Belfast Bucket List – 20 Things You Have To Do In The City Before You Die
There's more to the capital of the North than an old wrecked boat...
Thinking of heading away for the weekend? Realistically, Belfast probably isn't too high on your list, but thriving restaurant and cultural scenes is making the city one of the coolest new tourist destinations in Ireland.
Brimming with history and with plenty of local characters to let you know about it, a weekend in Belfast will only leave you wanting to stay longer.
Here's our guide on what to do if you're heading to the Big(ish) Smoke any time soon.
1. Take a black taxi tour
The tours take you around several key parts of the city's troubled past and give you a great insight to what life was like at the height of the violence.
2. St George's Market
Head down towards the Waterfront and you'll find this quirky little market with an array of crafts and plenty of local cuisine to whet the appetite.
3. Go for a walk up Cavehill
Spectacular views of the city await you at the top of this trail, so you can see Belfast in all its glory.
4. Call in for a pint and a bowl of stew at Kelly's Cellars
Kelly's is one of the oldest and most traditional pubs and is located right in the city centre.
The best pint of Guinness in town and plenty of craic to be had with the rowdy regulars.
5. Take a stroll around Queen's and Botanic Gardens
Home to some of the most iconic buildings in the city, the Queen's area is heaving with students during term time and a picnic in the Botanic Gardens would make a perfect lunch date.
6. Visit the Titanic exhibition
After its 2012 opening, the Titanic Quarter has become one of Belfast's must-see exhibitions, telling the story of the ill-fated voyage suffered by the North's most famous and least successful export.
7. Have dinner at Chopin Grand Café
Located in the idyllic St Anne's Square, Chopin has top quality food at very reasonable prices, and you can bring your own beer and wine!
A perfect way to kick off a night on the town.
8. See a play at the MAC
The Metropolitan Arts Centre plays host to various arts exhibitions as well as some of the most talented local and not-so local theatre groups around.
9. Head to Muriel's for a cocktail
Boasting a wide range of liquor and vintage decor to satisfy all your hipster needs, Muriel's does some pretty special cocktails to get you in the mood for going out.
10. Enjoy live music at The Hudson
One of the coolest bars in Belfast at the moment, The Hudson has live music at weekends and a cracking atmosphere.
11. Go to an Ulster Rugby match
Ulster normally have Pro12 games every Friday night at the recently renamed Kingspan stadium, and established players such as Ruan Pienaar and Jared Payne provide plenty of action for you to follow. #SUFTUM
12. Take a trip to Belfast Castle
Located near Cave Hill, the castle and the surrounding area has fantastic views of the city, and the building itself is pretty spectacular.
13. Have lunch at Little Wing
As good a pizza as I have had, and that's coming from a guy who eats a lot of pizza.
Just go, you'll thank me.
14. Take advantage of free samples at the Bushmills Distillery
Despite not being to Jimmy McNulty's taste in The Wire, Bushmills is a pretty decent whiskey and with this tour you'll get to discover the history and process behind the making of it.
15. Visit Crumlin Road Gaol
The prison was closed down in 1996 and reopened as a museum and conference centre.
Events are regularly hosted in the building's spookiest areas, such as the execution cells and tunnels.
16. Relax with a pint in The Dirty Onion's beer garden
Smack bang in the middle of the Cathedral Quarter, the Dirty Onion is more appetising than it sounds.
It has an impressive beer garden which is perfect for lazy Sunday pints, when the sun actually manages to make an appearance.
17. Laugh your ballix off at The Empire's comedy night
The weekly comedy night on Botanic Avenue is frequented by local favourites, such as Colin Murphy and Jake O'Kane, as well as up-and-coming new comics.
Plenty of drinks offers to be had too, and it makes for a night of all-round great fun.
18. Treat yourself to an Ulster Fry
The best of all the fry-ups, start your day off with this plate of greasy goodness. Some of the best in Belfast include Maggie May's, Café Conor, and Bright's.
19. Do a Game of Thrones tour
Unless you've been living in a hedge the last number of years you'll know GoT is pretty much the biggest thing in the world ever, and Belfast plays host to a number of studios and filming sets that you can visit.
20. Finish your night at Lavery's
One of Belfast's nightlife institutions, Lavery's has stood the test of time to remain a regular spot for just about everyone.
The three bars are busy with students and regulars alike during the week, but the pool tables make way for a club night on a Saturday.