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There is a lot of subtlety amd must-do activities in Brussels. The people’s witty quips and kind greetings, the provocative paintings that make you look twice, and the wrought iron accents on otherwise unremarkable homes all contribute to the area’s aesthetic appeal. Here are some of the best things to do in Brussels if you just have a short time to spend in Belgium‘s capital.

1. Must-Do in Brussels: The Grand Place

Must-Do in Brussels: The Grand Place, Bruxelles

Must-Do in Brussels: The Grand Place in the heart of Brussels may be the city’s most visited site, yet its grandeur cannot be denied. There is no better place to spend your day in Brussels. Instead of using it as a giant gilded photo op, take some time to sit and appreciate the finer details of each structure, such as the swan rearing above the desk on which Marx drafted the Communist Manifesto, the gable of the boatmen’s guild resembling the stern of a ship, and the bas relief depicting Romulus and Remus with their wolf mother.

2. Identify the urinating trio.

Must-Do in Brussels: Urinating trio, Bruxelles
Must-Do in Brussels: The “little pissing man” statue of Manneken Pis epitomizes the rascal sense of humor that permeates Belgium. The bronze child with the bottomless bladder may be the main attraction, but he isn’t alone in his quest for urination. Squatting behind a red fence on the corner of Rue de Bouchers and Jeanneke Pis since 1987. In 1998, a monument of a dog named Zinneke relieving himself on a bollard on Rue des Chartreux joined Manneken.

3. Indulge in Belgian waffles.

Belgian waffles, Bruxelles
There are a ton of tourist traps selling sweet variations on the “authentic” Belgian waffle. Mostly, Belgians avoid the stores and mounds of toppers, including sprinkles, nuts, and whipped cream. When freshly baked, Liege waffles (Luikse in Flemish) are sticky, sweet, best eaten plain, and a must do in Bruxelles. In Brussels, you may find waffle trucks in city parks and weekend markets selling freshly made waffles wrapped in paper.

4. Enjoy a cold one in a brown café

Must-Do in Brussels: Delirium Cafe, Bruxelles

Traditional Belgian “brown cafes” are characterized by crowded tables, smoky decor, and wide (but refined) beer menus. Having a drink at a brown café is one of the nicest things to do in Brussels at night, as seen by the tables full of friends laughing into the wee hours of the morning.

Moeder Lambic in Ixelles, Poechenellekelder by the Manneken Pis, and Nüetnigenough in the Grand Place are some of the best brown cafes in the city, although there are many more. Although the Delirium Café is undeniably touristic and sometimes untidy, it deserves recognition for having the largest beer selection in the world.

5. Must-Do in Brussels: Travel to the residence of a renowned Art Nouveau artist.

Muse Horta
A famous architect, Victor Horta, made his mark with curving steel vines and flowery embellishments. His work impacted many of the tasteful, subtle buildings across Brussels today. He is often credited as one of the “fathers” of the Art Nouveau style, which emerged in the 19th century. His childhood house in the Chatelain district of Ixelles is now a museum dedicated to his legacy. Although Art Nouveau can be seen almost everywhere in Brussels, the Musée Horta is one of the few venues where visitors can glimpse the artist’s process.

6. Must-Do in Brussels: Eat a handful of french fries.

Must-Do in Brussels: Belgian fries
The Belgians are so in love with their wonderfully crisp fries that they want the kiosks where they are sold to be included in the UNESCO list of cultural heritage sites, making it another must-do in Brussels. When in Brussels, you must indulge in a snack of fries. Fries may be purchased in various forms and served with various sauces (often different types of mayonnaise). Still, the traditional way to have them is straight out of a paper cone. There will likely be a wait at the popular Maison Antoine near Place Jourdan.

7. Must-Do in Brussels: Visit the Africa Museum in Tervuren by riding the vintage tram.

Africa Museum in Tervuren, bruxelles
As an example of the ugliness of Belgium’s colonial past, the term “crimes against humanity” was used to characterize King Leopold II’s atrocities in the Congo. Belgians are only now acknowledging the country’s sins after decades of denial. Tervuren’s enormous Africa Museum displays the city’s transformation throughout time. The Avenue de Tervuren is a century-old wooden tram route that connects Tervuren to Brussels and winds through majestic trees and grand homes.

8. Must-Do in Brussels: Go to Cantillon Brewery and try some gueuze.

Must-Do in Brussels: Cantillon Brewery, Bruxelles
Very fizzy and with a hint of sourness? Surely, it’s a gueuze brew! Brussels and the Senne Valley are the birthplaces of the unusual lambic beer. While some praise the double-fermented beer as a tasty alternative to champagne, others can’t get beyond the peculiar taste. The only way to find out is to stop by the family-run Cantillon Brewery and Museum in west Brussels and give it a taste for yourself.

9. Must-Do in Brussels: Enjoy the finest chocolate available.

Belgian chocolate
Regarding chocolate, the Belgians just cannot reach a consensus. However, they agree that Brussels is home to some of the world’s best chocolate. Sablon is the place to go if you’re a chocolate connoisseur since it is home to established chocolatiers like the legendary Wittamer and cutting-edge artisans like Marcolini, known for their innovative techniques. The Neuhaus factory is a more affordable option for those on a tighter budget visiting Brussels.

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