When you first arrive in Brussels, you may be confused to find that the streets have multiple names: one in Dutch and one in French.

Even the city itself has two different names to its residents (Brussel and Bruxelles). This lingual and cultural mélange means that the city is a true melting pot. Brusseleirs tend to be laid-back and welcoming, especially since Brussels isn’t as much of a tourist madhouse as many other major cities. Outside the city center, it has an authentic feel that finds its roots in cafés where little old ladies sip from giant goblets of beer and in the many parks frequented by couples making out and joggers working off the delicious, so-worth-the-calories fries. Even the parts that feel like tourist traps turn out to be satisfying; popping into a chocolate shop or buying a waffle from a cart is actually something that a lot of locals do. Public murals and the ever-present comic book stores frequented even by adults are reminders of the city’s artistic passions. Brussels is full of wonderful restaurants, old breweries, and lively squares. You’ll find yourself wondering how everyone seems to have so much time for just hanging out and drinking beer. Relax, you’re in Brussels.