#Innsider’s guide: things to do in Brussels
Who wouldn’t want to wander around in a city famous for chocolate and beer? Brussels has all this and much more.
Brussels has an incredible amount to offer for a city of its size. Even in a short visit you will find plenty to do to fill your time and something that will take your interest. Here is an #Innsider’s guide with 8 things to do in Brussels.
1. March on for Pride
One of the most anticipated annual festivals in Brussels is The Belgian Pride. Every year, thousands of people gather in the city to stand together and march in support of the LGBTQ+ community. The streets of Brussels are adorned with rainbow flags, people dressed up in colorful and fun outfits and an overwhelming atmosphere of acceptance and joy. Make sure you don’t miss out on your chance to be part of one of the most iconic pride parades in Europe. You can start your pride experience with the Belgian Pride Kick-Off in Grand Place with the entire square lit up in rainbow colors. If you want to be part of more Pride spirit, then make sure to check out pride in Amsterdam!
© @ifan_fed / Instagram
2. Marvel at Grand Place
Whilst enjoying one of the many local beers, gaze at the magnificent gothic architecture that surrounds you. There is nothing better than to sit in one of the many cafes or bars on Grand Place. The hardest part is choosing which beer to have. Try ordering Kwak beer and you will be just as impressed by the glass as you are by the beer. Whilst on the square, visit Maison du Roi, which now serves as the Museum of the City, and drop into a chocolate shop or two on the square.
3. Brussels’ Famous Little Icon
The city’s icon is a famous little boy called Mannekin Pis. This bronze statue depicts a small boy urinating into the fountain basin. The statue has enormous significance, dating all the way back to the 15th century. It has survived vandalism and being stolen. The original is now protected in Maison du Roi, the Museum of the City, where it is on display. Famous for his many costumes, gifted by locals and people from all over the world, there is even a ‘Friends of Manneken Pis’ non-profit organisation set up on his behalf to manage them. It has also been known that on occasion the fountain is hooked up to a beer keg and drinks are given to lucky passers-by. Do not miss the chance to meet him.
4. A World of Vintage Cars
Looking for niche museums in Brussels? Located in Parc du Cinquantenaire, to the East of the European Quarter, you will find Autoworld. At this vintage car museum you can embark on a journey through the history of transportation. With more than 250 vehicles are on display, explore exhibitions about sports cars, stagecoaches, Belgium cars, Horse drawn-carts, motorcycles and much more.
Atomium is a spherical structure built to represent Iron Crystal. Originally built for the World Trade Fair in 1958, it now serves as a museum and events centre. Walk through the unusually formed adjoining tubes into the unique exhibitions held in each sphere. The best part is the 360-degree panorama view over the city and the restaurant located on the top level.
© @dmkostic / Instagram
6. A Day in Europe
Oddly located at the foot of Atomium is Mini-Europe. This unexpected attraction is exactly what is says on the tin. It is a miniature model park which takes you on a whirlwind tour through many of the greatest cities of the continent. Here you can see models of Grand Place to the Eiffel Tower, to the many famous London sights. Watch the park come to life with electronic trains, boats and funicular railways. Hear the chimes of Big Ben, watch volcanos erupt or knock down the Berlin Wall for yourself. There is nowhere else like this.
7. Browsing Midi Market
Thought to be the largest of its kind in Europe, Midi market is found right outside Gare du Midi train station, located next to the Park Inn by Radisson Brussels Midi Hotel. For as far as your eyes can see you will find foods, spices and hand crafted goods. This is the perfect way to spend a Sunday morning.
8. Celebrating Art Nouveau Design
Victor Horta (1861-1947) is famous for showcasing the best of Art Nouveau design in his buildings. On rue Américaine in Saint-Gilles they have been retained to their original splendor and represent his pioneering works of architecture so well that they have been listed by UNESCO. See our top 5 spots to discover Brussels architecture.
© OUR PLACE The World Heritage Collection
9. Fine Arts at Bozar
If the arts, culture or architecture is your passion then don’t miss the Center for Fine Arts in Brussels, known as BOZAR. It houses Fine Arts Galleries, theater halls, the largest with a capacity of 2200, exhibition rooms and a multi-media center. This is the city’s cultural flagship and offers endless contemporary dance and theater shows, chamber orchestra music and much more. Make sure you check out the program before you visit.
If you only have a few days to explore then this is just a glimpse of what is on offer. One thing is for sure, there are plenty of things to do in Brussels and you will never be bored in this charming capital.
Want to discover more destinations? Take a look at some other #Innsider guides, like things to do in Moscow.