Londonderry also hosted its first Culture Night ahead of becoming UK City of Culture in 2013.
Many families came into both cities to enjoy the activities.
Sandra Randle and her four-year-old son Ben travelled to Belfast from Moira for the night.
“It’s wonderful, we’ve been in the Oh Yeah Music Centre and there was traditional music in the foyer, we were also in the Black Box where there was mask making for the kids, now we are going to the carnival,” she said.
Culture Night volunteer Viviene Gleason was delighted to see so many young people attending.
“It’s very important to get children involved in the arts and this gives everyone a chance to get involved. People think the arts are elite but they are for everybody.”
All sorts of weird and wonderful characters were to be seen across the city centre, from stilt- walkers to fire-throwers, circus performers and singers.
Belfast Youth Circus entranced audiences with their show There’s A Fly In My Soup.
Sarah Kelly of Belfast Circus School said: “It has been a huge success again this year, we had to turn people away.”
It was the same at the Belfast Telegraph, as hundreds of people came to see the printing press in action and tour the building.
Artist Lucas Dillon gave a performance of street art on a wall outside the Cotton Court in Belfast city centre.
“It’s about painting for the public and we have another wall that people can draw on as well so the public can get involved,” he said.
Four-year-old Oisin Maguire and his brother Michael (6) were keen to show off the masks they had made at an art workshop, as they enjoyed the night with family.
Critical Mass, a group of 40 cyclists, decided to pedal their way around the different events.
Group member Chris Norton said the cyclists usually meet on the last Friday of every month, but took the chance to get on their bikes and see Culture Night.
This was the second Culture Night to be held in Belfast.