neighborhood in Brussels, Belgium
Europe > Benelux > Belgium > Brussels > Brussels/Centre

The Centre is the historic centre of Brussels, including the world's most beautiful town square, the Grand Place which is listed as WV-Unesco-icon-small.svg UNESCO World Heritage site.

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Map of Brussels/Centre

 
Grand Place-Grote Markt, Brussels
  • 1 Grand Place (Grote Markt) (  Central Station,    1   5   Central Station or De Brouckère). 24/7. Surrounded by the city tower and a range of beautiful 300-year-old buildings. In the evening, lit by bright illumination, it is simply ravishing. Some evenings a music and light show is provided with the buildings serving as a canvas. Have a "gaufre de Liège-Luikse wafel" here (Belgian waffle with caramelized sugar) — the best ones are available from the little shops off the northeast corner of the Grand Place. It is a   UNESCO World Heritage site. Free.    
  • 2 City Hall (Stadhuis), Grote Markt. The oldest part of the present Town Hall is its east wing (to the right when facing the front). This wing, together with a shorter belfry, was built and completed in 1420 under direction of Jacob van Thienen. Initially, future expansion of the building was not foreseen, however, the admission of the craft guilds into the traditionally patrician city government apparently spurred interest in providing more room the building. As a result, a second, somewhat longer wing was built on to the existing structure, with Charles the Bold laying its first stone in 1444. This left wing was built by Guillaume de Voghel who in 1452 also built the Magna Aula at the Coudenberg. The facade is decorated with numerous statues representing nobles, saints, and allegorical figures. The present sculptures are reproductions; the originals have been moved to the city museum. The 96-meter tall tower in Brabantine Gothic style emerged from the plans of Jan van Ruysbroek, the court architect of Philip the Good. By 1454 this tower replacing the older belfry was completed. Above the roof of the Town Hall, the square tower body narrows to a lavishly pinnacled octagonal openwork. Atop the spire stands a 5-meter tall gilt metal statue of the archangel Michael, patron saint of Brussels, slaying a dragon or devil. The tower, its front archway and the main building facade are conspicuously off centre relative to one another. According to legend, the architect upon discovering this "error" leaped to his death from the tower. More likely, the asymmetry of the Town Hall was an accepted consequence of the scattered construction history and space constraints. After the bombardment of Brussels in 1695 by a French army under the Duke of Villeroi, the resulting fire completely gutted the Town Hall, destroying the archives and the art collections. The interior was soon rebuilt, and the addition of two rear wings transformed the L-shaped building into its present configuration: a quadrilateral with an inner courtyard completed by Corneille Van Nerven in 1712. The Gothic interior was revised by Victor Jamar in 1868 in the style of his mentor Viollet-le-Duc. The halls have been replenished with tapestries, paintings, and sculptures, largely representing subjects of importance in local and regional history. The Town Hall accommodated not only the municipal authorities of the city, but until 1795 also the States of Brabant. In 1830, a provisional government assembled here during the attempt of the Third French Revolution which provoked the separation of the Southern Netherlands from the Northern Netherlands, resulting in the formation of Belgium as is known now. At the start of World War I, as refugees flooded Brussels, Town Hall served as a makeshift hospital. On 20 August 1914, the occupying German army arrived at the Grand Place and hoisted a German flag at the left side of the Town Hall. The Town Hall has been designated a historic monument since 9 March 1936.    
  • 3 King's House (Broodhuis), Grote Markt. A 19th-century building hosting the Brussels City Museum, with an extensive collection items of the city's history. The Dutch name Broodhuis (literally bread house) dates from the 13th century, when a wooden hut existed on the grand place where bakers sold their bread. It was replaced by a stone building in 1405, but at the beginning of the 15th century it was gradually abandoned when bakers started selling their wares door to door. The vacant building was then occupied by the Duke of Brabant, turning it into an administrative centre, and renaming it to Duke's House ('s Hertogenhuys). It later became the property of emperor Charles V, but its condition soon deteriorated due to lack of maintenance, and was razed to the ground at orders of the emperor. This architect Antoon II Keldermans was commissioned to design a new building in Gothic style, the plans finished in 1514 and construction was carried uit from 1515 to 1536. After Keldermans' death, subsequent architects finished the building. Under Spanish reign, queen Isabella of Spain ordered the renovation of the facade in 1625 and placed it under protection of the Holy Mary foundation. During French bombardments in 1695, the building was damaged to such an extent that extensive maintenance was required, but due to lacking finances this was limited to the minimal efforts to prevent collapse. Only in 1767 a second renovation was carried out. Taken over by the city of Brussels in the 1860, the house was renamed House of the People (Volkshuis), but fell prey to decay a second time and razed at the end of the 19th century, then reconstructed in neo-Gothic style, which was very popular at the time. It was one of the achievements of major Carl Buls, known for his progressive ideas, and Jules Anspach. Construction responsibilities were assigned to architect Pierre-Victor Jamaer, who constructed the building based on the original plans of Antoon Keldermans. Construction started in 1873 and took over 20 years and cost 2 million francs, which was a fortune at the time. It became the best example of neo-Gothic style in Belgium, and assigned the function of city museum in 1887. From 1895 to 1895, the belfry's carillon featured 49 bells, which were planned to be extended by another 6 bells in 1895, and moved to the City Hall's belfry. However, this was never carried out because of the failing mechanism of the carrillon, and it was eventually removed from the Belfry completely in 1898. The belfry has remained empty ever since. Since 1998 the King's House is a   UNESCO World Heritage site. It hosts many statues that used to decorate the City Hall and were removed and replaced with replicas to preserve the originals. Over 500 costumes of Mannenken Pis are stored in the basement of the King's House, and a smaller selection is on display.    
  • 4 Everard t'Serclaes monument, Grote Markt (De Sterre gallery, south-west of the Grand Place). 24/7. Sculpture from Brussels artist Julien Dillens, commemorating Everard t'Serclaes (1320-1388). t'Serclaes was a Brussels citizen who gained fame with his recovery of the city from the Flemings. After the death of John III of Brabant in 1355, his daughter Joanna and her busband Wenceslaus succeeded him as the rules of the duchy. The count of Flanders, Louis de Male, disputed the legitimacy of the succession however, and seized the city after defeating the Brabantian defenders at Scheute. Louis' legions didn't feel much for a long standing occupation of the city, and his garrison was thinly manned. This gave t'Serclaes the chance to gather a group of 66 partisans and scale the city walls in the night of of 24 October 1356. They managed to reach the Grand Place and lowered the Flemish flag from the town hall, replacing it with the Brabantian flag. When Brussels citizens saw the Brabantian flag restored in the morning, they revolted against Louis' occupying forces and drove them out of the city, after 2 weeks of occupation. t'Serclaes became a hero for liberating the city, and after re-entry of Joanna, he was made alderman for 5 terms. His luck didn't last however, and on 26 March 1388 he was ambushed by bandits on his way from Lennik to Brussels, who cut off a foot and ripped out his tongue. The mutilated t'Serclaes was found by civil servants shorty afterwards and carried to Brussels on a cart, where he died 5 days later from his injuries. The scupture of t'Serclaes, erected in 1902, is under the gallery of De Sterre, where t'Serclaes arrived on the cart and tried to talk to Joanna but couldn't make himself understandable without his tongue. The caption of the sculpture of dying t'Serclaes is Eberhardo t'Serclaes Patriae Liberatori (Eberhardo t'Serclaes, liberator of his city) and Pro aris et focis (For home and hearth). During the interbellum, a salesman of the Sunday market spread the rumor that rubbing the right arm of the sculpture would bring luck, whoever rubbed it would return to Brussels. The sculpture has been intensively rubbed by locals and tourists since, and the original was moved to the town hall after renovation in 2011. The current sculpture is a messing copy.    
  • 5 Bruxella 1238, Beursstraat (    1   3   4   5   stations Beurs or De Brouckère), +32 2 279 43 50, . Guided tour at 10:15 on first Wednesday of every month. From 1238 onwards the Franciscans were given permission to settle between the Senne river and the Grand Place, which were strategic points in the city in the Middle Ages. This settlement reflects the important role played by these men in the city’s social and religious life. The site knew good times and periods of adversity, expansion, destruction during the Calvinist period and the 1695 bombardment; it was rebuilt several times, only to finally disappear during the French period. In this underground archaeological museum, the history of Belgium’s capital city is told from a different angle.    
 
Bourse-Beurs, Brussels
  • 6 Stock Exchange (Beurs). Former stock market building. Locals like to sit on the steps, sometimes with fries. A local restaurant owner has proposed turning the unused building into a beer hall.    
 
Manneken Pis
  • 7 Manneken Pis, Stoofstraat 57 (walk south-west from the Grand Place in the street adjacent to the City Hall). 24/7. A short walk from the Grand Place-Grote Markt is the Manneken Pis, a small bronze statue thought to represent the "irreverent spirit" of Brussels. This is a statue of a child urinating into a pool. Belgians have created hundreds of outfits for this statue. There are many stories of the statue's origins. It is believed to have been inspired by a child who, while in a tree, found a special way to drive away invading troops. Another story goes that a father was missing his child and made a declaration to the city that when he found him he would build a statue of him, doing whatever it was that he was doing. It has also been said a witch turned him to stone for peeing on her property. Yet another story goes that Brussels was under siege and enemies had planted explosives in the city; a boy saw the lit fuse and urinated on it, preventing the explosives from blowing up thus saving the city. The most likely scenario is that it was the location of the market for urine, which was used for its ammonia content to tan leathers. None are definitively true. In 1747, Louis XV's soldiers stole the statue, upsetting many of the city's residents. Louis XV made it up to the city by giving the statue a medal of honor (so that he must be saluted when French soldiers pass by) and by giving him an outfit. He now gets dressed up on special occasions. Although a famous icon of Brussels and a source of inspiration for countless souvenirs, Mannenken Pis is an overhyped attraction that frequently tops polls ranking the world's biggest tourist traps, and definitely not worth a major detour to take a look at. Free.    
  • 8 Mannenken Pis Wardrobe (GardeRobe Mannenken Pis), Eikstraat 19 (uphill from Mannenken Pis), +32 2 514 53 97, . Tu-Su 10AM-5PM. This small museum houses the wardrobe of Mannenken Pis, Brussels' most famous statue. Because Mannenken Pis has nearly 1000 different costumes, of which some historic specimens are sensitive to decay resulting from variations in temperature and humidity, only about 100 costumes are shown to visitors at a time. The collection on display rotates regularly. The costumes in storage can be viewed through an interactive database. €4/adult.
  • 9 Jeanneke Pis, Getrouwheidsgang 10. 24/7. The female counterpart of Mannenken Pis, Jeanneke (an adaptation of an old local name for girls, Jeanne) is a 0.5 m tall bronze statue depicting a squatting and peeing girl with pigtails. Unlike Mannenken Pis, Jeanneke is a more recent creation, commissioned in 1985 by Denis-Adrien Debouvrie and inaugurated in 1987. Jeanneke's initial purpose was to lure more visitors to the somewhat neglected neighborhood, but it never became as popular as Mannenken Pis, and has been put behind steel bars to protect it against vandalism. Free.    
  • 10 Charles Buls Fountain (Karel Buls fontein), Grasmarkt (Centraal Station  1   5   86  N13  N16 ). 24/7. Statue of Charles Buls, mayor of Brussels from 1881 until 1899. Charles was a prominent defender of equal rights, an intellectual, writer and widely regarded as the greatest mayor in modern history of the city. As son of a jeweler, young Charles was gifted with creativity and intelligence, and taught himself several languages including Latin and French. From 1879 he was elected into the Brussels city council and assigned the mandate of education. Through cunning diplomacy and liberal view points, he was promoted to mayor and gained fame as the defender of the Brussels cultural heritage. Most notable are his efforts to protect the historic city center, including the now   UNESCO World Heritage site classified Grand Place, from demolition by king Leopold II. The king envisioned a layout for Brussels that resembled the graneur of Paris, with little regard for the organic growth of the city or its history. Charles Buls was among the only few politicians brave enough to oppose the large scale demolitions orchestrated by the king to make room for monumental buildings such as Law Courts building. Buls succeeded at preserving the Grand Place but lost the Rochus neighborhood to make room for the Hill of Arts, a project ultimately cancelled and turned into the park it is today. Exhausted by his opposition against the king, and frustrated by the French dominion, he resigned as mayor in 1899 and withdrew from politics. His statue, around the corner of the Grand Place he managed to save, was paid for by the architects who restored the facades of the Grand Place buildings in 1999. It stands at the Grasmarkt where the jewelry store of his father used to be, and depicts Charles Buls with his dog.    
 
The Mint opera, cultural remnant of the French occupation
  • 11 The Mint (De Munt), Leopoldstraat 23 (  De Brouckere  1   3   4   5  ), +32 2 229 12 00, . The most famous concert venue for opera, ballet and classic music in the city. Its history dates back to the early 18th century, when the first opera was erected at the location of a former mint, the factory in which currency for Brabant was minted, and what it derived its name from. Lack of funding caused it to be neglected however, and a century later the French occupiers decided to build a new opera behind the first one. It is a design from French architect Louis-Emmanuel Aimé Damesme in his characteristic neo-classic style, which can be easily recognized on the facade. After Napoleons demise, the liberated city decided to simply finish the nearly completed building, and it was officially opened in 1819. The opera played an important role in the independence of Belgium. When in the night of 25 August 1830 the French opera The Mute of Portici was performed to celebrate the 58th anniversary of Dutch king Willem I, the audience was moved by the nationalistic themes of the work, and later that night anti-Dutch riots erupted in the city that would eventually lead to the Belgian Revolution, and Belgian independence later in 1830.    
  • 12 Tintin Mural, Stoofstraat 33. 24/7. A 36m² mural of Tintin, one of Belgium's most famous comic book heroes, and his sidekick Captain Haddock escaping the building on an emergency ladder. The mural was painted by Georgios Oreopoulos and David Vandegeerde in 2005, and is one of over 50 comic book themed murals in Brussels. The project started in 1993, when deputy Michel Van Roye banned ugly advertising panels within the inner city, and the Comic Book Museum (Stripmuseum) suggested to fill the liberated areas on building walls with large murals after the example of Angouleme where a similar comic book wall existed, a work of Erro from 1985. The collection of murals is still expanded very year, and travelers will encounter many in the inner city. Free.    

Museums and galleriesEdit

  • 13 Fashion and Lace Museum (Mode & Kant Museum), Violetstraat 6 (Grote Markt  48  95 ), +32 2 279 43 67, . Tu-Su 10:00-17:00. Lace was one of the fine trades that gave Brussels as a city its fame during the 19th century. From 1977 onwards, the city council decided to dedicate a museum to lace textile and costumes to emphasize its importance to the city's history. During the museum's 40-year history, the collection has continuously expanded. It covers the entire reange of civil fashion in Western Eurpe from the 18th century up to the present. On display are items gifted to the museum by lace enthusiasts, and specialty items acquired by the museum. There are strict norms regarding temperature, light and humidity in the museum to optimize the conservation of the collection. Because of these constraints to conservation, not the entire collection is on display at any time, but alternating fractions are presented to the public in the context of changing yearly expositions. The museum has a strong emphasis on contemporary fashion, including the acquisition of Belgian and Brussels items. €8, seniors €6, students €4, below 18 free.    
  • 14 Art Thema Gallery (     1   5   Centraal Station  29  38  48  63  65  66  71  86  or Bozar  38  71 ), +32 2 514 31 73, . Th-M 11:00-18:30, by appointment Tu and W. Gallery for contemporary art, with works of Caroline Brisset, Lou-Brice Léonard, Peter Henri Stein, and countless others on display. The gallery covers the entire spectrum of fine arts, including sculptures, statues, and installations. Exhibitions regularly take place, the recurruring one is Resident Artists, on artists who work and live in the workshop of the gallery. Free.
  • 15 Museum of Original Figurines (MOOF Museum), Grasmarkt 116 (underground via Brussels-Centraal), +32 2 207 79 92, . Tu-Su 10AM-6PM. Belgium has a rich history of comics and comic characters, with titles like Suske en Wiske, Jommeke and Kiekeboe known by all Belgian children. Comic character figurines are popular, and the come to life in the museum. Visitors are immersed in the third dimension of the 9th art through a unique collection of comic book figurines. The collection is accessibly presented to a wider audience of young and old enthusiasts with numerous well known figures on display, as well as less known characters for a professional audience. Some figurines from American and French comic books are on display as well. Most of the sets are handcrafted by young local artists and students, staging a graphic and colorful universe. Temporary exhibitions are also occasionally hosted. Guided tours cost €85 and last 50-70 minutes. The final room of the museum is a pub that serves MOOF's beer. adults €10, students and seniors €7, kids below 12 €3.  

ChurchesEdit

 
The Mary Magdalene Chapel from the 15th century, one of the oldest preserved churches in Brussels
  • 16 Mary Magdalene Chapel (Maria Magdalenakerk), Magdalenasteenweg 31 (Centraal Station  1   5   86  N13  N16 ). One of the oldest churches in Brussels, dating from the 15th century. It is constructed from red bricks and local sandstone with a high carbonate content, making it very sensitive to acidic rain. The pointed facade, incorporating an octagonal bell tower, dates from 1453. The baroque entrance portal with broken pediment bears the inscription DOM · S. MARIA MAGDALENA · SACRUM · ANNO 1637. The oak wook broker between the door leaves is special because the sculpture depicts a the crucifiction of Christ, along with Mary Magdalene and angels. The current broker is a replica, the original one is hosted in the Museum of the City of Brussels. The north side of the chapel hosts a sacristy in pseudo-traditional style, against which the west facade of the former St. Anna chapel is built in baroque style, a design by Leo van Heil dating back to 1661. The statue of Anna with Mary above the gate is a replica of a sculpture by Duquesnoy, the original can be viewed in the St. Gudula cathedral. The interior of the hcapel has a basilic nave and two side aisles. Furniture and glass windows are modern, unfortunately nothing is left of the historical altars, burial tombs and paintings. The history of the chapel dates back to the 13th century, when it was founded by a mendicant order. They were taken over by the St. Gudula convent in 1299 and a monastery was built, but after a dispute with pope Clement V, the estate came in the hands of the city magistrate of Brussels who assigned it to the hospital friars of St. Nicholas brotherhood. By the end of the 15th century their numbers had dwindled however, and the endowments were assigned to the Carthusians of Scheut. The church was replaced by a late gothic design, an initiative from the Brussels baker's guild. The bell tower was completed in 1453, and the monastery buildings demolished. From 1581 to 1585 the church was managed by the French Reformation, and in 1637 it received the status of an auxiliary church of St. Gudula. It sustained heavy damage by the shellings of the Nine Year War, but rebuilt in 1696. The scorched walls were demolished, and a new baroque nave and choir added. In the early 20th century, the church was threatened by construction of the north-south railway connection, but its historic importance was recognized and the building saved, after which restoration commenced. Under coordination of architects Simon Brigode and Maxime Brunfaut, the 15th century building was restored based on iconographic documents and excavations. They removed the plastering and reconstructed the chapel walls that had been torn down in 1676, as well as buttresses, pillars, and the choir. The former sacristy was also built across the church with the facade of the former St. Anna chapel. The Baroque facade was rebuilt brick by brick. During the restoration between 1956 and 1958, older retaining walls were discovered, which are possibly remnants of a building constructed by the Templars, dating from before the first church.    
  • 17 St. Nicholas Church (St-Niklaaskerk), Boterstraat (   3   4   Beurs  32  48  87  95 ), +32 474 97 1 7 82, . M-F 10:00-17:30, Sa-Su 9:00-18:00. One of the oldest remaining churches of Brussels, the history of the St. Nicholas Church dates back to the 12th century with the construction of a chapel for traders in the market district. It is named after St. Nicholas, the protector of merchants in Christian mythology. The church had a turbulent history and suffered many natural and cultural distasters. Its belfry tower was destroyed by a storm in 1367, but had been rebuilt by 1380 in the new Gothic style of the era, but with preservation of the Romaneque foundations. One of the first automated mechanical clocks in the world were installed in the tower. It served as the meeting hall of the city council, and trumpetters announced new acts and decisions. Between 1662 and 1665 an additional floor and dome was added by architect Leo van Heil. It then was attacked by iconoclasts in the 16th century, which became a Parish church in 1618. It was again under attack in 1695 by French marshall Villeroy whose cannons destroyed nearly the entire center of the city and started a fire in the church. The bells crashed down from the bell tower. One of the cannon balls, penetrating one of the stone pillars, can still be seen today. Once again the church was rebuilt in 1712-1713, and architect Willem De Bruyn replaced the upper floors. Unfortunately, proper foundations were neglected, and because of the marsh around the Zenne, the tower collapsed for a second time in 1714. The City Museum has a scale model of the tower on display that eventually never got erected. It took until 1956 for the Gothic front of the church to be rebuilt after the collapse of the tower, but small Romaneque remains can also be observed. A final restoration was completed between 2002 and 2006. The church is under the care of Father Mario Rosas, and religious ceremonies are still frequently held in the church. The buildings to the south east side of the church have been occupied by merchants throughout the churches' history, and give a good impression of the size and scale of merchant houses in Medieval Brussels. The peculiar orientation of the building is attributed to the flow of the original Zenne river. Of particular interest in the interior of the church are the choir chairs dating from 1381, with medaillons telling the story of St. Nicholas. Free.    
 
Cupola of Our Lady of Bon Secours in baroque style
  • 18 Church of Our Lady of Bon Secours (Onze-Lieve-Vrouw van Goede Bijstandkerk), Kolenmarkt 89 (Anneesens  3   4   32  46 ), +32 69 84 78 14, . F 20:00-23:00. Church in Italian baroque style, with an unusual circular three-aisled layout and a central hexagonal dome to which 3 semicircular apes connect. The facade consists of 3 bays, delineated by ionic pilasters on high plinths. Above the circular arch portal is the emblem of Charles of Lorraine — a reconstruction after the original was destroyed by French revolutionaries during the French occupation of Brussels. In the circular arc flanked by fire vases, a statue of Our Lady with Child, by Godefroid Van Den Kerckhove, decorates the facade along with shell motifs referring to Saint James. The impressive dome allows daylight to enter the building. The side aisle stands were innovative for their time. The high altar, in marble and timber, was designed by Jan Peiter van Baurscheidt the Elder in 1705. The later added cherubs and medallions on either side of the altar are attributed to Gilles-Lambert Godecharle. The side altars, dedicated to Saint Jacob and Saint Joseph, contain images of these saints by Jan Baptist van der Haeghen. The church originated as chapel of a 12th century inn, catering to the needs of travelers and pilgrims to Santiago de Compostella. By the end of the 16th century these pilgrimages had become less popular due to the religious disputes between the Netherlands and Spain. Jacob Meeus, the innkeeper, tried to increase business by organizing religious services centered around a 14th century Our Lady Mary statute that was attributed magical powers. It became a success, and the chapel was quickly too small, leading to the construction of the current church in 1664. Construction took over 30 years, with the original plans drawn by architect Jan Cortvrindt and after his death the work completed by 2 other architects. A few years after completion the church was heavily damaged in the bombardment of Brussels: the roof, dome and furniture were damaged and needed repairs. The church was briefly closed from 1797 to 1803 during the French Revolution, but reopened as an auxiliary of the St. Catherine's church. The bell tower, a design of Hendrik Partoes from 1850, now replaces the original one that had been removed in 1727. The facade was renovated in 1904.    

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CinemaEdit

  • 1 Actors Studio, Kleine Beenhouwersstraat 17-19 (De Brouckere  1   3   4   5   71 ), +32 2 512 16 96. Run by the cooperative nouveau cinema. Screens interesting films in their original version with French and Dutch subtitles.
  • 2 Cinema Nova, Arenbergstraat 3 (Arenberg  29  66  71 ), +32 2 511 24 77, . An independent-to-the-bone cinema showcasing the more esoteric side of cinema - films which would not be shown elsewhere are generally shown here. A Korean Ultraman rip-off, a Pakistani documentary or a bleak Chilean cinema vérité flick? Only at Nova. Nova Cinema, 3 rue Arenberg-Arenbergstraat.
  • 3 Cinéma Galeries, Koninginnengallerij 26 (Arenberg  29  66  71 ), +32 2 514 74 98. An arthouse cinema and exhibition venue within the Saint Hubertus Galleries. Cinéma Galeries, 26 Galerie de la Reine - Koninginnegalerij.

EventsEdit

Brussels has a good selection of year round events, many suitable for English speaking visitors. The following sites are useful to check out what's on.

  • 4 Ancienne Belgique. For popular concerts, where the stadium bands stop in.
  • 5 Toone Royal Theater, Grasmarkt 66, +32 2 513 54 86, fax: +32 2 218 55 78, . 12:00-02:00. A traditional Brussels' puppet theater, and an authentic café. Housed in a historic building with brick walls and tiles, crumbling plaster and wooden benches, the theater will give you an impression of what Brussels theater is like. The shows are only in French, but you don't need to understand what's being said to enjoy them. A variety of local beers is being served during shows, and afterwards of course. €12, students, seniors and children get a €3 discount on Tuesday and Saturday afternoon.

ToursEdit

  • 6 Sandeman's Brussels Free Tours, meeting point right outside the City Hall at the Grand Place (Grand Place  48  95 ). Daily tours at 10:00, 11:00, 13:30, and 14:00. Informative 3-hour tour. Groups can be large due to the low price! Pay what you wish.
  • 7 Brussels Bike Tours, meeting point right outside the Tourist Information Office at the Grand Place (Grand Place  48  95 ), +32 484 89-89-36, . From April to October daily at 10:00. From July to September daily at 10:00 and 15:00. Daily bike tours in English allow you to see the main sights in about 3.5 hours. It includes a halfway stop for fries and beer (not included in price). Reservations recommended. General €25 - Full-time students €22.
  • 8 Brussels City Tours, Grasmarkt 82 (Arenberg  29  66  71 ), +32 2 513 77 44, fax: +32 2 502 58 69, . Brussels City Tours is the main bus-tour company, with 2¾-hour tours of all the major sights. €25/€23/€12.50.
  • 9 Horse-drawn carriages, Charles Bulsstraat (Grand Place  48  95 ). Horse-drawn carriages do circuits of the Lower Town starting from Rue Charles Bulsstraat, near Grand Place. €18 per carriage.
  • 10 Brussels Pub Crawl, At the bottom of the tallest white tower, nearby the big wooden door on Brussels Grand Place, +32 478 23-60-32, . M W-Sa at 21:30. Free welcome beer, mini beer tasting, party guide, and massive drink discounts. The tour starts at 21:30PM and finishes after 13:00. It visits 4 bars/club in 3 hours. Book on the website or just show up. €7.

Beer and wafflesEdit

  • 11 BrewSpot, Getrouwheidsgang, +32 479 56 47 23, . Interactive workshop teaching participants to brew a traditional Belgian beer in one afternoon, in groups up to 10 people. Starting from the basic concepts, the necessary steps to understand the brewing process are explained and demonstrated. The effect of ingredients and brewing process influence on the beer is illustrated through beer tasting, in different phases, up to the final beer. At the end of the workshop, participants take home a textbook, all the knowledge required to brew a Belgian beer, and the necessary beer tasting skills. For those interested, there is also an advanced brew master course offered, which goes into more detail on the technical aspects of beer brewing. €65.  
  • 12 Waffle Workshop, Waffle Workshop starts on Brussels Grand Place, in front of the Tourism Office (biggest white building), +32 478 23-60-32, . Daily at 15:15. Learn how to make the best Brussels Waffles during this 90' hands on activity! Everything is provided: assistance from start to end, all ingredients, toppings(chocolate, cream, fruits, nutella,...), cookware, take home recipe, a free drink and as many waffles as you can eat! Great for team buildings, stag/hen parties, families & friends. General €28, student €25, kids €18, family €75 (2 adults & 2 kids).  
  • 13 Beer experience in Brussels, Meeting point at the bottom of the tallest white tower, nearby the big wooden door on Brussels Grand Place, +32 478 23-60-32, . M W-Sa nights at 20:90. One-hour interactive & fun course on beer & Belgian brews. Learn everything you always wanted to know about beer & more. Get to meet other travelers and taste 5 beers for free! That's the fastest way to become a beer snob. Booking is compulsory either on the website or by phone. €14.  

Escape games and treasure huntEdit

  • 14 The Secret of Mannenken Pis, Stoofstraat 69 (further down the street), +32 2 511 47 65, . Escape The City: The Secret of Mannenken Pis is an outdoor treasure hunt that invites players to explore the history of the inner city, and guides them along numerous iconic locations within the old city walls. Players cross the city in a small team, solve enigmas, and unravel the mysteries of a strange backpack they've been given. Making a reservation in advance is necessary, and it is advised to reserve well in advance. Keep in mind that the weather in Brussels is unpredictable, so late spring and summer are the best seasons to bet on. The treasure hunt takes between 90 and 120 minutes, and is suitable for children from 10 years old. adults €12, children under 16 €9.
  • 15 Enygma, Albertinaplein 3 (  or    1   5   Central Station), +32 2 512 96 37, . M-Su 10:00-midnight. Escape games in the city center, near the Central Station. Widely considered among the most immersive escape games in the country. Three rooms available. Early booking is recommended. Puzzles of elevated complexity, not recommended for beginners. If you can't get a time slot, try the Escape Rooms down the street at no. 37 (see below) which are usually less crowded. €20-120.  
  • 16 Escape Prod, Stoofstraat 69 (near Mannenken Pis), +32 2 511 47 65, . Escape rooms with 2 adventures, lasting up to 60 minutes each: The Dalton's Escape in the Lucky Luke setting, and Blacksad: Private Detective with a traditional detective/mystery theme. 2 - 3 players €90, 4 - 5 players €100, 6 players €120.
  • 17 Escape Room Brussels, Sint-Jansstraat 37 (  or    1   5   Central Station), +32 2 828 14 00, . Oldest escape rooms in Brussels, with 2 classic adventures: Mannenken Pis themed arond the city's iconic statue and its folklore, and The Bank Job in a scenario of a bank robbery that players need to plan and execute. Over 17 riddles to solve, games last 60 minutes each. 2 players €60, 3 players €75, 4 players €90, 5-6 players €100.
  • 18 Quarantine, Sint-Jansstraat 45 (  or    1   5   Central Station), +32 471 75 39 17, . Smaller escape games near the Brussels city center, with 2 aventures of 60 minutes each: The Maffia Room: players sneak into the office of a mafia gang's boss, and need to find clues to dismantle his network before the time runs out. Suitable for 2-3 players, max. 4; and Apocalypse: players find themselves in a post apocalyptic scenario after the outbreak of a deadly virus, and must work together to escape. Suitable for larger teams up to 6 players. 2 players €80, 3-6 players €100.

BuyEdit

 
The Royal Galleries, one of the world's oldest shopping malls
  • 1 St. Hubert Royal Galleries (Galeries Saint Hubert-Sint Hubertusgalerijen), Rue du Marché aux Herbes—Grasmarkt 90 (     1   5   Centraal Station  29  38  48  63  65  66  71  86 ), +32 2 545 09 90. 24/7. Considered one of the world's first shopping malls, the galleries preceded other famous 19th century shopping arcades such as those in Milan and St. Petersburg. It has twin facades with glazed arcaded shopfronts separated by pilasters and two upper floors, all in an Italianate Cinquencento style, under an arched glass-paned roof with delicate cast-iron framework. It consists of 2 sections, each over 100 m in length: the King Gallery (Koningsgallerij) and the Queen Gallery (Koniginnegallerij). They meet at the Butcher's Street (Beenhouwersstraat) with a slight bend, this was introduced intentionally to make the long perspective of the gallery, with its repetition of arches and windows, less tedious. The complex was designed by Jean-Pierre Cluysenaer who was determined to sweep away the labyrinth of dark alleys between the Grasmarkt and Warmoesberg by replacing it with an upscale shopping area. His idea, conceived in 1836 only a few years after Belgian independence, was finally authorized in 1845. The project met fierce opposition from the local community, which saw much of its property destroyed by the monumental project. Construction started in 1846 and lasted 18 months, when it was inaugurated by King Leopold, the first king of the independent Belgian nation. The galleries remain a shopping district today, but have turned into a tourist trap with inflated prices. They are worth a visit for the architecture and ambience, but don't buy anything there -- the same souvenirs and chocolates sold in the galleries can be found elsewhere in the city at much reduced rates. You'll find boutiques, bookshops, cafés, restaurants, and a theater and cinema here. Free.    

BooksEdit

  • 2 Brüsel, Boulevard Anspach—Anspachlaan 100. Right in the center and one of the most up to date stores when it comes to contemporary comics.
  • 3 Sterling Books, Rue du Fossé aux Loups—Wolvengracht 23, +32 22 23 62 23. M-Sa 10:00-18:00. One of the most popular English bookshops in downtown Brussels.

EatEdit

  • 1 Friterie Tabora, Rue Taborastraat 2 (near the Bourse). All natural frites with the widest selection of sauces available. It's open almost 24/7 and is a favourite among locals.
  • 2 De Gulden Boot (la Chaloupe d'Or), 24 Grote Markt (Grand Place). One of the most famous restaurants in Brussels, situated on Grand Place. Beautiful old building, but too much of a tourist trap. And even after a €200 dinner, you will get charged €0.50 to visit the toilet.

BudgetEdit

  • 3 Tapas Locas, Rue Marche au Charbons-Kolenmarktstraat 74. Crazy tapas, sensible prices. Some tapas include miniaturised Belgian favourites as well as the usual Spanish suspects.
  • 4 Arcadi, Rue d'Arenberg-Arenberglaan 1B (just at the exit of "Galleries de la Reine", in the direction opposite to the Grand-Place). A quirky combination of old and new, the menu ranges all over the place but the reason people flock here is the selection of over 30 sweet and savoury pies (tartes). A slice big enough for a meal, served with salad, costs €7-7.50. Also special of cafe & slice of pie for €5.

Mid-rangeEdit

  • 5 Aux Armes de Bruxelles, Rue des Bouchers-Beenhouwerstraat 13, +32 2 511-5550. Tu-Su. Basic honest food, including some very decent moules. Crowded, although worth the wait.
  • 6 'T Kelderke, Grand Place, 15 Grote Markt, +32 2 513-7344. Well-made typical Belgian fare. Try the carbonnades à la flamande (Flemish beef stew) & mussels. This place can feel cramped when full of diners. €9-19 main courses, €8.50 Plat du jour.
  • 7 Chez Léon, Rue des Bouchers-Beenhouwerstraat 18, +32 2 511-1415. Now franchised into France as well, this is the original and while it's huge and looks like a tourist trap, the moules are excellent and it's packed every day. Moules, beer and a starter will set you back €25, and kids eat for free.
  • 8 Scheltema, Rue des Dominicains-Predikherenstraat 7, +32 2 512-2084. Specializes in fresh and tasty seafood.

DrinkEdit

  • 1 À La Mort Subite, Rue Montagne-aux-Herbes Potagères-Bergstraat 7. This is the Brussels cafe par excellence. Since its opening in 1927, the decor remains unchanged but retains its charm. A warm welcome greets the eclectic clientele of which La Mort remains a firm favorite.
  • 2 Le Cirio, Rue de la Bourse-Beursstraat 18 (near the Bourse). A traditional café where time has come to a stop. Also offers some simple meals. Don't forget to visit the bathroom, with the original tiles and porcelain.
  • 3 The Sister, Vlees-en-Broodstraat 3 (near the Grand Place), +32 2 5132226, . Su-Th 12:00-22:00; F-Sa 12:00-02:00. A small café specialized in beer tasting and organic foods. Fairly pricey, but usually quiet unless there are meetings of the local OpenStreetMap team going on.
  • 4 BXL Cafe/Bar, Oud Korenhuis 46 (Grand Place  48  95 ), +32 2 502-9980. Su-Th 12:00-00:00; F Sa 22:00-01:00. A stylish, friendly internet cafe in the center of Brussels. Offering high speed internet access, occasional live music/DJ, latest movies shown on video screens around the bar, regular art exhibitions. Gay friendly space with women's night every Wednesday from 20:00.

Bars and clubsEdit

  • 5 À La Bécasse, Rue de Taborastraat 11, +32 2 511-0006. Serves a typical Brussels product this slightly sweetened Lambic beer, white beer based on Lambic, Kriek Lambic and so on. The entrance is not that easy to find.
  • 6 Belgica, Kolenmarkt 32 (Beurs  48  95 ). Crowded (but super small) bar, which plays house music.
  • 7 Delirium Cafe, Impasse de la Fidelité-Getrouwheidsgang 4A (on a pedestrian only sidestreet), +32 2 514-4434. Right in the centre of Brussels within a five-minute walk of the Grand Place. This bar is all about the beer, even holding the 2004 Guinness world record for most beers available with 2,004 beers in 2004 (now 3,162 beers, according to their website)! Popular among foreigners. There are some smoke-free areas. Also next door are three different bars specialising in rum, tequila, and absinthe.
  • 8 Floris Bar. Right across from Delirium Cafe, famous for its absinthe.
  • 9 Le You, Rue Duquesnoy, Duquesnoystraat 18. For young clubbers who just want to party, 2 minutes walking southeast from the Grand Place.

SleepEdit

SplurgeEdit

ConnectEdit

This district travel guide to Centre is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.