Some cities are at their most charming when the temperatures drop to near freezing and the nights draw in. Brussels is one of them. Here are five good reasons to come and enjoy an unforgettable festive season in the city.
1. Brussels = culture
Winter is the perfect time to visit some exhibitions inside in the warm. And Brussels can hold its own among its neighbours in this area. The cultural offer is tantalising and includes:
- The “Dalí & Magritte” exhibition at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts, which reveals the personal links between these two icons of surrealism.
- 3 unmissable city exhibitions: Keith Haring at BOZAR, “Punk Graphics” at the Adam Design Museum and “Obsession” at MIMA.
- The “So British” exhibition at Autoworld: over 55 iconic postwar British cars presented in a typical London setting.
- The EUROPALIA ROMANIA Festival, which is hosting an exhibition dedicated to the famous sculptor Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957).
2. Christmas markets galore
Covered or open air, with or without fireworks, sustainable, vintage: in Brussels, Christmas markets are extremely popular. Here is a small selection:
- The Christmas Designers Market at the Halles Saint Géry: a stylish and welcoming market which brings together designers and craftsmen. The perfect place to find your Christmas gifts.
- 100% Belgian : Le Nationa(a)l Artist Supermarket. The meeting place for artists! An alternative Christmas market with heaps of artworks, concerts, books, film screenings, etc.
- Sustainable and fair: The Tricoterie Christmas market, a friendly and legendary place in Saint Gilles.
- Winter Wonders: you can't escape it! One of the largest Christmas markets in Europe. Make the most of it to taste, in no particular order, a raclette sandwich (yes, indeed!), the famous peket spirit or a traditional mulled wine.
3. Unusual activities
Brussels is a surprising city, with a wide choice of activities to be discovered with friends or as a family. Expect the unexpected...
- FUN: Escape Room, indoor adventure park, axe throwing, board games bar... Brussels is full of opportunities to enjoy yourself.
- The Magic of Christmas: Ice rink, big wheel, sound and light show in the city centre... In the winter, Brussels is transformed into a living fairy tale. And if it snows, try tobogganing in one of the capital's many parks.
- Visit Brussels in a different way: make an appointment with a “Greeter” and discover the city with a Brussels resident. The best way to get off the beaten track.
4. Brussels by night
When darkness falls over Brussels, another life emerges; an exuberant and varied nightlife, with an established reputation. Depending on your mood, you can enjoy a romantic cocktail at the Goupil Le Fol, attend a jam session at the Floréo, talk about anything and everything at the Coq, watch a concert at the Machine or let your hair down on the dance floor at the Benelux. Outside the city centre, embark on a tour of the bars on Parvis de Saint-Gilles, go back to the legendary Bar du Matin or go and shake your hips at the Belga in Flagey.
For the more hardcore, clubs such as Mirano, Bloody Louis, Fuse and even C12 will let you dance until dawn.
What to do at New Year in Brussels?
Don’t panic: Brussels at New Year is the place to be, with
- Guaranteed atmosphere at the Atomium (DJ, fireworks, etc.)
- The Happy Brussels Party Pass, which gives you access to the best New Year’s parties
- Gala and cabaret at Le Basilic restaurant
- Casablanca Night at Steigenberger Wiltcher's
5. Gourmet Brussels
Brussels is a city full of people who love life, where lifestyle is a priority. Here are a few cosy establishments where you can warm up after a stroll:
- Le Chalet Robinson: nestled on a small island in the middle of the lake at the Bois de la Cambre, you can enjoy a delicious hot chocolate far from the chaos of the city.
- La Fin de Siècle: a stone’s throw from the Montgomery roundabout, La Fin de Siècle is a popular, small urban nugget where people can feel good.
- Les Fondus de la Raclette: what better way to reheat numbed hearts than around a good cheese fondue!
- Le Monk: a historic café in the SainteCatherine district, with a typical, warming Brussels feel.