Top 6 Things To Do in Brussels

Brussels seems to get a bad rap among many travelers, perhaps because there aren’t as many famous monuments or museums or architectural wonders compared to other major cities in Europe like Paris, London, Rome, etc. Or it could be the association with brussels sprouts, which some people find totally disgusting.

We actually had a wonderful time in Brussels, mainly because we: a) had no real expectations going in, and b) were only staying one night.

I don’t think you’d need to spend more than a night or two here, but I do recommend stopping by if you get a chance. Instead of expecting to “see the sights,” take the time to relax and just wander around the city and explore, sampling this and that and enjoying the fine Belgian food and drink.

If you are a foodie or beer connoisseur, Brussels is a your happy place!

Here’s some suggestions on things to do while you’re there:

 

Visit the Grand Place

Brussels’ big must-see attraction. It is quite breathtaking to walk into this somewhat hidden plaza with beautiful buildings surrounding it on all sides. The Grand Place also plays host to many events throughout the year, such as the Folklore Festival that was going on while we were there.

There are a ton of little boutiques, chocolate stores, waffle shops, frites stands, beer stores, and more around this area, so make sure you bring your appetite with you and leave your diet at home!

 

Grab a Selfie with the Little Piss-boy

Better known as the “Manneken Pis,” located very close to the Grand Place. This little guy has become the unofficial mascot of Brussels so you’ll see images of it everywhere.

I think it must have been inspiration for the pissing Calvin decals (from Bill Waterson’s Calvin & Hobbes comic strips) that you still see plastered on bro trucks everywhere.

It’s a tiny statue of a mischievous boy tinkling gleefully into a fountain. Not that impressive, but adorable. The Belgians also like to dress him up in different little outfits on various days of the year for some reason, which magnifies the silly factor even more.

 

Did Someone Say Chocolate?

When you think of Belgium, odds are you think of either chocolate or waffles. Chocolate shops line the streets in the immediate vicinity of the Grand Place and can be found all over the city.

We sampled several of them, but we were a little disappointed at how commercialized most of them have become. It felt like going into a Hershey’s chocolate store or something, and the quality of the chocolate wasn’t as amazing as we expected.

Kay worked for a gourmet chocolate company so she is a little spoiled but even I could taste the difference. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still very good..it’s frickin’ chocolate!

Nonetheless, it’s fun to sample the wares and we did find one place that stood out from the rest: Corné Port Royal.

They are another chain with stores in a number of cities but they were hands down the best chocolates we tried in Brussels out of about half a dozen places. They have nicely packaged little assortments at different price points that make perfect gifts as well!

You can find one of their stores near the northern corner of the Grand Place on the Rue au Beurre.

 

Eat ALL the Waffles

Yes, Belgium is also famous for its waffles although you can find tasty waffle stands in many other European cities. If you are going to Belgium, it is required by law to have at least one waffle (if it’s not a law it should be).

There are more waffle stands and varieties of waffles than you can shake a box of powdered sugar at. Interestingly, the Belgians typically don’t eat them for breakfast but rather as a snack or dessert.

We grabbed plain waffles (for breakfast, because we’re Americans and that’s how we roll) from a random place on our way out of the city. Ask around or look for the waffle stand with the longest line. It will be worth the wait!

 

Eat a Mouth-Watering Steak Dinner at La Villette

Upon our arrival at our AirBnB, our host recommended a spot around the corner for dinner called La Villette, located near the beautiful Church of St. Catherine. We decided to take their recommendation and we were not disappointed!

We had their beefsteak with a buttery sauce which may have been the best steak I’ve ever had, served with perfectly fried frites (a.k.a. french fries), that were crispy on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth potato bliss on the inside.

It’s an old-school, intimate, romantic sort of spot, perfect for a date. We were dipping our fries in the leftover sauce and one of the locals eating there chuckled at us for being such crude barbarians but we really didn’t care, it was just too good!

Their menu has all sorts of other amazing things on it as well. We didn’t save room for dessert but apparently they offer a Chimay Crème Brûlée which just sounds like pure unfiltered amazingness.

 

Drink ALL the Beer

If your stomach can handle it after a full day of chocolate, waffles, french fries (which were actually invented in Belgium, but “Belgian fries” just doesn’t roll off the tongue the same way) and other culinary delights, then you must sample the world-famous Belgian beers while in Brussels.

There are tons of beer stores and bars where you can sample beers from all over Belgium and the world. Beer is truly sacred in Belgium, with many of their finest brews made in abbeys and Trappist monasteries.

After all, as good ol’ Benny Franklin once said, beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy (actually he never said that, but I like to think he did).

Although we didn’t get a chance to check it out ourselves, Delirium Café is famous for its selection of over 2000 different beers!

There are plenty of other things to do in Brussels, but these are some ideas to get you started. Please comment below if you have any other recommendations for visiting Brussels!

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