The Best Shopping in Brussels

Charming any time of year, Brussels’ arcades and shopping streets offer top designer boutiques, whimsical gifts, or that perfect vintage treasure. Brussels may be known for diamonds, but you can find everything here: designer fashions, trendy vintage clothes, housewares, gifts for gourmets, and so much more.

Galerie du Roi 5, 1000 Brussel, Belgium
The Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert is one of the oldest covered shopping arcades in Europe. This upscale shopping mall is located just opposite the Grand Place and is a beautiful place to window shop. Inside you will find jewellery, handbags, a hat-maker, a glove shop, restaurants and a variety of Belgium’s best chocolate-makers. Don’t miss the stunning Art Nouveau stained-glass ceiling of the Corné Porte Royal chocolate shop. The galleries are particularly beautiful at Christmas when the shop fronts are decked out for the season.
Place du Jeu de Balle, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
After a March week that included a freak snowstorm, a windstorm, and pounding rain, we woke up to a sunny day in Brussels—a perfect day to explore the Jeu de Balle market. We walked by jumbles of scarves, old records, antique silverware, vintage postcards, and loads of ashtrays (the bane of any market stall, I assume, because really, does anyone still buy ashtrays?) When I saw these two older gentlemen playing backgammon in that rare March sun, I shot a quick photo to capture the serenity, brightness, and intensity of the moment. That was right before one of them stood up, and shouted what I can only assume were obscenities in the not-oft heard Bruxellois dialect. His partner followed suit, and soon a loud volley of words flew back and forth across the board. Seconds later, they both took their seats and resumed the game as though they had never even moved.
Rue Antoine Dansaert, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
I love it when I can find almost everything I need on one street. Rue Antoine Dansaert is that kind of place. This chic boulevard buzzes with creativity from almost every boutique or colorful cafe. In addition, you’ll have fun discovering some comic characters painted on walls alongside the boulevard. This is a “what a girl needs” kind of street. Visit: Joya Brussels Jewelry (Dansaert 175), La Fabrika interior design showroom (Dansaert 182), the Jan Mot Gallery (Danseart 190, the Au Fond Bistro (Danseart 78) that serves traditional cooking with a twist, the Annemie Verbeke knitwear boutique (Dansaert 64), or Carine Gilson’s lingerie stand-out boutique (Dansaert 87). Most of the buildings have avant garde façades, and some of the stores have an intimate atelier atmosphere.

Sivan Askayo visited Flanders as a guest of Visit Flanders.
39 Rue du Marché aux Herbes
If you’re looking for gifts for the little ones in your life (or you just want to relive your own childhood) don’t miss the beautiful Grasshopper toy store in central Brussels. This store is a warren of high-end toys for all age levels. Upstairs, you’ll find a room of children’s books (some are in English although the majority are French) and board games. You’ll also find wooden toys, puppets and stuffed animals of all shapes and sizes. The owners travel around the world to find their 7000 products and you can find some truly original toys here. The Grasshopper is open every day of the year except Christmas and New Years.
Louizalaan, Brussel, Belgium
Serious fashion shoppers should head to Avenue Louise for all of the top brands in luxury shopping. You’ll find all of the big European brands here but some local Belgian designers as well. In addition to fashion you can also find high-end house wares, jewellery, and cosmetic shops. Don’t miss the little side streets that snake off of Avenue Louise, for more boutiques and some great restaurants and cafés. Even if your budget doesn’t allow for luxury goods, Avenue Louise is a great place to people watch. Not only will you find the city’s fashionistas here, but you’ll see plenty of elderly Ladies Who Lunch, walking their tiny doggies (or sometimes even pushing them in strollers.) Grab a terrace table at one of the cafés (like La Crèmerie de la Vache) and enjoy a coffee while you watch the world stroll by.
Rue Haute, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
If chain stores aren’t your cup of shopping tea, head to the quirky boutiques of the Marolles neighbourhood in Brussels. The main shopping street is Rue Haute (high street) and it’s lined with vintage shops, antique stores, and home decor shops with plenty of restaurants and cafés so you can refuel. The colourful street was traditionally home to Brussels working class and still has a blue-collar neighbourhood feel. Little ethnic grocery shops sit side-by-side with exotic furniture shops. Take one of the side streets to the lower Rue Blaes for more of the same types of stores and follow it to Place Jue de Balle for the giant flea-market held each morning.
Chaussée de Louvain 41, 1210 Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, Belgium
If you love the top fashion brands but your budget doesn’t, visit one of the many Dod stores in Brussels. These shops carry fashion brands from around North America and Europe and range from Valentino ball gowns to Esprit t-shirts. The fashions are end of line clearance items for 30-75% off the regular ticket price. You can find some great deals on beautiful garments. Dod has separate stores for men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, as well as shoes, luggage and handbags, sporting goods and household items. There are stores scattered around Brussels but my favourite is the original Woman’s Dod on Chaussée de Louvain. It’s 5 levels of bargain goodness with a whole floor of shoes in the basement. Best of all, prices are marked down even more during the bi-annual sales in August and January; just be prepared to stand in long lines at the registers.
Place du Jeu de Balle 76, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Step inside the unique and beautiful House of Wunders to discover how you can bring the beauty of the natural world to your home. The home decor items in this unique shop come straight from nature and range from crystals and fossils to furniture from recycled wood. Imagine waking up each morning to the sun sparkling through the crystals in a quartz geode or storing your favorite tomes on a bookcase made from a recycled fishing boat. But even if you don’t have room in your luggage for half of a retired dhow boat, there are plenty of suitcase-friendly gifts to choose from: beautiful gemstone jewelry, tiny trilobite fossils, palm-sized selenite hearts, and collections of shark’s teeth. Some of the shop’s most stunning items are the bowls, plates, sink basins and tables made from polished marble pulled from the Moroccan dessert and filled with fossils. Imagine the conversations started by your very own 550 million year old fossil bowl. Unique, beautiful and straight from nature.
Rue Sainte-Catherine 36, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
If you’re searching for the best gourmet offerings from Europe’s forests and fields, don’t miss the Champigros shop near Place Saint Catherine, in Brussels. The shop’s name comes from a combination of the French words “champignons grossiste,” or mushroom wholesaler. If you are a friend of the fungus, this is your shop. Step inside to discover the best truffles, morelles, girolles, chanterelles and more. Even if you aren’t a mushroom fanatic, there are still foodie delights to tempt you. Champigros also sells beautiful fresh produce and delicatessen treats that are easier to pack in your suitcase than a kilo of Cêpes. The shop is fantastic year round but it is particularly wonderful in autumn when the majority of the wild forest mushrooms are in their peak season.
Rue de l'Eglise 112, 1150 Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Belgium
If you still need a gift for that one person on your shopping list who doesn’t eat chocolate, head to one of the many Maison Dandoy cookie shops dotted around Brussels. Dandoy is a Belgian institution and they have been making cookies in Brussels since 1829. The cookies are from 100% natural ingredients and some of the recipes are 180 years old. Try the traditional Belgian speculoos, a spicy biscuit a bit like gingerbread, or Pain a la Greque, a Brussels favourite. There is even an Earl Grey cookie with tealeaves – delicious. Not only do Dandoy cookies taste wonderful, but their packaging is lovely, making them the perfect gift. Choose from the newly designed Maison Dandoy boxes or a variety of tin boxes, perfect for travelling.
3 Rue Léopold
Cooks and foodies shouldn’t miss the International Home of Cooking in Brussels. Here you can find every gadget and gizmo you’ve ever wanted for your kitchen (and some you didn’t even know you wanted). You can find everything from high-quality chef’s knives to small appliances, baking supplies, and a vast array of cookbooks (although many are in French or Dutch). There are goodies for foodies too (cupcake workshop anyone?). Choose from two locations - one on the prestigious Avenue Louise and the other just steps from the Galeries Royale, near Grand Place. The shops often have live demos of appliances and cooking techniques, so you can pick up some handy tips and tricks while you shop.
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