One of my family’s most favorite things to do and see is the Brussels Christmas market in the heart of the city. We’ve spent the past three Christmases exploring the city and it never disappoints. This year we loaded up the front wheeled sleigh to partake in one of the most wonderful of Christmas traditions – the viewing of the lights and tree in Brussels’ Grand Place.
The Grand Place has the most fantastic lights display. Last year the beautiful lights danced to a soundtrack from Belgian’s own Lost Frequencies, which was, inevitably, very cool. This year it’s SIA. The dancing lights occur every fifteen minutes starting at 5:00 p.m. and are a must-see for adults and kids alike. Peruse the booths in the surrounding alleys and streets to get your fill of beverage of choice – whether that be a steamy cup of gluivein or chocolate (and can we say Belgian hot chocolate? Doesn’t get much better than this. . . ) or a sparkly glass of cava or your choice of Belgian beer. Any number of culinary treats are available from French mushrooms in cream sauce, traditional Belgian waffles or frites, to hamburgers (but trust me, they’re not the same). There are plenty of shopping opportunities in the 200 chalets weaving through the streets – Christmas ornaments, candy, Belgian truffles, hand carved chess boards, soaps from the Greek Islands, hats, mittens, and many, many more treasures are available.
The Brussels Christmas market runs from November 25 through December 31st.
Pearl of Wisdom: There’s tons of public transportation options available but if you’re traveling with small children (like us) sometimes we prefer to contain the madness on our own cocoon of a vehicle. There’s a large parking garage nearby called Grand Place Parking (Address: Rue du Marche’ aux Herbes 100, 1000 Bruxelles). Like most parking garages, take the ticket as you go in, bring your ticket with you. Upon returning to your car, you’ll put your money into the machine, which will validate your ticket once you exit.
Additional Pearl of Wisdom: If traveling with a stroller, use the Novotel corner exit. The lift goes all the way to the top, no additional navigation of stairs necessary. Plus it exits right by the huge Smurf Statue, which is easy to identify and remember upon returning to your car.
Watch out, Darlin’: The market is heavily policed by Belgian military. The crowd is festive, many tourists and locals alike partake in the festivities. This year the beverage cups can be returned for a euro – presumably to cut down on garbage and promote recycling. Just beware that the crowd has a few men and women meandering through the crowds, asking for money or cups. One woman went too far as to reach into the basket under my stroller to grab some empty cups after we had clearly told her we’d prefer she not take them. While I’m not too upset about the cups, I was a little shocked by her manners, wouldn’t you be, Shugar?
Direction Pointin’: https://www.brussels.be/winter-wonders-and-christmas-market-2017