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Brussels in a Day: 12 Cool Things To Do!

Brussels is the stunning capital city of Belgium. There are amazing things that you can see and experience in Brussels. It is a perfect way to get into the heart of Western European culture.

You can explore the city for a day or more.

If you only have 1 day in Belgium and you decided to spend that one in Brussels (Bruxelles in French), I prepared for you a list of the coolest things to do in Brussels in a day.

Hey! Don’t forget to grab my free “24h in Brussels Checklist” below!

Three tourist spots in Brussels that are put in a collage

All the sights can be visited on foot, thus feel free to print this Brussels in a one-day itinerary. At the end of the post, I prepared for you a map with the best things to do in Brussels in one day.

Psst: looking for more trips near Brussels, Belgium? Check out my other posts:

Love Belgium? Click here to download your free bundle with a Fantastic Belgium Itinerary and Packing List! Don’t let them slip by!

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12 Things to see in Brussels in 1 Day

1. Grand Place or Grote Markt

grand place square market in brussels, belgium covered with flower carpets
Grand-Place with flower carpet

The “Grand-Place” or the Grote Markt is one of the iconic landmarks of Belgium. It is located in the heart of Brussels and is considered as one of the most important squares in the country.

The Grand Place is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and is one of the top things to do in Brussels in 1 day.

Following the induction of the Grand Place into the UNESCO List, several decrees for the protection of the interiors were issued by the Administration of the Brussels-Capital Region. 

There are three main structures that make up the grandeur of the Grote Markt. They include the town hall, King’s house and the houses of the Grand Place.

This tourist spot should be included in your itinerary. You will be mesmerized by the stunning gold ornate and designs on all the merchant and guild buildings. If you are wondering what to do in Brussels Belgium in one day, Grand-Place is a must.

There are many events that are organized at the Grand-Place all year round. They include the Flower Carpet event, which is a flower (begonias) event, organized every 2 years in mid-August.

Every year in December, Christmas Market and Tree are set up on the market square. It is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Brussels in a day.

Summer months are busy here with free concerts showcased here. The Meyboom procession also starts at Grand Place. The Grand-Place is only one of many free things to do in Brussels. 

Are you wondering what to do in Brussels in 1 day?

The Grand-Place is definitely one of the must-see places in Brussels and the starting point for your exploration of Brussels. It’s the heart of the old town and all the main streets of Brussels end, respectively start here. 

I also enjoy having my morning coffee here or having an apéro during the afternoon, as it is the perfect place for people-watching.

2. City Museum and the Brussels Town Hall

main building in grand place in brussels belgium
Grand-Place in the morning

The Town Hall is located at the central point of the Grand Place square. It is the only medieval building that exists in its old form at the Grand Place.

The Town Hall still houses a significant portion of municipal offices. It is embellished by a bell tower which is the most iconic structure of the square.

The town hall was built in different stages during the early part of the 15th century and, when you closely look at the architecture, you will find that it is asymmetrical…also one of the reasons why the town hall is aesthetically criticized!

It is still stunning though, in my opinion. There is beauty in its imperfections.

Located close the Brussels Town Hall is the King’s House (Maison du Roi) which houses the Museum of the City of Brussels. It is definitely one of the main attractions in Brussels and one of the top things to do in Brussels in one day.

Entry fee: 8 euros for adults Group and guided tours are also available. 

3. Take a horse carriage ride at the Central Square

horse carriages on main square in brussels, belgium
Daily Grind in Brussels

Take a horse carriage tour starting at the Grand Place and explore all the buildings and markets in and around central Brussels. The horse-drawn carriage tours costs €44 and takes 30 minutes. It is a perfect way to add some memorable activity in the historic city center.

If horse-carriage is not your thing, take a stroll around the buildings and do some souvenir shopping and/or eat your heart out. 

4. Eat some waffles at Maison Dandoy

a brussels waffle holded against the backdrop of the sky
Gimme’ all these waffles!

You are in Belgium, so you have to try their waffles. Belgium waffles aka the original waffles are quite different from the ones we eat in North America.

Read more about where to eat in Brussels

These waffles were introduced by Maurice Vermersch of Brussels and it is based on a simplified recipe for the Brussels waffles – it has a lighter batter, larger squares, and deeper pockets than North American waffles.

Did you know that there are Brussels Waffles and Liege Waffles (another city in Belgium). Well, for now, let’s try the authentic “Brussels Waffles”.

One of the popular places to eat waffles in Brussels is Maison Dandoy. You will find casual dining places near Grand Place, which are also great choices to try some waffles.

If you are wondering what to do in Brussels for 1 day, then a warm waffle is definitely a must. They are considered one of the most traditional food to eat in Brussels.

5. Try some Belgian fries & beer

belgian beer bottles in a beer shop in brussels, belgium
Ain’t no beer like Belgian craft beer

Belgian frites are unique to Brussels too. They are fluffier than the usual French fries and are served in a cone. Try some fries at Belgian Frites, located in central Brussels. Belgium fries are fries and a whole lot of taste. Try them, you will see why they are different from French fries. Add some sauce to it as well! Yum!

Here are some other places where you can enjoy some delicious Belgian fries:

  • Place Flagey: Fries Food Truck
  • Maison Antoine
  • Friterie du Miroir

Belgian Beer is popular as well. Many visitors visit Belgium for its beers. In many parts of Belgium, you can visit breweries to see how beer is made and the entire process of brewing can be experienced with a guided tour.

There are about 296+ active breweries in Belgium. Belgium has the most storied history of any country when it comes to brewing delectable beers. Beers in Belgium include pale lager to amber ales, lambic beers, ales, and stouts.

Take a beer tour to experience the best of Belgian beer or head to a brewery. Indeed, a day in Brussels without a beer wouldn’t be complete.

If you want to experience the vibrant nightlife of Brussels with a friendly guide, and discounted beers and cocktails, then a Pub Crawl with discounts is a perfect activity. – Get tickets here.

Another thing you can’t leave Brussels without is indulging in some typical Belgium mussels. You can also make them at home with this tasty mussels marinière recipe.

6. Comic Strip Walk and Museum

a comic book with tin tin comics in brussels

Brussels is home to the comic stars – Tintin, Spirou and the Smurfs and they are everywhere in the city. The Belgian Comic Strip walk is a lane full of murals in Brussels city centre (55 murals). It is a definite treat to the eye.

Hint: This place also makes for a great photography location! 

You know that Brussels loves Tintin (my husband does too). His iconic blonde hair graffiti is everywhere in the city. If you are a comic fan, then head to the Comic Strip Museum. The Comic Center is a museum dedicated to the colorful world of comics.

You won’t be disappointed here. If you are wondering what to see in Belgium in 1 day, then, this is a different way to explore the quirky side of Brussels.

7. St Michael and St Gudula Cathedral, Brussels

a girl walking through a scenic street in brussels, belgium
Strolling around in Brussels’ quaint streets

St Michael and St Gudula Cathedral is a Roman Catholic Church located in central Brussels.

The cathedral is made up of stone quarry and looks stunning from the outside. If you have some time on your hands, it is worth visiting the interiors of the cathedral as well.

There are many marble alabaster altarpieces and baroque-style pulpits. It’s one of the most pretty things to do in Brussels, Belgium in one day.

8. Manneken Pis Statue

the manneken pis statue in brussels, belgium
Brussels’ VIP

Manneken Pis is a weird tourist attraction in Brussels. I say weird because its a little man pee” statue. The statue takes a little bit of skill in hunting down (unless you see it as part of a tour) but it is worth persevering.

You will find it by taking the right lane away from the town hall. Definitely worth a visit to see what the fuss is all about!

If you are wondering how to spend a day in Brussels, then you can’t skip the legendary peeing boy… he’s the unofficial symbol of the Belgian capital! It is an absolute must-do in Brussels in one day!

9. Get some shopping done at Hubert Hall

taverne assage restaurant in the hubert hall in brussels, belgium
One of the most scenic places in Brussels

The Saint-Hubert Royal Galleries are a stunning array of shopping arcades in Brussels. Located close to the central square, this gallery dates back to the 1850’s.

The internal passage is very beautiful and makes for a great photography spot. If you are here in the morning, before stores open, then enjoy some breakfast and coffee. The stores are open as late as 09:00 pm.

If you want to get the best photo of Hubert Hall, Brussels, I recommend waking up early before the place gets packed.

We enjoyed some Belgian chocolates in the evening during our stay as well! The Saint-Hubert Royal is on the UNESCO “Tentative List”, due to its cultural importance. It’s definitely one of the coolest things to do in Brussels one day.

10. Marolles Flea Market

Belgian waffles with whipped cream, chocolate and strawberries on the display case
Belgian Waffles Forever

What to do in Brussels if you only have 1 day? Shopping! 

But not any kind of shopping! Let’s hit the quirkiest flea market in Brussels, the place to be for hipsters: les Marolles.

Marolles is a flea market located at Place du Jeu de Balle, Brussels. This place is quite historical. In the olden days it was called the “Old Market” (“Vieux Marché” in French). 

It was built in 1853, along with the nearby rue Blaes, the Place du Jeu de Balle or “Old Market” and was intended to serve as a playing field for “balle pelote” players.

Today it is a popular flea market in Brussels and definitely one of the cool things to do in Brussels.

About 450 merchants work here every day of the year, selling some vintage items to collect and take home from your visit.

The Marolles Markets is extremely quirky, thus I can only recommend it when looking for things to see in Brussels in one day.

11. Palace of Justice

things to do in brussels, palace of justice
Image by annpwls from Pixabay

A must see in Brussels in one day is definitely the Palais de Justice, the Palace of Justice of Brussels. It is a majestic building that can be easily reached from Marolles flea market by elevator. 

The elevator is an attraction on its own as it provides breathtaking panorama views of the Belgian capital.

Unfortunately, the Palace of Justice isn’t open to the public. However, walking through its imposing entrance gates is an experience on its own.

The building is a testimonial of Belgium’s former grandeur. However keep in mind, that this building was constructed with money from the African colonies.

If you do a one day trip to Brussels, the Palace of Justice is a must since it makes the place one of the most beautiful towns in Belgium.

12. Visit the Atomium (real quick!)

atomium brussels monument
Image by Waldo Miguez from Pixabay

If you are a traveler with limited time in Brussels, a visit to the iconic Atomium should be at the top of your list!

It’s one of the best museums in Brussels.

This extraordinary structure is a must-see landmark that stands proudly over the city, and it is surprisingly easy to see in just an afternoon.

The Atomium is close to Brussels city center, so you can easily get there by public transport or on foot. Plus, once you are there, you can explore inside at your own pace within 2-3 hours.

The panoramic views of the Belgian capital are some of the best!

Tip: Visiting Brussels we recommend booking the Atomium Combi including Hop on Hop off Bus which stops at the Atomium (which is not located in the city center). 

How to visit Brussels in 1 day?

waffle, food truck belgium, traditional food in brussels, typical food in brussels
Waffle Food Truck in Brussels

Are you a bit lazy or too much in a rush to visit Brussels in 1 day? Or you simply want to do a Brussels day trip from another place?

A great way to make the most of your time in Brussels is by taking the legendary “HopOn-HopOff Bus“. It takes you to the most important attractions in Brussels. – Get tickets here

Tour companies such as Viator, Tourradar or GetYourGuide offer organized day tours to Brussels from larger European cities such as Amsterdam, Paris, or Cologne. It’s definitely possible to see Brussels in a day.

I made a selection of the best ways to explore Brussels in one day if you’re based in towns close by:

If you have more than 1 Day in Brussels, then read the best day trips to take from Brussels, but for anyone else, I curated this handy list with the top 10 Things to do in Brussels in one day

Let’s start with our itinerary with Brussels for a day and tips for Brussels sightseeing in one day.

Now that you are ready for Brussels, here are some quick tips to visit Brussels in a day

  • Brussels is served by the Brussels Airport, which is located northeast of Brussels
  • You can use your credit card for most transactions as well
  • Safe and perfect for solo, couple or family vacation trips
  • Best Time to Visit: April to July are summer and busy months to visit. There are a lot of activities/fests that take place in Brussels during summer. August to early October are off-season month. You can find good hotel prices during this time. Tourist spots will be less crowded too.
  • National trains (SNCB) connect Brussels to other cities in BelgiumBuy here your train tickets to Brussels
  • Inter-country or Thalys trains also operate from Brussels (Bruxelles-Midi) to other countries like France and Netherlands. – Buy here your train tickets to Brussels
  • You can use sightseeing tours to visit Brussels as well. Lots of tour options are available for all budgets.
  • Hotel Tip – Stay in Brussels downtown or central square area for better access to sightseeing areas.
  • Make sure to include a day trip to Leuven which is super close to Brussels

Brussels is a beautiful European city that deserves a visit. It is modern, yet you will find vintage and medieval remnants across the city. And don’t forget the FOOD in Brussels. It is yummy!

Have a look at my web story about things to do in Brussels in one day.

Where to stay in Brussels in 1 Day

You can read our comprehensive guide on Where to Stay in Brussels to know more about the best areas to stay.

Or you can check these out:

Favorite Place to Stay So Far 
Radisson RED Brussels Hotel ****


Aparthotel Adagio Access Bruxelles Europe **
La Madeleine Hotel Grand Place Brussels ***


Bedford Hotel***
Hygge Hotel ***


Warwick Brussels – Grand Place *****
Hotel Metropole *****

Map: What to do in Brussels in a day

map things to do in brussels in 1 day - Brussels in a Day: 12 Cool Things To Do!

I hope this 1 day itinerary Brussels, will help you to make the most of your stay in the Belgian capital. Let me know in the comments if anything should be unclear about the places to visit in Brussels in one day!

About the Author

blogger author photo

Mayuri is a Business Management Professional based in Canada. Originally from India, she moved to Canada to finish her Masters Degree and has been calling it home ever since. Mayuri is a history nerd and loves to explore a city’s past. She works full-time and encourages people to travel even with busy schedules.

She blogs her travel stories and tips on Her blog has series of short-term itineraries and weekend getaway guides to suit travellers with hectic lifestyles. She travels with her husband, Salil who is also the mastermind behind the lens. Their website is considered a top Brussels travel blog.


Friday 2nd of August 2019

It's very useful. Thanks a lot.


Saturday 3rd of August 2019

Thanks a lot! Enjoy Brussels a lot!