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13 Things to do in Dubai at Christmas

If you're looking for a northern hemisphere winter vacation in the sun, but don't want to miss out on the fun and festivities of Christmas, Dubai is your destination!

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

10 min read

13 Things to do in Dubai at Christmas

Fireworks in Dubai | ©Bengin Ahmad

Christmas festivities in Dubai will welcome you with lights, events, Christmas trees and an atmosphere to remember.

Many of the malls, markets and souks remain open, Jumeirah's Souk Madinat hosts a winter wonderland and the Mall of the Emirates hosts a Christmas market with everything from gift ideas to festive accessories.

1. Go on an adventure at Ski Dubai

Enjoying Ski Dubai| ©Lars Plougmann
Enjoying Ski Dubai| ©Lars Plougmann

Spanning over 6,705 square meters, and with an 85-meter snow-capped mountain, Ski Dubai is a year-round attraction. But during the holiday season, the experience becomes even more enchanting.

With Christmas hymns and Santa Claus greeting visitors, skiing instantly becomes a memorable experience. Plus, you can get up close and personal with the most adorable creatures in the animal kingdom: penguins. Book your Ski Dubai ticket and enjoy watching them hop around in their natural habitat.

Book your Ski Dubai ticket

2. Be dazzled by the spectacle of La Perle de Dragon

Red curtain in theater|©cottonbro studio
Red curtain in theater|©cottonbro studio

On your Christmas trip to Dubai, be sure to attend La Perle de Dragone, a magical and hypnotic theatrical show that lasts about an hour and a half.

More than 60 artists and up to 130 people participate in this acrobatic experience that will amaze you with its various aerial and underwater performances.

In addition, you can opt for a premium ticket with a platinum or vip ticket in which you will also enjoy popcorn, canapes and drinks.

Book your ticket for La Perle de Dragone

3. Fly over Dubai on a helicopter tour

dubai_helicopter|©kazakov.o
dubai_helicopter|©kazakov.o

If you like thrills, Dubai is the right place for you. Therefore, we recommend you to booka helicopter ride, you will have a unique view of the most representative points of interest and places of Dubai such as the Burj Khalifa, Palm Jumeirah or Atlantis.

You will fly between the skyscrapers and artificial islands of the city. And if, in addition, it coincides with Christmas, you will enjoy the illumination even more.

You can choose the duration of the ride, from 12 to 25 minutes, and surprise your partner, family or travel companions while flying over the most iconic buildings of the UAE.

Book a helicopter ride in Dubai

4. Discover the best sunrise from a balloon flight

Hot Air Balloons|©FAI - World Air Sports Federation
Hot Air Balloons|©FAI - World Air Sports Federation

Another great plan to enjoy the Dubai Christmas is, why not, take a balloon ride at sunrise, a unique and unrepeatable experience. An hour-long flight in which you can see the best views of the city from 600 to 1,200 meters above sea level.

In addition, you can opt for a more premium and complete experience if you book a balloon flight over the Desert Conservation Reserve with breakfast, which also includes an off-road vehicle tour of the desert, a gourmet breakfast in a majlis -an Arabian lounge- and a tour of the dunes in a land rover-

. Of course, both experiences include the transfer to and from the hotel. A tip: don't forget your camera.

Book a balloon flight in Dubai

5. Feel the atmosphere of the Irish Village

Irish village| ©Stephen Colebourne
Irish village| ©Stephen Colebourne

At Christmas time the Irish Village (famous Irish pub) offers Irish whiskeys and some delicious Irish stews to keep your hunger at bay. Located in Garhoud, Irish Village features lake views and landscaped grounds with lights to enhance the Christmas experience.

The Irish Village is one of the most elegant places to be during the festive season, and Christmas, is no exception. The pub is famous for its exquisite European delicacies in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.

In addition, the whole area accompanies the Irish Village with a very communal atmosphere, with live music, street vendors and places to take pictures and enjoy Christmas.

Book a guided tour of Dubai

6. Experience Christmas at Winter Wonderland

Visiting Winter Wonderland| ©Wayne Varney
Visiting Winter Wonderland| ©Wayne Varney

Enjoy one of the most fun Christmas experiences in Dubai at Winter Wonderland, a Christmas space with a Santa Claus Grotto. I recommend it 100% especially in the months of December in Dubai and January in Dubai.

If you go to Dubai with children this place becomes even more interesting, as Santa appears and starts greeting you with a bag of gifts including chocolates, chocolates and other goodies. Not only that, but you can also enjoy fun adventures in the snow park that include movies, snowman building and breakfast with Santa.

While you enjoy Winter Wonderland, a choir will be on hand to cheer you up, singing some of the most popular Christmas carols. In addition, some of the seasonal treats will be served including gingerbread, mince pies and a custom-made spicy peppermint chocolate.

Dubai Sightseeing Bus Reservation

7. Don't forget the Souk Festive Market

Visiting the Souk Festive Market| ©Diana Bellheather
Visiting the Souk Festive Market| ©Diana Bellheather

This is one of the main Christmas markets in Dubai where you can shop for gifts and enjoy the Christmas atmosphere every day from 3pm to midnight.

Every year during the month of December, the Jumeirah market is transformed into a Christmas market with shopping carts, Christmas lights and jingle bells everywhere.

As usual you will see a 35-meter Christmas tree, perfect for taking selfies. In addition, there will be festive food, wine, gingerbread treats, snow play areas, live music, Santa in a sleigh and more.

Book your plan in Dubai

8. Visit Santa's Secret Island

Bluewater Island| ©Attila Boros
Bluewater Island| ©Attila Boros

With the temperatures dropping, it would be a great idea to soak up the sun during Christmas at the newly opened Bluewaters Island. Located next to Dubai Marina, Bluewaters Island has some of the most picturesque spots in the city and celebrates Christmas like no other man-made island in Dubai.

Known as Santa's secret island, the island hosts an annual Santa's Grotto, children's activities and Christmas music and light shows for when the Dubai night arrives.

Also, don't forget that it has the largest observation wheel in the world. If you go to Bluewaters Island for Christmas, expect to see a plethora of food stalls, Christmas trees, as well as private Christmas-inspired huts.

Book your plan in Dubai

9. Try attending the Dubai Christmas Carnival

Christmas Carnival| ©eatnstays
Christmas Carnival| ©eatnstays

Gems Private School Oud Metha is transformed into a festive spectacle. The Christmas Carnival is organized by a foreign association in Dubai and is held on the grounds of Gems Private School Oud Metha every weekend between December and January.

This Christmas carnival features a lot of activities such as face painting, balloon bending, bouncy castle, magic shows, train rides.

In addition, there will be several amazing prizes to win, food stalls and much more. For more information visit the event website.

Book your plan in Dubai

10. Don't forget to stop by Bab Al Shams

Bab Al Shams Christmas Tree| ©WhatsOne
Bab Al Shams Christmas Tree| ©WhatsOne

If you go to Bab Al Shams (Sun Gate) at Christmas time, you will be amazed by a beautifully decorated 13-meter Christmas tree.

While there, you can stroll through the Christmas stalls, meet and greet Santa Claus, listen to seasonal songs and music while drinking the traditional mulled wine and exquisite hot chocolate, made with their own secret recipe.

Admission is completely free for adults, with Bab Al Shams being one of the most recommended places if you are looking to enjoy good food and feel part of the Christmas festivities.

Christmas Eve at Bab Al Shams

On December 25 there will be plenty of games for children, camel and pony rides, magic and juggling shows, live music and a succulent roast turkey with all the trimmings.

New Year's Eve at Bab Al Shams

On New Year's Eve, Bab Al Shams no longer features many activities for children's audiences, but rather for adults with oriental dance performances, drinks and dishes of international flavors, DJs and fireworks shows.

Book your plan in Dubai

11. Celebrate the festive season to the sound of Christmas at the Dubai Opera House

Dubai Opera House| ©Alice Holtham
Dubai Opera House| ©Alice Holtham

A Christmas show is in store for you where you can catch the sound of Christmas at the Dubai Opera House. Enjoy your favorite Christmas songs, be it Santa Baby, Jingle Bell Rock, Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree or All I want for Christmas is You.

The Dubai Opera Big Band is here to take your celebration to another higher echelon. Musicals take place on the most important days of Christmas.

With over 20 talented jazz musicians, the band is sure to make you sing your heart out and enjoy the music like no other, as it is hard to detach music from Christmas.

Book your plan in Dubai

12. Have fun with a Christmas movie on the beach

Movie at Dubai Zero Gravity| ©Alice Holtham
Movie at Dubai Zero Gravity| ©Alice Holtham

Every year during the Christmas season Dubai Zero Gravity beach club presents some Christmas classics on the big screen right on the beach. Tickets are priced at AED 75 (€18.32), fully redeemable for food and drinks. Doors are open from 7 p.m. and the movie starts at 8 p.m.

Also, it must be said that the views from the establishment's sun loungers are beautiful, this is because it is purposely located in a relatively dark area of the beach, so everything that shines is admirable.

Grab yourself a bag of beans or popcorn and curl up on a lounger for an outdoor movie night at the height of the holiday season. Christmas movie days usually fall in December, so for more information, I recommend you visit the following link.

Book your plan in Dubai

13. Stroll through the garden of the Habtoor Palace

Visiting the Habtoor Palace at Christmas| ©Time Out Editors
Visiting the Habtoor Palace at Christmas| ©Time Out Editors

The Habtoor Palace Garden is a must-see to add to your Christmas calendar, a space filled with twinkling lights and decorated in a very unique style.

It belongs to the Habtoor Palace Hotel, but it is possible to visit it without staying at the hotel. Although, if you are, it would be more convenient for you to join the party. During the Christmas season the opening hours are from 5 p.m. to midnight. Also, if you love Christmas gastronomy, you've come to the right place to get your fill. There is a wide selection of pop-up stalls and outdoor street food.

Habtoor Palace Garden is an ideal festive destination to visit, socialize, have a great time with family or friends and, above all, enjoy an amazing Christmas atmosphere. What's more, you can even sing along with carolers and admire the live performances of some street artists.

Book your plan in Dubai

Dubai Christmas Weather

Hitting the beaches in Dubai| ©Dan Bentley
Hitting the beaches in Dubai| ©Dan Bentley

In late December, you should expect wonderful mild weather, with daytime highs of 26°C and seawater temperatures of around 25.6°C - a perfect temperature for swimming on Dubai's pristine beaches!

It doesn't usually rain at Christmas time, so don't expect grey and gloomy days. However, fog can be a problem in December, particularly in the early morning hours.

Considering the weather, I recommend wearing light clothing in case you feel a bit chilly, although I'm telling you it's not the most common thing to do.

Book a night bus tour in Dubai

Tips on how to spend Christmas in Dubai

Looking for accommodation| ©cottonbro
Looking for accommodation| ©cottonbro

The wonderful weather in December combined with the vacation season makes the week from Christmas to New Year's one of the busiest of the year in Dubai.

  • If you want to enjoy a Christmas dinner, I recommend always booking in advance either at a fancy restaurant or a regular restaurant.
  • Remember that you are in the festive season, so prices may be slightly higher than usual.
  • Public transportation in Dubai at Christmas time works exactly the same as in other high season dates, so I recommend this guide on how to get around Dubai, it will help you to plan your trip better.
  • Of course, I will always advise you to start your stay with a sightseeing bus tour of Dubai in order to familiarize yourself with the most important areas of the city.
  • Since the city has a beautiful beach and most hotels have swimming pools inside, make sure to bring swimsuits.
  • There are several places to buy souvenirs and gift items for your loved ones. If you wait until January you may see incredible discounts.

Book your Dubai tour bus

Dubai Religious Services at Christmas

St. Mary's Catholic Church| ©Christian World
St. Mary's Catholic Church| ©Christian World

Dubai is a proudly tolerant city when it comes to culture and religion, and there are several very interesting churches to visit in case you are a believer.

Book a food tour of Dubai