Looking for some unusual things to do in Brussels?
Yeah, I was too. I mean, touristy things do in Brussels are great since they’re touristy for a reason, but sometimes, you just want to see something that’s a little different and explore some of the more unusual things to do in Brussels.
I definitely march to the beat of a mystical drum that no one else can hear.
And that gets SUPER awkward at times. But my weirdness is part of my endearing charm!
it means that you’ll probably see some interesting things to see in Brussels that you haven’t heard of!
Pretty cool right?
I for one always like learning about new places that I didn’t even know existed.
So get Ready!
Because we’ll explore 17 cool and unusual things to do in Brussels that are truly awesome, even if you’re exploring Brussels in one day.
And while some of these places to visit aren’t a total surprise, since they are some of the top attractions in Brussels (I’ll admit it, I’m not totally original), I can guarantee that all of these things to do in Brussels are super fun (While you’re at it, you can also check out Mons, Belgium’s overlooked hidden gem).
So get ready for some epic weirdness as we swan dive into the weird world of things to see in Brussels (a world that may or may not involve a little boy peeing).
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.
*** Looking for a nice hotel in Brussels that won’t break the bank? Then check out Hotel des Galeries, the Dominican, Hotel Made in Louise, and Brussels Bloom. Some pretty awesome hotels that aren’t ridiculously expensive and that are right near some of the best Brussels things to do. ***
1. Musical Instrument Museum (AKA The Old England Building and one of the slightly less unusualls things to do in Brusse)
This building is an art nouveau masterpiece that is home to the Musical Instrument Museum of Brussels (MIM).
Interested in Visiting MIM?
Then grab an audio guide since many of the museum plaques are only in French.
And yes, this museum is totally worth a visit and one of the top things to do in Brussels.
On display here are truly unique instruments that are exquisite pieces of art in their own right (my faves are the ornately decorated pianos that are adorned with beautiful etchings and paintings of all kinds).
After exploring over 2,000 instruments, you may feel a bit like a hangry beast; a problem that is an easy fix since MIM Restaurant is located on the tenth floor of the building.
From this restaurant:
Not only can you get an amazing view of Brussels but you can also enjoy a decadently, delicious Sunday, brunch buffet.
Just sayin’ because to me, food is always a good idea.
***If you love museums, you should definitely check out the Waterloo Battlefield and Museum while you’re in Belgium.***
Umm, who doesn’t want to see a giant atom that stands at an astonishing 102 meters tall?
Okay, I’ll Admit it:
Atomium is rather touristy and expensive, but come on, how many times in your life are you gonna see a giant atom?
And this isn’t just any atom but an iron atom in it’s traditional, crystal lattice (I sound so smart. Guess that science degree is FINALLY paying off).
I didn’t go to the top but I did visit and thought that this enormous, space-age structure was definitely one of the more unique things to do in Brussels and pretty cool in person.
But Why a Giant Atom?
I mean, this structure is almost as useful as a giant ball of string.
Believe it or not:
This enormous atom was created as a symbol of postwar progress, for the 1958 World’s Fair, and has grown in fame to become one of the top things to do in Brussels.
***If you feel inspired to visit the top of Atomium, definitely book tickets in advance because the line is insanely long, especially in the summer. Also, I was pleasantly surprised that the food there is actually really yummy. ***
3. Mannekin Pis (also known as a little peeing boy)
Oh hey, guess what the icon of Brussels is?
Yeah, that would be a 61 cm (tiny) statue of a little peeing boy (a must see even if you only have 8 hours in Brussels).
Yup, it’s one of the more hysterical things to see in Brussels and is formally known as the Geraardsbergen’s Manneken Pis.
This little guy was designed by Hiëronymus Duquesnoy (the Elder ) and put into place between 1618 and 1619.
The original statue was replaced in 1965 by a copy (womp, womp, womp), that is now dressed up in hilarious outfits for various holidays and special events.
So obviously you must visit Brussels during a holiday so that you can see this little guy dressed up in all his glory.
To Find this Statue (Without getting pissed. Haha):
Head to the corner of the main square that lies in front of the turreted town hall of 1893.
Or look it up on your GPS, either one works.
***Everyone knows about Manneken Pis but fewer people know about his sister, Jeanneke Pis. This little peeing lady is located across the street from Délirium Café, along Impasse de la Fidélité, near the Rue des Bouchers.***
4. Mini Europe
A literal hop, skip, and jump away from Atomium, is Mini Europe; a miniature park that presents guests with reproductions of famous EU monuments (The scale is 1:25. But that means nothing to me so do with that what you will).
This shrunken Europe has models of 80 cities and over 350 buildings, that are enhanced by moving trains, mills, an erupting Mount Vesuvius, and even some cable cars, just for a little extra flavor.
Feel free to oh and ah. Personally:
I had no desire to visit this attraction in Brussels. Not only was the entrance fee kind of expensive, but I dunno, the whole thing just reeked of one giant tourist trap to me.
That’s why I took a Hard Pass on Mini Europe, one of the top things to do in Brussels.
But maybe you’ll love it and agree with many others who think this is one of the best things to see in Brussels, Belgium.
Interested in a Visit?
Save time and purchase tickets in advance. Ain’t nobody got time to wait in line.
5. The Belgian Center for Comic Strip Art
Nerds of the world rejoice and get your nerd on at one of the top things to do in Brussels!
A museum dedicated entirely to the preservation and appreciation of comic strips since, at this museum, they actually treat comic strips like a genuine form of art.
And it really is!
From the first sketches to the last color application, the Comic Strip Museum takes you through the entire, long and difficult process of creating a comic.
And Then of Course:
You get to see all these awesome comics that we all grew up with. You know, classics like The Adventures of Tin Tin and the Smurfs; pieces of nostalgia that make this museum one of the epic places to visit in Brussels.
I hate the smurfs and think they’re creepy. But, there’s a whole exhibit dedicated to these famous, tiny blue creatures, so clearly I’m the only one who thinks they’re weird.
There is a really interesting and totally free, comic strip exhibit across the street that you should check out.
One of the great free things to do in Brussels.
6. The Comic Strip Route
Umm, who doesn’t like a scavenger hunt?
And if you don’t like them…then you can’t sit with me (Mean Girls anyone)! Kidding!
I ask because the Brussels comic strip route is like one giant scavenger hunt. So if you’re wondering what to do in Brussels when you’re broke like a joke, then try this.
And your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find all the comic strip murals hidden in the city of Brussels.
Bare in mind though:
Brussels has over fifty comic strip murals (if you want to find them all, you might want to apply for a resident’s visa) that pay tribute to some of the most famous Belgian comics in the world; comics like The Adventures of Tin Tin (my fave), Lucky Luke, Gaston, Marsupilami and Gil Jourdan.
But why a comic strip route?
Well, the project started in 1991 when the government and the Belgian Comic Strip Center worked together to commemorate well-known comic artists by embellishing empty walls all across Brussels.
The project has grown so much that the Belgium Tourist Center actually has free Comic Book Walk Maps to help you find some of the most popular comic strip murals in the city.
A fun and unique way to explore Brussels and get acquainted with some of the less touristy neighborhoods and places to visit in Brussels.
*** The Brussels tourist association offers a 2-hour bike tour, of the city’s comic strip murals, starting at the Bicycle Riders House (Maison des cyclists).***
7. Delirium Cafe
Hidden Along a Cobblestone, Back Alley:
Is the legendary Delirium Cafe (yes, you’ll be delirious if you try every single beer here), named for the Belgian pale ale, Delirium Tremens,
Just follow the parade of pink elephants and you’ll know that you’re headed in the right direction (Scout’s honor that you’re not trippin’ on something stronger than beer).
Descend into the cafe’s cavernous basement and prepare for a beer lover’s paradise that includes a selection of over 2,000 beers!
2,000 beers kind of overwhelming?
No worries! The bartenders here are super friendly and all too willing to help you decide what to order because yes, they really do know what they’re talking about.
But what if you’re not a drinker (like me)?
No problem! They have a nice water bar and a fine selection of cheese and sausage that is available for anyone who is taking a hard pass on the alcohol.
So no matter who you are:
Delirium Cafe is one of the great things to do at night in Brussels.
***If you love beer then check out this three hour, Belgian Beer Tasting Experience***
8. Royal Greenhouses of Laeken
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Wondering what to see in Brussels and looking for something different to do?
Then how about an impromptu photo shoot at the Greenhouses of Laeken?
I would say go inside but alas, the greenhouses are only open two weeks a year, in late April and early May.
The Good News?
Those are the same two weeks that most of the flowers are in bloom. Therefore, if you visit, you’ll be treated to an exquisite assortment of azaleas and geraniums.
Can’t visit Brussels them?
Don’t worry because the grounds here are pretty impressive too!
Exquisite glass domes tower over the complex and illuminate the beauty of the surrounding garden and adjoining buildings.
Take a moment to wander through the quaint paths of this historic place and journey back in time, to an era when kings, queens, and courtiers ruled the land.
9. Commemoration of Peter the Great’s Vomit
Umm, who doesn’t want their vomit to be commemorated for all eternity?
Okay, totally joking.
I hope I have more to contribute to the world than a pool of vomit.
Brussels is a quirky city that has actually commemorated a spot where the Tsar, Peter the Great, vomited in Parc de Bruxelles.
But where can you find this infamous spot of royal ralphing?
Along the main path of Parc de Bruxelles, there are two strange, 8-meter pits that lie on either side of the path.
Walk over to the pit on the left and you’ll find a spot that was used for prostitution back in the day.
You’ll find a commemorative statue of Peter the Great that denotes where he yakked it up.
Apparently, on April 16, 1717:
The Tsar Peter Alexeyevich wasn’t feeling well after an epic night of debauchery (hangover much?).
Everything seemed fine until around 3 pm when the iconic leader just sat down and puked.
But it Gets Better:
The plaque on the small basin immortalized the event by stating, in Latin, that, “As he sat on the edge of this fountain, he enobled its waters with the wine of his libations.”
And while the basin is long gon:
This statue remains as one of the more unusual things to do in Brussels and serves as a reminder that even the best of us have to puke now and again.
10. Zinneke Pis
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I think Belgium has, um, er, a unique obsession with things that pee.
I say this because as you probably guessed, from the “pis” in the title, this unique Belgium attraction has something to do with pee.
And you’re right since this statue, one of the many unique Brussels things to do, is actually of a dog peeing!
This bronze statue of a dog lifting his leg and peeing on a Brussels’ street pole has stood at the corner of Rue des Chartreux and Rue du Vieux Marché aux grains.
The creator modeled this statue after his very own canine companion and still lives in the surrounding neighborhood.
So if You Feel Lucky:
Swing by the statue and you might catch a glimpse of the artist’s real-life muse relieving himself on a nearby street pole.
11. Temple of Human Passions
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Located in the beautiful Cinquantenaire Park, this temple is open for only one hour a day (and closed Mondays)
Why the limited visitation?
Apparently, the sculpture inside the temple is just too scandalous for public viewing.
Done in the Art Nouveau style of architect Victor Horta, this classic Greek temple departs from traditional architectural themes with minimal use of straight lines and details that are modified in spontaneous ways.
Originally built to house the “Human Passions” relief by Jeff Lambeaux:
This sculpture was deemed too risque for visitors since it depicts explicit scenes of war, rape, and violence.
You can visit this controversial piece of art at the Temple of Human Passions; a truly saucy addition to any Brussels itinerary.
***Tickets can be purchased at the Art and History Museum in Cinquantenaire Park***
12. Maison de la Bellone
Tucked away from many of Belgium’s top tourist attractions, the Maison de la Bellone is a unique art center that simultaneously represents the city’s artistic past and future.
This edifice houses a treasure of Late-Baroque architecture; a facade adorned with the ancient Roman goddess of war and scenes from the 1697 Battle of Zenta (I’ve never heard of this battle but apparently the Austrians beat the Turks).
To see this hidden gem for yourself:
Stroll along the building’s covered passageway and enter a courtyard where a lovely glass roof protects the exquisite, ancient Baroque architecture within.
13. The Chocolate Museum in Brussels
Chocolate + a museum? Yeah, I am so in! But honestly, the Chocolate Museum had my heart at the word chocolate.
And my heart melted when I saw all the free samples! Free samples everywhere!
Chocolate Lovers Wave Your Jazz Hands in the Air Like You Just Don’t Care!
But it Gets Better!
Not only do you get to see (and taste) how pralines are created, but there is a chocolate fountain with Speculoos.
What more can a girl ask for? Can I have my wedding here? Kidding…Sort of.
But it’s not just about the food (even though this museum is one of my fave foodie things to do in Brussels).
At this unique museum, not only will you see antique, chocolate-related memorabilia (like coffee pots to warm hot chocolate) but you’ll also learn about the history of chocolate and see how it is transformed into the dessert deliciousness that we know and love today.
So grab your ticket and stop by.
Just do yourself a favor and make sure that you’re wearing a super comfy pair of elastic waist pants first.
14. Toy Museum
A mansion full of 25,000 toys?
FAO Schwartz eat your heart out. Unless they’re scary clowns like the one in American Horror Story. Then I’ll just exit stage left.
Just think of this quirky museum as a place where you can play with the toys that you’re mom never got you.
I’m still bitter about the Easy Bake Oven I never got.
In Truth Though:
This museum is filled with toys from the 1950s-1980s, with some of the oldest toys in the collection dating back to 1830.
Seriously, where else can you actually play with toys this old? Pretty cool right?
So embrace your not so inner child and frolic through three floors of pure imagination.
15. The Royal Palace
I bet you’re wondering how the Royal Palace even made it on this list of unusual things to do in Brussels since this building is consistantly one of the top things to see in Brussels.
A city palace is found in almost every city in Europe, so why is this one different?
Glad You Asked!
See, this exquisite palace is a true architectural delight; brimming with opulent rooms that are adorned with nothing less than the finest furniture and art available.
Walking through this palace:
You feel as though you’ve been transported into some magical fairytale that you never want to leave.
And While All the Rooms in the Palace are Beautiful (and free since you don’t pay for admission):
The Mirror Room will forever stand apart for it’s one of a kind, iridescent, green ceiling.
And Here’s Where it Gets Weird!
To create this unique color, artist Jan Fabre covered the ceiling, and one of the chandeliers, with over 1.5 million jewel beetles!!!
See, that’s why this is one of the best places to visit in Brussels!
So BEE (Get it? LoL) line it over to the Mirror Room and I promise, you will not be disappointed.
***Since 1965, the Brussels Palace has opened to the public every summer from July 21, after the National Holiday, through September.***
16. Museum of Costume and Lace
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I am super fashion challenged and kind of wanted to take half of the Museum of Costume and Lace home with me since, well, the lace garments on display here are THAT beautiful.
I love pretty things, like the wedding dresses displayed here.
I can never own anything this stylish since I either spill random liquids all over my clothes or pair plaids with polka dots in a misguided attempt to be a designer on project runway.
But my utter lack of fashion sense is what made a walk through this museum so neat.
I had no idea that lace making is actually one of the oldest crafts in Brussels. Who knew?
First developed in Italy:
This craft was later transported to Brussels and became a major component of the city’s textile industries.
So take a walk through yesteryear (or century):
And marvel at the historic, lace outfits that are on display throughout this unique museum.
The exhibits here are constantly changing so there really is always something new to see.
17. Museum of Fantastic Art
Best name for a museum EVER!!
But not overly descriptive since fantastic is a rather ambiguous term.
Opened in 2002:
This museum houses some of the weirdest and trippiest art that I have ever seen.
And while the pieces in the museum all come from different periods in time, they are all
fantastical, strange, and surrealist…Oh my!
From an Elephant Man to killer flies to walking mummies, I promise that this museum houses art that you’ve never seen before and that you’ll never see again.
A completely atypical collection of paintings, visual arts, and sculptures that will make you think, “WTF did I just see?”