Hi fellow travel enthusiasts. I'm planning on visiting Brussels next year, and I'd like your opinion on the best neighborhoods to stay at, and of course where to stay out of.
A year out, this is probably not the most important focus of your trip planning, unless you're going to live there. Prospective commenters will want to know more about your budget and style. Rick's guidebook for Amsterdam/Bruges/Brussels lists 3 clean, modern hostels near the Central train station, a few hotels in a quieter neighborhood near Ste. Catherine's metro stop, and large, downtown business hotels that can offer deep discounts when it's not peak business season.
The area around St Catherine's metro stop is nice - close enough to the bar area of St Gery if you want to party, but not close enough to be noisy. If you want a higher class, quieter area, look for somewhere around Avenue Louise - the closer to the Louise metro station the more transport options you have.
Avoid the areas near either the Nord or the Midi stations which are very grotty.
Thanks for the advice Laura. I'm a very slow traveler. I'll stay in one city for one to two weeks. I was thinking of two weeks in Brussels. I plan on using airbnb to find a place but I'd like to find out about what neighborhoods offer the best combination of restaurants, culture, museums, low crime, etc. Thanks.
I just saw you last response. Two weeks in just Brussels is quite a lot. Can I suggest you consider stretching to visiting my three favourite cities of Gent, Brugge and Antwerpen, all very close to Brussel and to me much more attractive.
I hope you have a great time.
I'm a big fan of the EuroCheapo website. Here's their take on various Brussels neighborhoods: http://www.eurocheapo.com/brussels/hoods/
Do plan on at least some daytrips; almost all of Belgium is a relatively short train ride from Brussels. And there's no mark-up on buying domestic train tickets at the last minute (no discount for advance purchase), so you can decide on the spur of the moment. My favorite was Antwerp, and I also enjoyed Tournai and Bruges, but there's lots of less-visited places too.
Since you will be in Brussels for two weeks, you should be able to take at least one of the English language tours offered by ARAU: http://www.arau.org/en/tours Their Art Nouveau tour was the highlight of my visit to Brussels (one of the few, I'm afraid); if I ever go back to the city, I'd schedule my visit around an ARAU tour.