Countdown to Christmas: Winter Wonders of Brussels
Brussels' Winter Wonders event includes a 240-stall Christmas market, Ferris Wheel, 130-foot-long dinosaur made of ice, two ice rinks and whimsical carousels. After dark, the historic facades in the Grand-Place are illuminated during a brilliant light exhibition that takes place every 15 minutes from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. during Winter Wonders. Just 700 meters away, St. Catherine Church (Sint-Katelijnekerk) becomes a symbol of Japanese culture during the nightly Origami Lights show. Stalls near the church will sell Japanese soups, noodle dishes and sake.
Christmas market dates: Nov. 25, 2016-Jan. 1, 2017
Location: Grand-Place, Bourse, rue H. Maus, rue Devaux, rue Saint-Catherine, place Saint-Catherine, Vismet, Tour-Noire, rue de l’Évêque, rue de l’Ecuyer, place de la Monnaie
Helpful hints: The market does not open until noon and closes at 10 p.m. every day, 6 p.m. Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.
Come hungry to enjoy Belgium’s world-renowned beers, waffles and chocolates, steamed mussels and pommes frites — fries are served with mayonnaise, not ketchup, here. When you get the chills, sip a mug of smooth, rich hot cocoa made from the Belgian chocolate at one of the heated terraces.
To ensure you get high-quality gifts for family and friends, look for booths selling wares with artisan labels, and shop at the creative expo in Halles Saint Géry.
Beyond the market: See artwork carved from ice at the Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival, open daily Nov. 19, 2016-Jan. 8, 2017. Browse at the 19th-century Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert shopping arcade and in the Saint-Jacques neighbourhood, which is decorated with beautiful light sculptures during the holidays. With your Christmas shopping list complete, grab a beer at Delirium Café, which as more than 3,000 types of beer.
Check back tomorrow to find out which European Christmas markets will be featured next as we continue our Countdown to Christmas!
Read more about Europe's holiday season in the Stripes European Christmas Markets & Shopping Guide.