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5 Must-See Attractions in Brussels, Belgium

Friday, May 16, 2014

Brussels is an extremely eclectic and artsy city. It's not overly passionate for the thousands of tourists, and they surely don't clean up for them either. Although grungy, there is still much history to be seen and fries to be eaten (do NOT call them French fries by the way). There's numerous attractions to see but the ones really worth seeing can be narrowed down to a simple five.

1. Mont des Arts

Reason: It's the best view of the city
If you're really lucky and you have a sunny spring or summer day, it's gorgeous. Mont des Arts is by all of the main attractions so although there's no actual physical structure to visit, it is a good stop along the way. The geometric gardens and the city view give it that "I'm in Europe," cliché feeling.

2. Manneken Pis
Reason: It's hilarious
There are so many obscene photos you can get out of such a little statue. If you have a good sense of humor this is the post card you will send to your friends and family back home. I was shocked at how incredibly tiny he is. The original from 1618 is gone, so he is actually the Peeing Boy of 1965. Some of the funnier locals sneak over to the fountain and dress him up in crazy clothing during the night.

3. Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula
Reason: It's massive
Once a chapel dating back to the 9th century, it was much later deemed a cathedral in 1962. Several additions were made over a period of 300 years to bring it to the enormous size it is today. Even Shaquille O'Neil looks like an ant standing in front of this. I've seen thousands of churches in Europe but this one really impressed me.

4. Cinquantenaire
Reason: It's beautiful
No matter where you visit in Europe you always need a good park to go lounge at after so much visiting. Back in the 1800's it was created to hold festivals and markets in Brussels, however now it is strictly for people to lay-out, play, and soak in the sun (if it ever actually comes out). The park is 74 acres of fountains, statues, gardens, and museums. It is like an entirely different world compared to the rather dirty, crowded city.

5. La Grand-Place
Reason: It's magnificent
The Gothic architecture dating back to the 1400's is perfect for your "hey I'm in Brussels," tourist photo. There is the Town Hall, the King's House, and surrounding Guide Halls. If you're lucky you'll see it in August when they have a giant "carpet" of flowers laid out for everyone to take selfies in front of. Not to mention this is one of the cleanest spots in Brussels.

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