Visitors could spend full days sightseeing in Brussels and still not hit all the highlights, but those short on time should prioritize these five key attractions.
Cantillon Brewery: Founded in 1900 and still considered one of the world’s premier producers of traditional lambic beers, Cantillon Brewery welcomes visitors from 10am to 5pm five days a week (closed Wednesday and Sunday). Cantillon’s distinguished history and brewing methods are highlighted in self-guided tours of the Gueuze Museum (€7 or US$7.80, including a beer).
Church of Our Blessed Lady of the Sablon: This may be the grandest of Brussels’ many impressive Roman Catholic churches. Built primarily during the 15th century upon a small chapel dating to the early 1300s, the church has undergone numerous expansions and renovations over the centuries. A few of the most notable additions came in the 17th century with the construction of two grandiose Baroque chapels worth the visit alone.
La Grand-Place: A UNESCO World Heritage Site and the city’s crowning architectural attraction, La Grand-Place is a jaw-dropping showcase of largely late 17th-century structures boxing in this remarkable public square. This is a place to linger, particularly during the evening when the square is lit up in dramatic fashion.
Manneken Pis: No Brussels visitor leaves town without first watching the city’s cheeky bronze boy urinate into a shallow pool; he may even be dressed up for the occasion. Find him at 1000 Brussels, a few short blocks southwest of La Grand-Place.
Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium: This suite of six museums collectively house Brussels’ most important art collections. Highlights include the 15th to 18th century Old Master paintings at Musée Oldmasters Museum, and the modern and contemporary art of Musée Modern Museum.