Top 10 Things To Love In Brussels
Updated: Oct 6, 2018
1. Morning Markets
Everyday, 365 days out of the year Brussels has open air markets full of fresh fruits and veggies, cheese, desserts, clothing and more. Each neighborhood has their own market during the week and weekends have larger markets at common public spaces. Belgian Market culture gives you a great sense of the culture, people and even regional lingo. Every Thursday I go to the market right outside my apartment in Molenbeek and I always learn discover something new. And even better I spend only about 15- 20 euros to buy enough fruits and vegetables to last me an entire week!
2. The Grand Place
Of all the touristy places to see and hang out in, the Grand Place is one of my favorites.
When you walk through you see people of all ages and walks of life, just hanging out and enjoying the beautiful architecture. Its the most beautiful at night when the lights create an enchanting glow on each facade of the square. Throughout the year you will see Grand Place decorated for many specific festivals and holidays. During Christmas a huge Christmas tree goes up that really adds to the over decor and vibe. If you don't do ANYTHING else in Brussels, see the Grand Place at night. Just make sure you have enough space on your phone and be sure to use the panoramic setting to get a full view of the space
Belgium is well-known for many edible delicacies and fries are probably one of the most delicious. These salty piece of heaven are served with dozens of different sauces and often come served hand-held with a tiny fork for consumption. I recommend the popular Frituur called Fritland located right by Bourse in the center, a hop skip and barely a jump from the Grand Place. Ask of La Classique met/avec/with (insert favorite sauce here). I recommend the Andalouse sauce. Its creamy with a kick!
4. Belgian Chocolate (Duh!)
That good old-fashioned Cacao bean, that has stolen hears for centuries. Belgium specializes in AH-maz-ing chocolate of all types. I recommend going to the Nehaus Belgian Chocolate Outlet (Postweg 2, 1602 Sint-Pieters-Leeuw) where you can try about 50% of all the chocolate in store, like seriously. Take a large bottle of water and en empty stomach to enjoy the large selection of truffles, dark, milk & white chocolates as well as any fresh new creations. Their bulk boxes run you about 30 Euros for 1 and 50 euros for two! So go, take a friend, and remember that diabetes is real and kills. I find the BEST dark chocolate at a local organic market called De Biomarkt on Rue des Tanneurs. The cocoa butter they use is literally to die for.
Nehaus Belgian Chocolate Outlet
5. Public Transportation
Although it has its WTF moments, I appreciate the various means to get around the city. Not only is Brussels very walkable (the center is quite tiny once you really piece it together), but you can also use a tram, bus, or metro to get to anywhere within the city and beyond. Often times the different lines will overlap or follow along each other, which I greatly appreciate when I'm running behind on time. I do recommend leaving an extra 15 or so minutes early JUST to be sure you arrive to your destination, delays are very real in Brussels. But be re-assured that there are a number of options to get you to where you're going.
6. The People
Honestly, one of the main reasons I moved to Brussels is because of the people. Every Belgian I meet is always MAD cool. They were always and continue to be so friendly and open. If you have a question while out an about in the city, don't be afraid to ask someone. The official languages are French and Dutch (French is alot more common), but many people speak English. Most of the time the person understands and can help you.
If you take time to look up and beyond you can't help but notice the B-E-A-U-tiful Architecture in Brussels. Some cities have a great picturesque skyline while driving into the city, but Brussels beauty lies in the smaller crevices. The nooks and crannys of two cafes on a corner, or the winding roads of Little and Big Sablon. I recommend taking a good wonder around the city and just admire the old cobble roads, the the flat row of storefronts and the amazing murals around the city. All of these elements contribute to a city full of wonder and surprises.
8. Rue de Neuve
Located right in the center of Brussels is an epic street for shopping called Rue de Neuve. This street is a great mix of food, fashion, and function. Wanna get a healthy meal? Check out Exki (great vegan, vegetarian, and meatatarian options). Wanna see the latest styles? Check out Zara. Need a office supplies and home items? Check out HEMA. It's all there right on one street. There's even a mall with a food court and many many other stores. I suggest starting at Rogier at the end of the street and just taking a look around. You might just leave with sore legs and an empty wallet, lol.
9. Pedestrian Only Street
Not too long ago, Brussels decided to permanently close off a street to cars and make it pedestrian only. I'm assuming to promote shopping, fellowshipping at cafes, and overall easy access to the local businesses. I personally like this area to meet up with friends and enjoy the energy of the city. For example, after a visit to the Grand Place, you can stop by Fritland, and enjoy your saucy snack on the pedestrian only street while watching street dancers. And if you're lucky the sun might just be out that day to bring it all together.
10. The View from Museum Row
During my first visit to Brussels, I stumbled upon an amazing view from a row of museums that overlooks the center. The colorful lights, the nature, and the city all working harmoniously together to create an amazing and contemplative view. You might just catch a musician playing a relaxing tune while soaking in everything.