Living in Germany close to the Belgium border for 8 years, I finally took the time to explore Brussels with my little girl.

Honestly, Brussels wasn’t even on my wishlist, I just happened to visit the city for a wedding with my family and then realized it is a fun destination. Before I arrived in Belgium’s capital city, I only knew about Belgian waffles, chocolate, and beer. That’s it.

Without overplanning or researching, I decided to approach this trip a little differently. I was pleasantly surprised when I spent three days in Brussels with my husband and 5-year-old girl because this city has loads to do.

I also realized that Brussels had a lot of food options for picky eaters (most of the kids are) and it worked well that there were many waffle restaurants everywhere. Also, Brussels has many parks and green spaces with play areas that are perfect for small children.

So is Brussels good to explore with a kid? Yes, and my daughter had a lot of fun here. If you are thinking of visiting Brussels with kids, here’s a guide for you.

Exploring Brussels with Kids: A Family-Friendly Adventure

Traveling Brussels with a kid
Traveling Brussels with a kid via Unsplash

Brussels, the Belgian capital, is not just a wonderful city for adults but also offers a plethora of activities and attractions for younger children, older kids, and the whole family.

Read my posts about traveling to other iconic cities too with your children:

From chocolate shops to interactive museums, Brussels has something for everyone. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the top family-friendly attractions and activities in Brussels, ensuring that your trip is filled with fun and memorable experiences.

Exploring Grand Place: A Must-See in Brussels

Grand Place Brussels with my kid
Grand Place Brussels with my kid

Your family adventure in Brussels begins at the heart of the city, the magnificent Grand Place. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of Europe’s famous landmarks and boasts some of the most beautiful squares in the world. We visited during Christmas time and my daughter loved the decorations – it was magical!

Grand Place is centrally located in Brussels, making it a convenient starting point for exploring other child-friendly attractions in the city, such as the Atomium, Mini-Europe, or the Belgian Comic Strip Center.

Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium
Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium via Unsplash

Marvel at the stunning architecture, soak in the vibrant atmosphere, and click some memorable family photos.

So what’s child-friendly at the Grand Place? There are chocolate shops and the funny Manneken Pis and Jeanneke Pis statues. These statues don’t make sense and are weird but your child will laugh.

While Grand Place itself is mostly a cobblestone square surrounded by buildings, it offers ample open space for children to run around and play. It’s a safe environment away from traffic where children can expend their energy.

Manneken Pis statue in Brussels dressed up for Christmas
Manneken Pis statue in Brussels dressed up for Christmas via Unsplash

Depending on the time of year, Grand Place hosts various events and festivals, such as the biennial Flower Carpet event or the Winter Wonders Christmas market. These events often include activities and performances suitable for children, creating a lively and festive atmosphere that can be enjoyable for the whole family.

Mini Europe

If there’s just ONE attraction that you want to visit in Brussels with children, then this is it.

Mini-Europe in Brussels
Mini-Europe in Brussels – CC BY 2.0 DEED via Flickr

Take a fascinating journey through Europe’s famous landmarks in miniature form at Mini Europe. It’s a great way to introduce your kids to the continent’s rich cultural heritage. It is a bit like Hamburg’s Miniatur Wunderland but bigger in scale and is open.

Mini-Europe is a miniature park featuring replicas of famous landmarks from all over Europe, including the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, the Colosseum, the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, and the Acropolis. It also features natural sites like Mount Vesuvius.

For children, this offers a unique opportunity to learn about European history, architecture, and culture in an interactive and engaging way instead of just looking. Each miniature is accompanied by information panels, providing educational value while making learning fun.

Mini Europe in Brussels
Mini Europe in Brussels via Pixabay

Children can push buttons to activate trains, boats, and other moving parts within the miniatures, providing them with a hands-on experience that stimulates their curiosity and imagination.

Mini-Europe also includes play areas and attractions specifically designed for children, such as playgrounds and a water play area. These spaces provide opportunities for kids to burn off energy and have fun in between exploring the miniatures.

Atomium

Atomium in Brussels
Atomium in Brussels via Unsplash

If you visit Mini Europe, right next to it is the Atomium, an iconic architectural marvel that you should visit with your children when in Brussels. Its unique design, resembling a giant atom, captures children’s imagination and curiosity. Its towering structure provides an awe-inspiring backdrop for exploration and discovery.

Within the Atomium, children can explore interactive exhibits that focus on science, technology, and innovation. These hands-on displays allow children to engage with scientific concepts in a fun and accessible way, sparking their interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects.

The Atomium offers various activities and workshops specifically designed for children, such as guided tours tailored to younger audiences, educational games, and creative art projects. These activities provide opportunities for children to learn while having fun and encourage active participation.

View From One of the Spheres of the Atomium Museum in Brussels
View From One of the Spheres of the Atomium Museum in Brussels

The Atomium’s observation deck provides panoramic views of Brussels and its surroundings from a height of 102 meters (335 feet). Children can enjoy breathtaking vistas of the city skyline and landmarks, offering a memorable experience and a unique perspective on their surroundings.

Overall, the Atomium offers a captivating blend of architectural wonder, educational experiences, and family-friendly attractions that make it an ideal destination for children to visit.

Museum of Natural Sciences

Explore the wonders of the natural world at the Museum of Natural Sciences. With interactive displays and temporary exhibitions, it’s an educational yet fun experience for the whole family.

Museum of Natural Sciences Brussels
Museum of Natural Sciences Brussels – CC BY 2.0 DEED Via Flickr

The museum offers a wide range of interactive exhibits designed to engage children and stimulate their curiosity about the natural world. From hands-on experiments to multimedia displays, children can actively explore and learn about topics such as dinosaurs, evolution, biodiversity, and ecosystems.

One of the highlights for children is the Dinosaur Gallery, which features impressive dinosaur skeletons, fossils, and reconstructions.

This section of the museum is like a Dino museum and allows children to come face-to-face with life-size dinosaur models and learn about these fascinating creatures that roamed the Earth millions of years ago.

The museum provides Discovery Boxes and workshops specifically tailored to children, offering them the opportunity to touch and examine real specimens such as fossils, minerals, and animal skeletons. These hands-on activities encourage sensory exploration and a deeper understanding of scientific concepts.

In addition to its exhibits, the museum features a planetarium where children can embark on virtual journeys through the cosmos, learn about astronomy, and marvel at the wonders of the universe. The planetarium shows are both educational and visually captivating, making them enjoyable for children of all ages.

Train World

An actual railway bridge as an exhibit in Train World Brussels
An actual railway bridge as an exhibit in Train World Brussels – CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED via Flickr

All aboard for an adventure at Train World! Discover the history of trains through interactive exhibits and guided tours. It’s a real treat for train enthusiasts of all ages.

Train World showcases the rich history of trains and railways in Belgium. The museum features a diverse collection of locomotives, carriages, and railway artifacts, including vintage steam engines, luxurious royal trains, and modern high-speed trains. Children are often captivated by the impressive size and design of these trains, sparking their curiosity about transportation and engineering.

Train World offers numerous interactive exhibits and activities designed to engage children and make learning about trains fun. For example, there are simulators where kids can experience what it’s like to drive a train, as well as interactive displays that demonstrate the principles of locomotion and mechanics.

What’s even more amazing is that the museum includes dedicated play areas where children can immerse themselves in train-themed activities and games. These play areas often feature model train sets, puzzles, and creative play stations, allowing kids to role-play as train conductors, engineers, or passengers.

Choco-Story (Musee Du Cacao Et Du Chocolat)

Choco-Story Chocolate Factory Belgium
Choco-Story Chocolate Factory Belgium via Unsplash

Indulge your sweet tooth and learn about the history of chocolate at Choco Story. With interactive tours and delicious tastings, it’s a must-visit for chocolate lovers. It is also known as the Museum Of Cocoa And Chocolate (Musee Du Cacao Et Du Chocolat).

These interactive exhibits engage children in the history and production of chocolate. Kids can learn about the origins of cocoa beans, the chocolate-making process, and the cultural significance of chocolate through hands-on displays and multimedia presentations.

The museum often hosts chocolate-making workshops where children can get creative and make their own chocolate treats under the guidance of skilled chocolatiers. These workshops provide a fun and memorable experience while teaching children about the art of chocolate-making.

Choco-Story offers tasting sessions where children can sample different types of chocolate from around the world. Isn’t that every kid’s dream? It’s a delicious opportunity for kids to explore various flavors and textures while developing their palate and appreciation for chocolate.

LEGO® Discovery Centre

LEGO® Discovery Centre
LEGO® Discovery Centre – CC BY 2.0 DEED via Flickr

There are many LEGO® Discovery Centres all over the world and you can visit one in Brussels with your children on a rainy day.

At the LEGO® Discovery Centre, children have the opportunity to engage in hands-on building activities, allowing them to unleash their creativity and build whatever their imagination desires.

Through LEGO® building activities, children can learn about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in a fun and interactive way. They can experiment with principles of physics, engineering, and problem-solving as they construct various structures.

The Discovery Centre typically features interactive exhibits and displays that engage children in learning through play. These exhibits may include LEGO® models of famous landmarks, interactive games, and immersive experiences that captivate children’s interest and curiosity.

Comic Strip Route

Comic Mural in Brussels
Comic Mural in Brussels via Unsplash

The Brussels Comic Strip Route is a series of murals and street art installations scattered throughout the city of Brussels, depicting characters from famous Belgian comic strips.

I don’t recommend this for younger children however, Older Children will be enthralled by the larger-than-life images of characters like Tintin, Asterix, and the Smurfs, sparking their imagination and creativity.

The Comic Strip Route encourages interaction with the artwork, inviting children to explore and discover the hidden details within each mural. Some installations even include interactive elements, such as sound effects or augmented reality features, adding an extra layer of excitement to the experience.

Comic Characters Street art in Brussels
Comic Characters Street art in Brussels

Exploring the Comic Strip Route allows children to discover different neighborhoods and landmarks in Brussels while enjoying the fresh air and exercise. It’s a fun and interactive way to experience the city’s streetscape and architecture, with each mural serving as a unique backdrop for family photos and memories.

The Comic Strip Route is free to access and open to everyone, making it a budget-friendly activity for families visiting Brussels. The murals are located throughout the city, making it easy to incorporate into a day of sightseeing or exploration.

Parc du Cinquantenaire

Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels
Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels via Unsplash

Spend a leisurely day at Parc du Cinquantenaire, Brussels’ largest public park. With green spaces, interactive games, and a wave pool, it’s the perfect place for outdoor fun.

Parc du Cinquantenaire offers a large, open green space where children can run, play, and enjoy outdoor activities. The park provides a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the city, allowing families to relax and unwind in a tranquil environment.

The park features playgrounds equipped with slides, swings, climbing structures, and other play equipment suitable for children of all ages. These playgrounds provide opportunities for kids to expend energy, socialize with other children, and engage in imaginative play.

What to do in Brussels with kids
What to do in Brussels with kids via Unsplash

The park is home to iconic historical landmarks, including the Triumphal Arch and the Great Mosque of Brussels. Older children can learn about the history and significance of these landmarks through guided tours or self-guided exploration.

The park provides designated picnic areas where families can enjoy a leisurely meal together amidst beautiful surroundings. Packing a picnic and spending time outdoors is a budget-friendly way to enjoy quality time as a family.

Family-Friendly Dining in Brussels

After a day of exploration, refuel at one of Brussels’ family-friendly restaurants. Sample delicious Belgian cuisine, including waffles, chocolate, and hearty dishes that are sure to satisfy even the pickiest eaters.

Based on my experience, I recommend three places to you:

Waffle Factory

Eating a waffle in Brussels
Eating a waffle in Brussels

Waffle Factory is a children-friendly fast food type chain restaurant in Brussels where we enjoyed our lunch. They have so many kinds of waffles here and loads of different toppings or fillings. Here you can order waffles that are not just sweet but also salty.

Ballekes

Ballekes is a nice casual restaurant that’s perfect for quick bites. In my experience, such kinds of places are easier to visit with small children.

You can find things like meatballs, fries, salad, and loads of vegan options too. You will also find a nice selection of beer here.

Ricotta & Parmesan

As the name suggests, this is an Italian restaurant where your children will be very happy to eat a pizza while you sit in a place that’s just a bit casual still not too much so that you can have a somewhat elegant dining experience.

Public Transportation in Brussels

Train Journey in Brussels with my child
Train Journey in Brussels with my child

Getting around Brussels with kids is a breeze thanks to its excellent public transportation system. With trains, trams, and buses serving the city center and beyond, you can easily access all the top attractions without the hassle of driving.

It is cheaper to purchase a Brussels Card for free entry to numerous museums and unlimited public transportation. But even if you don’t, you can use your credit card or debit card on the machines inside the trams or buses.

There are also app-based Electric scooters and bikes from Bolt or Tier to travel within the city, but they won’t be so convenient to ride with a small child.

Top Tips for Visiting Brussels with Kids

  • Plan your visit to popular attractions early in the day to avoid long lines.
  • Take advantage of rainy-day options such as the Museum of Cocoa (Choco-Story) or the Museum of Musical Instruments where there are interactive exhibits.
  • Consider purchasing a Brussels Card that includes free entry to museums and discounts on attractions.
  • Brussels is a big city but there are lots of green spaces with play areas. Use them.

Where to Stay in Brussels with Kids

Living Home Brussels - apartment stay
Living Home Brussels – apartment stay

When I visited Brussels with my 5-year-old, I had booked an entire apartment. It is called Living Home Brussels and is located in Schaerbeek.

For us, the location was convenient because this apartment was right next to the Princess Elisabeth tram station. Schaerbeek isn’t in the Brussels city center but is only an 8-minute tram ride away.

I have to tell you that the shower cubicle was inside the bedroom but was completely see-through. So weird right? Everything else was ok about this accommodation.

Looking for a hotel in Brussels city center, then I recommend you check out this pretty yet affordable place called “Motel One”.

Due to its amazing location, decent price, and lovely rooms, the rooms at Motel One sell out pretty fast, so if you are heading to Brussels then you might want to book a room here as soon as possible.

Conclusion

Brussels is an ideal destination for a family holiday, offering a perfect blend of fun activities, educational experiences, and delicious treats. Whether you’re exploring the city center, enjoying the green spaces of Parc de Bruxelles, or delving into the world of chocolate, you’re sure to have a great time with your whole family. So pack your bags, grab your kids, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in the heart of Brussels!


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