Gay Guide to BRUSSELS 2019

Brussels takes pride in being one of the most gay-friendly capitals of Europe which makes it an attractive and wonderful place to live in for everyone, anytime, anywhere, rain or shine! Take a rapid ride at the quasi-futuristic Atomium. Follow in the footsteps of perennial comic book twink Tintin! Or feast on Art Nouveau architecture of Victor Horta! Your choices are endless!

Gay Brussels Party

Brussels is home to Europe’s biggest weekend circuit event, La Demence.

Brussels gay city guide

Brussels is a compact city and easy to navigate with stunning Art Nouveau and Art Deco architecture.

Our Insiders Guide to Gay Brussels!

Ten years ago, Belgium signed the law le­galizing same-sex marriage, thereby becoming the second country in the world to acknowledge equal rights for the gay and lesbian community. Three years later, the country’s Parliament also granted same-sex couples the right to adopt children. As true pioneers, Belgium and the city of Brussels set an example for the rest of the world in openness and tolerance for all.

Brussels is the capital of 500 million Europeans and is one of the world’s Power Cities. But it’s a metropolis with a personal touch, internationally renowned for its conviviality. It’s a global and proudly multicultural city… it’s both historical and modern, a meeting point of North and South, where the differences are maintained yet meld together harmoniously.

Its gastronomy is up to any challenge, its fashion walks the most sought-after runways, its architectural heritage was created by some of the world’s most famous names and its comic book heroes have become Hollywood stars…

Rue du Marché au Charbon

You can’t miss the gay district which is centered around Rue du Marché au Charbon and it’s wonderful mural.

Much more than just the capital of Europe, Brussels is above all known by its inhabitants and its many visitors as the capital of diversity. Brussels is a compact city, and most of the sights are within walking distance of each other. Alternatively, underground trains, trams, buses, and taxis are easy to find, with day and night services, and quite inexpensive.  Most of the tourist attractions are concentrated at the center, in a few of the city’s 19 municipalities: Brussels-City, Ixelles, Saint-Gilles, Schaerbeek and Koekelberg.

The Gay District

Brussels never sleeps and the Saint-Jacques neighbourhood near Grand-Place is the centre of gay life in the city. The lively Saint-Jacques district and its scene is true to the city’s image: discreet, varied, warm and friendly. The scene is surprising vibrant and diverse, with many bars and restaurants, circuit parties and alternative/indy parties, music and art happenings. Most of the gay bars are centered around Grand Place, Rue du Marché au Charbon and Plattesteen.

The scene has something for everyone, from hipsters at Le Fontainas to drag shows at Chez Maman to bears and admirers at Le Baroque. The monthly La Demence parties continue to keep Brussels at the top of the world’s circuit parties and the annual pride event continues to attract more visitors each year.

Exploring Further

Just a stone’s throw away from the gay district, head for and discover Rue Dansaert and its adjacent al­leyways. A focal point for fashion and design, the Dansaert neighbourhood is a must-see destination, an inspiring tour of the many facets of Belgium’s rich and original artistic talent.

Uptown Brussels in its heeled-up streets and alleyways makes you feel equally welcome. Avenue Louise and Place du Châtelain spoil you with the very best Brussels has to offer: upmarket, prestige and luxury brands galore.

In the prestigious setting of the Etangs d’Ixelles, the rather bohemian bourgeois Flagey neighbou­rhood is a hotbed of diversity that resonates with the tempo of a location brimming with life. Trendy restau­rants and bars offer relaxation, bonhomie and global gourmet cuisine, all within a remarkable architectural setting. A short distance away, in the European district, Place du Luxembourg, favourite after-hours haunt for young expats, is calling. Thursday night sees the square rammed with a cosmopolite noisy and cheerful crowd.

  • When to visit?

    Brussels gets more than its fair share of rain (on average around 200 days a year) and is generally damp, making winter visits feel somewhat chilly. Seasonal events such as the Christmas Market Summer are festive! To experience Brussels at its gayest, come for Pride week in mid May. For circuit party lovers, time your visit around one of the big La Demence parties. You sure won’t be worried about what the weather outside is when you’re partying.

  • The Brussels Card

    The Brussels Card is your entrance ticket to over 30 museums in Brussels. From chocolate to comic strips and Magritte to music, there is a museum to suit. Along with free entrance, you can also use your Brussels Card to enjoy discounts in selected shops and restaurants across the city.

  • Where to Stay?

    You will want to stay close to the gay districts so you should choose a hotel near Príncipe Real or Bairro Alto. Baixa and Chiado are also centrally located. Hotels are cheaper relative to other European capitals and book up fast so reserve early!

Brussels Gay Scene HIGHLIGHTS

Every taste and interest is catered for in Brussels, a city that has an international mix of visitors and residents. From fetish boys to burly bears, there is a bar and scene to suit!

Belgica

Le Belgica is a gay institution that’s been around since the ‘80s.

Chez Maman

Chez Maman hosts glittering shows performed on the bar counter by Maman!

Revolution

Revelation at Bazaar Club is a popular monthly fetish/kinky party for men.

Brussels Fetish Scene

Puppy Play Belgium hosts regular fetish nights during big events and holidays.

Where to stay in BRUSSELS?

Cosmopolitan, liberal and tolerant, Brussels welcomes you with open arms. The Brussels gay and lesbian scene is discreet, varied and welcoming. All languages are spoken. Brussels is easy to navigate on foot and facilitates encounters that will make you want to come back and party until the early hours of the morning, or just enjoy the Brussels way of life.

Ideally you will want to stay close to the Grand Place, near the gay streets of Rue du Marché au Charbon and Plattesteen.

Radisson Blu Royal Hotel

Great Location

Located a 5-minute walk from Grand Place, Rue Neuve shopping area, the central train station, and within walking distance of gay bars ChristoBar, Boys Boudoir, Bar Le Detour, and others. Check Rates Now!

Marivaux Hotel

Great Rates and Location

The cinema-turned-hotel Marivaux has a very central location, near the Grand Place. The gay nightlife can be reached in about 15 minutes. La Reserve gay bar and Oasis Sauna are even closer. Check Rates Now!

Warwick Brussels

Best Luxury Option

A superb luxury hotel in the very heart of Brussels, just a 2-minute walk from the Grand Place and the Central Station. The Warwick offers beautifully elegant rooms and suites with flat screen TV’s and free WiFi. Check Rates Now!

What to See & Do in BRUSSELS

All roads, alleys and boulevards lead to the Grand Place at the heart of the city.

Atomium-Brussels

The Atomium is a shiny, aluminum, sci-fi wet dream come to life.

dog Zinneke Pis

The peeing dog, Zinneke Pis is an adorable statue showing the unique humour of the city’s inhabitants.

Comic Strip Center

Brussels is the comic-book capital of the world. Don’t miss the Comic Strip Center.

The Tram Experience

One of the best attractions of the city can be enjoyed whilst sitting down and dining!

Sights worth seeing!

Brussles grandest display of this optimism is the city’s towering Atomium, looming large over parts of the skyline. The Atomium is a shiny, aluminum, sci-fi wet dream come to life. Composed of nine spheres connected by shafts and held up by girders, it’s the atomic shape of an iron crystal blown up 165 billion times. It was built for the 1958 World’s Fair in the spirit of a peaceful atomic age, representing an “optimistic vision of the future of a modern, new, super-technological world for a better life for mankind.” It was supposed to be torn down at the end of the exposition, but people liked it so much it’s become a favourite of locals and tourists alike. At the top of the building is a restaurant with a 360-degree view of the city.

Brussels is the comic-book capital of the world. There are comic-book shops seemingly around every turn, and it’s hard not to put a queer spin on Belgium’s comic-strip exports, from preppy boy Tintin to ginger hero Spirou,to the Smurfs’ fraternal (and perpetually shirtless) mushroom village, with drag queen Smurfette!  Comic murals and giant statues are dotted across the city. Don’t miss the Comic Strip Center, both for the content and the beautifully restored Horta building housing the collection of artwork and life-sized statues, and, if you’re a Tintin fan, the Hergé Museum is a short train ride from Brussels.

The city of Brussels has transformed one of its trams into a gourmet delight. The Tram Experience was a hit of Brusselicious, and now it’s back with Michelin-starred chefs from across the city. The jerkiness of the tram takes a bit of getting used to — but this eases off by the first course,

The city’s most iconic statues are a playful reflection of the people’s irreverent spirit. The centuries-old Manneken Pis (literally “little man pee”) draws huge crowds of tourists to the corner of Rue de l’Étuve and Rue du Chêne (a couple minutes’ walk from the Grand Place). There are also two lesser-known peeing statues: one of a little girl, Jeanneke Pis, erected in 1987 at the dead end of Impasse de la Fidelité, and the peeing dog Zinneke Pis erected in the late 1990s, a must-visit for dog lovers!

  • Musée Magritte

    The standout among a number of world-class museums and galleries is the Musée Magritte – 
a tribute to Belgian surrealist master René Magritte.

  • Hop on Hop Off Tour

    Don’t forget to look around and take in the stunning architecture of the city. Numerous examples of Art Deco and Art Nouveau  architecture are open to the public all over town today, including the Maison Autrique, the Fine Arts Museum (Palais des Beaux Arts), the David and Alice Van Buuren Museum and Gardens, and the Villa Empain. Take the hop on, hop off tour bus to see all the sights.

Shopping & Dining in BRUSSELS

Brussels gastronomy has a long history with deep-rooted traditions, quality produce and bold flavours. Combine luxury shopping and dining by searching for the best food to bring home! Chocolate anyone?

Push the boat out at dinner at the luxe Belga Queen.

Boulevard-de-Waterloo

Visit Boulevard de Waterloo for the finest designer boutiques.

Galeries-de-la-Reine

Head to Galeries de la Reine for a unique shopping experience.

Le Saint-Aulaye patisserie, simply divine and unique creations to eat!

Where to Shop?

The Dansaert district is the size of a pocket handkerchief, but it is brimming over with creativity, originality and unusual places. In the rue des Chartreux, you must stop for a snack at the A.M. Sweet tea shop or a gourmet break at the Café Greenwich, a magnificent Art Nouveau brasserie where René Magritte was once a regular.

For contemporary menswear with a twist, head straight for Rue des Chartreux, where there are three great options: Hunting and Collecting, Blender 01 and Bellerose. Nearby Rue Antoine Dansaert is another bastion of cool, with boutiques such as Stijl showcasing Belgian greats like Raf Simons and Dries Van Noten.

In Marolles, the oldest working-class district in Brussels, you will find a thousand and one treasures. In the heart of the neighbourhood, on the unmissable Place du Jeu de Balle, there is a flea market every day of the week from 6 am to 2 pm. You can stroll among the many stalls in a cosmopolitan, convivial atmosphere.

The upper part of the city, once a bourgeois stronghold, has almost naturally become a classy shopping area. Paris has its Champs Elysées, New York has its Fifth Avenue, and Brussels has its Avenue Louise and Boulevard de Waterloo. Avenue Louise and Galerie Louise, Boulevard de Waterloo, Rue de Namour, Avenue de la Toision d’Or and the neighbouring streets are a veritable kaleidoscope of shopping.

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