Belfast’s entertainment scene is brimming with options ranging from opera right the way through to ice hockey. We have a lot to tell you about, so let’s crack on and begin with a bit of theatre.
Entertainment in Belfast
The Lyric Theatre is Belfast’s most popular full-time theatre and a shining beacon of the city’s world-class entertainment scene. You’ll find it near the Ulster Museum and the Botanic Gardens – two of our top activities in Belfast – overlooking the River Lagan. It’s fiercely dedicated to new writing, especially plays that tap into the beauty and complexity of Belfast’s local community. Over the years, The Lyric has premiered the works of playwrights including Stewart Parker and Marie Jones, and stellar names including Liam Neeson have graced its stage.
You will also want to check what’s on at the Grand Opera House on Great Victoria Street. This iconic theatre was the first listed building in Northern Ireland and stands as the country’s only theatre built by the prolific architect Frank Matcham, who brought stunning entertainment venues to every corner of the UK. Its beautiful auditorium has been described as the UK’s finest example of an Oriental-style theatre and it certainly makes for a bucket-list setting to see a show. The Grand Opera House curates a diverse programme of musicals, theatre, ballet and – of course – opera.
If you’re staying with us at our Belfast City Centre hotel, Waterfront Hall is conveniently located less than a ten-minute walk away in Lanyon Place. The enormous entertainment venue has a capacity of 2,250 and welcomes pretty much every form of the arts to its stage, as well as sporting events like the Northern Ireland Open, if any snooker fans are reading.
Lastly, there’s The MAC. The Metropolitan Arts Centre is one of the leading arts venues in Europe. It only has a single permanent exhibit, titled “The Permanent Present”, consisting of 400 metal wires which pierce The MAC’s foyer with a full spectrum of colour. The rest of its exhibition spaces are dedicated to a diverse programme of theatre, dance, visual art and experimental work. If you’re craving a bit of culture, make your way to the Cathedral Quarter and visit The MAC, you won’t regret it.
Grand Opera House
If you’re looking for ways to kill some time during your stay in Belfast then why not make your way to the cinema. The Odeon Belfast is a state-of-the-art 8-screen option in the city’s favourite shopping hub, Victoria Square. Alternatively, Odyssey Cinemas can be found in the same complex as the SSE Arena in the Titanic Quarter. It’s a fine cinema with a choice of classic and cult-favourite movies, as well as the latest blockbusters.
You can also pay a visit to the Movie House Cinema, which has two locations. The larger and more modern of the two can be found in the City Side Retail Park. It has heaps of free parking, which makes it perfect if you’re travelling from one of our Lisburn hotel or Carrickfergus hotel. The other location is on Dublin Road, a 5-minute walk from Great Victoria Street.
When it comes to live music, Belfast has some top-class venues up its sleeve, which range from enormous arenas to intimate indie bars. The biggest of the bunch is the 11,000 capacity SSE Arena Belfast. It’s part of the Odyssey Pavilion complex in the Titanic Quarter and home to the Belfast Giants ice hockey team. It books some of the biggest names in entertainment, ranging right the way through from Little Mix to Andrea Bocelli. See what’s on while you’re here in Belfast and stay with us at our Titanic Quarter Hotel, which is literally next door.
Belfast’s favourite live music venue is The Belfast Empire Music Hall on Botanic Avenue. It’s a legendary spot, sprawling across three floors, which hosts live entertainment seven days a week. Take a look at the gig list to see what takes your fancy. Even if nothing catches your eye, call in on a Tuesday for the supremely-popular Empire Laughs Back Comedy Club, which has had locals and tourists rolling in the aisles for more than 20 years.
Limelight is another highlight of Belfast’s music scene. It’s been booking great gigs since the 1980s. It also happens to host some of the best DJ nights in the city, with something on every day except Sunday. You’ll find it on Ormeau Avenue. You’ll also want to check out the alternative gigs at Voodoo on Fountain Street, and The Points on Dublin Road for Irish folk music every single night.
If you want to see some of the best sporting action in Northern Ireland, you have some top options in Belfast. First of all, you can make your way to the Kingspan Stadium to see the mighty Ulster Rugby. If you prefer football, head to Seaview to see the Crusaders F.C. play their home games in the NIFL Premiership. We’ve already mentioned that the SSE Arena is the home of the Belfast Giants. Seeing some ice hockey during your stay is highly recommended.