Looking for things to do in Brussels at Christmas?
Discover the magic of this city during the festive season with its twinkling lights and bustling markets selling local produce and mulled wine.
See the best Christmas markets, attend church services, take a stroll through famous museums or attend a concert.
Here are the top 20 things to do in Brussels at Christmas.
1. Enjoy the sound and light show in Grand Place
Grand Place is the center of Brussels and its most famous landmark. It is also the most popular place to visit at Christmas, as it hosts a spectacular sound and light show every 15 minutes. The show features music, narration, and 12,500 multi-colored lights against the beautiful backdrop of the Grand Place’s architectural treasures, including the Town Hall and the Guild House. It is an experience you will never forget, especially at Christmas when the show is set to traditional Christmas carols and accompanied by a light snowfall. The show begins at the top of each hour from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
Be sure to catch it!
2. Escape on an excursion to Bruges
Located just an hour away from Brussels, Bruges is a wonderful place to visit at Christmas. This small, yet charming city is full of Christmas decorations, from markets to cafes. If you visit the city at this time of year, you will be able to appreciate the festive season to its fullest. There are many Christmas markets held in Bruges throughout December. You can enjoy the festive atmosphere while sipping on a warm cup of mulled wine or eating fresh waffles with chocolate sauce. Also, don’t forget to visit the Bruges Christmas Market, which is the oldest Christmas market in Belgium. At this market, you will be able to purchase Belgian chocolate and handmade decorations. If you visit Bruges at Christmas, don’t forget to attend the Nightwatch, a famous Dutch painting displayed in the Groeninge Museum. This painting is illuminated at night and is a sight to behold.
3. Participate in the “Winter Wonders” festival
The Winter Wonders festival is an event for the whole family. Held at the end of November, this event is a celebration of the winter season, where you can enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas. The festival consists of a Christmas Market and a Wonderworld with over 100 events, including workshops, concerts, interactive activities, and outdoor activities. The Winter Wonders festival also features Santa’s Village, where children can have their photos taken with Santa and receive a gift.
4. Have your photo taken next to the giant tree in the central square
No visit to the Grand Place is complete without a photo next to the giant tree. The tree is decorated with colorful lights, which makes it an interesting photo subject. Be sure to visit the Grand Place at night to catch the beautiful lights of the tree, which will create an enchanting photo. If you want to take a picture with the tree, it is best to visit the Grand Place at Christmas, as the tree is adorned with colorful lights at this time of year. The tree is located in the central square, which is a must-see attraction in Brussels. The square is surrounded by historical buildings, such as the Town Hall and the Guild House.
5. Skate on an Ice Rink
If you visit Brussels at Christmas, be sure to skate on the Grand Palace ice rink. The rink is an impressive 150m long and 50m wide and is one of the largest ice rinks in the world. The rink is open from late November to early January. Skating on the ice rink is an unforgettable experience. The rink is surrounded by buildings and a giant Christmas tree, creating a beautiful picture. Be sure to bring your skates, as rentals are not available. The Grand Palace ice rink is open from 10:30 am to 10:00 pm. It is best to skate during the day, as the rink is illuminated at night. The rink is free and open to everyone, and skating is both fun and safe. While you skate, you will be able to enjoy the beauty of the buildings around you and the festive atmosphere.
6. Stroll through the Galleries Saint-Hubert
If you’re looking for something different to do at Christmas, be sure to stroll through the Galeries Saint-Hubert. This place becomes a Christmas wonderland at this time of year, as it is filled with Christmas decorations and offers many Christmas activities, such as Christmas concerts and workshops. If you visit the Galleries at this time of year, be sure to attend the Nativity Exhibition, where you will be able to see artistic nativity scenes from all over the world. Other activities include the Christmas Fair with more than 300 exhibitors selling gifts, decorations, and food products. You can also attend the Christmas Concert, which takes place every day.
7. Go to a Gig at La Botanique
La Botanique is a converted greenhouse that is used as a concert hall by Brussels’ Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. During the festive season, there are numerous concerts held here, such as the Christmas concert. La Botanique is built in the Victorian greenhouse style and takes you into the magical world of Christmas. More than 20,000 plants and flowers grow in the greenhouse, and it is a stunning backdrop for any concert.
8. Visit a Christmas Market
The Christmas markets in Brussels are wonderful places to visit at Christmas. The Christmas markets at Bourse, Grand Place, Gare du Midi, Gare du Nord, and Place Ste-Catherine offer an array of gifts, from decorations to food. You can also find authentic Belgian gifts, such as handmade chocolates, waffles, wooden toys, and Belgian beer. If you visit the Christmas markets at this time of year, you will be able to enjoy the festive atmosphere while sipping on a warm cup of mulled wine or eating fresh waffles with chocolate sauce.
9. Enjoy a Christmas dinner at a hotel in the city
Enjoying a Christmas dinner at a hotel in the city is a wonderful experience. You will be able to taste traditional Belgian food and visit the city at the same time. Brussels hotels offer festive menus for Christmas dinner. You can visit a hotel’s website in Brussels to see the menu for Christmas dinner. Alternatively, you can also book your table online. If you visit Brussels at Christmas, be sure to visit one of the many hotels in the city and indulge in their festive menus. You can also visit a hotel’s website to see the menu and make a reservation if you decide to dine there.
10. Participate in Christmas Jumper Day
If you’re visiting Brussels at Christmas, be sure to participate in Christmas Jumper Day. You can wear a Christmas-themed sweater to any of the participating businesses in the city, such as bars, restaurants, and museums. The participating businesses will give you a special gift, such as a free drink or a special deal. Christmas Jumper Day is a fun and creative way to celebrate the festive season. This is a great way to meet new people and enjoy Christmas at the same time.
11. Watch Caroling and Theatre Shows
Brussels is the home of the European Union and is often the setting for political events that shape global news. It’s also renowned for its cultural events and festivals. Visit the city at Christmas and you’ll find yourself amidst a cultural celebration, with lots of carols, music, theatre, and much more. The Old Town of Brussels is home to a number of events, such as carol concerts in St Mary’s Basilica and theatre performances at La Monnaie. The Theatre de la Carrière is also worth a visit, hosting a Christmas show complete with carol singing and puppets. For a quieter event, visit the Palais des Beaux-Arts, where you can admire the artwork in relative peace.
12. Check out Brussels’ Museums and Galleries
There are a variety of museums and galleries in Brussels that are well worth a visit, especially at Christmas when they are decorated with lights and Christmas trees. There’s the Museum of Modern Art (MAMOT), which hosts regular exhibitions and also has an impressive sculpture garden. There’s also the BELvue Museum, which is dedicated to the history of Belgium and has a stunning interior. And, of course, don’t miss out on the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, which has an extensive collection of paintings. There are also a number of smaller, lesser-known museums, such as the Ethnology and Anthropology Museums. The Ethnology Museum’s collection focuses on the cultures of the world, while the Anthropology Museum exhibits artifacts and cultural items from across the globe.
13. Don’t miss the spectacle on the façade of the Sainte Catherine Church
This magnificent gothic church is one of Brussels’ most famous landmarks and is also the number one place to see Christmas decorations in the city. A highlight of the decorations at the Sainte Catherine Church is the Christmas spectacle ‘The Tree of Life on the façade. The Tree of Life is an impressive installation that is composed of around 20,000 light bulbs. Every year a new theme is chosen for the Tree of Life and this year is ‘Time’. The tree lighting ceremony takes place on the first Sunday in Advent, which is 4 December 2019. Be sure to visit the church in the weeks before to see the Christmas decorations being put up.
14. Choose your favorite beer at the Christmas Beer Festival
The Christmas Beer Festival is a massive event that attracts more than 40,000 beer lovers. Held in the beautiful and historic Horta Hall on the outskirts of Brussels, this is the place to try out your favorite beers from Belgium’s famous brewing industry. The Horta Hall is an impressive building built in 1897 and is one of the main sights in the Brussels neighborhood of Ixelles. The Christmas Beer Festival takes place every year during Advent. Be sure to buy your tickets in advance as this event regularly sells out.
15. Escape from the city and discover Christmas in other villages
Authentic traditions are celebrated across the whole of Belgium at Christmas time, but they are particularly prevalent in the French-speaking Walloon Region of the country. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and experience Christmas as it would have been celebrated in Brussels 100 years ago, head to one of the villages in the Walloon Region for an authentic traditional Christmas. Some of the best places to experience a traditional Christmas in the Walloon Region are the villages of Carignan, Aveigne, and Chignoux. These villages are famous for their Christmas markets and for keeping to their old traditions.
16. Enjoy a great experience with the Spirit Of The North
This is a great winter experience and there is something for everyone to enjoy. There is a virtual reality room, an igloo bar, a Northern Lights cinema, and much more. You can explore a fascinating world using kinetic technology, and you can step into a world of pure imagination, ride a sleigh in an electrifying VR experience, can go down with a sledding ramp, visit Santa at his workshop, chillout at the igloo bar, and also you will have a perfect family photo opportunity.
Opening Date: October 28 st, 2022
Opening Times: From Monday to Sunday – Tuesdays are closed.
Location: Horta Gallery
Age requirement: Suitable for all ages
17. Go Christmas shopping & admire all the amazing window displays
The best way to experience Christmas in Brussels is to go Christmas shopping. There are many beautiful Christmas window displays to be seen in the city. The two biggest shopping streets in Brussels are the Galeries St. Hubert and the Galeries Royales St. Hubert and both are great places to go Christmas shopping. The Galeries Royales St. Hubert Christmas Window Display 2019 is themed ‘The City Under the Sea’. This beautiful display features the sea with jellyfish and sea horses, mermaids, and fish. The Galeries St. Hubert Christmas Window Display 2019 is themed ‘Colour of Childhood’. Visit these shops and be sure to keep an eye out for other smaller Christmas window displays as you walk around Brussels.
18. Take cover in beautiful and very festive!
For the best experience of Christmas in Brussels, visit the city’s most popular shopping galleries such as the Galerie du Roi, the Galerie des Plaisirs and the Galerie des Premières Années. Take a walk through these beautiful and historic shopping galleries, admire the decorations and be sure to stop for a hot drink or to try the famous Belgian chocolates.
And also, don’t forget to go to thimble des Galeries. You will be amazed by this mythical theater, which you need to see.
19. Eat Waffles
This is a must-have for any traveler to Brussels. Waffles are the national snack of Belgium and are sold everywhere, but especially at Christmas. There are several local variations of Brussels waffles, and you can even find some with a hint of chocolate or even bits of cranberries inside. The best waffles to eat at Christmas in Brussels are the Liege waffles. The original Brussels waffles are square and crispy, but the Liege variety is round and a little softer. They are also a little thicker than the original, which makes them ideal for folding up and topping with ice cream, whipped cream, or other sauce, as well as being a delicious treat on their own.
20. See the Manneken Pis
The Manneken Pis is a small bronze statue of a naked boy that is the symbol of Brussels. It is located in the Place des Arms/Grote Markt, in the very center of Brussels, and is one of the most photographed attractions in the city. The history of the Manneken Pis dates back to the 16th century, when a local artist, Jerome Duquesnoy, created the statue. The statue was originally located in a nearby street, but it was moved to Grand Place in 1887. The name of the statue, Manneken Pis, is Flemish for “Little Man Pee”. The statue is a reminder of how difficult it is for a city to remain clean.
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