If you’re on the lookout for the best things to do in Dublin this weekend, you’ve landed in the right spot!
We’ve packed in a mix of tourist favourites and ‘hidden’ gems for you to have a nosey at. Dive on in!
The best things to do in Dublin
Now, we’d first like to recommend that you take every guide on what to do in Dublin (including this one) with a pinch of salt.
What one person things is amazing another may think is shi… you get the pictures. Here are our favourite places to visit in Dublin at any time of year!
1. The Dublin Mountains
If you’re looking for things to do in Dublin this weekend that’ll take you away from the hustle and bustle, point your nose in the direction of the Dublin Mountains.
They’re around a 30-minute spin from the city and there’s heaps of walks to tackle here. Our favourites are:
2. Kilmainham Gaol
Kilmainham Gaol opened in 1796 as the County Gaol (prison) for Dublin City and the wider county. It’s within its walls that leaders of the 1798, 1803, 1848,1867 and 1916 rebellions were detained.
Many members of the Irish Republican movement during the Anglo-Irish War (1919-21) were also held in Kilmainham Gaol.
The tour is fantastic from finish to end and the guides are knowledgable and entertaining in their delivery.
Note: As a visit to Kilmainham Gaol is one of the more popular things to do in Dublin, it’s often booked out days in advance.
3. Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin Cemetery and Gravedigger combo
So, this is a bit of a random combo, but bear with me. Out in Glasnevin, a stone’s throw from Dublin City Centre, you’ll find a fine way of whittling away an afternoon.
Kick start your visit with a saunter around the glorious National Botanic Gardens. The story of the gardens begins at the end of the 18th century and, nearly 200 years later, they’re still delighting locals and tourists alike.
When you’ve finished up, you’re a short ramble away from Glasnevin Cemetery, where you can discover the stories of 1.5+ million people on one of several tours (you could also do the nearby Croke Park tour, if you fancied).
To round off your visit to the area in style, take the short walk from Glasnevin to the Gravediggers – it’s here you’ll get some of the best Guinness in Dublin.
Related read: Check out our guide to 32 of the best things to do in Ireland in 2023
4. Marsh’s Library
You’ll find the oldest library in Ireland just behind St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, and it’s absolutely gorgeous (it’s also a bit of a hidden gem!).
Founded wayyyyy back in 1707, Marsh’s Library holds roughly 25,000 books and over 300 manuscripts.
As you wander around Marsh’s, keep an eye out for bullet holes in the bookcases, which were made during the Easter Rising when the hotel next door was being occupied. Over the years, Marsh’s has had a lot of famous visitors.
The likes of Bram Stoker, Jonathan Swift, and James Joyce have all spent time here, and you can see their signatures in the visitor ledger. This really is one of the most unique places to go in Dublin.
5. The Howth Cliff Walk
The Howth Cliff Walk is hard to beat when the weather’s good. You can get a DART directly from Dublin City Centre to Howth and the 5 trails kick-off from the village.
The trails range from 1.5 to 3.5 hours and vary massively in difficulty level. Each treats you to glorious coastal views throughout.
When you’ve finished your stroll, there’s plenty more things to do in Howth, or you can just take it handy with a post-walk-feed.
There are plenty of hikes near Dublin, but this one tends to be the most popular, so try and get here early if you can to avoid the crowds.
6. St Patrick’s and Christ Church Cathedral
St Patrick’s was founded in 1191 but construction on the current cathedral didn’t kick-off until around 1220 and took a good 40 years to finish!
Founded by the first bishop of Dublin and Sitriuc, Norse king of Dublin, Christ Church Cathedral dates back to around 1030.
Both structures are packed with history and they’re a handy option if you’re wondering what to do in Dublin when it rains!
7. Killiney Hill and surrounds
The Killiney Hill walk is another peach of a ramble that has an option to suit both fit and unfit walkers.
If you fancy a mini-hike, follow the 30-minute trail outlined here. If you want to avoid as much incline walking as possible, drive up to the main car park. The ‘summit’ is a short walk from there.
The views from Killiney Hill on a clear day are outstanding and you’ll be given a good eyeful of the surrounding city and county.
8. Trinity College
Arguably one of the best things to do in Dublin if you like to go off review scores online, Trinity College is well worth nipping into.
Trinity College was created by royal charter from Queen Elizabeth I in 1592 with the goal of ‘bringing prestige’ to Ireland at a time when many other European countries were also founding important centres of education.
9. Historic pubs
Dublin’s nightlife is hard to bate, once you know where to look (if you’re new to the city, try our self-guided Dublin pub crawl – you’ll visit some mighty old-school pubs).
In our guide to the best pubs in Dublin, you’ll find loads of old-school pubs worth nipping into.
If you fancy something a bit different, there’s everything from nightclubs to rooftop bars on offer. Here’s some guides to hop into:
- Pubs that do the best Guinness in Dublin
- 7 of the oldest pubs in Dublin
- The swankiest cocktail bars in Dublin
- The liveliest nightclubs in Dublin
- The coolest rooftop bars in Dublin
- The best beer gardens in Dublin
10. The many unique things to do in Dublin
There’s plenty of unique places to visit in Dublin, if you fancy stepping off the beaten path a little and dodging the crowds.
Here are our favourites:
- Bohernabreena Reservoir
- St. Audoen’s Church
- Ireland’s Eye
- St Michan’s Church
- The Marino Casino
- Sorrento Park
11. The Viking Splash
The Viking Splash Tour is one of the most popular fun things to do in Dublin City Centre, and you tend to see it (or hear it!) as you walk around the city.
The Viking Splash provides a nice quirky way to explore Dublin City from the comfort of a World War II amphibious vehicle.
These vehicles can travel on land and water, which means you’ll be spending the first half of the tour driving around the city and the second, yep you guessed it, on the water.
Related read: Check out our guide to the best free things to do in Dublin today (a mix of outdoor attractions and museums)
12. Poolbeg Lighthouse walk
The Poolbeg Lighthouse walk is another good option if you’d like to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a bit without having to stray too far off-the-beaten-path.
You’ll find the little red Poolbeg Lighthouse on the Great South Wall where it has been since 1768.
There are two different trails here – a long one, which kicks-off at Sandymount Strand (2.5 hours) and a short one, which starts from the car park on Pigeon House Road (1 hour).
The walks take you right out into Dublin Bay and offer some lovely coastal views (warning: dress sensibly – it gets very windy!).
Related read: Check out our guide on where to stay in Dublin (a guide to the different areas and neighbourhoods)
13. The Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour
The Hop-on Hop-off Tour of the city (affiliate link) is widely regarded as one of the best things to do in Dublin by visiting tourists.
It’s a handy way to get around without a car and it takes in many of the most popular attractions in Dublin, like St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Temple Bar and the Guinness Storehouse.
You can grab a 24 or a 48-hour ticket and it’ll set you back around €30. The reviews speak for themselves.
Related read: Check out our guide to the best spa hotels in Dublin (with something to suit most budgets)
If you’re wondering what to do in Dublin to discover the city’s Viking past, look no further than the Dublinia Tour. The tour here is one that has been recommended to me time and time again.
Those that embark upon it will meet the Vikings face to face while learning about life during the Medieval period in Dublin.
How the folks at Dublinia describe the tour: ‘Go back to Viking times in Dublin! See for yourself what life was like onboard a Viking warship. Learn of their long and challenging voyages, their weaponry and the skills of being a Viking warrior.’
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Dublin this weekend, the Dublinia tour is well worth doing. You can visit nearby Christ Church Cathedral when you’re done.
15. Dublin’s whiskey distilleries
If you’re looking for places to visit in Dublin with a group of friends, there are a handful of whiskey distilleries in Dublin who’s tours have racked up rave reviews online over the years.
16. Zipit Forest Adventures
Zipit is a forest adventure park where children and adults can climb high into the treetops, swing into cargo nets, and even ride a BMX across a bridge, before zipping down one of the many ziplines.
Now, if you’re looking for things to do in Dublin this weekend with kids, keep in mind that this is likely to only suit those that are a little bit older!
17. The Phoenix Park
If you fancy a day out with a difference, you can rent bikes at the main entrance of the park and zip around all of the various attractions.
You can stop off for coffee over at the Hole in the Wall pub, see the Papal Cross and admire Áras an Uachtaráin from afar.
If you’re on the hunt for places to go in Dublin a stone’s throw from a plethora of other attractions, get yourself here. Some other parks in the county work visiting are:
- Marlay Park
- Newbridge House
- Ardgillan Castle
- Iveagh Gardens
- St. Catherine’s Park
- Tymon Park
- St Anne’s Park
18. The Guinness Storehouse
Another one that’s widely considered to be one of the best things to do in Dublin by visiting tourists is the world-famous Guinness Storehouse.
You’ll find it standing proudly at St James’s Gate on the site where Arthur Guinness set up shop with a 9,000-year lease in 1759.
There are several tours that you can head off on here but, if you can, opt for the guided tour as you’ll get a better insight into the history of the factor.
The tour finishes with a pint in the Gravity Bar where you’ll be treated to a superb view over the city.
19. Dublin’s coastal towns
Dublin’s home to plenty of lovely seaside towns and villages that make a great day-trip-destination if you fancy getting away from the city.
Don’t limit yourself to the various things to do in Dublin City, hop on the DART and head off to one of the many towns and villages nearby. They might surprise you.
20. Malahide Castle
Malahide Castle is a handy 30-minute spin from Dublin City on the DART and the area is a great spot to spend a day.
The castle here dates to the 12th Century and it’s construction was ordered by Richard Talbot after he was given the land by King Henry II.
You can take a tour of the castle, explore the beautifully maintained grounds and then head into the village – there’s plenty of things to do in Malahide and there are heaps of great pubs and restaurants dotted around its village.
21. The EPIC Museum
Since 2016 the EPIC museum, which was recently crowned Europe’s leading tourist destination, has racked up rave reviews online.
It’s now one of the leading tourist attractions in Dublin and it has welcomed everyone from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to Justin Trudeau through its doors.
A visit to the EPIC museum takes you on a journey to uncover what it really means to be Irish. If you’re wondering what to do in Dublin this weekend, the EPIC Museum won’t disappoint.
22. Dublin Castle
The tour here, which is very often overlooked by those of us living in the capital, is arguably one of the best things to do in Dublin.
On it, you’ll listen as the experienced guides tell countless tales about everything from underground chambers to Medieval towers.
Dublin Castle was developed as a medieval fortress under the orders of King John of England and construction began in 1204 following the invasion of 1169.
23. A very overlooked food scene
If you’re wondering what to do in Dublin after a day spent exploring, or if you fancy a tasty breakfast or lunch, you’re in luck.
There’s countless great restaurants in Dublin, from Michelin Star restaurants and places for bottomless brunch to dive cafes and more. Here’s some guides to nip into:
- Bottomless brunch in Dublin
- Afternoon tea in Dublin
- Best breakfast in Dublin
- Best brunch in Dublin
- Michelin Star restaurants in Dublin
24. Chester Beatty Museum
The Chester Beatty Museum on the grounds of Dublin Castle is home to a treasure-trove of weird and wonderful artefacts.
It houses what was once the private library of Sir Alfred Chester Beatty and it is now a beacon for curious locals and tourists alike.
Having only visited here recently, I can’t begin to recommend this enough (it’s also one of the best free things to do in Dublin today, in our opinion).
25. Beautiful beaches
Some of the best places to visit in Dublin are the sandy stretches (and the ‘hidden’ swimming spots) that are dotted along its magnificent coastline, as you’ll discover in our guide to the best Dublin beaches.
- Seapoint Beach
- Donabate Beach
- Portmarnock Beach
- Howth Beach
- Killiney Beach
- The Forty Foot
- Vico Baths
Don’t fancy the sand? There’s plenty of swimming pools in Dublin too!
26. Dublin Bay Cruises
If you’re looking for unique things to do in Dublin today, one of the boat tours with Dublin Bay Cruises are well worth considering.
The trip from Dun Laoghaire to Howth is a firm favourite as there’s plenty of things to do in Dun Laoghaire before you leave and there’s loads of things to do in Howth when you land.
27. The Stella Theatre
Enjoy a unique cinema experience in the stylish Stella Theatre, which was carefully restored to reflect the glamour and glitz of the 1920s.
Kick back and watch one of the latest blockbuster releases or dive into a bit of nostalgia with an old-school classic. Swanky seats range from luxurious red armchairs and comfy sofas for two to big double beds that engulf the front row.
You can also grab a bite to eat from the comfort of your seat (that unintentionally rhymed and I’m delighted).
This is another very handy option if you’re wondering what to do in Dublin when it’s raining.
28. Endless family attractions
So, as the number of family-friendly activities in Dublin is almost endless, we’ve covered this in detail in our guide to things to do in Dublin with kids.
However, I’ll pop in some of the more popular things to do below, from Dublin Zoo to the fairy trails in some of the top parks in Dublin.
- Dublin Zoo
- Butler’s Chocolate Experience
- Mini golf in Dublin
- Awesome Walls Dublin
- Fort Lucan Adventureland
29. More notable Dublin attractions
Dublin City gets a bad aul rap. Sure, there’s plenty of areas to avoid in Dublin but, for the most part, the city’s a fine spot for a day out.
Although we’ve covered a fair bit above, that’s only scratching the surface. Here are some other tourist favourites:
- 14 Henrietta Street
- Ha’penny Bridge
- Little Museum of Dublin
- National History Museum
- Dublin architecture
- The National Gallery of Ireland
- Irish Museum of Modern Art
- Art galleries in Dublin
- St Stephen’s Green
- The Famine Memorial
- Merrion Square
- Temple Bar
- Molly Malone statue
- O’Connell monument
- The Spire
30. Day trips from Dublin
If you’ve ticked-off the various activities in Dunlin mentioned above and below and you fancy exploring some places near the city, you’ve loads to choose from.
- 30 mighty things to do in Wicklow
- 16 lovely walks in Wicklow
- 29 adventurous things to do in Meath
- 41 of the finest things to do in Louth
What to do in Dublin: Where have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant places to visit in Dublin in the guide above.
If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!
FAQs about what to see in Dublin
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What are the most unique activities in Dublin?’ to ‘I’m wondering what to do in Dublin at night?’.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
What are the best things to do in Dublin this weekend?
Our favourite places to visit in Dublin are the Dublin Mountains, Dalkey and/or Killiney, Howth and Dublin City, as there’s plenty to see and do.
What are the most unique places to visit in Dublin?
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Dublin this weekend, the likes of the kayak tours to Dalkey Island, St Michan’s Church and the Bohernabreena Reservoir are worth a look.
What are the best things to do in Dublin for free?
If you’re wondering what to do in Dublin for free, the various parks, the walks and the free museums mentioned above are a good start.
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