Top 12 Things To Do in Dublin [2023]: Top-Rated Attractions!

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Top 12 Things To Do in Dublin [2023]: Top-Rated Attractions!
We're about to spoil our secrets with the list of the 10 amazing things to do in Dublin, including commonly asked questions answered. Discover now!
Sarah Seward-Langdon
Blog Contributor
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Sarah is a contributor and part of the growth team at Pilot. Having visited and worked in over 30 countries before turning 30, she's an expert traveler who enjoys seeing new places, trying different cuisines, and upgrading her travel experiences with credit cards and points! When not globetrotting, you'll find Sarah binge-watching crime shows, learning dance choreography, and spending time with her dogs!

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I get it... Choosing what to do in Dublin, Ireland is a pretty challenging task!

It's Ireland's buzzing capital, is a traveler's dream—compact, walkable, and bursting with attractions for every kind of explorer. From historic landmarks to quirky hideouts, the city's got you covered.

Craving authentic Irish grub? You're in luck. Looking to dance the night away? Say no more. On a budget? There's a spot for you, too.

So wait no more! Dive into Dublin's legendary craic and make your trip unforgettable. Whether you're extending your European escapade or solely on an Irish adventure, I've put together your go-to guide for all things Dublin.

And no, we're not talking about Dublin in California or Ohio! This is the Dublin—the Irish gem you've been yearning to explore.

Stay tuned for the insider scoop on must-dos, top tips, and answers to your burning travel questions. Ready to unlock the best of Dublin? Let's go!

Top 12 Things to Do in Dublin, Ireland

Dublin city center is packed with impressive things to see and do… and that’s before you even factor in hidden gems, suburban delights, and places away from the typical tourist trail. So how the heck do you decide?

Well, you're in the right place! I think having an idea ahead of time, making a plan, and then being flexible is a great way to ensure you see everything to do in Dublin!

To help you, I've made a list of my top things to see and activities in Dublin, including things that appeal to different interests and types of travelers, as well as headline attractions and well-known sites.

And so, without further ado, these are my picks for the best things to see in Dublin:

12. Shop Till You Drop Along Grafton Street

Grafton Street isn't just a shopping district—it's an experience. Buzzing with street performers, artists, and musicians, the atmosphere feels like a year-round carnival.

Here you'll find everything from indie boutiques to designer flagships. Whether you're window shopping or splurging, this street will steal your heart.

Crowd at Grafton street at christmas time at night
Photo by Kevin Dowling on Unsplash

11. Marvel at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Stand in awe at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Ireland's largest Christian church. This architectural marvel is steeped in history and religious symbolism.

Discover the origins of the phrase "to chance your arm," visit Jonathan Swift's final resting place, and wander through tranquil gardens.

Exterior of St. Patrick's Cathedral, one of the top things to see in Dublin
Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

10. Observe the Animals at Dublin Zoo

Spending a day at Dublin Zoo is one of the top recommended things to do in Dublin with kids. So, if you're traveling with family, put this on your itinerary!

The zoo is home to many species of animals from around the planet, all housed in clean and spacious conditions. Some species are rare, and the zoo is an active player when it comes to education, conservation, and protection.

Creatures include lions, elephants, monkeys, meerkats, wolves, sea lions, and red pandas.

Red panda at the zoo in Dublin
Photo by Mauro Sbicego on Unsplash

9. Sample Black Gold at the Guinness Storehouse

Visiting the Guinness Storehouse is among the most popular things to do in Ireland. In fact, I would go so far as to call it one of the top Dublin attractions—at least for those of us who enjoy a beer.

Now this stop will be much more than just pitching back beer pints. Here, you'll learn all about the brewing history of the famous Irish drink, the black gold, and see how the perfect stout is created.

You can also see Guinness memorabilia from throughout the ages, watch machines in action, and gain a greater appreciation for one of the most well-known Irish things!

When you are ready to start throwing back beers, the tours end in a perfect place. You'll find yourself at the 7th-floor Gravity Bar where you can admire the city views while sipping on a glass of creamy Guinness.

Tip: You should also make time to visit the Jameson Distillery if you're a beer lover, or the Irish Whiskey Museum if you're a fan of Irish spirits!

Class of Guinness beer on a table in a bar
Photo by Vitalii Mazur on Unsplash

8. Visit St. Michan’s Church

Dublin is filled with churches, so you may wonder what makes St. Michan’s Church special.

The popular tourist attraction, although quaint, is pretty regular for a church. But once you descend into the crypt, you’ll discover one of the quirkiest things to see in Dublin...

Underneath the church lie mummified corpses and the coffins of infamous criminals. Definitely not for the faint-hearted!

3 skeletons in coffins
Photo by TripAdvisor

7. Thrift at Lucy's Lounge

You'll see this unique little store from miles away! Lucy's Lounge is a favorite among hip locals and has a bright pink exterior that makes it stand out among the stores in Temple Bar district.

Now you may just want to take some pictures in front of the cute exterior decor, but I recommend going in! Especially if you're into quirky, one-of-a-kind vintage finds.

Step inside this treasure trove and you'll be transported into a whimsical world filled with retro clothing, quirky knick-knacks, and old-school charm. Whether you're looking for a unique outfit or a special Dublin keepsake, Lucy's has you covered.

women shopping in lucy's lounge in dublin
Photo by Lucy's Lounge

6. Have Fun at Dublinia

Travel back to the Viking and medieval eras at the fascinating and engaging Dublinia. Among the most fun things to do in Dublin, Ireland, Dublinia has something to please all ages.

There are informative displays and exhibits as well as interactive activities to capture the imagination. It’s certainly a great place to learn more about Dublin in days gone by.

Exterior of Dublinia
Photo by Dublinia Facebook

5. Travel Back in Time at Kilmainham Gaol

Feel a chill as you tour the abandoned Kilmainham Gaol, once home to some of Ireland’s most notorious criminals. Walk along eerie open corridors and landings, peer into reconstructed cells, and learn about the harsh treatments endured by former prisoners.

It’s one of the top things to do in Dublin for history buffs as it really gives you a chilling glimpse into Ireland's turbulent history.

Inside of the Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin, Ireland
Photo by Yoav Aziz on Unsplash

4. Wander Along Love Lane

Looking for romance? Love Lane is your answer. It's also located in Temple Bar district—are you starting to get how popular this area is?

Love Lane is a vibrant alleyway with an art installation dedicated to love. Local Irish artisted have decked it out in hues of red and pink and themes of passion and tenderness. With love quotes about everything from love to loss to physical touch adorning the wall, it's the perfect backdrop for romantic selfies.

Photo by William Murphy on Flickr

3. Party at the Temple Bar Area

Temple Bar is the mecca for Dublin's nightlife, hosting Ireland's largest whiskey collection at its iconic red-fronted bar. You'll find that the lively area is completely built with the lively drinking establishment at its heart.

Dive into the rich culture of Irish music, drinks, and—of course—the irresistible craic. here’s plenty of fun to be found here, including trying various drinks, dancing the night away, and listening to traditional Irish music.

Fun fact: You’ll find the biggest collection of whiskeys in Ireland at this bar—that's more than 450!

Exterior of temple bar, a famous red bar in Dublin
Photo by Leonhard Niederwimmer on Unsplash

2. Make It a Day Trip: The Howth Cliff Walk

Looking for an escape from the city's hustle and bustle? I feel this list wouldn't be complete without mentioning the Howth Cliff Walk, your slice of coastal heaven.

Just a short train ride from the city center, this scenic walk offers breathtaking views of the Irish Sea and the Dublin Bay. Don't forget your camera—you'll want to capture the stunning vistas and maybe even a seal or two!

howth cliff in dublin, ireland
Photo by theverylastjedi on Unsplash

1. Join a Pub Crawl

End your Dublin days with the quintessential Irish experience—a pub crawl. Not just any pub crawl, but one that takes you through historic and iconic pubs where you can savor local brews, listen to live music, and engage in Irish storytelling.

It's not just about the drinks... It's about fully immersing yourself in Dublin's rich cultural tapestry. But the drinks don't hurt!

People enjoying a pub crawl in a pub
Photo by Victor Clime on Unsplash

Bonus: What Can You Do in Dublin for Free?

There are plenty of free things to do in Dublin—indeed, some of the best things to enjoy in the Irish capital won’t cost a single cent.

If you'd like to explore all that Dublin has to offer, why not check out some of the free walking tours in Dublin? They're all run by local guides who are filled with incredible local stories and experiences you won't hear anywhere else!

Dublin Museums

All government-run museums are free to enjoy. They include the fascinating Natural History Museum and the history-focused National Museum of Archaeology.

If creativity is more your thing, check out the contemporary collections in the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Or admire fine arts in the National Gallery of Ireland.

Make sure to include museums in your itinerary if you have the time! Museums in Dublin are filled with incredibly diverse artworks and artifacts that many travelers specifically fly to see!

Dublin Parks

Dublin has several pretty parks and open spaces where you can bask in the sunshine and enjoy a picnic.

St. Stephen’s Green has several memorials and statues, Phoenix Park is home to a large herd of deer, and the National Botanic Gardens is full of fragrant blooms.

There are also beautiful beaches on the outskirts of the city too.

People sitting on grass at St Stephen's Green
Photo by Derek Hudson on Wikimedia

Self-Guided Tours

Self-guided tours are a popular way to see the city, and I recommend them if you have a good sense of direction or just want to explore at your own pace.

Need some ideas? Here are some "themes" I think you'll enjoy if you decide to go on your own walking tour of Dublin:

Literary Dublin Walk

We may focus on a lot of English literary geniuses, but what about Dublin's literary greats? There are famous writers like James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, and Oscar Wilde.

If this is your jam, start at the Dublin Writers Museum, make your way to the James Joyce Centre, and don't forget to stop by Sweny’s Pharmacy, mentioned in Joyce's "Ulysses."

Historic Pubs of Dublin

Take a self-guided tour of some of Dublin’s most famous pubs—I've already mentioned some above. Remember to include the Temple Bar, O'Donoghue's, and The Brazen Head, Ireland's oldest pub.

I recommend you do this in the afternoon, although drinking before noon isn't frowned upon if you're on holiday. But, if you make this an afternoon/evening walk, you can sip a pint of Guinness and enjoy live traditional music, immersing yourself in local folklore.

The Viking and Medieval Dublin Tour

I've mentioned Vikings before. Did you know that Dublin was actually founded by Norsemen in the 9th century!?

From its early days as a Viking settlement to a bustling port, the city's got a warrior's share of hidden gems that transport you straight back to the age of longboats and battle axes.

Begin at the Dublinia Museum for an overview and then follow a trail through the medieval district. Visit Christ Church Cathedral and Dublin Castle and explore the remaining portions of the city's ancient walls.

Architectural Walk

Dublin showcases Georgian architecture, and a self-guided walk should include Merrion Square, Fitzwilliam Square, and St. Stephen’s Green. Don’t forget to admire the colorful doors that make these Georgian buildings unique.

Street Art Stroll

The area around Temple Bar and Smithfield is teeming with modern, colorful street art. Walk around to discover murals and sculptures that reflect Dublin's vibrant contemporary culture.

River Liffey Walk

Start at the Sean O'Casey Bridge and follow the River Liffey through the heart of the city. Visitors to Dublin must pass by the iconic Dublin landmarks like the Custom House and the Ha'penny Bridge.

Foodie Tour

Dublin has a burgeoning food scene that you can explore at your own leisure. Start at the Temple Bar Food Market to get a taste of some artisanal Irish products, then visit some of the city's innovative restaurants or classic fish-and-chip shops.

Other Free Dublin Attractions

Admire the neoclassical buildings alongside the cobblestone walkways of Trinity College, the oldest university in Ireland. While there you can stop by the Old Library Exhibition to see the Book of Kells, one of the world's most famous Medieval texts.

Join a free tour of the White House-inspired Aras an Uachtaráin, the official home of Ireland’s president.

Take scenic walks alongside the River Liffey. Or snap a picture of Molly Malone’s statue on Suffolk Street.

There are tons of cool things to do in Dublin for free!

Famous statue in Dublin, Ireland
Photo by TripAdvisor

FAQs When Planning a Trip to Dublin

What’s the Best Thing About Dublin?

With so many awesome sights and experiences, delicious food and drinks, and friendly people, it’s impossible to choose just one thing that’s fabulous about the Irish capital city.

If you're running short on time, you'll definitely want to visit some of the classic Dublin landmarks the city has to offer!

Plan your trip to discover your own favorite things about Dublin—I'm sure there will be many!

Is Dublin Safe?

With Dublin being one of the biggest tourist destinations in Ireland and Europe, the city is definitely considered a relatively safe place to visit.

Some common crimes include petty thefts and pickpocketing, so I'd would recommend being conscious of your belongings while you roam the streets of Dublin. I always travel with a fanny pack to keep valuables close to me and secure!

Here's a more comprehensive guide to know whether Dublin is safe for you to travel to.

Is Dublin Expensive for Tourists?

First, let’s talk costs. It’s pretty widely known that Dublin is one of the most expensive cities to live in in Europe. Living in Dublin costs more than in London as well as in other major cities in the Eurozone. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s also the most expensive city in Eire.

How about visiting the Irish capital, though? Dublin does, unfortunately, come out as the most expensive of the best places to visit in Ireland.

Food and drink are often significant chunks of change when exploring Dublin. Avoiding tourist-focused restaurants and bars can help in keeping the costs down.

Another option is to stay somewhere with self-catering facilities so that you can pick up cheap groceries and prepare at least some of your own meals. Hostels, anyone? Not only are they affordable and social, but you'll have a lot of fun staying in a hostel.

Mix and match free and paid attractions to fill your days and spend less, and walk or use public transport over catching a cab.

The good news is that most people only stay in the capital for a few days, so a trip really doesn’t need to break the bank. If you’re planning to stay longer or want to hit as many highlights as possible, a Dublin Pass can be really cost-effective.

Night view of the river by dublin ireland
Photo by Andrei Carina on Unsplash

Are 2 Days in Dublin Enough?

The length of time you spend in Dublin depends on your interests. You can see most of the city’s highlights in a few days at a hectic pace. You’ll also have time to experience live music come nighttime in a handful of Dublin’s famous pubs.

Of course, staying longer will allow you to explore more of Dublin city center at a more relaxed pace, but it’s perfectly possible to have a ball on a weekend city break.

If you'd like to maximize your trip to Dublin, make sure you're all caught up on how Dublin neighborhoods work! Picking which area to stay in can reduce travel time and maximize the specific activities or sights you'd like to see.

When is the Best Time to Visit Dublin?

In my opinion, the best time to visit Dublin is during the shoulder season, from May to June or September to October. I like the mix of fewer crowds and better prices, but still decent weather!

While these months offer benefits I value, each season in Dublin presents its own unique charm, and depending on your preferences, you may want to visit at another time of year. I've laid out what the seasons look like in Dublin with pros and cons for each:

High Season (June - August)

  • Pros: Warmest weather, long daylight hours, and bustling festivals.
  • Cons: Crowded, more expensive accommodation, and tourist attractions can be packed.

Shoulder Season (May, September, and October)

  • Pros: Milder weather, fewer crowds than high season, and still plenty of activities.
  • Cons: Slightly cooler temperatures, some attractions may have shorter opening hours.

Off-Season (November - April)

  • Pros: Fewer tourists, lower prices, and a more authentic experience.
  • Cons: Colder and wetter weather, shorter daylight hours, and some attractions might be closed.

Plan Your Dublin Vacation With Pilot

Now you’ve got a good idea of the must-see places to see in Dublin, Ireland, it’s time to start planning your getaway. Whether you’re traveling with mates, your lover, or your family, a good plan makes for a fantastic trip!

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Sarah Seward-Langdon Blog
Sarah Seward-Langdon
Blog Contributor
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Sarah is a contributor and part of the growth team at Pilot. Having visited and worked in over 30 countries before turning 30, she's an expert traveler who enjoys seeing new places, trying different cuisines, and upgrading her travel experiences with credit cards and points! When not globetrotting, you'll find Sarah binge-watching crime shows, learning dance choreography, and spending time with her dogs!

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