Visitors in town: where to go both on and off the beaten path?
The month of May boasts at least two long weekends thanks to national holidays. Many of our residents take advantage of our in-house guest rooms to host their own friends and family so we have a round up of Brussels’ must sees, some on and some off the beaten track.
First stop is the Atomium, a weird and wonderful landmark which sports fantastic views and a great photo op. The rolling carpet leading to the uppermost silver globes is worth it for the experience alone. The quintessential Brussels experience. Just go – and check it off your list.
Nearby the Atomium and only during the month of May the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken are open to the public for a very short period each year, and this year the period has been extended. They are located in the Royal Park which also houses the residence of the Royal family.
Hip and happening in the Dansaert neighborhood
After this more traditional visit of tourist highlights, it can be fun to head down to what is called “the Dansaert area” which is home to trendy shops and vintage stores. The rue Antoine Dansaert is a major artery running from the Bourse to the canal. This is the more hip of Brussels’ fashion districts. The doyenne of the neighborhood is Sonja Noel with her infamous shop Stijl, located 74 rue Antoine Dansaert. Here you will find all the major Belgian creators from the Antwerp 6 to more avant garde designers and their capsule collections. There are still a few independent shops who have survived and thrived in the side streets, alongside the heavy hitters such as Prada on the main thoroughfares… this could be a very fruitful afternoon.
And now for some lunch
The rue de Flandre is a great place for a lunch break. San is one of our lunch favorites. The food is oh so fresh, very colorful and presented all in one bowl, all healthy and all delicious. If you want a more traditional Brussels experience, have some oysters and fresh seafood tapas standing at the infamous Mer du Nord outdoor seafood bar.
Old school Brussels: Vintage finds
Once the shopping and lunch are finished, you can gradually start to walk from this the lower part of town, up towards the Sablon. On your way up stop by the vintage stores in the rue des Chartreux, don’t forget to stop by the wonderful Gabriele Vintage, or for the vinyl lovers the infamous Caroline record store. Finish off with some chocolates at Wittamer and then it’s a few stops on the tram back to Morton Place.