Things to Do in Brussels in Winter

16 November 2020
16 November 2020
Things to Do in Brussels in Winter

Northern Europe isn’t blessed with the best weather. But Brussels doesn’t roll over and go to sleep. The city is full of life all year round.

If you’re planning a corporate event in Brussels, you don’t need to worry about what time of year it’s going to be. We’ve put together a list of the best things to do in winter in Brussels, so you and your guests have something to talk about when you get home.

Christmas Markets

Grand Place in Brussels during Christmas
Plaisir d’hiver via plaisirsdhiver

Plaisirs d’hiver is the biggest Christmas market in Belgium and takes place in the heart of the city. There’s a lot to do with over 200 chalets, Christmas rides, a ferris wheel, an ice rink, a gigantic Christmas tree, and stunning sounds and lights.

Brussels Christmas Designers Market is the absolute best place to find unique and original gifts for your friends and family. The market is based in the beautiful Halles Saint Gery and has a cosy Christmas atmosphere dedicated to original designers.

The La Tricoterie Christmas market supports local and honest craftsmanship. Expect recycled jewellery, textile creations, original lighting, decoration, leather accessories, but also a traditional brunch and live animation.

Bright Brussels Festival of Light

Brussels festival of light
Bright Brussels via Marie Claire

The Bright Brussels Festival of Light is a charming tour through the city. Twenty interactive light installations make up the festival for four magical nights in February from 19.00-23.00. And it’s completely FREE!

As well as being a wonderful event, it’s an excellent way to see the city. Beginning in the historical centre, you pass Poelaert, Marolles, Royal Quarter and Sablon neighbourhoods to the Halle Gate.

Bright’s unusual routes take their cue from the festival’s origins, dreamt up as a way to build interest in the Port of Brussels’ 20th anniversary in 2013. To draw in more families, the authorities came up with the Brussels Light Festival (now Bright).

Truc Troc

Exhibition in Brussels
Troc Exhibition via bx1

This unique event has been going since 1975, and takes place at the illustrious, art and design centre, Bozar.

Truc Troc Art & Design Exhibition is the first of its kind. It doesn’t cost money, but there is an exchange involved. 

Visitors get access to the exhibition in exchange for recyclable objects such as batteries, light bulbs, batteries, small electronics, car tires and even oil or fat for frying. Be inventive; if your item is reusable, you can get in! 

The previous years went off-piste as well. Visitors were encouraged to make the artist a non-monetary offer in exchange for a piece of art: sunny holidays, the creation of a website or private piano lessons… the visitor’s imagination was the only limit. 

You can get a taste of what’s on offer through their Instagram! Don’t miss out of this unique thing to do in Brussels in winter.


Peculiar Brussels's cinema offering a wide range of films
Cinematek via Brussels Express

Cinematex is a public utility foundation founded in 1938. It aims to preserve and showcase as wide a range of films as possible. There is an obscenely large collection of over 2,000 films

You can check out their events lists here. They also have an on-demand streaming service and a host of resources and films on their youtube channel.

More than films, a cinema documentation centre has recently opened with thousands of books, magazines and more than a million photographs, which can be perused in the reading room.

The building itself is an icon of Brussels. The neon signage is a work of art in itself! 

Brussels Museums Nocturnes

Le Botanique participating in the late night museum events from Brussels
Le Botanique at the Brussels Museums Nocturnes via Elle

Over 100 museums in Brussels stay open from 19:00 – 23:00 every Thursday from 19th September to 5th December. Experience new exhibitions, workshops, music, food & drinks, exclusive tours and more.

You can find a list of all the participating museums here.

It’s a great way to save money too! Admission to a single museum costs €4 (€2 for under 26). With a Pass 5 Nocturnes, you can get access to five museums for €17 (€8 for under 26). 

Ideal if you love museums! This is definitely an interesting thing to do in winter in Brussels.

Brussels Jazz Festival

Roy Anthony Hargrove on Brussels Jazz Festival
Brussels Jazz Festival © Tom Beetz

Brussels Jazz Festival has ever-unparalleled programming. You’ve got ten days of full-throttle jazz under the stewardship of programmer Maarten Van Rousselt. 

Paired with the Brussels Jazz Weekend in April, it puts the city on the map for jazz music.

The programme is mega — the talented Brusseleir drummer Antoine Pierre is artist-in-residence and a spotlight shines on the Belgian WERF Records with a whole evening dedicated to their artists such as Considered, MDC III, Ragini Trio, Dijf Sanders.

The icing on the cake is Mélanie De Biasio who will be opening the first two nights of the festival. She will perform her new project inspired by her home town in Italy. 

It takes place at the iconic Flagey concert hall, inside the fantastic Steamship building. Their goal is to be a cultural house for Brussels, promoting music and the moving image. 

National Artist Supermarket

Cartoon about the National Artist Supermarket exhibitionNational Artist Supermarket via flandersdc

The National Artist Supermarket is an exhibition dedicated to the promotion of local artists. It includes art pieces, drawings, photography, ceramics, furniture, books, fashion, vinyl records, film screenings and much more.

Ordinarily, the Supermarket would take place at the Vanderborght.

This year the event is taking place online. Maybe this is your chance to snap up the bargain of the century on your computer?

Wrapping up! 

We hope you’re desperate to pack your warm socks and gloves for Brussels after reading all this! 

Yes, the weather doesn’t stop Brussels. But from art to shopping, and feasting to concerts, Brussels is full of winter wonders.

And if you’re looking for summer activities, check out these water sport activities close to Brussels.

Featured image: Brussels in the Snow via Lonely Planet

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