11 Authentic + Free Things to do in Brussels, Belgium
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The best list of free things to do in Brussels, Belgium; Europe’s cosmopolitan centre.
After trying all the fries, waffles and beers Brussels has got to offer, you may not have much money left. Do not despair, and most of all don’t go yet, because there are still many things you can do for free in Brussels. Here are a few of our favorite free activities in Brussels.
TOP 11 FUN FREE THINGS TO DO IN BRUSSELS
Marvel at the Architecture of Grand Place
The Grand Place is one of the jewels of Brussels and is known for its decorative and aesthetic wealth. The square is surrounded by the guild houses, the City Hall and the Maison du Roi.
All year round different free events take place here, such as the Christmas market, the floral carpet, the beer festival and many more.
Take a Free Walking Tour
Several organizations offer free walking tours in Brussels. One is Viva’s Tours, another is Sandemans. These tours are led by young volunteers who like to share their passion for Brussels with visitors.
They won’t bore you with long historical stories and architectural details, but they will give you some basic information about historical places and complete it with fun facts, anecdotes, and suggestions on the best bars and restaurants in town.
If you like the tour, you’re free to tip your guide, but what you give is totally up to you.
Seek Out the Best Spots to Watch the Sunset
Brussels has some beautiful viewpoints that are especially interesting at sunset. Some places you might want to try are Place Poelaert for a panoramic view over the city. You can even see the Atomium in the distance.
If you come from the lower Marolles district, you can get here by taking the free public elevator.
Another nice viewpoint is Mont des Arts, which offers one of the most iconic views over the city center, over which the town hall tower peaks out.
In Park du Cinquantenaire it is nice to sit by the monumental triple arch in the center of the park. At sunset, the sun will go down through one of the arches.
Whichever place you pick, bring some wine (and your date?) and enjoy the view.
Visit Free Museums
Several museums are free on the first Wednesday, Saturday or Sunday of the month. If you’d happen to be around on those days, check out the Brussels Museums website in the FAQ section to find out which ones.
To name a few, some of the most famous museums you can visit for free are the Musical Instruments Museum located in an authentic art nouveau building, the Old Masters Museum which features works of famous painters such as Reubens, Bosch and Breughel, and the Museum of Natural History with large dinosaur skeletons.
All in all, around 30 museums are free once a month. Another 30 (lesser known) museums are free to visit at all times. You’ll know what to do on rainy afternoons.
Get a Free Guide and Great Tips from ‘Use-It’
The city maps created by USE-IT are really interesting. They are not only practical, but they are also written with a pinch of humor. You would read them even if you’re not in Brussels!
The USE-IT map offers a bunch of great suggestions on where to eat, drink and shop, and also feature a few walking trails in the city center and the surrounding districts. Their office is situated in the Ravensteingallerij 25.
Feel free to ask them about what’s happening in town that evening. If they don’t organize something themselves, they are always up to date about the latest events in Brussels.
In Belgium, comic books are so popular that huge murals depicting cartoon characters are decking the walls of many Brussels buildings. You can find them all over town, although a majority is situated in the Brussels pentagon.
This project started in the nineties when the city decided to remove ugly commercial posters, which resulted in giant empty walls. In order to embellish those blind walls, large murals depicting characters and authors of the Franco-Belgian comic scene now brighten up the city.
Today, more than 60 comic strip murals adorn the walls. There is a Comic Book Route you can follow to explore them all.
Find the Three Pee-Themed Statues
Many will know the famous fountain statue of the peeing little boy called Manneke Pis, but did you know there are two other peeing statues? (Spoiler: it’s really not that big, so don’t get your expectations up).
There is also a peeing girl, Jeanneke Pis, who is squatting by the famous beer bar Delirium which claims to serve more than 2.000 beers from all around the world.
The other one is a peeing dog, called Zinneke. He’s the hardest one to find.
Have a Picnic in the Park
A nice thing about Brussels is that you never have to go far to find a park, many of which are really intriguing to explore. Parc Botanique, for example, could be considered as the little brother of Central Park in New York, being a green city lung surrounded by an impressive skyscraper skyline.
Parc du Cinquantenaire is a big park with big arcades in the middle. In Summer, many free events are taking place here as well, such as free yoga or aerobics classes.
Parc de Forest and Parc Duden are more elevated so that from there, you can get nice views over the lower part of Brussels dominated by the dome of the Palais the Justice.
Grab a Free Concert in Summer
In Summer there are so many free events, meaning it’ll be a daily dilemma to decide which one to pick. Most of them are spontaneous events, such as concerts, workshops or open-air movie screenings. But some have become traditions that take place every year.
The Brussels Jazz Weekend in May is a new free festival that gives jazz fans the opportunity to enjoy live music in the open air and in many venues and bars.
During the annual Fête de la Musique in June, free concerts take place all over the city on public squares and in parks.
The free music festival in Brussels Boterhammen in Het Park (literally; ‘sandwiches in the park’) offers free concerts in the park facing the Royal Palace.
Go to an Open-Air Graffiti Exposition
Very few people know about the existence of this special place in Anderlecht. Somewhat tucked away under a random viaduct, some talented graffiti artists have been at work and they have transformed the pillars supporting the viaduct into a big open-air art gallery.
This atypical exposition will never be the same, as new graffiti appears all the time. One of the highlights is the portrait of Stromae, a Belgian singer-songwriter, famous for his electronic music. (You might know his song ‘Alors on danse’?)
Gather Free Food at Marché du Midi
Every Sunday, a weekly general market takes place around Gare du Midi station. It’s a huge market and a good place for grocery shopping since everything is so cheap. One of the stalls also serves a delicious brunch formula: large, stuffed Moroccan pancakes with fresh mint tea for no more than 5 Euros.
But you can also gather a bunch of food for free if you come by the end of the market around 2 pm. When the vendors prepare to leave, they don’t want to take all their unsold goods back home, so all the fruit and vegetables that doesn’t look “perfect” anymore is left behind.
They’re still perfectly fine to eat, though. Bring a large trolley and start hunting. If you’re good at scavenging, you might gather enough free food for an entire week.
BEST CHEAP PLACES TO STAY IN BRUSSELS
This is the ultimate list of the best cheap hotels in Brussels, Belgium. If you’re visiting Brussels on a budget, these are the cheapest and best places to stay!
Do you like your accommodation to have so much character, that the place will stay on your mind forever? B&B DRUUM is one of those places! Set within a well-preserved mansion dating back to 1850, each space is intricately designed with modern mixed with an old industrial feel. The beds are large and so comfortable you’ll never want to leave them. Staff stay on site 24/7 and whip you up an elaborate breakfast each morning. A quiet place to stay that is only a minute’s walk to bars, restaurants and cafe’s within the city centre.
B&B Villa 36
A seriously high-rated B&B that is as close to the centre of Brussels as you can possibly get, and for a great price too. Rooms are set within a simple but well thought out stylish 19th Century townhouse. The hostess is an architect, and her taste is spread throughout the building. An excellent continental breakfast is shared each morning around a large table with interesting fellow guests. Bathrooms are sparkling clean with toiletries included and a lovely sunny terrace for guests to enjoy.
Aside from the spacious, modern and unique rooms, the awesome games room packed with things to keep everyone occupied and the free parking spaces, there’s another big reason you’ll want to stay at FunKey Hotel… Free beer! That’s right, this hotel provides free beer, tea, coffee, soda and all-day snacks. There’s also WiFi throughout, a free buffet and vegetarian breakfast and a quaint outdoor garden to enjoy. Plus it’s only a couple of kilometres from the city centre of Brussels!
That’s a Wrap!
Be sure to explore all that this cosmopolitan city has to offer and check out a few of the free things to do in Brussels that are on this list!
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