Boasting incredible futuristic architecture contrasted with awe-inspiring nature such as the buttermilk desert sand, outdoor lovers can rejoice with a myriad of exhilarating activities and breath-taking sightseeing, while party-goers bask in the magic of Dubai’s year-end festive season with some of the glitziest parties in the world and a multitude of exciting festive markets, tantalising seasonal menus, dazzling tree lightings and massive fireworks showcase.

Here’s why winter is the best time to visit Dubai:

Festive Markets

A key highlight of Christmas in Dubai, festive markets at various venues across the city delights visitors of all ages with an incredible array of holiday-themed food, exciting on-site activities and retail vendors selling fashion, jewellery and homeware pieces by boutique brands. Explore the following:

  • Festive Market at Madinat Jumeirah
  • Festive Market at Dubai Festival City Mall
  • Winter Garden Market at Habtoor Palace
  • Festive Market at Jumeirah Creekside Hotel
  • Raffles Christmas Market
  • Atlantis Festive Village

Tree Lightings

Richly decorated trees pop up across Dubai’s malls, hotels and top attractions towards the end of the year, with several venues hosting grand ceremonies to celebrate the tree lightings. Witness awe-inspiring Christmas trees at:

  • Wafi Mall
  • Mall of the Emirates
  • Dubai Festival City Mall
  • Jumeirah Zabeel Saray
  • The H Hotel
  • The Irish Village
  • Fairmont, the Palm

Seasonal Menus

Dubai’s favourite restaurants come alive for the festive season with special menus and classic favourites including roast turkeys, yule logs and other traditional treats in elegant settings. The world-renowned Atlantis, The Palm’s ‘Cirque de Cuisine’, takes the limelight this festive season with a Winter Wonderland theme on 6 December.

Participating restaurants include:

  • Nobu by Nobu Matsuhisa
  • Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen & Bar
  • Gregoire Berger’s underwater restaurant Ossiano
  • Ronda Locatelli by Giorgio Locatelli
  • Hakkasan

Festive-themed Performances

Taking the festivities up a notch, plenty of performances are lined up across the city in the run-up to the holiday season – from fun family events to seasonal classics in stunning venues.

  • The Nutcracker Ballet at Dubai Opera (4 – 7 December)
  • Jingle Bell Favourites at Dubai Opera (12 – 14 December)
  • La Perle by Dragone (year-long)
  • Theatre by Queen Elizabeth 2 (12-14 December)
  • The Santa Run at Dubai Festival City (13 December)

Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Fountain

Kick-off the New Year with the majestic duo of awe-inspiring fireworks show at the world’s tallest building at Bur Khalifa and captivating light and water show at the world’s tallest performing fountain, The Dubai Fountain.

Burj Al Arab

The world’s most iconic hotel is set to ring in 2020 with an ultimate firework display and live performances. Unwind at the Burj Al Arab Terrace with exclusive access to the infinity pool and Jacuzzis while sipping on bespoke beverages and savouring international cuisines tailor-made by Signature Chefs.

Atlantis, The Palm

For a vibrant dining experience, Atlantis, The Palm’s Royal Gala welcomes guests to enjoy fantastic fireworks views against The Palm, the Dubai skyline and the spectacular resort itself while tucking into culinary delights at a decadent buffet and live cooking stations. For the first time, the Gala dinner will also feature four, two-metre-high caviar fountains.

Dubai Festival City Mall

Start the night of celebration with a series of visual extravaganza starting with IMAGINE, an immersive imagery light show, pillars of fire and dancing water fountains that has earned two Guinness World Records and feast your eyes with not just one but four incredible New Year’s Eve fireworks displays that lights up the entire bay area at Dubai Festival City.

Jumeirah Beach Hotel

Usher in the New Year in a grand style at The Enchanted Forest Gala Dinner, featuring a delectable spread of international cuisine in an exclusive setting by the hotel’s beautiful seafront, with the opportunity to also witness stellar fireworks against the backdrop of the Burj Al Arab hotel.

Madinat Jumeirah

With over 40 restaurants and lounges to choose from, the venue turns into a radiant and lavish place to party this New Year’s Eve. The celebrations continue with access to the Shimmers Beach Party, offering spectacular views of the Burj Al Arab fireworks at midnight.

Al Qudra Lakes

Discover the beautiful desert oasis and spot local wildlife like flamingos, swans and other migratory birds in their natural habitat. Sprawled across 10 hectares of Dubai’s Saih Al Salam desert, nature lovers can enjoy a picnic or take a leisurely ride around the Al Qudra Cycling Track. Spot the Love Lake -the newest addition to the cluster of lagoons, carved in the form of two hearts entwined together.

Hatta

Escape to Dubai’s exclave of Hatta, surrounded by the Hajar Mountains for a secluded experience where outdoor lovers can hike through the mountain passes and wadis (dry canyon riverbeds), take a dip in the rock pools, kayak on the stunning waters of the Hatta Dam or partake in wide range of activities at Hatta Wadi Hub such as rope courses and archery. Complete the experience by staying overnight stargazing under the Arabian night sky at dedicated Hatta Campsite, mountain lodges or airstream trailer hotels.

Al Marmoom Desert

Latest in Dubai’s collection of nature reserves and home to the Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve, it hosts hundreds over species of wildlife – from the Arabian Oryx, Sand Gazelles, to foxes and wild cats. The reserve includes ten animal and bird observation platforms, star and sunset observations decks, and even an outdoor theatre.

Culture lovers can also experience the true essence of life in the desert with the newest Marmoom Bedouin Experience, and learn to saddle, ride and look after their own camel as they join a caravan travelling through the desert before they arrive at the camp. Other highlights include a falconry display, traditional breakfast or dinner at the Bedouin village and stargazing.

Global Village

The festival park gathers more than 75 countries across 30 over pavilions all in one place, where one can spot iconic structures from around the world such as London’s Big Ben, the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy or Ancient Egypt. There is plenty to enjoy for families from thrilling rides at the region’s largest funfair to the array of live performances to experiencing traditional handicrafts and snacks.

Make merry this Christmas and a happy new year in Dubai with enchanting festive markets, scrumptious gastronomic delights, dazzling tree lightings, unforgettable outdoor activities, and classic holiday-themed entertainment.