Shopping in Belfast
When it comes to having high-end chain stores and boutiques, Belfast has the full complement of name brands than can be found in most any other UK and Irish cities. Beyond that, however, Belfast has its own set of unique places to shop and browse. They include the following:
(1) St. George's Market
St. George's Market is the largest indoor market in Northern Ireland and one of the prime tourist attractions in Belfast. It’s a great place to find unique arts and crafts, fascinating antiques as well as a wide range of food clothing and knick-knacks. There are also a number of great bargains here and a number of links that provide a glimpse into Belfast’s storied past. Located at 20 East Bridge St (Tels: 028 9043 5704 and 028 9033 6345), St. George's Market features farmers markets on Saturdays and a variety different markets on Tuesdays and Fridays. Operating hours are from 6am to 3pm.
(2) Smithfield Market
Located on Winetavern Street at the back of the Castle Court shopping centre, Smithfield Market is a virtual beehive of independent retail outlets. Savvy shoppers know that Smithfield Market offers a more authentic shopping experience and has much more of value to offer than the Castle Court shopping centre on nearby Royal Avenue.
(3) No Alibis
No Alibis is one of the best and finest independent bookstores anywhere in Northern Ireland or the Republic. It is a must-see venue, especially for fans of British, Irish and American crime fiction. Located at 83 Botanic Avenue (Tel: 9020 1261), No Alibis features a wide selection of books imported from the USA.
(4) The Wicker Man
For a wide selection of contemporary Irish crafts and glassware, silver jewellery and classic knitwear, The Wicker Man is an excellent choice. Located at 12 Donegall Arc (Tel: 028 9024 3550), The Wicker Man is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays to Wednesday and Fridays to Saturdays ad from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday. Interested parties may check out their website at http://www.thewickerman.co.uk.
For fans of sports and the great outdoors, the place to visit is Tiso, located at 12-14 Cornmarket (Tel: 028 9023 1230). There’s a wide range of equipment and accessories for hiking and climbing. If the weather permits, customers can also load up with their vast array of camping equipment. They also have lots of outdoor clothing for different conditions, whether it’s wet, windy or cold. Opening hours are from 9:30am to 5:30pm on Mondays, Tuesday, Fridays and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Interested parties may check out their website at http://www.tiso.co.uk.
(6) Archive's Antique Centre
If antiques are your cup of tea, Archive's Antique Centre is a treasure cove for all kinds of curios and collectibles. Located at 88 Donegall Pass (Tel: 028 9023 2383), Archive's Antique Centre has three floors of Irish silver, brass, pub memorabilia, military paraphernalia, books, light fittings and many delightful surprises. Opening hours are from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm, Mondays to Saturdays.
Craftworks offers a dazzling array of art and crafts as well as clothes fashioned from handmade textiles. Located at 40 Bedford St (Tel: 028 9024 4465), Craftworks is a showcase for the top-quality work from Ulster’s renowned craftsmen. There are also several rows of designer knitwear, linen shirts, leatherwear, ceramics, bodhráns (traditional goatskin drums) and jewellery. Opening hours are from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm on Mondays to Wednesdays and Fridays/Saturdays and 9:30 am to 8:30 pm on Thursdays.
(8) Cultúrlann MacAdam ÓFiaich
Music lovers must make a stop at Cultúrlann MacAdam ÓFiaich, located at 216 Falls Rd (Tel: 028 9023 9303) for its vast stock of traditional Irish music. The place also serves as an Irish-language specialist that can help you remember the words to “Four Green Fields” and the like so you can impress your friends at the pub with a perfect rendition of the old favorites.
(9) Fresh Garbage
The hip and sophisticated prince and princess of high society often troop to Fresh Garbage for their glamorous and gothic clothing and jewellery. Located at 24 Rosemary St (Tel: 028 9024 2350), Fresh Garbage specializes in Celtic designs rendered in Irish silver as well as a wide range of unique club wear and accessories. Opening hours are from 10:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. every day of the week, including Sundays.
(10) Oakland Antiques
There are about half a dozen antique shops on Donegall Pass and Oakland Antiques is the biggest of the lot. Located just east of Shaftesbury Square at 135 Donegall Pass (Tel: 028 9023 0176), Oakland Antiques showcases a wide array of silver, porcelain and clocks as well as a fine collection of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian furniture. Opening hours are from 10 am to 5:30 pm, Mondays to Saturdays.