Sometimes you are not going to be allotted a very long time in a city. 36 hours is definitely not a ton of time in a new city but where there's a will there is a way!
Here is a list of things you should definitely see, eat and do in Brussels, Belgium in 36 hours!
You may be wondering, what is Parking 58? Some crazy cool club? Nope! It is an actual parking garage. At ten stories tall, head to the very top to get an amazing view of the entire city! You can even see the Atomium in the far-off distance! Parking 58 is a fun and free way to see a lot of the city! NOTE: It is a little sketchy at the top so I do suggest going during the day, especially if you are traveling alone.
Sint-Katelijneplein Place Sainte-Catherine
Just right across the street from Parking 58, this little square is absolutely beautiful! Sit next to the reflection pond in the shade of the cathedral. This would be a great place to bring lunch to just sit and people watch and the cathedral is a great photo stop.
Brussels Stock Exchange
Not exactly the kind of architecture I would expect for a stock exchange, the Brussels Stock Exchange is a beautiful building and a must-see stop for your first time in Brussels! It is also another great place for photos and people watching, as you will be in a sea of tourists and locals alike.
I am sure you have seen it before, BUT, did you know it lived in Brussels? Yes, the small peeing boy fountain can be found in one of the alleyways of the old town. He is out all times of the year but if you do happen to be traveling during or near a holiday you may be lucky enough to see the young lad dressed in holiday-appropriate attire!
Old Market in Marollen
Love to thrift? Well, then I have just the thing for you! The Old Market in Marollen is a daily flea market open from 6 am - 2 pm! Every single day you can find merchants out in this square selling all kinds of things from clothes to furniture, old cameras to old photographs. I must say it is a really cool place to people watch and find some really unique souvenirs!
De Biomarkt & Melting Pot Kilo
In the same area as the Old Market, you can find De Biomarkt and Melting Pot Kilo! When you think of these think sustainable living! De Biomarkt is a really cool warehouse set up as a local grocery store. You can get anything here from produce to grains to dairy! Just down the street from there you can find Melting Pot Kilo! This was one of my favorite stops, a second-hand store where everything you buy is priced by the kilo! If you are part of a more minimalist/sustainable lifestyle, I would highly recommend these stops!
The Royal Library of Belgium
One of the most important cultural institutes in Belgium, the Royal Library of Belgium, stands tall at the very center of Brussels. They have a beautiful garden to look out on and over hundreds of thousands of books! It is really quite amazing to see a library as big as it is standing there, a testament to some of the good qualities of the human race.
Across the street from the Palace, you can find Brussels Park. Very similar to Central Park in New York City, this park is a lovely place to escape the city while still being right in the middle of everything! A fantastic spot to go for a run, sit and read or just people watch. It is a very well maintained park and you will also see a lot of authorities patrolling this area too.
I feel like this is a top five must stop when in Brussels! The Atomium is a giant 102 m tall structure that was built for the World's Fair in 1958. It is absolutely breathtaking! The Atomium is kind of out of the city, but you can still take the metro all the way to the park. There is a whole tour and I believe climb that you can do at the site but if you are on a budget there are many spots around the site to get great photos for free. Definitely a nerdy but cool site!
Vegan? Raw vegan? Looking for some delicious food? Look no further than Moon Food! It is located over by the Royal Library and Royal Square. Here you can get a buffet style of all kinds of vegan, raw, and gluten-free dishes. I 100% recommend ordering one of their incredible desserts! Moon Food is a little pricey, but most buffet-style restaurants are. They are English friendly and have a great vibe!
Ai 6 angoli
If you are looking for some good vegan pizza, look no further than Ai 6 angoli! With both a vegan and non-vegan menu, this is a great stop for people of all dietary choices. The staff was great and accommodating definitely English, French, and Dutch friendly!
A tiny little whole in the wall doesn't look like much on the outside, but Mr. Falafel shop is some of the best Falafel pitas we have ever had! They are English-friendly and boast some of the best ratings of any restaurant I have ever seen. We definitely suggest stopping in to get yourself some good food.
I fell in love with Brussels. Of course, the big cities is where I feel at home! While there were plenty of tours available and offered in Brussels we decided to only buy metro passes and see the city that way. Like we mention in our Ghent article we suggest using the USE IT MAPS for their Brussels map, it has all the must-see places on there!