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Things to do

The best Christmas markets, festive events and winter activities in Dubai

Wed, November 15, 2023

From tree lightings to winter wonderlands and stage productions, see our favourite ways to celebrate Christmas in Dubai.

From tree lightings to winter wonderlands and stage productions, see our favourite ways to celebrate Christmas in Dubai.


Shop at festive Christmas markets

No winter holiday experience would be complete without a visit to a Christmas market. With the launch of Dubai Shopping Festival and winter revelry, there are plenty of alfresco spots where you can pick up one-of-a-kind gifts while enjoying an array of family-friendly activities. For example, Madinat Jumeirah Festive market runs from 15 December 2023 to 7 January 2024, offering fun and cheer for everyone. There will be a huge Christmas tree, North Pole Train, gingerbread house decorating and a chance to ride on an abra with Santa along the Madinat waterways. There will also be plenty of traditional food stalls, and a live band. Al Habtoor City will also be playing host to a magical Winter Garden until 31 January 2024, with a full programme of entertainment, shopping stalls, food trucks and more. There's a new market to try this year at Jumeirah Emirates Towers' first Winter District, with views of the Museum of the Future. This winter wonderland, running from 14 December 2023 to 4 January 2024 will be packed with festive delights including Christmas trees and snowball fight areas for a fun experience.


Meet Santa at Ski Dubai

Winter Wonderland

If you're looking play in the snow, make your way to Ski Dubai where you can also meet Santa from 1-25 December to make your wishes come true. Spend the day sliding down Ski Dubai's thrilling slopes, say hello to the resident penguins, brave the rides at the Snow Park and don't forget to sip your hot chocolate at the Alpine-inspired cafe. The highlight has to be a visit to Santa's Grotto – but check timings, as he takes breaks to go and feed his reindeers too! For more cool thrills, head to Dubai Ice Rink at Dubai Mall, a year-round winter escape in Dubai (magical snowfall included).


Book tickets for themed entertainment

Slava s Snowshow at Dubai Opera

December delights with a particularly whimsical tune when it comes to live entertainment. Start your December with Slava's SNOW SHOW, which celebrates the winter season in a mesmerising stage production at Dubai Opera. The Downtown venue will also host Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker by the Ballet Theatre and State Opera Orchestra of Astana from Kazakhstan. Little ones can also have a merry time at Magic Phil's Cirque du Silly, as one of the city's most loved children's entertainers lights up the stage at Theatre by QE2 with tricks and laugh-out-loud silliness. You can also enjoy festive hits with the entire family at Irish Village for the Christmas Cracker showcase at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, with an 18-piece band belting out yuletide tunes. There's plenty to enjoy this season, so stay up to date with Dubai Calendar.


Make time for celebratory dining

bull and bear christmas brunch

There's lots to savour across the city, so ask your hotel concierge for festive dining options near you. To get into the festive spirit ahead of time, make your way to AURA Skypool's Movie in the Sky experience on 9 December, where you can watch a classic festive movie wrapped up in cashmere pashminas and tucking into a 'movie bento box'. City favourite like Bistro Des Arts is offering limited-edition menus from 1 December onwards. Make the Christmas weekend one to remember at Grosvenor House, where you can pick from a festive brunch on 23 December at Toro Toro, Sloane's or City Social, or indulge in Christmas Eve dinners and Christmas Day brunches at Address Fountain Views and Address Grand Creek Harbour. On 25 December, you can also head to Mott 32's festive-themed brunch with dishes created just for the season, or visit Jumeirah Mina A'Salam on Monday for The Grand Christmas Brunch, complete with yuletide tunes, a visit from flying Santa Claus, plus interactive kids activities and special gifts. Meanwhile, Bull & Bear at Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre will be offering a four-course brunch on 25 December.


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 Mall of the Emirates' Fashion Dome, where shimmering baubles and a festive glow inspire 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 Dubai Mall is putting on a fairytale festive display all month long, which is sure to delight shoppers. 


Explore seasonal specials

Global Village in Dubai

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 items such as Turkish stained glass lanterns, colourful embroidered purses from India and intricate jewellery from artisans across Europe. Dubai 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 2024 in style.


Visit Winter City at Expo City Dubai

winter city

From 8 December 2023 until 7 January 2024, Expo City Dubai is being transformed into a magical winter wonderland again. There will be a chalet-inspired festive market and fairground fun for all the family. There will also be activities and workshops such as gingerbread making, festive foodie treats and drinks and, of course, Santa’s Grotto. Stay tuned for an update about the tree lighting ceremony for Winter City’s 16-metre tall festive tree.

Winter City at Expo City Dubai
  • 15 Dec 2023 - 7 Jan 2024
  • Expo City Dubai

Capture magical moments

christmas inside burj ala rab

Make your way to Burj Al Arab this festive season for a series of tour experiences that the whole family can enjoy. Indulge in a 60-90 minute family tour of the luxury hotel and follow it up with anything from indulgent festive feasts to picture-perfect moments at Santa’s Grotto and gifting packages, or book yourself some time in at the stunning outdoor UMA Lounge. It's truly a memorable opportunity to combine luxury with the festive spirit of the season.

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