The town centre of Hasselt is not large but very sociable. The centre is mostly car-free and contains a number of historical buildings. Among the oldest buildings in the town centre are the St. Quentin's Cathedral (11th to 18th C.) and the "Herkenrode Abbey refuge house" (1542). The "Grote Markt" (large central market square) and the nearby streets are lined with pubs, restaurants and taverns.
Monuments, parks and public fields include
The abbey of Herkenrode in Kuringen
The Airfield of Kiewit
The different historical buildings and museums in the city
The Demerstraat and the Koning Albertstraat are the most important shopping streets. In the Kapelstraat and the Hoogstraat are expensive shops with the most famous brands. Another major religious building, besides the cathedral, is the Virga Jesse Basilica. Both have to cede domination of the skyline of the city to the twin towers of the "TT-wijk", however; the renovation of this complex (now including a shopping mall and a hotel) in 2003 gave the centre a new boost. In 2004, Hasselt was the first Belgian city to receive the title "most sociable city of Flanders", and has since claimed the title of "Capital of Good Taste"; likewise, Hasselt is also considered an exemplary city regarding pedestrian facilities in the centre.
The Kolonel Dusart square is where most young people go out, in one of the several trendy bars/cafés like Van Gogh, De Wijzen or Koestal. The most crowded place at night, especially during the weekends. Has big terraces that are quite packed with young people when the weather is good. Also some fastfood venues nearby.
The Carpe Diem is one of the last "real" bars in Hasselt, some might argue. Strong beers for 3€, discounts on shots or cocktails, and a good rock playlist make this a place for people looking to have fun. It seems to be popular with erasmus students too. Live band evenings happen regularly, usually with multiple rock, psychobilly, punk ... bands per night (sometimes free, sometimes around 5€ entrance fee).
Open from around noon until the early hours, usually one of the last places still open. Goodhearted friendly people work the bar.
The Irish Times pub is just next to the cathedral that marks the center of Hasselt. Fun place, though a bit of a "franchise" feeling to it. Has karaoke nights, indoor smoking area. They have big screen TVs to show soccer games.
Live music in the weekends. Quite expensive beers compared to other places, but not more than 0.50€ max. 
De Egel (which means hedgehog in Dutch) is an Irish pub, runned by a Belgian. It is sometimes jokingly said that it is "more Irish" than the Irish times pub. A bit cramped but that gives it a cozy and authentic feeling. Has an indoor smoking area. Has a lot of whisky (Irish, Scottish, Bourbon), and an ample selection of Belgian beers on offer. Very close to the Kolonel Dusart square. 
De Witte Non is a rock and metal café. Quite small, crowded in the evening and nights. 
Ecziteria is a small, trendy place that hip people frequent. Across from the old city hall.
Café Cambrinus is claimed to be the oldest café in Hasselt, mostly older regulars here, except in the weekends before midnight when some young people gather. Just across from hotel Ibis on the inner ring of Hasselt.
Het Hemelrijkif you like Belgian beers. with its 650 different kind of beers the most divers beerbar in Hasselt. The owner is very friendly but can be a bit weird.