Brussels has a wide range of tourist attractions that will keep you and children entertained during your Brussels vacation. Some of the ‘must-sees’ are listed here for your reference. These attractions are best during the daytime and at night time, take advantage of Brussels fantastically exotic and trendy restaurants and bars. The hop-on hop-off sightseeing Brussels bus will take you to all of these attractions and allow you to explore them at your own pace within 24 hours.
The first place you will normally be taken to see in the city. A small but delicately sculpted 15th century town square erected over centuries to become this modern day representation of Brussels’ history. Almost all of the buildings have a historical significance and the Hotel de Ville (the Town Hall) is still used today! Located in Brussels city centre, just down from Brussels Centrale, this ancient market place is the starting point for tourists.
Just a few narrow alleyways from the Grand Place, the Peeing Boy, or Mannekin Pis, as it is normally called by locals, is a fascinating little statue. Not only does it attract thousands of curious tourists every year to Brussels, local Brussels people celebrate many festivities with this bronze fountain. On last count there are over 700 costumes for this fellow for all events of the year and from countries around the world.
Palais de Justice
The Palace of Justice is a grand structure that stands at the top of Brussels looking down on the city; offering one of the best evening cityscapes of Brussels. This building still serves its original purpose as the high courts of Brussels. It has a distinctive golden dome and many columns decorating its façade, which faces onto the road, located at Place Poelaert near Avenue Louise shopping street.
Just as Paris had warmed to the Eiffel Tower, Brussels admired its own temporary exhibition from a world fair – Atomium Brussels. The World Expo of 1958 left behind a gigantic structure that shone in the spring sun in the shape of an atom. It is a replica of an iron crystal enlarged 165 billion times. Sounds interesting? Then journey up into the Heysel area of Brussels to explore the Atomium which yields a spectacular view of the city as well as art and science exhibitions and a restaurant in its 9 spheres.
Mini-Europe Brussels is a theme park with miniatures of the most famous monuments, sites and scenery of Europe. It is located next to the Atomium in Brupark. It is a great chance for families to have a great day out with the children. The miniatures are about 25 times smaller than the life size versions, some of the most famous include the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Mount Vesuvius and of course the Grand Place!
The most famous opera house in Belgium is La Monnaie (the Mint). Along with many historical buildings in Brussels, this building has enjoyed a long history of construction, rebuilding and refurbishment. The current building is the third on the site and at one point it hosted the best of French theatre only second to the opera houses in Paris. Brussels opera is still highly active and the agenda is packed so admire the structure during the day but pay a visit to the theatre at night!
Monuments and Buildings
In Brussels, history meets modern day with monuments and buildings stretching all across the city to celebrate different eras. In the city centre there are the tributes to royalty, the Royal Palace which is no longer resident to the King but still stands and houses museums and churches. In the east side are the modern structures of the European Union. Each building and monument has its own unique story and historical significance.
Brussels city has become quite proud of the number of parks they have available in the city, called green spaces. These parks range from grand boulevards with statues and fountains to quaint parks with lakes and flowers. A leisurely stroll through the parks is not a bad idea for visitors who want to see nature within a concrete jungle. Picnics, books, children and dogs are most welcome.
About 30 minutes out of Brussels city in the area of Planckendael is the closest zoo to Brussels city. It is a large enclosure with animals from all over the world organised by regions of the world – Africa, Asia, Europe etc. This zoo makes for a great day excursion for animal lovers and visitors with children.