What to do in Belfast, from visiting contemporary art galleries to jazz bars

Despite being Northern Ireland’s largest city, Belfast is technically still a small city, making it the perfect place to wander around and soak up the eclectic atmosphere. It may be best known as the capital of Northern Ireland, but here’s something to bring to your next trivia session: it was also the birthplace of the Titanic, one of the most famous in history.

More recently, however, Belfast has become a bustling cultural destination, thanks to a bustling music scene, more galleries than you can see in a single visit, a rich history, dusk-to-dawn nightlife and world-class cuisine. first order. Below, we share how to experience the best of the evolving city – from what to do in Belfast to where to sleep, and more.

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How to get there

Belfast International Airport is a 30 minute drive from the city and is well served by regular bus schedules and taxis. Dublin Airport, another popular option for travellers, given the greater choice of international routes, is a two-hour drive away.

What to do in Belfast

No trip to Belfast is complete without falling into the Sea mileBelfast’s historic waterfront, and Titanic Belfast, a museum dedicated to the maritime heritage of the region. In the early 1900s, this area was home to one of the world’s largest shipbuilders (Harland and Wolff) who began construction of the Titanic in 1907, the largest man-made moving object in the world at the time. , right there. Sadly, we know how her maiden voyage ended, but visiting the birthplace of the mammoth ship is an experience in itself. The self-guided tour takes guests through nine interactive galleries where you’ll experience the real-life stories of the ship and learn more about the people who built her.

For history buffs, the offers of Belfast Taxi Tour are a great way to discover the city and learn about its turbulent history. There are a range of tours available, covering local politics and wall stainshas a game of thrones roundwhich takes guests on a journey to 25 of the series’ filming locations.

The exterior of the Metropolitan Arts Center (MAC)

Luke McCallum

Inside the MAC Library

Luke McCallum

If you prefer to get around on foot, head downtown to visit a community area popular with those who live in Belfast. St. George’s Market has been open as a market in one form or another since 1604. Don’t rush: it’s a great way to spend an afternoon getting to know the locals, many of whom have traded in this space for generations. Visit on a weekend and you’ll be treated to live musical performances.

Art lovers should take the time to visit the Metropolitan Arts Center in the bustling Cathedral Quarter. The MAC, as it’s called, has a great kids’ program if you’re traveling with toddlers. To continue the artistic visit, go to The golden thread gallery, Belfast’s leading contemporary visual arts gallery showcasing cutting-edge local and international artists. Exhibits change frequently – a recent exhibition highlighted outstanding feminist and queer photographic artists from the Belfast School of Art.

Where to eat in Belfast

For casual meals or a classic brunch, Cafe established in the Cathedral Quarter is known for its legendary “pie and drip” – probably the funniest way to say “coffee and pie”. There’s also a great brunch menu for those looking to start the day a little more traditionally (think eggs on sourdough toast, homemade granola, and honey-coconut porridge). Alternately, Neighborhood cafe on Donegall Street is housed in a stunning room with exposed brick, blond wood and industrial-style lighting – overall the space manages to straddle that fine line of being both airy and cozy at the same time . Brunch dishes include classics like French toast and scrambled eggs. Pizza lovers should make it a point to visit Pizza Flute, a slice shop in east Belfast where owner Peter Thompson creates Chicago-style deep pies with freshly ground flour. Just across the street you will find Crossing borders, a cooperative brewery managed and owned by its members. Enjoy a few beers in the new Taproom, which should open in late summer 2022.

Neighborhood cafe on Donegall Street

Neighborhood cafe

Mushroom toast at Neighborhood Café

Neighborhood cafe

Elsewhere in town, Ora Tapas serves up unexpected small plates, like marinated chili crab, marinated monkfish, confit baby back ribs and Manchego Caesar tacos. They may be a far cry from the Iberian delicacies you’d taste in Spain, but Ora confidently offers its own version. For a non-traditional snack, A special tea It’s where you’ll find chef Gemma Austin whipping up all sorts of magical dishes in her self-proclaimed “emporium of the imagination.” You can also opt for the six-course tasting menu with or without food and wine pairing. For a heartier meal, head east of town to lottiea contemporary brasserie with an avant-garde atmosphere and offering excellent pasta and grilled meats.

Mildred D. Field