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Make memories this festive season in Dubai

Tue, December 14, 2021

From tree lightings to winter wonderlands and stage productions, see our favourite seasonal highlights.

From tree lightings to winter wonderlands and stage productions, see our favourite seasonal highlights.


Shop at festive markets

No winter holiday experience would be complete without a festive market. With the launch of Dubai Shopping Festival and winter revelry, there are plenty of spots where you can pick up one-of-a-kind gifts while enjoying an array of family-friendly activities. Al Barari will be playing host to a magical Winter Wonderland in its Seventh Heaven area from 16 to 26 December with a full programme of activities, shopping stalls, and even an ice rink. The waterfront promenade at Dubai Festival City Mall has been transformed into a pop-up for the winter season as Ripe Market by the Bay makes its debut. Every evening more than 100 stalls selling goods crafted by homegrown brands will tempt visitors.


Enjoy the Winter Wonderland at Ski Dubai

Winter Wonderland

If you're looking play in the snow this December, Winter Wonderland at Ski Dubai will make your wishes come true. Spend the day sliding down Ski Dubai's thrilling slopes, say hi to the resident penguins, brave the rides at the snow park and don't forget to sip your free hot chocolate at the Alpine-inspired cafe. The highlight has to be a visit to Santa's Grotto - but check timings as takes breaks to head off and feed his reindeers too! For more cool thrills, head to the Chillout Ice Lounge at Times Square Centre, where you can sip a juice in sub zero interiors designed entirely out of ice – from seating to sculptures. Or glide around the Dubai Ice Rink, a year-round winter escape in Dubai, magical snowfall included.


Book tickets for themed entertainment


December delights with a particularly whimsical tune when it comes to live entertainment. Yuletide classics and carols dominate the sound waves at Dubai Opera when the Dubai Opera Big Band perform swing and jazz renditions of tracks at The Sound of Christmas. The Downtown venue will also host Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker by the Russian State Ballet and Opera House. Elsewhere in the city, little ones can have a merry time at Magic Phil's Jolly Jingle, as one of Dubai's most loved children's entertainers lights up the stage at Theatre by QE2 with tricks and laugh out loud silliness. There's plenty to enjoy this season, so stay up to date with Dubai Calendar.


Make time for celebratory dining

There's lots to savour across the city, so ask your hotel concierge for festive dining options near you. City favourites include Atlantis, The Palm's Bread Street Kitchen for quintessential British fare, degustation menus at Ossiano's underwater setting, and dinner buffets at Saffron. Meanwhile, Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa's Brasserie 2.0 is serving up traditional roast turkey alongside other international delicacies displayed buffet-style, while in Downtown, Bull & Bear is theming their five-course set menu experience 'The Bull of Wall Street'. We're also making reservations at the new Le Rosé restaurant in Address Hotel, Fountain Views, presenting incredible views of Burj Khalifa.


Admire awe-inspiring displays

Visitors in December can admire the richly-decorated trees and themed centrepieces that pop up across Dubai’s leading malls, hotels and top attractions, with several tree-lighting ceremonies to keep an eye on. Some of the most popular highlights include the Mall of the Emirates' Fashion Dome where shimmering baubles and a festive glow inspires new shopping sprees with the family. Another favourite with Dubai residents is Dubai Festival City Mall, which has put up a sparkling display complete with a Santa's grotto. Meanwhile Galeries Lafayette at The Dubai Mall is putting on a fairytale festive display all monthlong that is sure to delight shoppers. 


Explore seasonal specials

This is the season when some of the emirate's best winter-only experiences relaunch. Global Village, a multicultural family entertainment destination, is a fantastic place to explore handcrafted gifts and souvenirs from around the world. Discover everything from Turkish stained glass lanterns, colourful embroidered purses from India, and intricate jewellery from artisans across Europe. The Miracle Garden is also in full bloom until spring. The park presents an array of famous buildings and structures in the form of colourful floral displays, which make for wonderful photo opportunities with a special Smurfs display for this edition. Dubai is also set to host unmissable New Year's Eve celebrations, so read our guide on the best things to do and ring in 2022 in style.


Celebrate in the desert at Bab Al Shams

bab al shams

Enjoy a Christmas extravaganza amid golden sands at the Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa. Get together with family and friends and spend an evening with delicious food, live entertainment and lots of holiday-themed activities. Marvel at the massive Christmas tree and let the choir enchant you. Relish seasonal delicacies like mince pies and hot chocolate and wander around the market which has more than 50 stalls of holiday goodies. For kids, a meet and greet with Santa and a special gift is included with every entry ticket. You can also choose to dine at a Christmas-themed buffet at the Al Forsan Restaurant for AED285 per person.

Desert Winter Wonderland
  • 10 Dec 2021 - 21 Dec 2021
  • Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa

Join the world at Expo 2020 Dubai


Enjoy the festive cheer at Expo 2020 Dubai with a whole range of exciting events and activities, taking place from 20 to 28 December. Settle in for special movie screenings at the Jubilee Stage, admire the winter-themed shows at Al Wasl Plaza and festive bites at the venue's much-loved foodie spots, including Alkebulan The African Dining Hall and Jubilee Gastronomy.

Tiesto, Norah Jones and Christina Aguilera at Expo 2020 Dubai
Leisure events
  • 1 Oct 2021 - 31 Mar 2022
  • Expo 2020 Dubai

Soak in the sunshine at al fresco hotspots

There's plenty of opportunities to embrace seasonal vibes in Dubai's warm winter sunshine, and a highlight this season is Nakheel Mall’s Rooftop Festive Village. Expect a host of holiday activities, an ice rink, live shows and more. For more al fresco fun in the city, don't forget to check out Festive at The Beach opposite JBR and Festive Cheer at La Mer. See you there!

Rooftop Festive Village
Dubai Shopping Festival
  • 10 Dec 2021 - 2 Jan 2022
  • The Rooftop West, Nakheel Mall

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