Belfast, NI

“I’m inspired by the way this city has changed since I first moved here 10 years ago. Belfast has a checkered history and people here have really embraced the arts as a means of expressing themselves outside of traditional politics. There’s a newfound confidence to the place and the arts scene is flourishing. It’s a small enough city that the musicians here know and support each other so it’s easy to be inspired by other local artists.”  — Alana Henderson

 

Curated by: Alana Henderson, Ciaran Lavery

city guide:
Belfast, NI
outdoors
Malin Head
"Quite literally the edge of the island."-Ciaran Lavery
Malin Head, County Donegal, Ireland
shopping
Octopus’s Garden – Vintage Clothing, Records and CD’s
"Lovely people, lovely range of clothes, nice vinyl. What is there not to like?"-Ciaran Lavery
11A Wellington Street, Belfast BT1 6HT, UK
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venue
Vicar Street
"It is iconic for a reason. Intimate enough to feel a part of something special and close enough to see ‘em sweat."-Ciaran Lavery
Vicar Street, Dublin, Ireland
hotel
McGrory’s Hotel Culdaff
This family-friendly hotel and restaurant is close to Culdaff Beach. The hotel offers rustic decorations and an enteric pub with live music.
Culdaff, Inishowen, Co. Donegal, Ireland
hotel
Clenaghans
Clenaghans is located six miles from Ciaran's outdoor go to spot, Lough Neagh. This pub-hotel combo is cozy and inviting with traditional architecture and antique furniture.  
48 Soldierstown Road, Aghalee, Craigavon BT67 0ES, UK
outdoors
Downings Beach
"Feels like standing on the edge of the world."-Ciaran Lavery
Donegal, Ireland
outdoors
Lough Neagh
"I love open water. It terrifies me and centers me all at once. It’s Ireland at its most postcard perfect."-Ciaran Lavery
Lurgan, United Kingdom
coffee
Love Coffee
Ciaran orders a flat white at Love Coffee. He says, "The owner Ben is a gentleman with a fine taste in music."-Ciaran Lavery
48 High Street, Lurgan, Craigavon BT66 8AU, UK
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bar
The Derryhirk Inn
"It’s my local bar, slightly out of reach from civilization & the law. Perfect."-Ciaran Lavery
Derryhirk Rd, Aghagallon, Craigavon BT67 0BD, UK
food
777
"The best Mexican food I’ve had outside of Texas."-Ciaran Lavery
Castle House, South Great George's Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
food
Coppi Restaurant
Cichetti, pizzetta, and risotto served in an industrial chic venue, with heavy wood tables and white tiles.
Unit 2 Saint Anne's Square, Cathedral Quarter, Belfast BT1 2LR, United Kingdom
food
Tony and Jen’s
Vegan-friendly restaurant in Belfast.
727 Lisburn Rd, Belfast BT9 7GU, UK
theater
Queen’s Film Theatre
The Queen's Film Theatre or QFT is a small independent cinema at Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland that was founded in 1968.
20 University Square, Belfast BT7 1PA, UK
bar
Duke of York
Classic pub down a cobbled alley with mirrored whiskey bar, old advertising signs, and live music.
7-11 Commercial Court, Belfast BT1 2NB, UK
shopping
Octopus’s Garden
"Lovely people, lovely range of clothes, nice vinyl. What is there not to like?"  —  Ciaran Lavery
11A Wellington Street, Belfast BT1 6HT, UK
food
Yügo
"A contemporary restaurant In Belfast city centre serves Asian fusion with a uniquely Irish twist. I’ll have the Crispy Chili Pork Dumplings with Soy & Garlic and 'Son in Law Egg,' but you honestly can’t go wrong! It’s best sampled with a group of friends so you can order the menu and try everything."  —  Alana Henderson
3 Wellington Street, Belfast BT1 6HT, UK
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bar
Sunflower Public House
"The Sunflower is a relic of Belfast’s past with its Troubles-era security cage still attached! It’s a hidden gem located on a backstreet and hosting an eclectic mix of great live music seven nights a week. There’s excellent wood-fired pizza in its grungy, colorful beer garden. The tap selection focuses on local brews; I’d opt for a Boundary stout from their brewery in East Belfast. They are also a dog-friendly establishment!"  — Alana Henderson
65 Union St, Belfast BT1 2JF, United Kingdom
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coffee
387 Ormeau Road
"It’s actually a Vegan Cafe and the food is great too, but I come back for the coffee. It’s a nice spot to sit and people watch or do a crossword. Americano, or a coconut milk flat-white if I’m feeling fancy."  — Alana Henderson
387 Ormeau Road, Belfast, United Kingdom
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hotel
Bullitt Hotel
"Bullitt’hotel, themed around the classic 1968 Steve McQueen film, is the no-frills little sister to Belfast’s super plush Merchant Hotel, but the standard is equally high. It’s perfectly located for exploring the city, just a few minutes walk to the cobbled cultural hub of the Cathedral-Quarter." — Alana Henderson
40a Church Ln, Belfast BT1 4QN, UK
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landmark
St. George’s Market
"St George's Market is the oldest surviving covered market on the island of Ireland. The stunning building with its elegant Victorian red-brick and green wrought-iron gates hosts a bustling weekend market that is one of my favorite weekend haunts."  —  Alana Henderson
12-20 East Bridge Street, Belfast BT1 3NQ, United Kingdom
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theater
The Black Box
"The Black Box is a cozy bar, venue, and a crucial hangout for the Belfast arts scene. It’s got an underground soul and maintains a packed program of left-field cabaret, film, theatre, art, and gigs. Of all the venues in Belfast, it’s the one I’ve performed in the most and it really feels like home."  —  Alana Henderson
18-22 Hill St, Belfast BT1 2LA, UK
bar
Union Street Bar
"Union Street Bar, a former Victorian shoe factory, plays host to Belfast’s best drag queens who host karaoke three nights a week as well as game shows, cabaret, and an infamous Sunday Bingo show. So good!"  —  Alana Henderson
8-14 Union St, Belfast BT1 2JF, UK
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shopping
Parici
"I've recently found a new favorite in Parici, an independent clothing boutique owned by Kathleen Metrope. Francophiles like me will adore this place for its luxe bohemian aesthetic, and wearable unique pieces by brands such as Mesdemoiselle Paris, Maison Scotch, Mexicana, and Intropia."
54 Upper Arthur St, Belfast BT1 4GJ, UK
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landmark
Cave Hill
"Cave Hill is my favorite place to escape the city and get some inspiration and perspective! It has an amazing panoramic view of Belfast, including the famous H&W cranes Samson & Goliath and the docks where the Titanic was built. Cave Hill was the inspiration for Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. Swift thought that it resembled a sleeping giant safeguarding the city."  —  Alana Henderson
Cavehill, United Kingdom
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coffee
The Pocket
Boutique cafe in Belfast that offers specialty coffees and hosts various cultural and community events.
69 University Road, Belfast BT7 1NF, UK
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outdoors
Botanic Gardens
Public garden established in 1928.  It is home to a large variety of exotic plants and trees, and hosts various cultural events on location.
College Park E, Belfast, United Kingdom
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shopping
Metropolitan Arts Centre
Arts space and performance venue that holds cultural events and workshops, as well as a shop selling local art and a cafe.
10 Exchange Street, Belfast BT1, United Kingdom
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shopping
Studio Souk
"Studio Souk sells and showcases the work of local artists and designers — purchase something unique to remind you of your stay." — Alana Henderson
60 - 62 Ann Street, Belfast BT1 4EG, United Kingdom
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coffee
Co Couture
"Refuel with the best Hot Chocolate on the island."  —  Alana Henderson
7 Chichester Street, Belfast BT1 4JA, United Kingdom
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outdoors
Lagan Meadows
"Lagan Meadows, a nature reserve, is mere minutes from the city center and you’ll see protected bird species and cows grazing along the riverside."  — Alana Henderson
Lagan Meadows, Belfast, United Kingdom
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