17 Amazing Things To Do In Brussels

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things to do in brussels
Alex Vasey on Unsplash

The capital city of Belgium, Brussels, is the chief place of the Royal Families in Belgium and is also the capital city of the European Union and is worth visiting. The city has a collection of exciting activities and beautiful destinations to behold.

Ranging from Historic sites, modern museums, Brussels parks, street art, great food, day trips, amusement parks, and so much more, Brussels promises to offer thrill, fun and beauty all combined in a single package.

Foodies and food lovers, you’ll be delighted to taste the ‘melt in mouth Belgian chocolates’ and the delicious Belgian waffles, for which Brussels is widely renowned.

The list of fun things to do in Brussels is long, and we bring to you some of the popular tourist attractions of the place.

1. Draw Inspiration From The Grand Place (Grote Markt)

Grand Place is Brussels’ central square, and it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. It is renowned for its intricate architecture and aesthetic value all over the world.

Grand place is surrounded by impressive Guild houses and the following 2 main structures-

  • Brussels Town Hall – Located southeast, Brussel’s Townhall is the Brabantine Gothic architectural masterpiece of the whole square, and it is the oldest building. Guided tours are available.
  • Maison du Roi – houses the Brussels city museum that comprises paintings from the 16th century CE, tapestries and small suits which proudly form a part of the Mannekin Pis’ wardrobe.

Besides, numerous vibrant festive and cultural events are held year-round, creating hustle-bustle and keeping up the liveliness of the Place.

So visit Grand place and make it an unmissable part of things to do in Brussels.

Things to do in Brussels
By Gula08 on Flickr; copyright 2022

2. Saint-Michael Cathedral (Sint-Michiels Kathedraal) and St. Gudula 

St. Gudula and St. Michael are Roman Catholic churches in the Belgian capital Brussels. They are one of the oldest and most beautiful Cathedrals in Belgium.

At the Cathedral, you can visit shows, events, concerts and other regular community events. There is also an amazing archaeological site, and if you like, you can get a guided tour by one of the many volunteers.

Visitors are left awestruck at the Cathedral’s structure and its fine stained-glass windows, statues and paintings.

Things to do in Brussels
By Filip Maljkovic on Flickr; copyright 2022

3. See Belgium’s Famed Comic Heritage At The Belgian Comic Strip Centre

The Belgian Comic Strip Centre is a Museum dedicated to Belgian comics, paying tribute to the creators and heroes of Art for over 25 years now. Regularly updated exhibitions and a variety of temporary exhibitions enable visitors to experience countless features of the cartoon strip. Tintin and the Smurfs lead the way in other adventures, encountering a world where art is boundless.

Built-in in a distinct Art Nouveau building, designed by Victor Horta, the Comics Art Museum serves to commemorate the pioneers of art and as a window to evolving modern arts. Visiting Brussels will be incomplete without a tour to the Belgian comic strip centre; include it in your things to do in Brussels.

4. Belgian Royal Museum Of Fine Arts

Largest in the world with a prestigious collection of over 20,000 artworks, it is actually a group of 6 art museums in Brussels, Belgium, as follows –

  1. The Old Masters Museum
  2. The Magritte Museum
  3. The Fin-de-Siècle Museum
  4. The Modern Museum
  5. The Antoine Wiertz Museum
  6. The Constantin Meunier Museum

All of them represent a unique cultural heritage and a vast collection narrating history from the 15th to the 21st century.

Things to do in Brussels
By alh1 on Flickr; copyright 2022

The Magritte Museum

On the 2nd of June 2009, the Magritte Museum opened its doors. It comprises over 200 pieces: gouaches, oil paintings on canvas, sketches, painted objects, sculptures, posters, music, old films, and photographs made by Magritte himself. It is proudly displayed in Belgium’s Royal Museums of Fine Arts. Magritte Museum is also known as the world’s important study centre for the artist.

Museum of Ancient Art

Opened in 1799, the Museum of Ancient Art forms a large part of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Belgium. It covers works of art from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries.

The museum is famous for its large and impressive collection of Flemish paintings, as well as hundreds of masterpieces by great artists such as Van Dyck or Rubens. It is appropriate to highlight its location; An amazing neoclassical architecture from the late 19th century by architect Alphonse Balat.

Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art encompasses works of art from the nineteenth century till date.

Its collection of fine art is unique, and a few of the paintings are attributed to Belgian Surrealist artists. Although it is a “Modern Art” museum, the paintings, sculptures, and other objects in the museum are not as intangible as in the case of many other Modern Art museums.

Visit Brussels and get a chance to witness this iconic and most-stunning architecture. It’s your chance to view this masterpiece by including it in your list of things to do in Brussels.

5. Royal Palace, Brussels, Belgium

Royal Palace is located near the Brussels Park, where it is in turn divided by a long square known as the Place des Palais / Paleizenplein. The Palace holds an important part of the Royal Collection, which contains mainly state portraits and important furniture of Napoleon, Leopold I, Louis Philippe I and Leopold II.

Royal Palace is where the Belgian king resides as Head of the State, and the Belgian King and Queen reside there. Since 1831, when the King of Belgium chose to relocate to the Royal Palace of Laeken on the outskirts of Brussels, the palace has not been used as a royal residence.

From 1965 the Palais Royal de Bruxelles were generally open to the public from the 21st of July (a national bank holiday) until early September. So, you know to include it in your things to do in Brussels.

Things to do in Brussels
By ChrisYunker on Flickr; copyright 2022

6. Coudenberg Palace Archaeological Site

Located in Coudenberg and dominating the city, the Brussels Palace is no doubt one of the finest princely residences in all of Europe and dates back to the 12th century CE. In the following century, this fortress soon became a mecca of ambassadors and enormous entertainment.

The square was to be combined with neo-classical buildings, which are still visible today.
As for the park and the many palace gardens, they have been replaced by neo-classical parks, and the former Coudenberg slopes have disappeared into the urban area.

Certain elements of the old buildings were preserved, however, to serve as cellars and foundations for the new buildings. These are the remains we can visit today in the Coudenberg archaeological site. Give it a space in your list of things to do in Brussels.

7. View Mont des Arts (Kunstberg)

Also known as Hill of the Arts, situated on the north-south axis connecting the aristocratic region with the working-class part of the city.

Once you have traversed the Mont des Arts Garden and climbed the stairs to the fountain, you will be treated to one of Brussels’ most spectacular views. The view is especially appealing at sunset when the evening sun paints the sky with various shades of pink and orange. On a clear day, you can even see the Koekelberg and Atomium basilica. While the views in front of you are truly exciting, be sure to check out some of the monuments and buildings nearby.

Nearby, a remarkable metal bell adorns the backyard of the Dynasty Palace. A great gold wall clock with twelve figures of Belgian history and folk culture. Don’t miss this out on your list of things to do in Brussels.

By William Murphy on Flickr; copyright 2022

8. Appreciate The Stained Glass Of Notre-Dame du Sablon

The Brussels Sablon is most famous for shopping, especially for its Belgian Chocolate; a visit to this place is worthwhile. The church of Our Lady of Sablon cherishes royal connection. The Stained glass windows inside are a testimony to this connection while also featuring a crossbow.

The glass windows appear breathtaking beautiful, with light passing through them during the daytime, giving them shimmery lustre. During the night, the windows are lit up from inside, leaving the visitors awestruck.

The church stands serving as a classic textbook example depicting the Brabant Gothic Architecture. Behold the exquisite stained glass, & include it in your things to do in Brussels.

By Paolo Trabattoni on Flickr‘ copyright 2022

9. Visit The Museums Of Parc du Cinquantenaire

The Cinquantenaire site is composed of a myriad set of gardens dotted with monuments and museums. The park hosts numerous activities, events, festivities, firework displays, sports and concerts all year-round. With so much to engage in, make it one of the things to do in Brussels.

This place of interest was completed in 1880 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Belgium’s independence. Victor Horta designs the broad pathways leading up to the Pavilion of Human Passions, the Royal Museums of Art and History, the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces & Military History, and Autoworld.

Facilities Available –

  • Benches
  • Picnic tables
  • Fountain
  • Playground for 3-7-year-olds
  • Playground for 7-12-year-olds
  • Multi-purpose sports pitch

With so many amenities available, plan a day trip to this location.

By Aditya Karnad on Flickr; copyright 2022

10. Cupola View At Basilique Nationale du Sacré Coeur/ National Basilica Of The Sacred Heart

Located on the outskirts of Brussels, in the Koekelberg region, the Sacred Heart Basilica (Sacré-Coeur Basilica) has been a masterpiece of art since the 20th century. It marks the 75th anniversary of Belgium’s independence.

The first thing visitors will see is its large green dome compared to the red terracotta stones of the church. The interior is spacious and splendid; visitors find themselves immediately drawn to its majestic dome.

Magnificent View of Brussels

If you want the best views in Brussels, then we recommend you go up to the Basilica viewing area. The cathedral terrace offers a 180-degree view and is 53 meters tall. Climbing the dome will also give you access to the museum and other parts of the Basilica that are not easily accessible.

However, since the Basilica is located outside of the city centre, you’ll have to make appropriate arrangements. But this doesn’t mean you can miss out on this beauty, do include it in your things to do in Brussels.

By Niels Mickers on Flickr; copyright 2022

11. Learn About Chocolate At Choco-Story Brussels

Previously known as the Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate, the museum is wholly dedicated to outlining the history of chocolate manufacture plus gives you a chance to try plenty of free samples.

I know the chocolate lovers would have already been transported to their imaginations of the chocolate world; stop drooling and travel to The Chocolate Museum for your next trip.

A true chocolate lover can’t miss out on making it a vital part of things to do in Brussels.

Things to do in Brussels
By lamhkczbb on Flickr; copyright 2022

12. Explore The Abbaye de la Cambre

Invaluable historical legacy in the heart of the city. This place is popular with the people of Brussels, who come here on foot, visiting or enjoying a few relaxing moments, alone or with friends, in the extensive gardens bordering the abbey.

The abbey was founded in 1201 by the Patroness Gisèle and was entrusted with the monks of the Cistercian order. The terraced gardens date from the 18th century and boast of being Belgium’s top tourist attraction for its beauty.

Things to do in Brussels
By Bethania dos Santos on Flickr; copyright 2022

13. Shop Inside Royal Gallery Saint-Hubert

Stands as one of the best shopping arcade in the country, including shops, halls, cafes, apartments and restaurants. The fashion venue, meanwhile, the Royal Galleries of the famous Saint Hubert, attracted a large audience fascinated by its magnificent products, beautiful cafes and cultural venues.

Today, Galerie du Roi is home to the Museum of Literature & art galleries and is known to honor the most remarkable women and men in art, music, history, humanity, and science.

Saint Hubert is adored by visitors, especially the Galeries, divided into 3 sections: Galerie de la Reine, Galerie des Princes and Galerie du Ro.

The “Galeries” here are very peaceful and are also packed with decorated window displays. You will also be able to find a small theatre in this place.

Things to do in Brussels
By Carl Campbell on Flickr; copyright 2022

14. Old England Building

A large retail shop housed in an important Art nouveau building is a popular tourist attraction. Today its former buildings house the Musical Instrument Museum, founded in 1877, which forms part of the group of Royal Museums for Art and History.

The Musical Instruments Museum moved into the structure between 1989 and 1994. Its exhibits include valuable sections on Brussels’ role in the history of musical instruments.

15. Learn About Lace In The Costume Museum

The Fashion & Lace Museum, also known as the Musée Mode & Dentelle in French and the Mode & Kant Museum in Dutch, is a fashion museum in Brussels, Belgium. The Museum’s collections focus on traditional handicrafts in Belgium founded in 1977.

The museum features an ancient lace exhibition and a lace-making process and hosts temporary exhibitions on historical and modern fashion. Ancient rope shows include religious clothing and lace from Mechelen and Bruges. Additional shows include Barbie fashion and raincoats.

Ladies, do drool over the beauty of intricate designs that adorn your dresses; plan a trip here to make it one of the top things to do in Brussels.

16. Beer Tour + Chocolate Tour Of Belgium 

Belgium has over a thousand varieties of beers and possesses a proud culture of brewing which produces the world’s finest beers since the 12th century. In 2016, the Belgian beer culture has earn its place on their list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity by the UNESCO. 

You will be able to find a lot of things here including dark ganache, crunchy hazelnut, salted butter caramel in addition with intense and rich coffee. If you are in this place, do not miss out to try the Brussels famous chocolatiers and coffee that are made from Brussels-selected unique coffee beans.

The second interesting part of this place is the Belgian Beer tasting. This special tour will take you to various taverns and bars around the Grand Place. It is one of the best way of discovering small local bars and taverns.

You will be able to find and taste a lot of different kinds of beers in this tour. Some of these beers are Abbey beers, Lambics, Triple Blonds, Trappists, Double Browns, Belgian IPAs, Krieks and there are a lot of other beers.

From world-class beer to delectable chocolate, everything in Brussels go way beyond the ordinary. SURELY, a trip here will excite your taste buds, so plan a day trip to this amazing place full of savouries and delights. Unmissable as it would be for the foodies, make it a part of your things to do in Brussels.

Things to do in Brussels
By Greg Younger on Flickr; copyright 2022

17. Mini Europe Theme Park

Located under Atomium, the Mini-Europe is the only park where you can get a whistle-blowing tour of Europe in a few short hours. Indeed a unique journey!

Enjoy a walk by taking in view of beautiful villages in the Old Continent; London’s Big Ben’s incomparable chimes welcome you to the heart of London.

In all, 350 models and locations with an unmatched level of art invite you to engage and explore. Also visit the European site, full of interactive multimedia games and the exhibition “Spirit of Europe”.

Things to do in Brussels
By Miguel Discart on Flickr; copyright 2022

And the list of all exciting things to do in Brussels ends here, but the fun is unlimited, grab your tickets now and travel to this breathtaking destination.

Looking for similar articles? Read – “7 Amazing Things to Do in Kensington“.

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