Brussels Area Map
The Brussels-Capital region is divided into 19 communes: The first is the City of Brussels, which covers the historical center, where the Grand-Place and Manneken Pis are located, as well as the European District. Other communes surrounding the City of Brussels are easily accessible by public transportation.
At the heart of the historic center is the Grand-Place, one of Europe's most ornate and theatrical squares. Surrounding the square are numerous popular attractions. The Rue de l'Etuve, a street branching off of the southwest corner of the Grand-Place, leads directly to the Manneken Pis, the city's popular monument. Walk northeast of Grand-Place and you'll find St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral (Cathédrale St-Michel et Ste-Gudule), a towering Gothic church that dates back to the 13th century.
Accessible via Schuman subway station.
Sitting along the east border of the City of Brussels is the Schuman area, home to the European Union (EU). The towering steel and glass EU Institutions, including the European Union Parliament and the European Council, are located near the Schuman roundabout. Some of the institutions are open to the public. This district also features notable museums, including the Royal Museum of the Army and Military History, which sits in the expansive Parc du Cinquantenaire.
Accessible via Louise and Porte de Namur subway stations.
The Ixelles commune lies south of the city. Its main street, Avenue Louise, leads south to the Bois de la Cambre and Foret de Soignes, a large forest that spills into the southernmost edge of the city. Another notable nature attraction near Avenue Louise is the Ixelles Ponds, a nice relaxation spot. Along with connecting visitors to some of Brussels' greenest attractions, Avenue Louise is known for being a premier shopping destination in the city. This commune is also known for its African neighborhood, Matonagé.
Accessible via Heysel subway station.
Brussels' northern suburbs are often ignored by visitors; however, Heizel features interesting family-friendly attractions. The most popular in this area is the Atomium, a building modeled after an iron molecule, which features numerous exhibition spaces showcasing subject matter ranging from science to the arts. Nearby the Atomium is Mini-Europe, a park featuring more than 350 models of famous European landmarks including London's Big Ben and Paris' Eiffel Tower.
The U.S. Department of State warns visitors to Belgium of possible terrorist activities, especially in crowded areas or at high-profile events. You should also watch out for purse-snatchers and pickpockets. Oftentimes, these criminals work in groups in crowded tourist areas, as well as at train and metro stations. The Department of State advises drivers to park in garages and not on the street. Keep your bags with you when traveling by train, and don't wear expensive jewelry or watches. Only use bank ATMs and ask restaurants to swipe your card in front of you.
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