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.
Winter Wonderland will be on The Palm this year at Atlantis' Festive Village. There will be plenty of activities and games to keep visitors young and old entertained, including the chance to meet Santa Claus in the lobby and Poseidon's Court. Grab a hamper, gifts for friends and loved ones or simply enjoy Christmastime delights.
This arts and crafts market is full of handmade, ethical and original buys. Shoppers looking for a unique gift should peruse the rows of stalls here for something special, including baby clothes, handmade candles, perfumes and fashion accessories, all at reasonable prices. Free. November 27 and December 11, noon-7pm.
This community organic market offers shoppers the chance to stock up on seasonal local veg as well as cool, artisan products. Visitors can also order a Festive Box, which comes packed with Brussels sprouts, clementines and more. Alongside shopping will be workshops, meet and greets with elves opportunities and carol singing. The Saturday December 12 market at Al Barsha Pond Park will see the switching on of the Christmas tree lights. Free. Festive Zabeel Park Ripe Food & Craft Market, Al Jafiliya: Fri 9am-3pm, December 4- 25. Festive Ripe Night Market, Al Barsha Pond Park: Sat 4pm-9pm, December 5-26.
Got the fussy fashion-conscious diva in your office secret Santa? Then head to the Fashion Swap Shop where you can pore over stalls selling glitzy accessories, vintage bags and art, and pick up a party dress for yourself while you’re at it, too. In addition to the market, there’s a swap zone where you can bring unwanted items and exchange them for things you’d much rather have. Shoppers here also get treated to free mini manicures and hairstyling all day. Free. December 8.
It may be moving from its original home in Dubai Media City to the World Trade Centre, but this annual event will still offer all things festive, from food and drink to gifts for all the family – including pets. It’s the UAE’s biggest winter festival, with more than 130 stalls, a funfair, a huge Christmas tree-lighting ceremony and pantomimes. And to bring a touch of frost to the event, there’s even an outdoor ice rink. Kids and grown-ups will also love the Haribo Snow Fight Zone. From Dhs55 (advance adult ticket), Dhs25 (for kids aged four and over). Thu December 17, 4pm-10pm; Fri December 18, 3pm-10pm; Sat December 19, 3pm-10pm.
Madinat Jumeirah hosts its festive market again this year and the 5,000 square metres of amphitheatre in the centre of the complex will be turned into a sparkling souk, with stalls selling seasonal foods, drinks and gifts. Visitors will be entertained with live music every evening and there will also be a Reindeer Rodeo. Free. Sun-Thu 3pm-midnight; Fri-Sat 1pm- midnight. December 17-27.
The entire ground floor and garden of this venue will be transformed into a themed space, complete with food stations and family entertainment. Visitors can roll out a picnic blanket or flop onto a bean bag for a laid-back Christmas afternoon, with a festive menu and drinks on offer. Free (kids under four), from Dhs320 (adults with food and drinks). Fri December 25, 3pm-9pm.
Pitching up every weekend, this beachside market is full of cool and quirky gifts, and it will take a festive turn throughout December. Visitors can buy Christmas décor, handcrafted toys, organic skincare products and stocking fillers. This market will throw up some unique and unusual products like Mexican embroidered bags, Tunisian beachwear and handmade necklaces. Free. Thu-Sat 10am-10pm. Until December 26.