The Lower Town -- The Bas de la Ville, the core area of the Old Center, has at its heart the Grand-Place and its environs. Two of the most traveled lanes nearby are restaurant-lined rue des Bouchers and Petite rue des Bouchers, part of an area known as the Ilot Sacré (Sacred Isle). A block from the Grand-Place is the classical, colonnaded Bourse (Stock Exchange). A few blocks north, on place de la Monnaie, is the Monnaie opera house and ballet theater , named after the coin mint that once stood here. Brussels’s busiest shopping street, pedestrianized rue Neuve, starts from place de la Monnaie and runs north for several blocks. Just north of the center lies Gare du Nord and nearby place Rogier. Central Brussels also includes the Marché-aux-Poissons (Fish Market) district.
The Upper Town -- The Haut de la Ville lies east of and uphill from the Grand-Place, along rue Royale and rue de la Régence and abutting the unpretentious, working-class Marolles district . Lying between the Palais de Justice and Gare du Midi, the Marolles has cozy cafes, drinking-man’s bars, and inexpensive restaurants; its denizens even speak their own dialect. The Upper Town is spread along an escarpment east of the center, where you find place du Grand-Sablon as well as the Royal Museums of Fine Arts and the museums of the place Royal . If you head southwest and cross the broad boulevard de Waterloo, where you find the most exclusive designer stores, you come to place Louise.
Avenue Louise -- Beyond the city center, things start to get hazier. From place Louise, Brussels’s most fashionable thoroughfare, Avenue Louise, runs south all the way to a large wooded park called the Bois de la Cambre. On either side of Avenue Louise are the classy districts of Ixelles and Uccle; they’re both good areas for casual, inexpensive restaurants, bars, cafes, and shopping, and both border the wide green spaces of the Bois de la Cambre and the Forêt de Soignes.
European District -- East of the city center lies a part of Brussels whose denizens are regarded by many Bruxellois with the same suspicion they might apply to extraterrestrials. This is, of course, the European Union district around place Schuman, where the European Commission, Parliament, and Council of Ministers buildings jostle for space in a warren of offices populated by civil servants, journalists, and lobbyists (the area also is home to a wealth of restaurants and cafes that cater to Euro appetites). A quaint old neighborhood was made to disappear to make way for these noble edifices. North of Ixelles, the modern European Union district surrounds place Schuman. The Cinquantenaire, a park crisscrossed with tree-lined avenues, extends from just east of the European District to the Porte de Tervuren and is bisected east to west by avenue John F. Kennedy. At the park’s eastern end are the museums of the monumental Palais du Cinquantenaire and the Arc du Cinquantenaire.
Bruparck -- In the north of the city (and something of a leap of the imagination) is the Bruparck. Inside this recreation complex, you’ll find the Mini-Europe theme park ; the Kinepolis multiplex movie theater; and the Océade water park. Beside this stands the Atomium , Brussels Planetarium, Roi Baudoin Soccer Stadium, and the Parc des Expositions congress center.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.