Put on your party hats, the festive season is here.
Reimagine December in Dubai - where winter is the best time of year. Experience thrilling new theme parks, the packed schedule at the newly opened Dubai Opera, the not-to-be-missed Dubai Shopping Festival and the jewel in December’s crown - New Year’s Eve.
Here are 20 things to enjoy this month.
1. No one welcomes the New Year like Dubai. Whether it’s on the footsteps of the world’s tallest building (and fireworks show), atop some of the hippest rooftop lounges, or in the middle of the desert, there are many ways to watch the clock strike midnight. Start planning now.
2. Shop, shop and shop some more at the extravaganza that is Dubai Shopping Festival, kicking off on 26 December. With more deals, more malls, more brands, this year’s edition is only going to be the best yet.
3. Be mesmerised as Dubai Opera hosts Nutcracker On Ice from 6-10 December. The graceful skaters are sure to leap and dance into your hearts and minds, enchanting adults and children alike. A perfect festive treat.
4. Winter comes alive in Dubai complete with snow zones, Santa’s Grotto and a tree-lighting ceremony at the weekend-long Dubai Winter Festival (8-10 December). Buy your tickets now.
5. Dance your way into 2017 to the tunes of former Swedish House Mafia members Axwell Λ Ingrosso. The duo are the headline act at the NYE celebration in Meydan.
CELEBRATE THE UAE
6. Start off the month with a celebration. As the UAE marks its 45th National Day on 2 December, Dubai transforms into a weeklong hub of activities, packed with colourful carnivals, decorated car parades, stunning fireworks displays and mall entertainment to keep the kids busy.
7. What better time than now to learn about the UAE’s rich history? With the opening of the new Etihad Museum (Etihad means “Union”), you can uncover how the Emirates came to be.
8. Take a ride along the winding waterways of Dubai’s latest attraction, the Dubai Water Canal. Hop onto a ferry from any of the five marine taxi stations and take in some previously unseen views of Downtown Dubai and Sheikh Zayed Road.
9. And while you’re at it, explore the brand new pathways along the Canal which has added 6.4km to Dubai’s waterfront. Stroll or jog along scenic paths, or rent a bike and tackle a 12km cycling track.
10. Uncover the Iron Age at Saruq Al Hadid museum, located in Dubai’s historical district. Here you’ll find relics dating back centuries. They were found at an archaeological site on the edge of the Rub Al-Khali desert - discovered by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
11. It’s the theme park opening we’ve all been waiting for: Dubai Parks and Resorts has its grand launch on16 December, with the premiere of Hollywood-inspired Motiongate. Bringing motion-picture favourites such as Kung Fu Panda, Shrek and The Hunger Games to life in more than 27 interactive rides, attractions and rollercoasters, Motiongate is your go-to destination to get your heart pumping. Song and dance more your taste? Battle alongside the likes of Bollywood bigwigs Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan in Bollywood Parks, the world’s first theme park celebrating Indian cinema. Find out all about Dubai’s theme parks.
12. From 7-14 December, the annual celebration of cinema, Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) returns for its 13th edition, bringing even bigger blockbusters including the much-anticipated Natalie Portman vehicle, Jackie.
13. Switching from the big screen to the small, the former stars of motoring show Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, bring their brand new production, The Grand Tour, to the Burj Khalifa. They will be filming what is sure to be an epic finale live in a studio tent on 10 December.
14. Calling all James Bond fans, the stealthy spy is coming to Dubai. The best of the best from 007 himself is on show in the Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style exhibition being held at the world’s tallest building. Get up close with some of the most iconic pieces from Bond’s 50-year history.
15. Mark your diaries, music legend Sir Elton John returns to Dubai for an emphatic winter performance on 15 December.
16. Make your way to Dubai’s sandy coastline to make the most of peak beach season. Discover the best beaches, indulge in scrumptious beachside food or discover how to shop along the coast.
17. Looking for a challenge? Test your limits at the du Tough Mudder (9-10 December) obstacle course, which is designed to push you to the edge, only for glory. No winners, no medals, no prizes - just pure grit.
18. If you’d rather see others rough it up, get to the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens (1-3 December), where the world’s best battle it out on the pitch. Not a sports fan? Not a problem! The Dubai institution is packed with festivities for the whole family.
19. Golf’s best women players vie for a 500,000 euro-prize as they converge in Dubai for the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters on 7-10 December.
20. Looking for adventure? Escape the buzz of the city for a trip back in time to the mountain town of Hatta. Try camping, kayaking, mountain biking or simply take in the mountain air.
Still looking for more ideas? Let us plan your perfect holiday.