15 of the best things to do in Cardiff City Centre

There are tonnes of things to do in Cardiff, Wales. Whether you’re into history, a foodie, love your sport, or like the city bustle, there a plenty of good options throughout the day in Cardiff city centre.

Here are some of the best things to see and do in the Welsh capital, rain or shine, that will help you see the most of what Cardiff has to offer.

Visit Cardiff Castle

Located in the heart of the city, Cardiff castle is hard to miss and arguably the most popular tourist attraction in the city.

The castle was built in the late 11th century and is home to a Victorian palace, a banquet halls, a library, and a stone keep with a moat.

In recent years, the castle has been used for concerts, outdoor cinema, festivals, and events. So, if you’re not into history, there are great alternatives to experience a spectacular castle.

Interesting fact: The castle was actually used in the second world war as air raid shelters. 

Visit the Principality (Millennium) Stadium

The Principality stadium is a special place for a lot of locals. It’s home to their national treasure of rugby and is one of the best rugby stadiums in the world. 

Throughout the year you have great options to visit the stadium, whether it’s a stadium tour, seeing your favourite artist, or attending a rugby match, there is usually something big on here.

Alternatively, if you’re a huge rugby fan and there is no scheduled match, you can always check out Cardiff Arms Park next door which is home to the might Cardiff Blues.

Cardiff Markets

Is any city trip completed without a trip to some markets? Cardiff Markets have been around since 1891 and is a beautiful Victorian building.

Pop into the markets and choose from street food, locally sourced produce, arts and crafts, florists, fruit and veg, gifts, and a real look into the charm of Cardiff.

Spend the day at the National Museum 

The National Museum is a hidden treasure and has everything from archaeological artefacts to art galleries. Here you’ll see woolly mammoths, moon rock, meteorites, and art that dates back to the 1500s including artwork from Monet, Van Gogh, Jean-Francois Millet, and many more.

Being free and located right in the city centre, it’s a must see.

Visit Cardiff Museum

If you prefer something a little more interactive or are interested in the history of Cardiff then Cardiff Museum is probably better suited. Learn about the cities history along with artefacts provided by local residents and communities.

Before you visit we recommend looking at what exhibitions are planned.

Take a stroll in Bute Park

Located next to Cardiff Castle, Bute Park sits along the River Taff and is a great place for a stroll, especially when the suns out.

The park has a mixture of recreation, woodland, flowers, and is also home to the Sophia Gardens cricket ground.

If you need a break from the stroll, the Secret Garden cafe or Brewhouse are great spots for a refreshment.

Grab lunch or dinner 

Cardiff is well known for its wide range of bars and restaurants. There a plenty of places for a quick bite, sit down lunch, or dinner with drinks.

The most popular areas tend to be Mill Lane, St. Davids Centre, St. Mary’s Street, and Church Street, all within walking distance of one another.

Some popular spots with the locals include Pasture (Steak), Ty Madeira (Portuguese), Giovannis (Italian), and The Ivy.

Visit a cafe

Much like its bars and restaurants, Cardiff has some great cafe’s, perfect for a quick snack or coffee.

Some of our favourite independent cafes are Waterloo Tea, Uncommon Ground, Coffi Clwb, and Corner Coffee.

A few of these are located in Cardiff’s well known arcades and are a great spot to sit and watch the world go by.

Visit the world’s oldest record store

That’s right, Cardiff is home to the world’s oldest record store, Spillers Records. 

Home to vinyls and CD’s across all genres, it’s worth checking out, especially if you’re a music lover.

Fun fact: Spillers was saved in 2006 from a petition to prevent it from closing due to increasing rents and costs.

Head for a craft beer

Like most major cities, craft breweries are popping up all over the place and Cardiff is no exception.

Cardiff is home to some great craft breweries with four must visits located right in the heart of the city.

Tiny Rebel, Brewdog, Mad Dog Brewery, and Zero Degrees all in and around St. Mary’s street. The perfect spot for an afternoon beverage.

See a play at the New Theatre

The New Theatre has been holding shows and plays since the early 1800s and is a great way to spend the afternoon/evening.

Whether you like live music, plays, drama, musicals, or children’s shows, the New Theatre usually has a few things on each week.

Stroll through the arcades

Cardiff is home to beautiful Victorian arcades with over 100 stores combined including some great craft shops, independent and vintage clothing stores, quaint coffee shops, and is home to the friendly locals, a great way to experience Cardiff.

A lot of the coffee shops and Spillers above are both located in Cardiff’s many arcades.

If you’re looking for some arcade names then you’ll be looking for The Wyndham Arcade, High Street Arcade, Castle Arcade, Duke Street Arcade, and The Royal Arcade.

If you stumble upon The Old Arcade, then you’ll be at a pub, but it’s a good one.

Go shopping

Cardiff has become a popular shopping destination, especially since it was rebuilt in 2009.

The shopping centre is home to your household fashion brands, a food court, and is a great place to spend the day.

If you prefer your independent stores and are seeking something different then be sure to checkout the arcades we mentioned above.

Play some mini golf

Whilst there is only one place to play mini golf in the city centre, it’s a great way to break up the day or have some fun in and amongst your other activities.

Treetop Adventure Golf is located in the St. David’s Shopping Centre and has 18 holes, dining options, and a cafe.

You’ll probably need at least an hour here and it may be wise to book ahead.

Take in some history

Cardiff is home to a lot of history, some of which can be difficult to notice.

There are a number of spots worth visiting in the city:

  • Jones Court: This housed migrant workers in the early 19th century and are now being used as office space.
  • The Animal Wall, Cardiff Castle: If you’ve seen the castle, you may notice a wall with carved animals. This was carved back in 1891 with more animals added in the early 20th century.
  • War Memorials: The University gardens is home to a number of memorials including the Wales National War Memorial, Falkland Islands War Memorial, South African War Memorial, and Thalidomide Memorial.

On top of the list above, you’ll be sure to find interesting things to do in the city centre by just strolling around. Or, if you’re willing to travel outside of Cardiff, there are lots of activities in nearby Cardiff Bay, Penarth, Barry, and the South Wales Valleys.