I know this is not an easy question. I'm going to be in Brussels for a day in the begining of June. What are the "Must See" things to do\see in Brussels?
Fist of all, get a map and study it before you get to Brussels. This saves a lot of time which you don't have much to begin with. Not to be missed is Grand Place, one of the most beautiful squares I've seen in Europe. Have coffee in the many cafes surrounding the square. You can also visit Galeries Saint Hubert, a beautiful covered shopping place. And while shopping or just taking a walk, you can probably visit the Manneken Pis on the way just to see what the fuss on this little statue is all about.
We stayed at Brussels Welcome Hotel during our visit. It's a nice little hotel and the staff is a big help in guiding you where to go, where to eat, plus it's walking distance to the places of interest. I highly recommend it.
I don't suggest you visit museums since you don't have the time. A day is a short visit so the best you can do is visit 1 or 2 places, shop and most especially have a taste of the food. Seafoods are the specialty. Eat at different restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's an experience in food trip.
Don't forget to buy chocolates in whatever form you like since they are probably the best in the world. And at the end of the day, you would probably be exhausted but happy you made the visit after all.
I second the previous poster's suggestions.
I would like to add a sightseeing tour by bus (hop on hop off). It will give you a good overview of what Brussels is besides the Grand Place and Manneken Pis. Instead you can also take a guided tour (partly walking, partly by bus). Information on www.opentours.be or www.brussels-city-tours.com
For lunch I can recommend Belga Queen on Wolvengrachtstraat (rue Fossé aux Loups). The decor is simply amazing, the food isn't bad either! They have a 2-course fixed lunch menu (different every day and displayed on their website) but, of course, you can also order a full meal or just a main course.
Thanks for all the info. It is VERY helpful!
Don't forget ot try some great Belgian beer.
Leffe, Chimay or any Trapist Monk beer..
You can sit at any of the great outdoor tables in Grand Place in June. Just hope there's no EU meeting in town as the Conrad and Amigo hotels are near by and the overhead helicopters are a big distraction. Walk around the down town.. great shopping.
Avoid eating at Grand Place.. the barkers at the restaurants are great fun but better dining is found away from those establishments.
The Conrad Hotel is near the Grand Place? They must have moved one or the other since I stayed there in July. Back then, the Conrad was more than a mile away. :)
On Avenue Louisa.. not that far.. surely within waling diatance.
The Conrad Hotel is nowhere near the Grand' Place, it would probably take me a good 40 minutes to walk it (uphill) and by metro you would have to go to something like 6 stops, via Arts-Loi! The reference to barkers at restaurants in the Grand' Place actually refers to the area known as "Ilôt Sacré", by the Galeries St. Hubert, there are actually some non-touristy restaurants there like Aux Armes de Bruxelles. If you want to try beers, there's a cellar bar in that area called Delirium Tremens, they have more than 2000 on the menu, or the Mort Subite is not far from the non-GP end of the Galeries.
If you want to see the Atomium, which will be re-opening soon after renovations, you can get the metro from De Brouckère or Gare Centrale to Heysel, it will only take you about 15 minutes. But actually if you've seen the GP and the Galeries, you have seen the most essential for one day. If it was a Sunday I would recommend the Sablon antiques market and the flea market at Place du Jeu de Balles. And if you do go to see the Manneken Pis, the nearby Polichinelle is good for testing beers and you might like a coffee and chocolate cake at Le Cercle des Voyageurs, just a step away in the rue des Grands Carmes.
I know I missed this post but if anyone is in Brussels for a day, strongly consider the 4 hour bike tour of the city. It's only about 1.5 hours of riding, the rest pictures and stopping to eat famous frites/beer/coke.
www.brusselsbiketour.com - they respond very quickly with any questions you have.
We enjoyed the art museum. Plus I highly recommend the chocolate shop in Galeries St. Hubert. The one that lets you pick your own chocolates. This was one of the only places that I found to have a huge assortment of chocolate covered almonds and nuts.
All chocolate shops allow you to select your own chocolates, as well as selling pre-packaged selections.
It is impossible to recommend "must-sees" without knowing something about someone's tastes, but if you click on "things to do" in the list on the left you will see what other TA members have selected as worth seeing. Personally I would have recommended the Grand' Place, Galeries St. Hubert, Musical Instrument Museum, Dandoy for waffles (opposite the Amigo Hotel) and chocolate shops (my favourite is Frédéric Blondeel next to Ste. Catherine metro station, opposite the Welcome Hotel); and not the Manneken Pis, Mini-Europe or any of the beer places, but this reflects my personal tastes.
Btw when people say don't eat at the Grand' Place, I believe this does not in fact apply to the GP itself but to the so-called Ilôt sacré, i.e. the area consisting largely of rue des Bouchers and Petite rue des Bouchers, off the Galeries St. Hubert. Restaurants in the GP and Galeries are fine, and there are a couple in the rue des Bouchers that don't have a display outside or waiters trying to shout you in (Chez Léon, Aux Armes de Bruxelles, and which are fine). It's not that you'd be poisoned at any of them, but if you do eat around there, check your bill carefully and watch out for things like bottles of wine you didn't order or even different wines being delivered than you thought you ordered.