Witness Brussels as a Winter Wonderland

by Genevieve Northup
Stripes Europe

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. 24 - Dec. 31, 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. 25, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018. 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. 

If time permits, check out some of Brussels' noncoventional museums, like the Choco-Story Chocolate Museum and Comics Art Museum

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