Belfast's compact city centre curls around the undulating west bank of the River Lagan. Most points of interest are within easy walking distance of each other, and City Hall on Donegall Square is a good central landmark to use if you lose your bearings.
From City Hall, walk north along Donegall Place and Royal Ave if you want to hit the shops; go northeast to reach the recently redeveloped Cathedral Quarter and pedestrianised alleyways of the pub-filled Entries; keep heading northeast a little for the Albert Memorial Clocktower, dramatically backdropped by Samson and Goliath, the Harland & Wolff cranes on the east bank of the Lagan; go south down Dublin Rd for the Golden Mile entertainment area, Queen's University, Ulster Museum and Botanic Gardens; and to the east, follow Chichester St for the Waterfront Hall and Hilton Hotel.
The Westlink Motorway cuts off the centre from West Belfast, home to (Catholic) Falls Rd and (Protestant) Shankill Rd. Head to the Entries for character-filled pubs, the Golden Mile for restaurants and bars, and further south to the university area for accommodation.