Brussels is not only Belgium’s capital, it’s also the country’s most diverse city both in terms of the people who live there and the things you can do there. There are museums, concert halls, great restaurants and plenty of outdoor activities. Brussels really has something for everyone. Don’t believe me? Then maybe this list of 5 completely different things to do in Brussels can convince you.
1. Art: The Museums
Art lovers will need to plan ample time in Brussels, as the city has over 20 art museums and that’s without counting the galleries. Some of the most famous ones are the Royal Museums of Art and History which include the magnificent Cinquantenaire Museum; the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium; the beautiful neo-classical Musée Magritte Museum, and the Centre for Fine Arts (which you’ll hear referred to by locals as BOZAR – is a homophone of Beaux-arts – and which is also home to the National Orchestra of Belgium.
2. Nature: Bois de la Cambre or Ter Kamerenbos
Bois de la Cambre in French or Ter Kamerenbos in Dutch is a 124 hectares-large forest and park in the south-east of Brussels. Locals often go there to relax, take a stroll or let their children ride the pony’s in summer. Bois de la Cambre is also an entrance to the Forêt de Soignes, a forest in the middle of Belgium that’s no less than 4,000 hectares big.
3. Beer: Brasseries, Breweries and Bars
Belgium is known for its fine beers and if you really want to have a large selection to choose from, you should go to Délirium Café. In 2004, this cafe earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most varieties of beers (2,004!) commercially available. Another beer place to be is Moeder Lambic. There you can find beers of Brussels’ oldest and until fairly recently only still functioning brewery, Cantillon, but also from the newer brewery Brasserie de la Senne.
4. Perfomances: Music, Theatre, Opera and Dance
There are many bars and small venues in Brussels that host live performances and if you want to, you can catch a concert practically every day. While you usually have to stumble upon these smaller venues or have the luck to be guided to them by a local, the capital also has some performance halls that are known throughout the country and beyond. The Ancienne Belgique is known for its pop and rock concerts, as is the Botanique. Both are proper concert halls but are still quite “cosy”. Vorst Nationaal, on the other hand, is a huge concert hall where you can see the world’s biggest music stars. Opera, ballet and classical music fans should check out De Munt, while you can see just about anything at BOZAR, from concerts to exhibitions and even theatre.
5. Shopping: More than chain stores
Brussels is a big city, so of course you can go shopping there. The Rue Neuve is where you find all the regular chain stores, but more interesting are the trendy Dansaert area, the budget-friendly Rue de Brabant and the upscale Avenue Louise. If you prefer markets to stores, the antiques market at Grote Zavel or the second-hand market at the Vossenplein are only a few of your options.
If you are still looking for somewhere to stay, don’t forget to check out our Brussels page.
So, do you now agree that Brussels has something for everyone? Have you been to Brussels? Do you have a favourite spot? Let us know in the comments!
Our Brussels expert Sofie shows guides people on their travels to Belgium and beyond. Her personal blog Wonderful Wanderings focuses both on the must-sees and daily life, on the big attractions and the places you’d never find by yourself.