5 things you absolutely have to do when you’re in Brussels, Belgium

Located in western Europe, Belgium is a popular destination with tourists who have gotten to know it though it can get overshadowed. While other countries and cities tend to steal focus, Brussels certainly offers visitors a lot to do, see, and eat when they’re around.

While it’s an old cliche, there’s something in Brussels for everyone. History buffs will be wildly entertained as will anyone who loves to experience the arts and culture scene. And that doesn’t even get into the cuisine to be found here.

Head for the Grand-Place

Grand-Place, Brussels, Belgium

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – FEBRUARY 20: Despite the corona crisis, people enjoy a warm Saturday afternoon on February 20, 2021 in Brussels, Belgium. On February 2, 2020, the federal government and the federated entities convened the Consultative Committee to discuss the current coronavirus situation. The Consultative Committee has decided that hairdressers can reopen under very strict conditions from 13 February. Outdoor activities in animal parks will also be allowed from then on. The coronavirus situation in our country offers a mixed picture today. The number of infections has shown a stable evolution since December. The Consultative Committee recognises, however, that personal care has a remarkable impact on our social well-being and mental health. Therefore, there will be a phased reopening of non-medical close-contact professions. Hairdressers will be able to resume their activities from Saturday 13 February. Other non-medical close-contact professions, such as beauty, massage and nail salons, can resume their activities from 1 March. (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)

This is not a bold suggestion by any estimation but it is a key one. Any trip to Brussels has to include a stop by the Grand-Place. This is the city’s central square which offers an impressive array of opportunities to visitors.

The architecture in the immediate area is absolutely sublime. Both City Hall and the Maison du Roi are stunning. Plus, it’s home to numerous major events throughout the year, including the lighting of the city’s Christmas Tree and a variety of concerts.

Check out the Comics Art Museum

Comic strips are important to the cultural identity of Belgium. They are an expression of their humor, their wit, and their wisdom. And frankly, Belgian comic strips are just a lot of fun. That can all be observed at the Comics Art Museum in Brussels.

This is a complete tour through the history of the art form, not just from Brussels but the entire world. There are various permanent exhibits, touring shows, and an impressive comic strip library. Even if you’re not a fan of comic strips, this is still a worthy destination.

Go on a Brussels beer and/or chocolate tour

Cinquantenaire Park, BRUSSELS, BELGIUM

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – JUNE 13: People enjoys leisure time at the Park of the Fiftieth Anniversary (Parc du Cinquantenaire – Jubelpark) on June 13, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium. The COVID-19 pandemic in Belgium is part of the ongoing worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus was confirmed to have spread to Belgium on 4 February 2020, when a Belgian national out of a group of nine Belgians repatriated from Wuhan to Brussels was reported to have tested positive for the coronavirus. (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)

If there’s one thing that’s a big deal in Brussels, it’s beer. And if there’s a second thing, it’s chocolate. As such, getting to know both beer and chocolate better while in town is a great way to understand it on a deeper level.

There are multiple ways to do this via beer tours around the city as well as through tours of specific breweries. The same is true of chocolate. On top of that, there are also combination tours that let you enjoy both beer and chocolate. Sounds like a rough day.

Swing by the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – MAY 19: King Philippe of Belgium and Queen Mathilde of Belgium wearing Face Masks visit the Royal Museums of Fine Arts on May 19, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium. The Old Masters Museum covers a period from the 15th to the 18th century and opens its doors again after a 2-monthly period of closure due to the outbreak of COVID-19. With this visit the King and the Queen give their support to the severely affected cultural sector. The Belgian government asks all citizens to stay home and refrain from “non-essential inbound and outbound travel” to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 9,108 people have died in Belgium from COVID-19. (Photo by Daïna Le Lardic /Royal Belgium Pool/Getty Images)

Art in Belgium is a cyclical experience. It is simultaneously an expression of life and culture in the country as well as influencing life and culture. The best way to enjoy all of that as a visitor is through the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium.

Founded by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1801, it’s made up of six museums in the downtown Royal District of Brussels. Each one has its own focus and collection. As an example, the Magritte Museum reputedly has a brilliant collection of paintings by Belgian surrealist René Magritte.

Experience the exquisite Cinquantenaire Park

Originally commissioned for the 1880 National Exhibition, Cinquantenaire Park has become one of the most visited spots in the city on an annual basis. That’s no surprise considering how much there is to do there, for locals and tourists alike.

The landscaping is incredible as is the Cinquantenaire Arch, the centerpiece of the park. There are also three museums and the Great Mosque of Brussels to check out. It is a place unlike any other in all of Brussels.