Brussels is an unincorporated village in southern Door County. While it doesn’t get the attention that the destinations in northern Door County get, it’s still worth a visit. Here are some great things to do near Brussels, Wisconsin.
Belgian Heritage Center
Brussels is the epicenter of the largest Belgian settlement in the United States, and the Belgian Heritage Center bears testimony to this unique cultural heritage. The main way to engage with the Belgian Heritage Center is through their events, so make sure to check out the events page on their website for more information.
Haines Beach, in the vicinity of Brussels, is a local favorite. Known for calm, warm, shallow waters, this sand beach is a great place to take kids. There aren’t many services at Haines Beach, but people love it anyways.
Check out our Ultimate Guide to Amazing Door County Beaches in order to find the right beach for your visit to Sturgeon Bay.
Eat Belgian Food
A few old-timers still speak Walloons, the common language of the Belgians who immigrated to Door County, but even the younger generations eat some of the signature Belgian dishes.
Trippe, jutt, and Belgian pies are all popular dishes and can be purchased at Marchant’s Grocery in Brussels. Trippe is a pork sausage with cabbage mixed in. Jutt is a loose mixture of cabbage, meat (bacon, sausage, or side pork), and onions. Belgian pies are raised crust pies with a sweet fruit filling and a cottage cheese or cream cheese topping.
Another popular Belgian food is booyah. The best way to try booyah is at a festival, which brings us to the next thing to do in Brussels:
Brussels Belgian Days
Even if you’re not Belgian, you’re an honorary one at the Brussels Belgian Days. Put on each year by the Brussels Lions’ Club, Belgian Days raises money for the community, and it’s a whole pile of fun.
A baseball tournament, live music, inflatables, a fun run, a parade, and food stands are just some of the offerings at Belgian Days. It’s usually held in early July.
The best way to find out more about Belgian Days is at the event’s Facebook page.
Fishing, whether on liquid water or solid water (ice) is an extremely popular activity in the Brussels area. And, no wonder. Some of the most productive waters in North America are nearby, including the popular Little Sturgeon Bay.
Powerboating or Sailboating
Boating on the bay of Green Bay is a popular activity. Many boat launches and marinas are in the area to assist you with your boating needs.
If you prefer plying the waters under your own power, Green Bay is a great place to do this as well. A good place to do this nearby is Potowatomi State Park, which also offers canoe and kayak rentals.
Visit Wayside Chapels
The Belgian settlers of this region constructed many wayside chapels, places to thank God for His blessings and to implore His favor. To this day, they are lovingly maintained, and many of them are open to the public all day long. Click here for a PDF flyer about these chapels.
St. Mary’s Cemetery
St. Mary’s Cemetery has an impressive grotto and also bears testimony to the Belgian heritage of the area through the surnames on the stones. As long as you are respectful, you are more than welcome to visit the cemetery to think on the mortality of human life and to see this community’s testimony to their hope in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Visiting cemeteries is one of the many great free things to do in Door County.
Attend a Fish Boil
Boiled fish? It’s a Door County tradition you should try! Waterfront Mary’s is only a few miles away from Brussels, and this popular hangout offers regular fish boils.
Our post on Everything You Need to Know about Door County Fish Boil will tell you more about this tradition, Water Front Mary’s unique boil, and other boiils available in the Door County area.
Several public and private campgrounds lie around Brussels. Check out our ultimate guide to camping in Door County to learn more about camping opportunities around Sturgeon Bay.
Door County is known as “Cherryland USA.” Take part in this All-American activity, usually sometime from mid-June through early August.
Check out our ultimate guide to Door County cherry picking to learn more!
Watch a Sunset
The shores of the bay of Green Bay is a wonderful place to catch a sunset. Sugar Creek County Park, in the Brussels area, is one of many places along the shores to watch a sunset. Check out our post on Door County’s parks and preserves to find out more about this and other great parks in the area.