The best places to see live music in Belfast

Belfast is a city that’s famous for its love of live music, with a thriving scene that encompasses everything from traditional Irish folk to cutting-edge indie and electronic music. Whether you’re a fan of big-name acts or local bands, there’s something for everyone here. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the best places to see live music in Belfast, from historic venues to modern hotspots.

The Limelight

One of the most famous live music venues in Belfast is the Limelight, located in the heart of the city’s university district. The venue has a long and storied history, dating back to the 1980s when it was known as the Pound Club. Since then, it’s hosted some of the biggest names in music, including Nirvana, Oasis, and Arctic Monkeys.

These days, the Limelight is still going strong, with a diverse lineup that includes everything from punk and metal to hip-hop and electronic music. The venue is split into two separate rooms, the Limelight 1 and Limelight 2, which cater to different styles of music and different sized crowds.

Oh Yeah Music Centre

Another popular venue for live music in Belfast is the Oh Yeah Music Centre, located in the Cathedral Quarter. The center was established in 2007 to provide a space for local musicians and artists to showcase their work, and it’s quickly become one of the city’s premier cultural destinations.

The center hosts a range of events and activities throughout the year, including live music performances, film screenings, and workshops. It’s also home to a permanent exhibition that celebrates the history of music in Northern Ireland, from the early days of rock ‘n’ roll to the present day.

The Empire Music Hall

For those looking for a more traditional Irish music experience, the Empire Music Hall is a must-visit destination. The venue is located on Botanic Avenue and has been a fixture of Belfast’s live music scene since the 1980s. It’s known for its intimate atmosphere and its focus on local talent, with regular performances from up-and-coming musicians and established acts alike.

In addition to live music, the Empire also hosts regular comedy nights and other cultural events. The venue’s pub and restaurant also offer a range of food and drink options, making it the perfect place to spend an evening enjoying some great entertainment.

SSE Arena

For those looking for a larger, more arena-style experience, the SSE Arena is the place to be. This state-of-the-art venue is located in the Titanic Quarter and can accommodate up to 11,000 people. It’s played host to some of the biggest names in music, including Beyonc√©, Ed Sheeran, and Justin Timberlake.

In addition to music, the arena also hosts a range of other events, including sporting events and comedy shows. With its world-class facilities and unbeatable atmosphere, the SSE Arena is the perfect place to catch a big-name act in Belfast.

The Black Box

Located in the Cathedral Quarter, the Black Box is a versatile venue that offers a range of different experiences for music lovers. The space includes a main room that’s perfect for live music performances, as well as a smaller bar area that’s ideal for more intimate shows and events.

In addition to live music, the Black Box also hosts regular film screenings, theater performances, and other cultural events. With its welcoming atmosphere and diverse lineup, it’s a great place to discover new and emerging talent in Belfast’s music scene.


Belfast’s live music scene is vibrant and diverse, with a range of venues that cater to different styles and tastes. From the historic Limelight to the intimate Empire Music Hall, there’s something for everyone here. So, whether you’re a fan of big-name acts or local talent, be sure to check out these top venues when you’re in Belfast. You never know when you might discover your new favorite artist or band.

Other notable venues worth checking out include the Voodoo, a popular spot for indie and alternative music, and the Duke of York, a traditional Irish pub that features live music performances in a cozy, intimate setting. No matter where you go, you’re sure to find something to suit your musical tastes in this dynamic city.

In addition to these venues, Belfast also hosts a number of music festivals throughout the year, including the Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival, which celebrates the art of songwriting, and the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, which features a diverse range of music performances, as well as theater, comedy, and more.

If you’re planning a trip to Belfast and you’re a fan of live music, be sure to check out some of these top venues and festivals. Whether you’re into traditional Irish music or cutting-edge indie rock, there’s something for everyone here. So grab a pint, settle in, and get ready to experience the best of Belfast’s live music scene.

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