Brussels neighbourhoods – The most important districts of Brussels

  1. Tips for studying abroad in Brussels – Study abroad in Brussels
  2. How to get to Brussels – Getting to Brussels by plane, train, bus or car
  3. Public transport in Brussels – Getting around Brussels and Belgium
  4. Cost of living in Brussels
  5. Accommodation for students in Brussels - top tips and advice
  6. Save money in Brussels – tips for living on a student budget in Brussels
  7. Brussels neighborhoods – The most important districts of Brussels
  8. Nightlife in Brussels – A guide to nightclubs and going out in Brussels (Part 1)
  9. Nightlife in Brussels – A guide to nightclubs and going out in Brussels (Part 2)
  10. Where to eat in Brussels – Gastronomy in Brussels
  11. What to do in Brussels – The best things to do in Brussels
  12. Festivals in Brussels – Festivals and events in Brussels
  13. Day trips in Brussels – Places to visit and excursions around Brussels
  14. Brussels in 3 days – What to see in Brussels in 3 days

To some, Brussels might seem mediocre, it always rains and no one cares about the European Parliament. But don’t get it wrong, nothing is better than the Belgian capital and its different districts whether they are tourist or student-friendly. Within the communes can coexist very different districts, I will classify the most important communes and the different districts that they have.

Downtown or “1000 Bruxelles”

As Petula Clark said, “When you’re alone and life is making you lonely, you can always go… downtown!”. The city center of Brussels is the place that will lead you to the major monuments that incarnate the soul of Brussels. The Grand-Place, the Manneken-Pis, the churches… So much to see! All of the streets of the medieval district lead to the Grand-Place, which the houses stand alongside big corporations. Moreover, the Town Hall and its flamboyant gothic style remind you of the past centuries. The streets that lead there offer boutiques, restaurants, cafés and the famous statue of the Manneken-Pis. The main metro and train station you can find there is the Central Station.

In the Dansaert district, you’ll find the Place Sainte-Catherine and its famous seafood restaurants as well as a lot of Belgian boutiques along the Rue Antoine Dansaert where you can dress in Belgian fashion. Dansaert offers popular cafés that epitomize the cosmopolitan and blended character that is in harmony of the typical “Brusseleir” culture. In the Sainte-Catherine area, we also have our own little China Town with Asian supermarkets, Asian restaurants and even manga bookstores.

In the district of the Sablons, you’ll be able to look for a great piece at the Antique market of the Place du Grand Sablon as well as admire the “Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts”. The Sablons are a historic place where sit luxurious stores and attract a lot of expats. Around its two famous squares, the Place du Petit Sablon and the Place du Grand Sablon, sumptuous hôtels particuliers were erected and most of its narrow floors have now been divided into apartments.

If you like the theater, you will find lots of them in the center like the “Théâtre National” or the “Théâtre des Martyrs”. Finally, as any good city center, there is also the “Rue Neuve” where you can shop in your favorite shops like Zara if you want to look your best or you can succumb to a brand new pair of sneakers in Foot Locker.

Ixelles

Ixelles is the student commune and has a good access in public transport to the center of Brussels. It is definitely considered as a cultural and intellectual center of Brussels, this is where Karl Marx lived.

In the district of the Cimetière d’Ixelles are concentrated most of the students as the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) sit there as well as many “kots” comprise this district. The long “Avenue de l’Université” et “Chaussée de Boondael” offer a great selection of shops and supermarkets. You can easily go grocery shopping at Carrefour or Okay and you can get cheap snacks and school supplies at Hema. Here’s a great place to party with its numerous bars and disco bars where you can get your groove and drunkenness on. Get a beer at Le Tavernier or a cocktail at Le Waff.

The Flagey district is a beautiful side of Ixelles. Around the “Étangs d’Ixelles”, you can take a nice walk around the ponds and then join the Place Flagey to have a drink on one of its numerous terraces.

On the opposite side of Ixelles, there is the Louise district with its famous “Avenue de la Toison d’Or” et “Avenue Louise”. You can find luxurious fashion couture boutiques like Gucci and other great places to make yourself good-looking like Abercrombie. At the end of the avenue, you will find the Bois de la Cambre which is a wood in the heart of Brussels where you can take a walk or bike and admire the trees and the nature that you can find in Brussels.

Near Louise, there is the Matongé district, which is the African neighborhood of Brussels. It is abundant in different nationalities, African cosmetic and food shops as well as hairdressers, and lots of restaurants. This district is also the second biggest commercial center of Brussels after the “Rue Neuve” with lots of big stores like Zara, Bershka, H&M...

Saint-Josse-ten-Noode

The commune of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode hosts a growing Turkish community as well as restaurants with international cuisines, from the dürüm (Turkish-Belgian denomination of the famous kebab) to a good curry.

The district is close the Brussels North Station, you can find the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken where you can admire an Art Nouveau building and all sorts of plants and flowers. You will also find near the North Station, the famous “Rue de Brabant”, which is the North-African Brussels, Moroccan music sound hard from the speakers in the street and you can find carpets, household utensils and clothes in the shops.

In the district of the Place du Congrès is located the Belgian Comic Strip Center where you can get to know all about Tintin, famous comic strip series created the Belgian Hergé, or about the Smurfs by the Belgian Peyo.

Uccle

Uccle is really not very accessible in public transport, but it’s very close to Ixelles and there are some buses and tramways though. As a student, that then shouldn’t be too much of an impediment to going to the university or keeping your social life going.

The very green commune will allow you to appreciate a natural environment. The center of this commune resides in the Bascule district, there are a lot of shops and restaurants as well as beautiful parks like the Tenbosch. The famous section of Translation and Interpretation of the ULB sits in that district too and if you get a little bit further, you could go get a drink or party at the “Bar à Bar”. Finally, in the Vanderkindere district, you can find the High School of Defré as well as every tramway that will get you downtown or further into Brussels to visit the famous Atomium.

Etterbeek – le quartier européen

In the 1965 Treaty of Brussels, the headquarters of the European Commission were ratified to stand on the Brussels soil, making the city the capital of Europe which is an accomplishment that allows for the constant expansion of the famous European district that finds itself to be situated in the commune of Etterbeek. The district is composed of a beautiful park, the Parc Léopold where you can have your morning run or give some biscuits to the ducks. Close to the park, you will find the Place du Jourdan where stand the “frietkot” or “friterie” Maison Antoine which is popularly said to serve the best Belgian fries in all of Brussels and at any time!

In the East of Etterbeek, the district of the Cinquantenaire sees a great park with the massive city gate called the “Arcades du Cinquantenaire” at its center. In spring and summertime, you can go sit in the grass with friends and have some drinks or picnic about. The place is surrounded by numerous major museums like the Royal Museums of Art and History. This district is filled with locals and expatriates from all of Europe as functionaries gravitate around the European district. If you walk till the “Rue des Tongres”, you will face the commercial center of Etterbeek with a long commercial street filled with clothes and hardware stores as well as restaurants and bars.

Near the European district, there is the Luxembourg Train Station, it is the main artery for the Eurocrats. Around the Place du Luxembourg, there are many restaurants and bars that can satisfy your cravings. Go grab a good sandwich to the Tout Bon or have a drink at the Brasserie Léo.

Anderlecht

To quote Anderlecht here might seem a little bit out of the box but every soccer football amateur must know about its football club. Anderlecht mixes industrialism and nature. If you need some supplies, the big Ikea sitting in the CERIA district might come in handy! But if you want to appreciate great ponds and fields, you might as well go by the district of Neerpede and Bon-Air.

In the center of Anderlecht, you will find the Saint-Guidon church that is quite well-known amongst Brussels people. Also, the house of the great intellectual Érasme sits close to the church. Further into the “Rue Wayez”, you will find one of our Belgian cuisine gems, the “Friture René” serves the best Belgian specialties.

The most convenient thing about Anderlecht is its proximity to the “Gare du Midi” or South Train Station. Lots of travelers arrive at Brussels in that station where they take any public transport to reach their final destination goal.


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