 4-star hotel that oozes luxury, and whilst I have never stayed here myself, I was here for an awards event and it was beautiful!
Anyway, the Grand Opera house is located next to it and it’s our equivalent of the theatre.
Lots of different shows tour here at various stages of the year.
Popular shows that have visited include, the Bodyguard, Chicago, Grease and every Christmas season there is a pantomime.
You can find out what’s on when you’re there here.
Belfast Castle is located on the slopes of Cavehill Country Park.
It’s a beautiful setting and offers stunning views over the city.
It’s no surprise that is one of the top things to do in Belfast and a highly popular site for weddings.
It’s a beautiful place to explore, then grab a bite to eat at the Cellar restaurant that’s located there.
Or you can enjoy a classic Irish beer.
Try and visit here on a dry day with no mist to get the best views.
St Georges Market is one of the best (if not the best) market in Belfast.
It offers an array of fantastic markets daily.
It was built between 1890 and 1896 and is one of the best markets in the UK and Ireland.
It holds a weekly Friday Variety Market, the City Food and Craft Market on Saturdays and the Sunday Market.
It also hosts a range of events throughout the year.
Make sure you visit this very fun thing to do in Belfast!
It’s easy to get there too: There is a free city centre and market link service runs every 10 minutes on Monday to Saturdays and every 20 minutes on Sundays.
No excuse really!
This is one of my ultimate favourite fun things to do in Belfast basically because it holds many fond memories for me.
Lady Dixon Park is best visited in Spring and Summer.
It’s famous for its beautiful surroundings, walks and it’s amazing rose gardens.
It’s a popular spot for wedding photos and when you see rose gardens you’ll see why!
There is also a little pond area that’s like hidden and it feels like “the secret garden”.
It’s truly a magical place and every year during summer the hold a “rose day” festival where there are little rides and puppet performances, so it’s a great place for families.
There is also a brilliant playpark and the ice cream van is always there to enjoy delicious ice cream.
This one of the best things to do in Belfast because it’s free! It’s also awesome.
I have fond memories of discovering dinosaurs and seeing Egyptian mummies, and that’s only some of the amazing things you can discover at this museum.
There is also a gift shop and cafe to enjoy after learning some amazing historical facts.
Belfast city hall is actually the backdrop of the Christmas market held there every winter, but it’s also very beautiful to visit on a general day.
You can wander inside or you can opt for an organised tour of the city hall and here some interesting history about Belfast and the role of the city hall during the troubles.
Zoos are often a controversial topic, but I visited the zoo in Belfast when I was younger and I have this memory of being stuck in the zoo during a storm, it was fun.
But anyway, Belfast zoo is very well maintained and the animals have lots of space.
It’s also perched on the hills so a lot of steep walking is required to visit.
You could easily spend a whole morning and afternoon here.
Entrance is £13 for an adult and £6.50 for children.
There is nothing quite like you’re own little Northern Irish road trip up the Antrim Coast.
It’s one of the most beautiful coastlines in Ireland and you’ll discover many castles and ruins along the way.
It will also take you to the Giants Causeway, so it’s a good way to rent a car and explore another side of Ireland just outside Belfast.
The Ulster Hall is not only a beautiful building both inside and out, but it is host to many concerts, comedians and shows throughout the year.
There is always something on at the Ulster Hall, so if you have an evening free, find a show that is on whilst you are there and make an evening of it.
You can check the Ulster Hall website to find out more about listings and timings.
This is a museum housed in a grand 18th-century public building showcasing the Irish linen industry and local history.
It’s actually located in Lisburn which is also considered a city (But it’s very small), that is only 15-20 minutes from Belfast.
Lisburn itself also has a shopping complex, cinema, bowling alley and swimming pool with slides, which is a perfect day out with children!
You can get a train from Lisburn to Belfast too and vice versa.
St Anne's Cathedral, or known to locals as Belfast Cathedral, is a Church of Ireland cathedral that is the beating heart of the famous Cathedral Quarter. The first foundation stone was built in 1899 on the old site of the St Anne’s parish church, and has since become one of Belfast’s iconic landmarks.
One of my favorite things about this church is its intricate neo-Romanesque architecture. Exploring its stained glasses, patterned floors and ceiling mosaics, it is difficult not to be entranced by this old-world charm.
There’s also an impressive Celtic Cross sculpture on the exterior, while the carefully laid arts and tapestries within tell a rich and stunning history.
It’s free to visit for a quiet prayer, and you can see this stunning church almost any time of the day. But we would check with their official website for any services.
Opened in 1849, Queen's University Belfast is perhaps one of the country’s most revered universities. Its research-intensive approach and prestige are not the only things of note here.
You can find it near the Botanic Gardens. And considering this is a student area, it is teeming with charming coffee shops, boutique stores, and indie entertainment centers!
The university grounds have over 250 buildings and flaunt some charming architecture that have attracted plenty of non-student visitors.
For instance, I would recommend seeing the Lanyon Building, the campus’ centerpiece that was named after its architect Charles Lanyon. Try taking a tour of this building to learn some fascinating stories. From the former circus ringmaster-slash-University Secretary, to a pioneering cardiologist.
I also find that the free Naughton Gallery has some interesting exhibitions - perfect for art lovers! Meanwhile, the Queen’s Film Theatre often has popular films playing too.
The HMS Caroline is a decommissioned cruiser of the Royal Navy and last surviving warship that fought the 1916 Battle of Jutland. Moored in the Alexandra Dock of Titanic Quarter, this museum offers free parking, a play park and picnic area.
It’s a family-friendly attraction where you can learn about sailors and the city’s maritime history. This ship was used as the Northern Ireland headquarters for the Navy during the Second World War. Then, it became a training ship.
Of course, it only became a floating mission after being decommissioned in 2011. The quayside is home to an exhibition space of personal stories. You can come on board to watch some impressive films and observe the restored cabins and deck areas.
Opening Times: 10am - 5pm
Are you a fan of nature who always appreciates a good walk? If so, then the Cave Hill Country Park is something you shouldn’t miss when in Belfast. Set along basalt cliffs that are home to five caves, this hiking trail is the perfect place to enjoy the cityscape from above.
Stretching over 4.5 miles, this path will take between 1.5 to 2 hours. You will cross moorlands, heaths and meadows and see some of the picturesque sceneries in this area. Feel free to stop by some of its archaeological sites, picnic spots, and ecotrails.
One of the must-see sites is McArts Fort, an old ráth perched on an elevation of 1,200 feet! It’s located on top of Napoleon’s Nose, which is an iconic natural feature visible from the streets of Belfast.
More impressively, the rumor is that this impressive landmark inspired Jonathan Swift in his most famous work, Gulliver’s Travels. Apparently he mistook the rock for the shape of a sleeping giant!
Opening Times: 7:30 am daily, closing time varies.
Oh, the Giants Causeway, the mystical place of Ireland, the story of the Giant and the beautiful natural phenomenon.
I don’t want to give away the story of the Giants Causeway, because that’s part of the fun of it!
But when you go, you’ll fall in love. Wear your best walking shoes as it can be slippery and there are some beautiful walks and trails to take.
It’s actually free to enter the Giants Causeway itself, but you can pay extra to get an audio guide.
I definitely think it’s worth hearing the audio guide as you get to learn so much about the area!
I’ve been about 12 times, and I did the audio guide once and it truly gave me another meaning to the experience.
I love the Giant’s Causeway, it’s one of my favourite places in Northern Ireland.
It’s located on the Antrim Coast, and while you are there you could take a tour of the Bushmills Whiskey Factory (if that’s your thing!)
Go there via organised tour, or rent a car for the day and see this site and the other sites I am going to list below.
When I was 10 years old I moved from the bustling Belfast to the peaceful Mourne Mountains in Co Down.
I lived in an area called Castlewellan (which is worth a visit for its peace maze which is the largest in Europe!)
But Newcastle is where I worked for about 8 years. Newcastle is a coastal town bursting with charm and wonderful people.
Head down early, catch breakfast, walk along the beach (if it’s sunny, actually swim in the sea), then head for a walk up the Mourne Mountains and witness of the best beauty Ireland has to offer.
There are arcades, 2 outdoor swimming pools and lots of amazing bars for you to visit, so it’s even worth staying a night if you wish.
If you’re interested, I worked in a place called “Broadway Cafe” which offers an American vibe with American style cuisine (massive portions!). So if you want somewhere to eat, head there! They are well known for the delicious homemade chips.
You can take the bus to Newcastle from Belfast bus station, or get a taxi if you wish.
Northern Ireland is one of the key filming spots of the hit TV show Game of Thrones (which you NEED to watch if you haven't yet!)
I took him to a few spots including the Dark Hedges, which was very pretty (As you can see below!), but I’ve included an article that locates all the Game of Thrones sites for you.
You could easily spend a day doing this!
This is a great tour that combines the Giant's causeway too.
This rope bridge is another picture perfect place to visit.
If the weather is really bad then they tend to close it. It doesn’t cost to go visit the rope bridge, but it costs to cross it.
It’s a rickety ole rope bridge, but it’s not very long so I wouldn’t be afraid.
It’s a very beautiful site, and I recommend grabbing some drone footage here!
Belfast has lots of brilliant hotels. And I've stayed in quite a few of them, the Hilton, Ibis, Jurys Inn, Holiday Inn, etc but my most recent stay was in the Maldron which is a budget friendly, 4 star hotel that is honestly in the perfect location for the perfect price!
Read Also: Where To Stay In Belfast
In Belfast the main forms of transport are walking, buses (also known as gliders) and car/taxi.
Uber is available in Belfast City and it's reasonable so I always recommend using that.
We also have a train system, but not a great one.
You can however get trains to Lisburn, Bangor (another cool coastal town), and even Dublin if you fancy a day trip down to the South of Ireland.
The main bus and train company is called "Translink" and you can buy tickets from machines via card or on the bus via cash.
Please have correct change or bus drivers can be grumpy.
Read Also: How To Travel Around Ireland
You can easily get to Belfast via flights.
There are multiple flights from all across the world that enter Belfast city airport or Belfast International airport.
Popular airlines include Ryanair, Easyjet and Aer Lingus.
You can also get to Belfast via ferry from England, Scotland and Wales.
Try Skyscanner for the best prices.
Whether you fly to Belfast City, Belfast International or even Dublin, you can easily get buses to and from the airport.
They all leave regularly from the Europa bus station, which is them main bus terminal is Belfast.
Taxis are also an option but honestly are ovepriced so I would just suggest getting the bus.
There are also car rental desks at the airport if you do decide to rent your own car for your trip. Driving in Belfast isn't complicated.
Read Also: Our Guide To Hiring A Campervan In Ireland
Belfast is truly wonderful all year round.
So I wouldn’t say there is a “best time” to visit.
Summer is great for outdoor festivals and concerts, food fairs, and some decent weather every now and again.
Autumn is great for beautiful autumn scenery and colours, Winter is the home of the Belfast Christmas market, which truly brings Belfast to life. (I’ve been going with my dad and sister every year since it started!), and Spring brings pleasant walks and much more.
Belfast is the perfect place for a city break. I would recommend giving yourself 3 nights for a trip to Belfast.
You should be able to experience all the best highlights, but you could easily stretch this to longer and experience even more.
There are lots of great places located just 40 minutes to an hour outside Belfast such as the Giants Causeway, which is well worth seeing.
So there you have it, my ultimate guide on the 30 most fun things to do in Belfast (and beyond!). Belfast truly is a city where you will never go bored.
There is always so much to do, and I’ve not even listed everything.
If you’ve got any more suggestions you think I should add to the list then let me know.