Brussels: Four Ways to Try It

A fantastic melting pot of languages, cultures, and skin tones where anyone can find his or her niche.

BY Michelle Garcia

July 13 2012 4:00 AM ET

Brussels for the Culture Lover

Magritte Museum: René Magritte was one of Brussels’s most famous fine artists, spending more than two decades in the city. This museum, opened in 2009, possesses the world’s largest collection of Magritte’s paintings, sculptures, sketches, commercial pieces, letters, photographs, and personal documents. Rue de la Régence 3; Musee-Magritte-Museum.be

Pink Screens Film Festival: Every November, Brussels’s cinephiles celebrate LGBT film at the historic Cinema Nova. The 10-day festival is put on by Genres d’à Côté, a film club that hosts a monthly screening of gay gems. Rue d’Arenberg 3; PinkScreens.org

Belgian Comic Strip Center: To live in Brussels is to read comics. Murals all over the city pay homage to familiar characters such the Smurfs and Hergé’s famous creation Tintin. Learn more about Belgium’s vast comic history at the Belgian Comic Strip Center. Rue des Sables 20; ComicsCenter.net

Boghossian Foundation: Six years ago the Boghossian Foundation, which promotes cultural dialogue between the Middle East and Western nations, acquired one of the most iconic private residences in Brussels, an art deco jewel, to be its home base. The foundation’s current exhibit, “Art Is the Answer!” (through September 2), showcases work from Lebanese artists to prove that through tumultuous times, art can thrive. Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 67; BoghossianFoundation.be

Brussels for the Style Hound

Smets Premium Store: A visit to this contemporary designer-goods emporium feels like going to a cutting-edge shop in New York’s SoHo. Opened last December, the store is Luxembourg luxury retailer Smets’s first venture outside that nation. It features clothes, accessories, and housewares from dozens of high-end designers as well as an innovative restaurant, Bowery, upstairs. Chaussée de Louvain, 650-652; Smets.lu

Elvis Pompilio: Part hat shop, part art gallery, Elvis Pompilio’s boutique is full of hats that could double as art installations. Rue Lebeau 37; ElvisPompilio.com

Marolles: One of the most fascinating neighborhoods in Brussels is the up-and-coming Marolles, nestled down the hill from the towering Palais de Justice. This eclectic community is now home to antique shops, food vendors, and a bustling daily street fair, the Place du Jeu de Balle. Brussels.be/artdet.cfm/5629

Knitting Against AIDS: This Designers Against AIDS event is usually held in late November, shortly before World AIDS Day (December 1), and merges activism, fashion, and wool, complete with a runway show and auction of scarves. DesignersAgainstAIDS.com

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