Belize City is located on the east coast of the Small nation of Belize, on a short peninsula that extends out into the Caribbean Sea. It was originally a Mayan city and then became the seat of British colonial rule, when Belize was known as British Honduras. Most people who think of Belize today only image the Cayes, the Mayan ruins, the jungle landscape, and the beach activities. Given all these, you can imagine there are plenty of things to do in Belize City.
It’s worth spending a day or two in this often-overlooked city. A tour of the city gives you a glimpse of the diversity of local cultures, and you can learn much about the history of Belize. This guide will show you seven must-see things to do in Belize City. Let’s see them!
7 Must-Tick Things to Do in Belize City
1. Museum of Belize
The Museum of Belize is located downtown at the corner of Gabourel and Hutson Streets and is one of the top things to do in Belize City. It occupies a colonial building that was originally built as a prison in 1857 and continued as Her Majesty’s Prison until 1998. It was then refurbished and opened as the Museum of Belize in 2002.
- In addition to a preserved jail cell, the first floor is exclusively for exhibits that document the history of Belize.
- The second floor has a permanent exhibit of Mayan artifacts and celebrates the history of Mayan civilization.
- The Museum is open Monday through Friday and admission is US $10.
2. Belize Supreme Court
The Supreme Court building, located in the center of the city, is an excellent example of British colonial style architecture. The original wooden building was destroyed by fire in 1918. The current concrete building was completed in 1926 and replicates the original.
- The most notable features are the four-sided clock tower and intricate iron staircase that leads to the second story veranda.
- The building is not open to the public. But it is worth a stop to enjoy the architecture, making it one of the must-see things to do in Belize City.
3. St. John’s Cathedral
St. John’s Cathedral was built in 1812 to be the headquarters of the Anglican Church in Central America. Today, it is the home of the Anglican Diocese of Belize. The cathedral is the oldest surviving site built by the English in Belize and ranks as one of the top things to do in Belize City.
- It is open seven days a week from 6:00 AM until 6:00 PM and there is no entrance fee.
- Don’t miss the antique pipe organ, the intricate stained-glass windows and the tombstones of early English colonists.
- The cathedral is located across from the House of Culture.
4. Baron Bliss Memorial and Fort George Lighthouse
Baron Bliss was an Englishman who became one of Belize’s greatest benefactors. The Baron spent the last several weeks of his life on his yacht in the waters off the coast of Belize. He became so enchanted with people that he left the majority of his fortune to the nation. He died on March 9, 1926, and March 9 is now a Belizean holiday, celebrated with a yacht regatta.
The money he left has been used to funded many infrastructure projects, a first theater, and a nursing school. A visit to the lighthouse and memorial are one of the top things to do in Belize City.
5. Government House (House of Culture)
This beautiful colonial mansion was built in 1814 and served as both the residence for the British Governor General and the administrative offices for the colonial government. It closed in 1996 for renovations and reopened in 1998 as a museum named the House of Culture.
- Visitors can see authentic colonial furniture and other household items, and exhibits by Belizean artists, making this one of the top things to do in Belize City.
- Baron Bliss’ yacht has been restored and sits on the property.
- The Institute of Social and Cultural Research is also located in the old mansion.
- The House of Culture is open daily, free of cost, from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
6. Battlefield Park
To get a true sense of local life, visit Battlefield Park on Albert Street near Regent Street. It was one of the first places used for public gatherings in the 1600’s and still today locals often gather to listen to political speeches.
- It is one of the top things to do in Belize City since the park was recently renovated with a new water fountain and brick and tile walkways.
- The Belize sign monument has become so popular that a new Belize sign has been built in the park.
- Vendors line the park and street corners, selling tropical fruits and homemade traditional Belizean dishes.
- Relax on a bench with a meal from one of the vendors and enjoy the people watching.
7. Belize Sign Monument
One of the must-see things to do in Belize City is a stop at the Belize Sign monument for a picture. As part of a community beautification project at ButtonWood Bay Park, large, colorful letters were installed spelling out Belize.
- The sign overlooks the ocean and is a great location for a photo.
- The sign became so popular with both locals and tourists that a second sign was lifted near the Baron Bliss Memorial, and now a third in Battlefield Park.
To Belize City!
As you can see, there is more to Belize than beaches and nature hikes. The country has a rich history, from the Mayans through British colonial rule and the slave trade to present day Belize. It is a mix of cultures and ethnic groups which is often missed by those who don’t make a stop in Belize City. The country has done an excellent job of preserving its history and making it available for all to learn and enjoy.
Take a stroll along Albert and Regent Streets to the waterfront and experience the vibrant local life. There are many hotels in the downtown area and it is easy to walk to the attractions mentioned above.
The images are from depositphotos.com.