Time Out Dubai previews the Christmas markets in Dubai, as well as other Christmas events in Dubai, including at Madinat, Ripe and Atlantis
You’ve already written your letter to Santa and pulled last year’s Christmas jumper out from storage. Now all that’s left is to go shopping.
The festive season is as much about scoffing minced pies and watching your favourite old movies in the lead-up to December 25 as it is about celebrating on the actual day.
So what better to help you get into the spirit of things than a Christmas market? We’ve rounded up the pick of the bunch to visit in Dubai this December so you can pick up gifts for friends and loved ones, decorations for your home and many even treat yourself to something.
Marvel at a giant gingerbread house made from 600kg of flour, 500kg of honey, 150kg of sugar, 30 litres of milk, 60kg of spices, 250kg of icing sugar, 150 litres of egg and five litres of lemon juice. Buidling starts Saturday December 3, with completion on Sunday December 4. If that hasn’t inspired you to visit, head down for the festive market, where you can enjoy a roasted chestnut cart, a hot chocolate van, spiced mulled grape and hand-crafted cakes by Gelly Kalouta. Free. Dec 4-26, open 24 hours
Cancel those tickets to North Pole, as it’s making its way to Dubai. Taking refuge at Poseidon’s Court in front of the Ambassador Lagoon, this winter wonderland will give you the chills. From traditional cakes, mince pies and cookies to decadent gift hampers and gingerbread houses, one of Dubai’s most iconic hotels will undergo a massive festive makeover. Expect glitter tattoos, a chocolate river (no fish spotted) and a visit from Santa. Free. Dec 1-Jan 7, 9am-11pm.
If you visit this market weekly, you’ll be glad to know that it’s adding festive sparkles to all of its markets. From Wednesday December 7 until Christmas Eve, the Zabeel Park, Al Barsha Pond Park and Le Méridien Mina Seyahi markets will all be Christmas themed. There’s a petting zoo, craft workshops, BabySouk Soukettes (Santa’s Middle East representatives) who will be scanning the crowd to collect letters to send back to the North Pole. Each will receive a personalised reply from the big man. Free. Dec 7-24. Gate 2, Zabeel Park, 9am-3pm; Al Barsha Pond Park 3pm-9pm; Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Wed 2pm-9pm. www.ripeme.com.
Not all markets have to be about shopping. This al fresco event in the modern souk has a selection of rides including slides, bungee jumping and trampolines. There will also be an “ice rink”, and the North Pole train, of course. If you’re after some nibbles, look forward to roasted chestnuts, gingerbread treats and warm mulled beverages. Free. Dec 17-27, Sun-Thu 3pm-1am; Fri-Sat noon-1am.
Set in the St. Regis Dubai’s impressive Versailles Gardens, this upmarket, erm, market, is new to the city. There are all kinds of family friendly activities, Christmassy F&B and gifts up for grabs and on top of that, Santa arrives in a Bentley every day! There’s also a DJ on Fridays and a live band playing on Saturdays. Dec-14-31 Open daily.