Things to do in Belize City
1. No praying required at St. John’s Cathedral, built around 1812 by slaves brought from Africa by Europeans, but do visit for the history and beauty. Architecturally, St. John’s is an eclectic mix of European stained glass, carved mahogany pews, plantation-style shutters and there’s even an antique organ on site. Every red brick was brought to Belize City as sailing ship ballast and this church was such a monumental undertaking, it took eight years complete what’s now the oldest Anglican Church in Central America. When you visit, find time to stroll through Yarborough, Belize’s oldest cemetery, located nearby.
2. Visit the Tourism Village carved out along the Belize City harbor on Fort Street for an overview of what to see, do and experience while exploring Belize City and islands beyond the mainland. This development is loaded with shops, eateries, an Internet café and you can book all sorts of excursions and tours here, too. The buildings in the Tourism Village complex were designed in open-air fashion creating a welcoming neighborhood surrounded by plazas. Relax on a park bench and gaze out at the water if you’ve been on the go and need some down time. Local musicians show up and play on occasion. If you happen to be around when they do, enjoy the free concert.
3. If you’ve always wanted to see what a jail looks like, the Museum of Belize (MOB), located at 8 Gabourel Lane within the Central Bank Compound, offers that experience while giving you ample opportunity to admire the work of some of Belize’s most talented artists and artisans. Headquartered in an 1857 prison built by the British monarchy, this museum is home to eclectic art exhibitions, art classes and a lecture series that covers fascinating subjects related to Belize’s art, history and heritage. Don’t leave until you check out Belize’s earliest stamp (bearing an 1837 image of Queen Victoria) and view samples of unusual, indigenous Mayan art forms.
4. San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge is iconic. So is New York City’s Brooklyn Bridge. Wander over to Belize’s version of these landmarks: the Swing Bridge over Haulover Creek that separates north from south Belize City. On either side of the bridge discover lively markets, shopping centers and the city’s business district, but it’s the bridge that gives this community its personality: the Swing Bridge represents 100 years of history, it was designed and made in Liverpool and brought to Belize by ship. Engineers installed it in 1923 and it remains the only manually-operated bridge of this design in the world!
5. See Belize City from the air by taking an affordable helicopter ride lasting about half an hour—and what a view you will have of Belize from on high! Your pilot and tour guide will take you over many of the city’s landmarks—including those mentioned on this list—and your bird’s eye view will encompass the coastline, Belize Barrier Reef, tiny atolls and larger islands where tourists flock and ex-pats settle. These aerial views could introduce you to an area of Belize that’s not on your itinerary. Until you spot something from the air that intrigues you!
6. While you’re wandering Belize’s waterfront, don’t miss the Image Factory, located at 91 Front Street. It’s near the Caye Caulker Water Taxi Terminal which attracts lots of foot traffic–including fans of this quirky art gallery. Peruse the work of Belizean artists on display and if you happen to be around early in the month, you may be invited to an opening exhibition cocktail party where you can meet the artist and learn more about him or her. On every other day, enjoy cocktails on the Image Factory’s deck, browse the gift shop and do check out the book section. It’s one of the best in Belize City.