It's summer and there's a growing sense of freedom running through Brussels! So grab your sunglasses and go for a wander along the cobbled streets of the capital.
Brussels is at its most beautiful when the sun is shining. Terraces fill up, parks welcome sports enthusiasts of all kinds, music rings out from guinguettes and pop-up bars, balconies blossom, tempting fragrances waft from restaurants and countless open-air events bring the city to life. This summer, Brussels is back! And it's just as well, because summer is the best time to discover it with friends.
Day 1: discover the neighbourhoods and hybrid projects that line Brussels’ canal
A veritable melting-pot, the canal district have some stunning surprises in store. Creative minds and residents are gradually transforming this former industrial heartland into "the place to visit", where art and sustainable initiatives are abundant. Visit the Tour & Taxis website for the second edition of Summer at Tour & Taxis. Summer activities such as sports, music, open-air cinema and much more await you. Tour & Taxis is also hosting the impressive Hyperrealism Sculpture. Ceci n’est pas un corps. A little further along the canal, you can enjoy the huge internal terrace at Be-Here, which is home to several sustainable projects. Various activities are organised there throughout the summer: lunches and tastings by Fermenthings, evening shopping sprees and cocktails at Karat, craft beers on draught at La Source, etc. not to mention a series of concerts and DJ sets in the main hall.
Be-Here, La Source
On the other side of the canal, sit back on the Saintklet Summer terrace, in the shadow of the huge Kanal-Centre Pompidou. Concerts, stand-ups, workshops... the programme changes every week. Nearby, LaVallée organises numerous events from Wednesday to Sunday.
Then, why not go for a stroll along the canal to admire some street art. Remember to look up, some of the works are hidden up high. Stop by the MIMA, which specialises in original and striking exhibitions. This summer, it's focusing on four decades of ABC pornographic cinema and its surrounding scene (not recommended for under 16s). A second exhibition focuses on the illustrative art of Laurent Durieux, a Belgian artist internationally renowned for his film posters.
Finish your walk at Molenbeek’s lock. The surrounding area is bursting with alternative spots with eclectic programmes like Recyclart, a hybrid art centre that’s well-known on the underground scene. This summer, the Recyclart Holidays are organising special evenings on Thursdays and Fridays, which you should not miss, under any circumstances.
Day 2: lose yourself in the Marolles and (re)discover the city’s historical centre
The Marolles is a historic and multicultural neighbourhood where living is easy. It's known for its traditional flea market and antique shops, but is also full of trendy spots. If you are a fan of thrift shops and vintage boutiques, then look no further, you've found the holy land! And if you’re the kind of person who never comes home from a city trip without some new records, then here, again, you’ve come to the right place. There are numerous concept stores along rue Haute and rue Blaes, as well as a number of renowned tattoo artists... just in case you're feeling adventurous.
The walls of the Marolles are also covered in art. There are dozens of comic book murals. You don’t need to look far for them , they jump out at you! Quick and Flupke, Benny Breakiron, Billy and Buddy, Spirou… are some of the most famous ones. Bruegel, the famous painter, lived in the Marolles and has his own street art route paying homage to him in the district.
Round off your 48 hours with a visit of the city centre, and marvel at the Banksy: Genius or Vandal? on the Grand-Place. If you’d prefer to make the most of the sun, make your way to albert.culture and finish your day, with a glass in hand, on one of the capital’s most stunning rooftops.