What To Do & See In The Cathedral Quarter In Belfast

Christine Peasnell
8th September 2022

The historic Cathedral Quarter in Belfast is an attractive maze of cobblestone streets and refitted warehouses that now house everything from chic bars and beer gardens to trendy restaurants and shops. Once done admiring the bright and colourful street art by day, visitors will want to stay into the evening to enjoy the great clubs and buzzing nightlife. Let’s look at some of the best things to see and do in this area of Belfast.

15 Things To Do In Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter

The MAC Live

People say that Belfast is known for having a family-friendly, but unique culture and the MAC Live can only enhance this. The MAC centre is for everyone, with endless art exhibitions that are stationed here - but if you’re staying for longer than a week, why not check out a production that you’ll find nearly every week? The MAC Live is one of the best places to visit with a family for a quick day out, we strongly recommend it!

The MAC Live in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter

University of Atypical

Why not study for a degree at the University of Atypical? We’re kidding - but why not take a look around anyway? This organisation is known for empowering disabled artists, and the gallery has featured artwork from deaf artists since 1993. In 2012, they also introduced “Bounce”, an arts festival with acts, dancers, musicians and poets all with disabilities which makes the UoA a great place to visit. 

University of Atypical in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter

Afternoon Tea at the Merchant Hotel

Have you ever wanted to have afternoon tea and feel like you’re on the cast of Downton Abbey? Well, the Merchant Hotel can offer you that. In the grandest room of the Merchant, the afternoon tea packages feature the most stunning little cakes, sandwiches and of course tea to wash it all down. If you like to catch up with friends or family and want to enjoy yourself through afternoon tea - then we strongly suggest you visit!

Afternoon Tea at the Merchant Hotel in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter

Belfast Exposed

Belfast isn’t a bad place to visit, we’re not here to expose them - however, if you want to see all things pictures, then Belfast Exposed is the best place to go. This whole building and organization is dedicated to all things pictures, with exhibitions, videography and photography classes and much more, Belfast Exposed is a great place to visit if you want to get your snap on.

Belfast Exposed Gallery in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter

Golden Thread Gallery

Belfast is known for having some of the best galleries and exhibitions, but the Golden Thread Gallery is up there with one of the best. Although one of the smaller galleries, the GTG has artwork from the roof to the walls, and even outside of the building! You can learn all about art, the artists who paved the way and much more at the Golden Thread Gallery.

Golden Thread Gallery in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter

Listen at the Oh Yeah

The Oh Yeah centre is a dedicated music hub and registered charity in the heart of Belfast. Bursting with musical history and memorabilia, this hub is also a place for upcoming (and well-established) artists to come on in, play some music for the guests and leave again with no payment needed. This is a great place to experience a wide variety of music, and has plenty of activities to do - including a cafe!

The Oh Yeah Centre in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter

Visit The National - Belfast’s Biggest Beer Garden

If you’re someone who loves beer, then The National might be the place for you. Boasting the biggest beer garden in Belfast, this street bar has an amazing selection of beers and a massive beer garden for you and your family and friends to enjoy. Not to mention their wide variety of street food which looks unbelievable, and tastes even better! Why not enjoy an evening and visit the National when you’re stopping by.

The National's beer garden in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter

Duke of York - Belfast

Get in a wide range of cultures - this Irish Pub, called the Duke of York, in Belfast, is another great place to visit with family and friends (although maybe not the kids) to enjoy your night and enjoy a few drinks to catch up with everyone. This Irish pub is family-run and has some of the best drinks and food options around. Not to mention the beautiful nightlife, with neon signs and cobbled roads making it feel like a movie set.

The Duke of York in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter

Belfast Coffee Co.

Coffee lover? If so, then the Belfast Coffee Co. is an amazing place for you to visit and enjoy. With the smell of coffee within a 10-mile radius, this family-run Belfast coffee producer allows you to have a walk around and see how the coffee is made, as well as grab a bag for yourself. Why not try a roast at Belfast Coffee Co. and get a great kick and a long-lasting bag of coffee for the road?

The Belfast Coffee Co in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter

Buy locally made artwork at The Merchant

If you’ve been for your afternoon tea at The Merchant, then why not go buy yourself some stunning and very well-themed artwork at the hotel’s shop? Art Love at the Merchant is an art exhibition in itself, but you can buy the products and pieces at an affordable price and get a piece of history, and some memorabilia from your travels to Belfast. Swing by and take a look at some exquisite artwork.

Art Love at The Merchant in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter

Dine at the House of Zen

Like to feel Zen? Like to feel full up? Then the House of Zen is perfect for you. The House of Zen is a fine dining, Asian cuisine experience that you and some friends and family can enjoy. This super classy establishment doesn’t only look the part but serves some of the nicest looking food and drinks around, all at an affordable rate. If you want to experience true Asian cuisine at an affordable set-price menu rate - then the House of Zen is for you. 

House of Zen in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter

Visit Coppi

Food is arguably the best part of a holiday or adventure, and visiting Coppi, a contemporary Italian restaurant in the heart of Belfast should be on your list of activities. With a stunning building and very authentic vibes - the Coppi experience is like no other. Why go to Venice for top-notch Italian cuisine when you can go to Coppi and get the best of both worlds? 

Coppi in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter

Northern Ireland War Memorial Museum

Knowing about our past lets us shape our future and learning about Northern Ireland's role in World War II is a great way to learn about it. The NI War Memorial museum may not have many artefacts but is full to the brim with information on how Northern Ireland helped during the second world war, and is great for the family if you’re travelling with kids.

NI War Memorial Museum in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter

Learn about the Ulster Scots

The Ulster-Scots are a small group of people that came over from Scotland and settled in Ulster, with their descendants. The Lowland Scots were known to bring in a new language, music, sport, and religion that strayed away from Ulster tradition. Learn their language, religions and entertainment types and see how they differ from the standard culture in Ulster. 

Learn about the Ulster Scots in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter

Walk Around Belfast Cathedral

Belfast Cathedral is what makes Belfast a city, and this ma-hoo-sive cathedral is nothing short of stunning. If you like history, and appreciate the architecture of the early 1800s - then Belfast Cathedral is definitely a place to visit on your travels. It’s open to the public from 10:30 am to 16:00 pm, so you can spend plenty of time, or just fill in some time if you need to! 

Visit the cathedral in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter

Whether you like to dive into history, explore your foodie senses, have a quiet (or loud) drink or just take in the scenery, the Cathedral Quarter in Belfast has something for everyone. For more top spots around the city take a look at our guide to the best bars in Belfast, and whatever you decide to do, remember when you’re looking for somewhere to stay… just hoo it!

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