Amazing & Fun Things To Do In Brussels

Amazing & Fun Things To Do In Brussels

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Brussels has an unfair reputation as a rather dull and stuffy place. It is the headquarters of the European Union, and the European Parliament, where over 20,000 office workers live and work making rules which routinely affect the lives of millions of Europeans. Brussels has a suitably diverse population to match – the city is officially bilingual and you will hear both Dutch and Flemish spoken.

What fun and amazing things can you do in Brussels?

Amazing & Fun Things To Do In Brussels

Start at Grand Place

Any visit to Brussels has to begin in the Grand Place, the geographical centre of the city and one of the finest squares in Europe. Most of the beautiful buildings surrounding the square date from the 1600s, and have wonderful decorative facades. The square has had a long and turbulent history ñ at one point it was virtually destroyed by King Louis XIV of France but was faithfully rebuilt by the citizens of Brussels.

Karl Marx and Victor Hugo both lived and worked here at one time. The Grand Place has a daily colourful flower market, and there are usually concerts or performances by street entertainers. Two museums are housed in the square – the museum of the city of Brussels and a small but fascinating brewing museum, where of course you can sample the merchandise.

Surrounding the Grand Place is a maze of narrow streets, many containing some of Brussels’ best restaurants and shops. The nearby Rue des Bouchers is a tiny street, lined with restaurants spilling out onto the sidewalks, many specializing in the Belgian delicacy of mussels.

Manneken Pis

A couple of blocks away from the Grand Place is the modest symbol of the city and the ‘Manneken pis’. This is a small statue of a small boy in the act of urinating and legend has it that the boy was responsible for putting out a fire at the town hall in this manner. The museum of Brussels houses a collection of over 500 colourful costumes for the little boy – including a miniature Elvis outfit – which has been ceremoniously presented to the city by the French. If you are in the city on a public holiday, the statue is dressed in one of the costumes.

Amazing & Fun Things To Do In Brussels


Brussels is a great place for shopping. Belgium is well known for its fine chocolate and its lace, and there are plenty of shops in the city specialising in those two luxuries. Belgium takes its reputation as a producer of excellent chocolate so seriously that in 2002 the Ministry of Economic Affairs created a measure of quality assurance, thus ensuring the continued excellence of the product.

One of Europe’s oldest shopping malls, the Galeries Royales St. Hubert was opened in 1847 and has fine shops on several levels as well as street musicians playing classical music. At the other end of the shopping, scale is the huge flea market held daily in the place Jeu-de-Balle.

Visit Ethnic Shops And Restaurants

Brussels has distinct ethnic neighbourhoods too ñ there are areas of Chinese and Middle Eastern immigrants, along with ethnic shops and restaurants. To solidify the city’s image as a symbol of a unified Europe, there is even a European market held in the city two weeks before Christmas, where each country in the Union offers its own representative gifts and foods, along with singing and dancing.

Apart from the many modern office buildings in the ëEuropean quarterí of the city, visitors to Brussels will find a city of beautiful older squares and buildings, excellent museums, and more Michelin-rated restaurants than Paris. Brussels is also famous for its Art Nouveau buildings; along with Paris, it is one of the best places to see the distinctive stained glass windows and decorative stonework that the 19th-century movement produced.

Amazing & Fun Things To Do In Brussels


Brussels is also a city of museums. There are over 75 museums in and around the city with subjects ranging from one of Belgian most famous artists, Magritte, to the history and technique of cartoons. One of Belgiumís exports to the world was the famous comic book character Tintin. The cartoon museum includes rare drawings by Tintinís creator Herge, as well as more recent and innovative cartoon art.

Royal Museum of Fine Arts

The best museum in the city is the Royal Museum of Fine Arts which contains works, mostly by Belgian artists and dating from the 14th century to the present day. Perhaps the most unusual and striking building in Brussels is the Atomium. The structure represents a model of an iron molecule enlarged 165 billion times and was originally built for the World Fair in 1958.

Mini Europe

It is possible to see most of Europe in just a few short hours by visiting Mini Europe (1 Avenue du Football) In this theme park, there are more than 300 miniature replicas of Europe including Big Ben, the Acropolis, the Eiffel Tower, and Brussels own, Grand Palace. Some of the models are interactive including the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the fall of the Berlin wall.

This is an educational experience for families and a fun way to see Europe’s monuments and get a taste of European history.

Amazing & Fun Things To Do In Brussels

The Atomium

Right near Mini Europe is the Atomium (Atomium Square), a huge model of an iron molecule built in 1958 for the International Exhibition of Brussels. The building/sculpture is 335 feet (102 meters) tall, an imposing structure that dominates the view in what is known as the Heysel plateau.

Visitors can tour the Atomium for a small fee and visit 5 of the 9 spheres. The upper sphere can be reached by elevator and has a restaurant and remarkable panoramic views. The rest of the spheres can only be reached by steep stairs or an escalator, so no wheelchairs are allowed. These other four spheres include exhibitions, a bar with snacks, and a sphere for childrenís field trips.

The entrance fees are free for children less than 6, disabled persons, and bus drivers. For children 6 – 11 years, the fee is €2 and for adults is €9. There is also a discount for teachers, students, and seniors.


Just 12 miles from Brussels is the battlefield of Waterloo, a name memorized by generations of European schoolchildren, and the site of a battle that changed the path of European history. You can get an overview of the battlefield from the top of a stone commemorative pyramid called the Butte de Lion, although it’s difficult to imagine the rolling farmland as a bloody battlefield.

Hougoumont farmhouse

For a more close-up look, visit the Hougoumont farmhouse which still has visible battle scars, and where the farm keeper will usually let visitors wander around. There is also an excellent visitor’s centre which offers an unusual and moving film of the battle as seen through the eyes of children.

To some, Brussels is a quick stopover on the way to Paris or Amsterdam. However, there are many museums and attractions to see while in Brussels, depending on how much time is available to explore the city.

Image Credit: Depositphotos

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