Belfast is the capital and largest city in Northern Ireland, and there are so many things to do in Belfast! Belfast is probably best known for being where the RMS Titanic was built as well as for the violence and suffering here during The Troubles in the later part of the 20th century.
However, today the city offers a lively historic city center, the famous Titanic Quarter, fun pubs, excellent museums, hundreds of street murals, beautiful gardens and green spaces, Victorian architecture, and a growing tourism industry. Belfast is perhaps not as well-known as Dublin to international travelers, but the reward of visiting here is a less crowded city where experiences feel more authentic.
We’ll share our guide to Belfast attractions, highlighting all the top things to do in Belfast, from central Belfast to the surrounding area. We’ll also share information about how to get there, when to go, public transport options, where to stay, day trip ideas, and other travel information.
Best time of year to visit Belfast?
The best time of year to visit depends a lot on what you want to do. If you are looking for the warmest weather, you’ll want to travel in summer between June and August. April is often the month with the least chance of rain, humidity, and crowds.
Our favourite times of year to travel in Northern Ireland are May, June, and September. The weather is generally decent, the days are long, and the attractions are not too crowded.
Although note that most attractions in Belfast are rarely that crowded. The exception is the attractions in the Titanic Quarter which can be pretty crowded in summer. Other popular sites in Northern Ireland like the Giant’s Causeway are also very busy in the summer months.
How many Days should I Spend in Belfast?
This depends primarily on how much time you have and what you want to do. But I would recommend spending at least 2 full days and nights in Belfast to get a good taste of the city (see our 2 day Belfast itinerary for ideas), although you can of course see a few highlights on a day trip or spend a full week in the city and not run out of things to do.
There are also several excellent day trips you can take from Belfast as well and we’ll highlight a few of these at the end of the article.
Top Things to do in Belfast: Central Belfast
There are many things to do in Belfast and many are conveniently located within central Belfast. We are roughly categorizing central Belfast as encompassing the areas that are often referred to as Belfast City Centre, the Cathedral Quarter, and the Linen Quarter. Once here, you can reach anything within this general area within a 20 minute walk or less.
The Belfast City Hall is the center point of the city and nearby is the Visit Belfast Welcome Centre, which is a great place to start your tour of the city. The Cathedral Quarter, named for St. Anne’s Cathedral, is the city’s historic trading quarter and is packed with Victorian architecture, cobbled streets, and quirky pubs and restaurants. The Linen Quarter is the area south of Belfast City Hall and was an area once dominated by the linen industry in the 19th century and includes a lot of old architecture, restaurants, and the Grand Opera House.