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If you’re heading to Brussels for the first time, you are sure to hear about the Atomium and the Royal Palace. Like any city, there are plenty of picture-perfect tourist destinations, art museums, and historic landmarks for any traveler to enjoy. However, this city is also full of hidden gems and diverse influences that you do not want to miss by staying on the tourist route alone! Here’s a guide on how to spend a weekend in Brussels like a local!

Day 1 - Travel Underground And Enjoy A Night Out In Brussels

The first step to traveling around Brussels like a local is to head underground! Find any Metro Station by following the big giant “M”. Once you enter the station, there are plenty of Kiosks where you can purchase metro tickets or card passes. We recommend purchasing the MoBib Basic Metrocard. This will last you a few days at least, and can be easily reloaded at the kiosks at any Metro Station! Your Apple or Google Maps can easily help you navigate the Metros just by putting in where you need to go, and clicking the little “Train” icon to display your route!

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You can add up to 10 rides onto this card for just under $20.

Now, to the fun stuff! Whether you land by plane or train, take some time to stretch your legs and enjoy one of the best coffee roasters in the city - Mok Coffee. This is a specialty roaster and all the rave to the espresso connoisseurs of Brussels. After you are well caffeinated, stop by and pick up a specialty bouquet at the cute little flower shop nearby - Happy Flower by Isa, and then walk through Fisherman’s Park - Marche aux Poissons. Turn right at the Sainte-Catherine Church to peruse the promenade of local restaurants and vendors. Grab a pint at the cart on the corner between Place Sainte-Catherine and Oude Graanmarkt, and sit under the trees to enjoy your first Belgian beer!

Take the night out, as you should any given Friday in a big city. Grab a yummy tequila shot with cinnamon, chased with an orange slice at the charming Irish pub in the city - Celtica. Then, head for a lively night of personalized karaoke at Karafun Bar.

Day 2 - Brunch And Shopping In The City Center

Sleep in a little bit, then head to City Center to grab a perfect brunch at Frank. This amazing restaurant is locally owned, and hosted by some of the kindest staff and chefs in Brussels! You are sure to have a beautiful and delicious meal, topped off with a lovely cappuccino and views of the historic La Monnaie Opera Hall.

After a leisurely brunch, walk through the touristy district of Grand Place and onto the bustling street of Rue Neuve. This large avenue was closed off in 1975 specifically for pedestrians, making it a delightful area to shop or walk with an order of Belgian fries. Here, you’ll find large vendors of all the fast fashion you can imagine (Zara, H&M, Pull&Bear). But, go a little further onto Rue de la Vierge Noire and you will find promising quarters of slow fashion and vintage ware that will blow your mind! Melting Pot Kilo is a fun supplier of thrifted pieces priced by the kilo. Enjoy digging in baskets and racks to find some hidden treasures! Around the corner, you’ll find one of the most gorgeous stores any vintage clothing lover could imagine - Gabriele Vintage. Here, collector pieces are listed and priced by the decade. It is truly an emotional experience when you recognize the history and beauty of each garment. Around one more corner, you’ll find Think Twice. This particular location of the chain stores is our favorite to thrift through!

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Day 3 - The Perfect Park In Brussels

While many countries view Sunday as the day of rest, this is truly a day of life and activity in Belgium. Take the Metro to Louise and see the views off of the Rue Haute. Take the elevator down to the Square Breughel L’ancien. Have a seat and enjoy the accordionist or keep going and roam around Marolles: Rue Haute and Rue Blaes. Here, you can pop in and out of the many beautiful and unique stores. Get yourself a delicious vegan brunch at Lucifer Live’s (brunch only available on weekends!) Across the street, you’ll find the cutest little shop of local Brussels artists called Belge Une Fois. Be sure not to sleep on the little vintage record stores, art stores, antique stores, and more! You are sure to find whatever fits your fancy on this Avenue.

Stop by the convenience store to grab some drinks. As you may know, Stella Artois was created in Belgium in 1366, so that’s a Brussels go-to! Or, enjoy some gin in a can and maybe a basket of strawberries with Belgian chocolates! Whatever you choose, pay with your Euros and head from here to the big, beautiful park - Cinquantenaire. This historic location is full of character and great for people watching. Bring a blanket, a Bluetooth speaker, and your favorite drinks and snacks. Once you have gotten comfortable and enjoyed some sun, grab a pizza nearby from the local chain, Nona. It’s an absolute *must* to sit and watch the sunset.

Other honorable mentions you may want to squeeze in (depending on your tastes), would be the Comics Museum, and the Musical Instruments Museum. Or, take a day to head out of the city and explore other unique places in Belgium!

That’s it. That’s the perfect weekend in Brussels, and it is sure to leave you singing along with famous Belgian popstar Angèle as she says, “Bruxelles je t’aims” - “Brussels, I love you”!