Brussels has a supreme selection of small, independent shops, a smashing range of open-air markets and a number of charming galeries, covered shopping “streets” dating back to the nineteenth century. The main downtown shopping street is rue Neuve, but this is dominated by chain stores; the Galeries St-Hubert, near the Grand-Place, are much more distinctive, accommodating a smattering of upmarket shops and stores, while the nearby Galerie Agora peddles bargain-basement leather jackets, incense, jewellery and ethnic goods. Behind the Bourse, rue Antoine Dansaert caters for the young and fashionable, housing the stores of upcoming designers as well as big Belgian names like Strelli, and in neighbouring St-Géry, rue des Riches Claires and rue du Marché au Charbon are good for streetwear. More than anything else, however, Brussels is famous for three things: comic strips, beer and chocolate.

Generally speaking, shops and stores are open from 10am to 6pm or 7pm Monday through Saturday. On Fridays, most department stores stay open till 8pm, and some tourist-oriented shops open on Sundays too.

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