Brussels: Outdoor summer events to check out in May

Brussels: Outdoor summer events to check out in May
Outdoor festival. Credit: Unsplash

May marks the return of sunny days, festivals and aperitifs. Here’s a quick guide to what’s going on in Brussels this glorious month.

Summer bars – throughout May

From Sunday, the famous ‘guinguettes’ or summer bars of the Brussels-Capital Region’s parks will reopen for another season.

In addition to the usual bars Jeanne, André, Maurice and Henri in the Brussels parks, bar Eddy is the newcomer in the municipality of Auderghem this year.

In the guinguettes, you can eat or drink something, but there are also concerts and activities such as yoga or salsa. The best part about this outdoor event? You can enjoy it until the end of September!

Credit: Bar Maurice in Parc Cinquantenaire

The Iris Festival – 7 and 8 May

Iris Festival, an annual event for Brussels residents organised by the regional government, transforms the streets of Brussels into a huge open-air festival for the weekend. This year, the region is celebrating its 33rd anniversary with concerts and dozens of free activities for young and old.

The main activities of the Iris festival will take place in the city centre, with 40 food and drinks stands serving tasty dishes and refreshing drinks, and activities that go from Parc Royal to Mont des Arts.

On Saturday, the unmissable electro night will start on the Place des Palais from 19:00. See the whole programme here.

The Iris Festival. Credit: agenda.brussels

100 years of Garden Cities – 7 and 8 May

The garden cities of Brussels have a unique look inspired by English cottages in Schaarbeek. The weekend festival celebrates the area, whose heritage dates back to the interwar period. The garden cities are recognisable for their idyllic setting, with picturesque houses surrounded by greenery.

The event will include a competition for the most beautiful facade, bike riding, music and lots of food. More here.

Credit: Cité Jardins

The Brussels Food festival – 13 to 15 May

The event of the year for foodies, the Brussels Food Festival, is returning for its 13th edition during the second weekend of May.

To get a taste of the foodie scene, head over to Boulevard du Souverain in Auderghem where there will be over 30 food trucks bringing you traditional food and inspirational cuisines from around the world in an area covering over 3000 square meters.

Bars will also be installed on the boulevard and will offer guests a good selection of organic beer, wine and cocktails. Find the programme here. Bon appétit!

Credit: Brussels Food Festival

The Zinneke Parade – 14 May

Every two years, the Zinneke Parade takes over the centre of Brussels with a moving spectacle featuring some 20 projects, developed and supported by the inhabitants of Brussels, partners and artists.

The Zinneke Parade takes off on Saturday 14 May from 15:00 and is based on the theme of “Trompe l’oeil” this year.

More information here.

Zinneke Parade returns to Brussels after two-year absence

Credit: Belga

Les Nuits Botanique – until 16 May

While Les Nuits already started at the end of April, the three-week festival takes place at Botanique until mid-May.

While artists can perform in three indoor concert halls, there is also an outdoor stage in the park. “The tent outside makes it unique, it is much larger than all the inside halls, meaning we can welcome more people here,” the venue’s festival programmer Thomas Konings told The Brussels Times.

By adding a bar outside as well, the venue aims to create a festival-like atmosphere, with people sitting on the steps and having a drink.

Find the full lineup here.

Credit: Wikimedia

Belgian Pride – 21 May

It has been a long two-year wait, but on Saturday 21 May, the streets of Brussels will once again be coloured with the brightness of rainbow flags for the Belgian Pride Parade. The party kicks off at Mont des Arts, where it will also end.

Key players in the LGBTQ+ community will deliver speeches throughout the day during social and political activities, but it will also be a day for celebration and bringing people together. Food trucks will be scattered around the pride village, and there will be music to get the party started all day.

For those who cannot wait that long, various events and activities are also planned in the two weeks before the Pride parade marches through Brussels, kicking off on 5 May. Check out the programme here.

Belgian Pride in 2019. Credit: Eric Danhier/ TBP

Brussels Jazz Weekend – 27-28-29 May

During the last weekend of May, Europe’s largest jazz festival will once again come to Brussels. The sixth edition of Brussels Jazz Weekend puts the spotlight on Toots Thielemans: who was a ‘ket’ from Brussels and a jazz legend who would have turned 100 this year.

The festival also offers more than 200 free concerts on four squares in Brussels and at numerous indoor venues. More info here.

Credit: City of Brussels


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