20 Things To Do In Brussels

Things To Do In Brussels

Welcome to Brussels, a city where history meets modernity and tradition blends seamlessly with contemporary culture. Known as the capital of Europe, Brussels is not only the administrative heart of the European Union but also a vibrant hub of activities, flavors, and experiences. Whether you’re a history buff, art enthusiast, foodie, or simply a curious traveler, the city offers an array of attractions and adventures. From its stunning architectural landmarks to its lively street scenes, this guide will explore the top things to do in Brussels, ensuring your visit is as enriching as it is exciting.

Things To Do In Brussels

  1. Explore the Grand Place

The Grand Place, or Grote Markt, is the central square of Brussels and is widely acknowledged as one of the most beautiful town squares in Europe. Surrounded by opulent guildhalls and the striking Town Hall, this UNESCO World Heritage site is a marvel of baroque architecture. Every two years in August, the square hosts the Flower Carpet event, where nearly a million colorful begonias are laid out in intricate patterns. Visiting the Grand Place allows you to step back in time, enjoy lively cafes, and witness the vibrant heart of Brussels.

  1. Visit the Atomium

The Atomium is an iconic symbol of Brussels and a masterpiece of mid-century modern design. Constructed for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair, it represents an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. You can explore its spheres and tubes, which house exhibitions, a restaurant with panoramic city views, and public spaces. The top sphere offers a stunning view of the city skyline, making it a must-visit for photography enthusiasts and history buffs alike. The Atomium also lights up beautifully at night, creating a breathtaking sight.

  1. Discover the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken

Open to the public each spring, the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken are a sprawling complex of dome-shaped greenhouses. These architectural marvels house a stunning array of tropical and subtropical flora. Commissioned by King Leopold II, these greenhouses are not only a treat for plant lovers but also for those who appreciate historical architecture. Walking through the lush, well-maintained paths, you’ll encounter rare plants and a tranquil atmosphere that offers a break from the bustling city life.

  1. Enjoy Belgian Cuisine at Local Brasseries

No visit to Brussels is complete without indulging in its famous cuisine. Belgian waffles, chocolates, and fries are just the beginning. Dive into the culinary scene by visiting local brasseries where you can taste traditional dishes like stoofvlees (a rich beef stew), moules-frites (mussels served with fries), and an array of local beers. Many brasseries in Brussels also offer a cozy, welcoming atmosphere, making your dining experience both delicious and relaxed.

  1. Stroll Through the Comic Strip Route

Brussels is often called the Comic Strip Capital of the World, home to famous characters like Tintin and the Smurfs. The Comic Strip Route in the city lets you explore this rich heritage through large, colorful murals that adorn various building walls. This self-guided walking tour is a delightful way to see the city from a unique angle while discovering why Brussels is pivotal in the history of comic art. Don’t forget to visit the Belgian Comic Strip Center to dive deeper into the art form.

  1. Tour the Royal Palace of Brussels

The Royal Palace in Brussels is not only the official palace of the King and Queen of Belgium; it also serves as a cultural treasure trove open to the public during the summer months. Inside, you can admire the stunning state rooms decorated with historical tapestries, ornate chandeliers, and intricate ceiling frescoes. While the royals don’t reside here, the palace remains a symbol of Belgium’s constitutional monarchy and offers a glimpse into the nation’s regal history.

  1. Experience the Magritte Museum

Dedicated to the famous Belgian surrealist artist, René Magritte, this museum houses the world’s largest collection of Magritte’s works. Located in the heart of Brussels, the museum showcases more than 200 original paintings, drawings, and sculptures, including iconic pieces like “The Lovers” and “The Empire of Light.” The museum’s surrealistic settings are perfect for understanding Magritte’s vision and the impact of his art on contemporary culture.

  1. Visit the Mont des Arts

Mont des Arts offers one of the most stunning views of the Brussels skyline, stretching from the historic center up to the modern parts of the city. This cultural hub is surrounded by the Royal Library, the National Archives, and several important museums. Its garden terrace is a fantastic spot for photographers and sunset watchers alike, providing a peaceful escape with beautiful vistas and well-manicured gardens.

  1. Shop at Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert

As one of the oldest covered shopping arcades in Europe, Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert is a luxurious window into the past. Opened in 1847, this glass-roofed arcade is lined with chic boutiques, specialty shops, and cafes. Whether you’re shopping for high-end Belgian chocolate, avant-garde fashion, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll, the Galeries offer a charming experience blending history with contemporary luxury.

  1. Explore the Brussels Park and Warandepark

The largest urban public park in the center of Brussels, Brussels Park is an excellent spot for a relaxing day out. It features symmetrically designed lawns, ornamental fountains, and statues of historical figures. Adjacent to it is the Warandepark, offering quiet paths, shady groves, and spots for picnics. Together, they provide a serene retreat from the urban hustle, ideal for jogging, reading, or simply soaking in the natural beauty and tranquility.

  1. Navigate the European Parliament

Dive into the heart of European politics with a visit to the European Parliament. The Parlamentarium and the Hemicycle offer free visitor experiences where you can learn about the European Union’s impact and its legislative process through interactive multimedia displays. Tours are available in all EU languages, making this an informative and accessible stop. Witness where significant decisions shaping Europe are made and gain a deeper understanding of European governance.

  1. Enjoy a Concert at the Ancienne Belgique

For music lovers, the Ancienne Belgique, often referred to as AB, is a historic concert hall in the center of Brussels known for its vibrant music scene. It’s one of the leading concert venues in Belgium, hosting a wide range of international and local artists. Check out their calendar to catch a live performance, ranging from rock and pop to electronic and jazz, in an intimate setting.

  1. Wander through the Sablon Neighborhood

The Sablon area is one of Brussels’ most enchanting neighborhoods, known for its antique shops, art galleries, and chocolatiers. Stroll through the charming cobbled streets, visit the weekend antique market, and indulge in some of the finest chocolates at renowned shops like Pierre Marcolini. The neighborhood is also home to the beautiful Notre Dame du Sablon, a stunning Gothic church worth exploring.

  1. Visit the Mini-Europe Park

Located at the foot of the Atomium, Mini-Europe is a park that displays miniature models of monuments from across the European Union at a scale of 1:25. About 350 models cover the park, allowing visitors to experience a taste of Europe in just a few hours. It’s a fun and educational trip for families and those interested in architecture, offering a quirky and picturesque way to learn about Europe’s iconic landmarks.

  1. Explore the Brussels Vintage Market

Spend a Sunday exploring the Brussels Vintage Market, held at Saint-Gery Halls, a vibrant venue in the heart of the city. This market is a treasure trove for vintage clothes, accessories, and decor items. It’s also a great place to observe local life, soak in the lively atmosphere, and perhaps snag a unique souvenir. After shopping, you can enjoy a drink or a bite at one of the many cafes surrounding the market.

  1. Experience the Cantillon Brewery

For a taste of authentic Brussels, visit the Cantillon Brewery, a family-run brewery where traditional Lambic beers are crafted. This brewery offers a fascinating glimpse into the brewing process of these unique beers, which are naturally fermented using local wild yeasts. After touring the brewing facilities, you can sample various brews, including the famous Gueuze and Kriek, in their charming tasting room.

  1. Admire Art at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts

The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium hold an impressive collection of art ranging from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. This museum complex includes several sections such as the Magritte Museum, the Old Masters Museum, and the Modern Museum, each offering a deep dive into different artistic eras and styles. It’s a must-visit for art lovers who can spend hours exploring the extensive collections of paintings, sculptures, and drawings.

  1. Relax in the Bois de la Cambre

Bois de la Cambre is a large urban public park on the edge of the Sonian Forest. Perfect for a day of relaxation or active leisure, the park offers boating on its small lake, horseback riding trails, and serene spots for picnicking. On sunny days, it’s a favorite among locals and tourists looking to escape the city’s hustle and bustle.

  1. Take a Chocolate Making Workshop

Chocolate is synonymous with Belgium, and Brussels offers numerous workshops where you can learn the art of chocolate making from master chocolatiers. These workshops provide a hands-on experience in crafting your own chocolates, which involves tempering, molding, and filling chocolates with various delicious fillings. Not only do you learn a new skill, but you also get to take home your handmade treats.

  1. Explore Train World

Train enthusiasts and families will love Train World, a museum dedicated to the history of railways in Belgium and beyond. Located at the Schaerbeek railway station, the museum showcases a collection of vintage trains, including some of the oldest preserved locomotives in the world. Interactive displays and realistic setups make it a captivating experience for all ages, illustrating the evolution of train travel over centuries.


Brussels is a city that offers a diverse palette of experiences, catering to all types of travelers. From the grandeur of its historical sites and the artistic splendor of its museums to the green tranquility of its parks and the decadent delight of its chocolate workshops, there is something for everyone. Each activity highlighted in our guide to the best things to do in Brussels promises to enrich your visit, providing not just fun but also a deeper appreciation of what makes this city truly special. Whether you are planning a short visit or a lengthy stay, Brussels is a destination that will capture your heart with its unique charm and vibrant spirit. Make sure to immerse yourself in all that this magnificent city has to offer and create memories that will last a lifetime.

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