This guide to the best things to do after dinner in Brussels shows you what the Belgian capital has in store in the late hours. Once you've dusted off your waffle stack or your big bucket of moules (mussels), there are actually plenty of fun activities to enjoy – and it's not just about glugging strong abbey-made beers in aged taverns.

    This vibrant and multicultural city has all sorts for the twilight hours. From edgy districts that are techno hubs to LGBTQ+ bars and jazz joints to photo-worthy local spots that look lovely all lit up, this list of places to go in Brussels at night has the lot.

    1

    Grand Place

    Elegant architecture all lit up after sunset

    Grand Place is the beating heart of old Brussels. It's right in the middle of the city, almost equidistance from the Boulevard Barthelemy and the Rue Royal that ring the downtown core of the capital. While you can see its many elegant structures by day, the entire area is also very beautiful after sunset.

    When the sun dips behind the Gothic spires and stepped Flemish façades of the old plaza, bright lights come on and Grand Place takes on a fairy-tale character. You'll see the City Hall emblazoned with gold hues and the exquisite King's House glinting in warm yellow. Under every arcade, beer bars offer Trappist ales well into the small hours.

    Location: Grote Markt, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

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    2

    Place Sainte-Catherine

    Hit the marketplaces after dinner in Brussels

    The Place Sainte-Catherine is one of the most popular evening gathering points in Brussels. It's close to Grand Place and most major sights of the old centre, about a 30-minute walk from the main Midi train station. Try to arrive in the early evening, as the markets that make it famous run until around 8 pm.

    They are a foodie's dream come true, bursting with Low Countries produce and organic vegetables, meats, cheeses, and chocolates. When the festive period swings around, the nightly fair is replaced by a Christmas market. Dozens of rustic stalls sell pretty baubles, decorations, and spicy mulled wines in winter.

    Location: Pl. Sainte-Catherine, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

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    3

    Royal Theatre Toone

    Puppet shows that have centuries of tradition

    The Royal Theatre Toone is a longstanding puppet theatre in Brussels. It's wedged into the web of narrow alleys that filter off the body-packed Rue des Bouchers and the Grand Place on the north side of the Brussels old town. Look for the chipped stone archway with the name emblazoned above. It's hailed as one of the oldest playhouses in the country, with origins way back in the 1830s.

    The Toone, as it's known affectionately to locals, isn't your usual theatre, though. Known for its marionettes shows, it keeps alive the age-old puppet plays that were popular in Belgium in the 19th century. Some are even still performed in the regional Marollien dialect.

    Location: Rue du Marché Aux Herbes 66, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

    Phone: +32 (0)2 513 54 86

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    photo by Rama (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    4

    Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles

    See a show in French

    The Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles is the national playhouse of the French Community in Belgium. It's up there with the most prestigious thespian institutions in the Low Countries. The venue has a striking home made of steel and glass on the Boulevard Emile Jacqmainlaan, about a 15-minute walk north of the Grand Place.

    The evening programme offers a real variety of different productions and performances. One night, it might be Shakespeare translated into French, the next, it could be an experimental dance troupe that fuses urban and ballet. The Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles also hosts all sorts of musical acts, from Belgian rock bands to acoustic groups.

    Location: Emile Jacqmainlaan 111/115, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

    Phone: +32 (0)2 203 41 55

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    photo by Romaine (CC0 1.0) modified

    5

    La Bellone

    A place that cherishes the heritage of French theatre

    La Bellone is a unique art and performance space in Brussels that's proudly edgy and experimental in its presentation. Even the venue itself, which rises above the Rue de Flandre in the hipster Dansaert district, is worthy of remark. Duck inside, and you'll find an elegant Beaux-Arts façade with Grecian colonnades, all encased in a glimmering glass dome.

    Then, there are the performances. You really never know what to expect at La Bellone. From seminars on the nature of feminist thought to avant-garde performance art to discussions of global politics, the program is nothing if not eclectic. It also runs events by day, in case you don't get your fill of culture in a single evening.

    Location: Rue de Flandre 46, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

    Phone: +32 (0)2 513 33 33

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    photo by Patrick Despoix (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    6

    Brussels pub crawl

    Enjoy a pint with likeminded Belgian beer enthusiasts

    The Brussels pub crawl is a great option for those looking to power through until the early hours in the Belgian capital. It runs 4 times per week in the summer months and twice in the winter, meeting at 9.30 pm on the Grand Place square in the heart of the city.

    Guests embark on a whirlwind tour of some of the most famous pubs in the capital, along with a few secret local spots recommended by in-the-know guides. The package involves a free welcome beer, free shots or drinks deals at each venue, and – usually – a whole new bunch of buddies from all over the world.

    Location: Grand Place 8, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

    Open: Thursday–Monday from 9.30 pm to 1 am (closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays)

    Phone: +32 (0)2 881 01 78

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    7

    Saint Jacques

    Experience the Brussels LGBTQ+ scene

    Saint Jacques is arguably the epicentre of the LGBTQ+ scene in the Belgian capital. It's a vibrant, buzzy neighbourhood that sits immediately to the south of the downtown core, but is easy enough to reach by foot from the Grand Place.

    Bars and venues burst from almost every corner of Saint Jacques. Standouts include the likes of Poechenellekelder, a quirky tavern that sloshes with beers and has puppet art on the walls, and Chemistry & Botanic's, an uber-swish artisan cocktail place with mixologist staff. Later on, when it's time to hit the dancefloor, Zodiak or FLASH Club is the place to be.

    Location: Rue du Chien Marin, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

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    8

    Matongé

    Trumpets, saxophones, and more

    Matongé is the jazz-jiving neighbourhood that you'd expect to find in the first city of the country that gave the world Django Reinhardt and Toots Thielemans. It's about a 30-minute walk from Brussels’ old centre, but some buses can get you there in less than 10 minutes.

    What awaits is some of the most hallowed ground for jazz heads in all of Europe. There's Sounds, a rambunctious bar that pulls in big-band musicians from New Orleans. There's Clandestino Jazz Club, which channels a noir feel with its smoky and intimate interiors. The main area to go drinking and dancing is along the Chaussée d'Ixelles and the multicultural Chaussée de Wavre.

    Location: Matonge, 1050 Ixelles, Belgium

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    9

    Marollen

    Meat-free food and techno raves

    Marollen is one of Brussels’ most happening and heady quarters. It channels a touch of Berlin with its techno subculture and a little of London with its hipster edge, which you'll be able to experience by heading directly south of the Grand Place through Stalingrad for about 20 minutes.

    There are lots of places making waves in Marollen. Check out The Judgy Vegan, a 100% meat-free eatery with charcuterie platters and seitan wings. There's Les Larmes du Tigre, for when you pine after an exotic bout of Thai curry. Don't miss a night at FUSE – it's one of the biggest and best-known EDM and techno clubs in Belgium.

    Location: Marollen, Brussels, Belgium

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    10

    Delirium Café

    More beers than most folks can handle

    Delirium Café is a beer drinker's mecca in Brussels. It occupies an entire alley that runs straight off the Grand Place and is nothing short of a bucket-list-busting spot for lovers of all things hops and barley. The reason? There are a whopping 2,000 beers on offer.

    That's enough to have garnered the joint a Guinness World Record, so you certainly won't be short on tipples. The only trick will be deciding what to quaff. There's everything from banana-flavoured IPAs to choco-chilli beers, golden summer ales to old-school Trappist beers that crank up the ABV.

    Location: Imp. de la Fidélité 4, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

    Open: Monday–Thursday from noon to 3 am, Friday–Saturday from noon to 4 am, Sunday from noon to 2 am

    Phone: +32 (0)2 514 44 34

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    Joseph Francis | Contributing Writer

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