The Best Things to do in Brussels with Kids
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Are you heading to Brussels Belgium with kids and wondering what there is to do with kids in Brussels? I often hear people say to skip Brussels when visiting Belgium but I would have to disagree with that. Sure, you don’t need a week to explore (we had 2 full days/1 half day and that felt like plenty) but I would highly recommend visiting Brussels with kids. Brussels is one of the best European cities to visit with kids, it’s easy to navigate by walking or using public transportation, making it a great city for families. There are lots of fun things to do in Brussels for kids in of all ages. Read on for tips on what to do in Brussels with kids.
How to get to Brussels
Brussels is an easy city to tack onto your European trip. If you’re in Paris, it’s a 1.5 hour train ride to Brussels. From Amsterdam, it’s 2.5 hours by train. You can also rent a car and make it a part of your European road trip. On past trips, we drove from Paris to Amsterdam with stops in Bruges and had a blast. Auto Europe is awesome and we highly recommend them for all your European car rental needs.
Flying in is also easy however make sure you fly into BRU, which is a short train ride to the center of the city. Many of the low cost carriers will take you to Charleroi airport, which is quite the distance from the city center and it will cost you much more to get to the city. Since Brussels was our first stop on our European adventure, we flew in from MCO via DUB and took Uber to our hotel since we didn’t feel like dealing with a train after a very long travel day.
Where to stay in Brussels with kids
We are hotel people, so we chose the Moxy Brussels City Center, which was awesome and centrally located. It’s one of the best hotels for families in Brussels. If you aren’t familiar with Moxy, they are always located in city centers but much cheaper than other Marriott brands. We have stayed at many all over the world and seek them out when we travel. The hotel was down the street from a train station, and near lots of shopping and dining. We were able to walk to a lot of attractions from the hotel.
The rooms here aren’t anything special and will not work for larger families, but it was just the two of us so it was perfect. We really only came back to sleep at night so we didn’t need any special accommodations.
While walking around, we noticed several hotels that were in excellent area with lots of things within walking distance. The Hilton Brussels Grand Place is not only in a great location, they have Smurf themed rooms which look really fun! The Ibis Brussels off Grand Place was also in a really good location, as was Novotel Brussels off Grand Place.
If you need more space for a bigger family, there are also lots of apartments and apartment hotels in the area. You can see many on the map below.
How to get around Brussels with kids
The best and easiest way to get around Brussels with kids is to use their public transportation because you won’t need car seats. However, keep in mind that this could add a lot of time to your itinerary and if you’re only in Brussels a short time, it may not be the best option. Because we only had 2 full days to explore, we used Uber quite a bit (my child is past the car seat stage) and the rides were 10-15 minutes and we were dropped off exactly where we wanted to go. We used the train a few times, but since it took close to an hour each time, we opted more for Uber to not waste time. If you do opt for the train, make sure you download the STIB-MIVB app which will tell you exactly where to get on and off. Pro tip: make sure you bring a portable charger with you since you will be relying on your phone for directions a lot! I used mine frequently to recharge my iPhone.
What to do in Brussels with Kids
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Brussels with kids, you’re in luck! The city has lots to offer to traveling families with kids of all ages. Aside from just wandering the streets and checking out shops and restaurants, we also visited some places we wanted to see while here. Here are some fun things to do in Brussels with kids. If you have older kids, be sure to bring along a travel journal so that they can jot down the best parts of the trip.
One of the best things to do in Brussels with kids is to visit Mini Europe. This park has miniature reproductions of famous European cities/landmarks which your kids will love. We got lucky since this was the first weekend it was back open for the season. They close most of the winter, so be sure to check before you go!
This unique building that looks like an atom features exhibits inside as well as panoramic views from the top. It’s located very close to Mini Europe, so I would combine these two in one day. You can purchase tickets for both at a discounted price when buying tickets online. There was a light show display during our visit, which was really cool to see!
The central square of Brussels is called Grand Place, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it’s a must visit on your trip to Brussels with kids. The city’s town hall is located here and it houses the largest marketplace in the city. This was one of our favorite parts of the city. I recommend grabbing some fries and sitting and enjoying the view.
From here, you can walk to the famous Manneken Pis, a bronze statue of a little boy peeing. There are many tales regarding this statue but no matter which you believe, this statue still remains today and is a local and tourist attraction.
Want to learn about the history of Belgium? This fun and interactive museum will show you the history of the country through different topics in 7 rooms. Pick up an education game for your kids to complete at the reception desk before starting your museum tour. These are just 1 Euro and a fun way for them to learn about what they are seeing. The games are intended for kids age 3-12, with 3 different options available based on the age of your child. Milana learned a ton about the history of Belgium from this game, I was surprised at how well done it was.
Museum of Natural Sciences
Another fun place to visit in Brussels with kids is the Museum of Natural Sciences. This museum is part of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Science and it houses 30 fossilised Iguanodon skeletons, which were discovered in 1878 in Bernissart, Belgium. Kids will love the dinosaur exhibit, the insectarium, and the interactive exhibits on ecology and sustainability.
Looking for a fun experience to do with your kids? Then take a chocolate workshop class! Be sure to book ahead as these do tend to sell out. You will learn about Belgian chocolates and then make some yourself. Kids will love this! Keep in mind that this experience is for children 6 and up and kids under 5 will not be permitted to attend.
Want to learn about the history of chocolate and even watch a chocolate making demonstration? Then check out this chocolate museum in Brussels! We got to sample lots of delicious chocolates and see how they are made.
Where to eat in Brussels with kids
There are many family friendly restaurants in Brussels and while we didn’t really plan too much since we wanted to just walk and eat whenever we got hungry, these are some must eats when visiting Brussels.
What’s a visit to Brussels without eating their amazing fries? There isn’t one place I would recommend, all the ones we tried were really good. A personal favorite was La Friterie. They have several locations but our favorite was just half a block from the Grand Place, where you can sit on a bench and enjoy your fries. If you don’t want them to dump the sauce on top (we didn’t, it just makes the top soggy with the bottom not having any dipping sauces), ask for them on the side.
Another must eat in Brussels is the waffles. Now keep in mind that there are two types-the liege, which is smaller and crunchier because of the sugar and the Brussels, which is rectangular and fluffy and the one we much preferred. The topping possibilities are endless! Again, we tried waffles at 3 different places and liked them all so you really can’t go wrong here.
On one of our days, we wanted some pizza and found Pizza Art. The owner was very friendly and the pizza was great. I had the 4 cheese and Milana chose prosciutto and both were delicious.
This was the only true restaurant we did while on this trip that wasn’t a quick meal and it was amazing! I wanted mussels before leaving the city and this place didn’t disappoint. They had several different options to choose from and I got the roquefort broth and it was so good. And the best part? This restaurant offers free meals for kids under 12 with paying adults. And it’s not chicken fingers and burgers. They had things like roasted chicken and spaghetti bolognese on the menu. This is a great family friendly restaurant in Brussels!
Le Pain Quotidien
This is one of our favorite breakfast chains and we were so happy to see one just an 8 minute walk from our hotel! We had one near us in SoCal and loved coming for breakfast. Most of the items on the menu are organic and they even have an organic chocolate hazelnut spread that tastes just like Nutella without the yucky ingredients. I love soft boiled eggs and 99% of the time when I ask for them at a US restaurant, they look at me like I’m crazy and then bring out a poached egg. This place does it right, just like I grew up eating and how I make them at home. If you’re looking for a healthy breakfast, this place should be on your list!
As you can see, we did a ton in Brussels in 2.5 days. You really don’t need a lot of time to explore this city and many of the sights are walkable. We walked an average of 25k steps per day and definitely felt like it’s a pedestrian friendly city. If you’re looking for a fun European city for your next family vacation, consider visiting Brussels! Want to save this to read later? Pin one of the images below!