Where to Stay in Belfast (2020 • COOLEST Areas!)

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This guide covers where to stay in Belfast, our favorite places and things to do in Belfast, & the best hotels and hostels in each area!

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Belfast is an intriguing and under-explored capital city. It’s packed with character and history, great food and vibrant nightlife. Belfast is a fabulous destination for a quick city break, or as a base for further travels throughout Northern Ireland.

But, Belfast is a small city and not all of its neighbourhoods will be of interest for travellers. Which is exactly why I put together this insider’s guide for where to stay in Belfast.

Written by travellers for travellers, this guide breaks down the best neighbourhoods in Belfast by interest so you’ll be able to quickly find the best place to stay based on your travel needs.

So whether you want to party like a rock star, explore the culture trail, or find the cheapest bed in town – we’ve got you covered!

Let’s jump right to it. Here are our recommendations for where to stay in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

 

Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Belfast

 

In a hurry? Here’s my top neighborhood for first timers:

 
Central
As the name would suggest, central Belfast is the neighbourhood at the heart of the city. It’s a lively and vibrant area that welcomes travellers and tourists with its incredible architecture and rich history
 
Places to Visit:
  • Shop until you drop at the Victoria Square Shopping Centre
  • Taste some of the best food in town by taking a Belfast Food Tour
  • Visit the Titanic Memorial Garden

 

Where to Stay in Belfast

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Belfast.

 

Best Hostel in Belfast: Global Village

This is our top ratedhostel in Belfast. Situated in a 19th-century building, this hostel combines historic character with modern charm. It has a young and energetic staff, comfortable rooms and a beer garden/BBQ area. Enjoy a great selection of sightseeing, dining and nightlife options nearby.

View on HostelWorld

 

Best Airbnb in Belfast : Homey city pad

This homey city apartment is great for those wanting to get the most out of there time in Belfast. Complimentary tea and coffee is always a winner, and you’ve got full washing and cooking facilities. Easy links to the airport and train station make this a hassle-free choice.

View on Airbnb

 

Best Hotel in Belfast: Ten Square

Set at the centre of the city, this hotel provides easy access to Belfast’s best tourist attractions. It also has bars, restaurants and shops on its doorstep. This hotel offers comfortable rooms with modern amenities, like a mini bar and a refrigerator. You can also enjoy the on-site restaurant and bar.

View on Booking.com

 

Belfast Neighborhood Guide

Quick Summary: The Best Places to Stay in Belfast

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Central

  • As the name would suggest, central Belfast is the neighbourhood at the heart of the city. It’s a lively and vibrant area that welcomes travellers and tourists with its incredible architecture and rich history
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Queens Quarter

  • Queens Quarter is a lively and vibrant district located south of the city centre. It is set around the hallowed grounds of Queens University and is where you’ll find plenty of activities and attractions catering to students
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Central

  • Central Belfast is more than just history and culture. This downtown neighbourhood is also where you’ll find the best nightlife in the city
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The Cathedral Quarter

  • Travel slightly north of the city centre and you’ll find yourself in the Cathedral Quarter. Far and away the coolest neighbourhood in the city, the Cathedral Quarter is a haven for artists and creatives
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Titanic Quarter

  • The Titanic Quarter is one of the newest and most modern areas of Belfast
Check Top HostelCheck Top AirbnbCheck Top Hotel

 

Belfast is the capital and largest city in Northern Ireland.

For decades politically-motivated gun violence and bombings (also known as “The Troubles”) kept many people from travelling to the city. But since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, Belfast has emerged from the rubble as one of the safest cities in the UK.

Belfast is an excellent city to explore. Its compact city centre is bursting with history and culture, and it’s where you’ll find heritage landmarks nestled alongside lively bars, innovative restaurants, and charming museums.

The city covers an area of just 132.5 square kilometres. It is divided into four main areas, six districts and hundreds of smaller neighbourhoods.

This guide will highlight the must-see attractions and can’t miss activities in the best neighbourhoods in Belfast.

At the heart of the city is the central neighbourhood. Bursting with culture, architecture, food and drinks, this neighbourhood is a great place to stay if you’re looking to be at the centre of the action and close to the best nightlife.

Head south from here and you’ll arrive in the Queens Quarter. A lively student area, this neighbourhood is known for its vintage shops, quirky pubs and its great value accommodations.

Travel north through the city to the Cathedral Quarter. One of the coolest areas of the city, this neighbourhood boasts an artsy and cultural vibe thanks to its colourful murals, open-air festivals and its many food and drink options. A lot of the best Belfast Airbnbs are situated here.

And finally, across the River Lagan is the Titanic Quarter. This modern neighbourhood has a maritime theme. It’s where you’ll find great museums and historical attractions, as well as plenty of activities the whole family will love.

Still not sure where to stay in Belfast? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

 

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Belfast’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

Now, let’s take a look at the best neighbourhoods to stay in Belfast. Each is a little different from the last, so read each section carefully and pick the one that’s right for you!

 

1. Central – Where to stay in Belfast first time

As the name would suggest, central Belfast is the neighbourhood at the heart of the city. It’s a lively and vibrant area that welcomes travellers and tourists with its incredible architecture and rich history. It also boasts a great selection of traditional pubs, delicious restaurants, and charming attractions to enjoy. If you’re visiting Belfast for the first time, there’s no better place to stay than in the city centre.

For sightseers and shopaholics, this district is a must. Not only is it home to incredible attractions, like Belfast City Hall and the Linen Hall Library, but it’s also where you’ll find a variety of great shopping in the forms of the Golden Mile, Victoria Square and St. George’s Market.

Central, Belfast

 

Things to See and Do in Central

– Browse St. George’s Market.

– Catch a show at Ulster Hall.

– Enjoy bold but familiar flavours at Home Restaurant.

– Explore the collections at the Linen Hall Library, the oldest library in the city.

– Sample a delicious and famous Belfast burrito at Boojum.

– Shop until you drop at the Victoria Square Shopping Centre.

– Take a tour of Belfast City Hall.

– Taste some of the best food in town by taking a Belfast Food Tour.

– Touch the Big Fish, the Salmon of Knowledge, an iconic Belfast statue.

– Visit the Titanic Memorial Garden.

 

Best Budget Hotel in Central: One Sussex Place

This charming hotel is located in central Belfast. It’s close to the main railway station, top tourist attractions, and great bars and restaurants. This hotel has 12 guest rooms with a range of essential amenities, private bathrooms and comfortable beds. Guests can also enjoy free wifi throughout their stay.

View on Booking.com

 

Best Airbnb in Central: Homey city pad

This homey city apartment is great for those wanting to get the most out of there time in Belfast. Complimentary tea and coffee is always a winner, and you’ve got full washing and cooking facilities. Easy links to the airport and train station make this a hassle-free choice.

View on Airbnb

 

Best Hotel in Central: Ten Square

Set at the centre of the city, this hotel provides easy access to Belfast’s best tourist attractions. It also has bars, restaurants and shops on its doorstep. This hotel offers comfortable rooms with modern amenities, like a mini bar and a refrigerator. This is our pick for where to stay in central Belfast.

View on Booking.com

 

Best Hotel in Central: Hastings Grand Central Hotel

A fantastic location and a myriad of facilities are just two of the reasons we love this hotel. Located at the heart of the city, this hotel is a short walk to great options for dining, shopping and sightseeing. It has modern rooms, a 24-hour reception, and a laundry service is available.

View on Booking.com

 

2. Queens Quarter – Where to stay in Belfast on a budget

Queens Quarter is a lively and vibrant district located south of the city centre. It is set around the hallowed grounds of Queens University and is where you’ll find plenty of activities and attractions catering to students. From on-campus events to pub quiz nights, there’s plenty to see, do and enjoy in this fun and funky neighbourhood.

This laid-back and relaxed district is also where you’ll find the best selection of budget accommodation and bed and breakfast options in the city. It’s home to the majority of Belfast’s hostels as well as a vast array of affordable and good value hotels and short-term rentals. That’s why it’s our pick for where to stay in Belfast if you’re balling on a budget.

Queens Quarter, Belfast

 

Things to See and Do in Queens Quarter

– Drink craft brews at Cuckoo.

– Dine on delicious comfort food at Conor.

– Indulge in a monster milkshake at Maggie Mays.

– Wander throughout the Botanic Gardens.

– Explore the hallowed grounds of Queen’s University.

– Browse the modern masterpieces and exhibits at the Ulster Museum.

– Grab a pint and listen to great rock music at Elms Bar.

– Dance the night away at Shine.

– Laugh your head off at the Queen’s Comedy Club.

– Find your new favourite book at No Alibis Bookstore.

– Listen to great live music at The Belfast Empire.

– Visit Belfast’s oldest family-owned pub, Lavery’s Bar.

 

Best Hostel in Queens Quarter: Global Village

This hostel is our favourite place to stay in the Queens Quarter. Built in a 19th-century building, this hostel combines historic character with modern charm. It has a young and energetic staff, comfortable rooms and a beer garden/BBQ area. Enjoy a great selection of sightseeing, dining and nightlife options nearby.

View on HostelWorld

 

Best Airbnb in Queens Quarter: Stylish rooms at student prices

You’ll be kicking around campus town from this stylish little flat. Nestleing in with the students is a great way to keep costs down while staying relatively central, as you’ll find heaps off affordable eating (and boozing) options around.

View on Airbnb

 

Best Hotel in Queens Quarter: Dukes at Queens

Dukes at Queens offers exquisite accommodations at a great value. Conveniently located in the Queens Quarter, this hotel has plenty of restaurant and pubs nearby. Rooms are modern and luxurious, and each is outfitted with an en-suite bathroom. You’ll also enjoy free wifi and other great amenities.

View on Booking.com

 

Best Hotel in Queens Quarter: Ibis Belfast Queens Quarter

This three-star hotel is located in central Belfast, a short walk from both the core and the University. It provides comfortable and contemporary rooms with private bathrooms and coffee/tea facilities. You’ll enjoy free wifi and laundry facilities. There are also plenty of bars and restaurants nearby.

View on Booking.com

 

3. Central – Best area to stay in Belfast for nightlife

Central Belfast is more than just history and culture. This downtown neighbourhood is also where you’ll find the best nightlife in the city. From lively Irish pubs to vibrant clubs and stylish lounge bars, this neighbourhood is packed with after-dark action and adventure.

Love to eat? Well, central Belfast is for you! This neighbourhood is where you can sample everything from traditional Irish fare, like boxty and Irish stew, to world-class restaurants and innovative eateries. Trust us when we say your senses will be very excited by a stay in central Belfast.

central opera house belfast

source: Cenz07 (Shutterstock)

Things to See and Do in Central (NIGHTLIFE)

– Catch a performance at the Grand Opera House.

– Dig into delicious tacos and American fare at Bootleggers.

– Drink, dance and enjoy hot dogs at The Filthy Quarter.

– Eat, drink and be merry at The Dirty Onion.

– Enjoy a night at Kelly’s Cellars, a traditional Irish pub.

– Have a drink at the Europa, a hotel with the distinction of being the most bombed in Europe.

– Party all night long at Thompsons Garage.

– Sample urbane cocktails at unique The Perch Rooftop Bar.

– Sip cocktails and beers at The Crown Liquor Saloon.

– The Gypsy Lounge at Filthy McNasty’s

– Watch a fun show at the luxurious Cabaret Supperclub.

 

Best Budget Hotel in Central: Park Inn by Radisson Belfast

The Park Inn by Radisson is your best bet for budget accommodations in central Belfast. It is located in the city’s entertainment district with many restaurants, bars and shops nearby. This hotel offers modern rooms with comfortable amenities. There’s also a terrace, a gym and a bar to enjoy.

View on Booking.com

 

Best Airbnb in Central: Top end city living withouth breaking the bank

A perfect launching pad for a big night out. This super modern city apartment with good views is slap bang in the city center. You won’t find youself going very far for either good craig or good guinness.

View on Airbnb

 

Best Hotel in Central: Europa Hotel Belfast

This hotel is conveniently positioned for exploring Belfast. It is within walking distance of Sandy Row, Ulster Hall, tasty restaurants and bustling bars. Rooms are stylish and relaxing, and each comes complete with a private bathroom, a flat-screen TV, and an iPod docking station. This is our pick for where to stay in central Belfast.

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Best Hotel in Central: Hampton By Hilton Belfast

The Hampton by Hilton provides comfortable accommodation at the heart of Belfast. It boasts an in-house bar, and a delicious breakfast is served each morning. This hotel is comprised of 178 modern rooms with a vast array of features. Within walking distance, you’ll find a great selection of nightlife, dining and sightseeing options.

View on Booking.com

 

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4. The Cathedral Quarter – Coolest place to stay in Belfast

Travel slightly north of the city centre and you’ll find yourself in the Cathedral Quarter. Far and away the coolest neighbourhood in the city, the Cathedral Quarter is a haven for artists and creatives. It’s where you’ll find a vibrant arts scene, as well as colourful murals and iconic street art.

The Cathedral Quarter is also home to a good variety of restaurants, pubs, clubs, some of the best bars in Belfast as well as some of Belfast’s most popular LGBTQ haunts. It’s a neighbourhood that welcomes people from all walks of life to drink, dance and enjoy a great time.

The Cathedral Quarter, Belfast

 

Things to See and Do in The Cathedral Quarter

– Dance the night away at Kremlin, a Soviet-themed and Belfast’s largest LGBT nightclub.

– Drink at the Duke of York or John Hewitt, two of the oldest bars in the city.

– Eat tasty local cuisine at 21 Social.

– Explore the displays at the Northern Ireland War Memorial Museum.

– Grab a pint at the Sunflower Public House.

– Kick start your day at Established Coffee.

– Marvel at the spectacular Saint Anne’s Cathedral.

– Party until dawn at Boombox Belfast.

– See incredible works of contemporary art at MAC.

– Sip tasty cocktails at The Union Street Bar.

– Spend a night at lively Harp Bar.

 

Best Budget Hotel in The Cathedral Quarter: Ramada Encore Belfast City Centre

This stylish three-star hotel is located in central Belfast. It provides comfortable and modern accommodations within walking distance of top tourist attractions and shopping. This hotel offers charming rooms with movies-on-demand, private bathrooms, and tea/coffee machines. You’ll also enjoy unwinding at the in-house restaurants and lounge-bar.

View on Booking.com

 

Best Airbnb in The Cathedral Quarter: Contemporary apartment with cathedral views

Bask in the historical architecture and contemporary cultural highlights of Belfast’s Catherdal Quater from this spacious flat. Everything you need is provided here, from fast wifi, through too coffee machine, so you won’t have to put your life on hold while away if you don’t want too.

View on Airbnb

 

Best Hotel in The Cathedral Quarter: Bullitt Hotel

The Bullitt Hotel is our top choice for where to stay in the Cathedral Quarter. This fantastic four-star hotel offers air-conditioned rooms with refrigerators, cable/satellite channels, and beauty accessories. You’ll enjoy historic landmarks, top shopping and restaurants within walking distance.

View on Booking.com

 

Best Hotel in The Cathedral Quarter: Malmaison Belfast

Enjoy four-star luxury at this incredible Belfast hotel. Located in the Cathedral Quarter, this hotel is close to St Anne’s Cathedral, great shops and lively bars. Rooms have stylish décor, en-suite bathrooms, and coffee/tea supplies. They also offer 24-hour room service, free wifi, and babysitting services.

View on Booking.com

 

5. Titanic Quarter – Best neighbourhood in Belfast for families

The Titanic Quarter is one of the newest and most modern areas of Belfast.

Once known as Queen’s Island, this neighbourhood is a former shipyard best known for building the world-famous Titanic. Today, it’s home to some of Belfast’s most popular tourist attractions, including the Titanic Belfast, the world’s largest Titanic experience.

This vibrant quarter boasts a strong maritime theme. It’s a mixed-use space with commercial and residential areas, as well as entertainment venues, charming cafes, and great museums. Because there’s so much to see and do, the Titanic Quarter is our recommendation for where to stay in Belfast for families.

Titanic Quarter, Belfast

 

Things to See and Do in the Titanic Quarter

– Be entertained at the Odyssey Pavilion, where you’ll find activities for all ages.

– Catch the Belfast Giants ice hockey team in action at SSE Arena.

– Choose from a wide selection of sandwiches at the Paper Cup.

– Dine on one of the best brunches in town at The Newton Café Brunch Bar.

– Eat tasty foods at The Dock Café.

– Learn all about the Titanic’s tragic voyage at the Titanic Belfast, a massive interactive museum.

– Marvel at the more than 250 interactive science exhibits at W5.

– Savour delicious Irish dishes at Thyme.

– Walk Belfast’s Maritime Mile.

– Wander through the lush and expansive Victoria Park.

 

Best Hotel in Titanic Quarter: Premier Inn Belfast Titanic Quarter

This hotel is our pick for where to stay in the Titanic Quarter. It has 121 modern rooms with essential amenities and suites geared for families. It is close to top tourist attractions, as well as great eateries and pub. There’s also a delicious restaurant and a relaxing bar on-site.

View on Booking.com

 

Best Airbnb in the Titanic Quarter: You’ll have the condominium to yourself

This newly refurbished condo in Belfast’s fastest-growing quarter provides a lot of bang for your buck. You can immerse the kids in Belfast’s riveting (get it?) maritime history with ease from here, with a range of museums and ship tours in the quarter. Free parking and fast airport connections make this a pretty easy choice.

View on Airbnb

 

Best Hotel in the Titanic Quarter: Park Avenue Hotel

The Park Avenue Hotel boasts good-sized beds, a fantastic restaurant, and a bar perfect for unwinding after a long day of adventures. Built in the 1960s, this recently refurbished hotel has modern rooms with great amenities. They also provide 24-hour reception, as well as a ticket and tours service.

View on Booking.com

 

Best Hotel in Titanic Quarter: Titanic Hotel Belfast

A great location, wonderful staff, and delicious food, it’s no wonder we love this Belfast hotel. Located in the Titanic Quarter, this hotel is a short drive from Belfast city centre. It has 84 rooms with modern amenities and free wifi. Guests can also take advantage of babysitting services and luggage storage.

View on Booking.com

 

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Belfast

Belfast is a city packed with excitement and activity. It has great food, lively nightlife and plenty of things to see and do. It is much safer than in previous decades and is definitely a destination worth your time and hard-earned travel dollars.

In this post, we’ve looked at where to stay in Belfast. If you’re still not sure which neighbourhood is right for you, here’s a quick recap.

Central Belfast is our pick for the best neighbourhood with its vast array of things to see, do and eat, and Ten Square gets our vote for the best hotel in Belfast.

Our choice for the best hostel is Global Village in Queens Quarter thanks to its historic character, modern charm and fantastic location.

Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below.

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This guide covers where to stay in Belfast, our favorite places and things to do in Belfast, & the best hotels and hostels in each area!

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