New must-see sights to upcoming festive events in our visitor’s guide
Time Out Dubai staff
From new must-see sights to upcoming festive events, our essential visitor’s guide will help you and your guests enjoy the season in style.
Classic Dubai Sights
Barter for stocking fillers
The tepid temperatures make November and December the perfect months for visiting the bustling souks of Bur Dubai and Deira – and you can pick up stocking fillers while you’re there. Open daily 10am-1pm and 4pm-10pm Al Fahidi Street, Bur Dubai and Sikkat Al-Khail Street, Deira (no number).
See Dubai from the sky
Head to Creekside Park for a bird’s-eye view of the city. Suspended 30 metres in the air, the Cable Car runs the entire 2.3km-length of the park, allowing you to see as far as Dubai Marina in one direction and Sharjah in the other. Park entry Dhs5 per person. Cable Car Dh25 (adults), Dhs10 (kids). Open Sun-Wed 8am-10pm, Thu-Sat 8am-11pm. Creekside Park, Bur Dubai (04 336 7633).
Supersize their vacation by taking them to The Dubai Mall (the world’s biggest) to see Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo (the largest suspended aquarium in the world). Then head outside to watch The Dubai Fountain, the world’s largest choreographed fountains, and gaze at the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. Open daily 10am-11.30pm. The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai. www.thedubaimall.com (04 3627500).
Hit the slopes
‘Snow in the desert?’ we hear your visitors cry. Why of course there is! And a trip to Ski Dubai will get them into the festive spirit. Ski slope day pass Dhs300 (adults), Dhs275 (kids). Open Sun-Wed 10am-11pm, Thu 10am-midnight, Fri 9am-midnight, Sat 9am-11pm. Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha, www.skidxb.com (04 409 4000).
Show off the Palm Jumeirah Visitors tend to be either impressed or intrigued by our man-made island, so arrange a trip to it on the Palm Monorail to show them the sights. Dhs15 (single), Dhs25 (return). Open daily 10am-10pm. Palm Gateway, Al Sufouh Road (car park next to One&Only Royal Mirage).
Stroll the Corniche Jumeirah’s 14km beachfront, the Corniche, is now open, featuring a wide walkway, jogging track, retail kiosks and public showers and toilets, all overlooking the white sand and turquoise shore of Jumeirah Beach. Free. Open 24 hours. Burj Al Arab to Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa.
Sightsee from 148 floors up
Check out the view from Burj Khalifa SKY on level 148, which is now the world’s highest observation deck. It’s perfect for crowd-haters, since only 50 people are allowed onto the deck every hour, rather than the 400 allowed on the original viewing deck on level 124. Dhs400 (adults and children), free (children under four). Open daily noon-9pm. www.burjkhalifa.ae (800 2884 3867).
Dine on the beach
The lack of beachfront restaurants in Dubai has always baffled us, so newly opened The Beach at JBR, an outdoor mall with a plethora of eateries (such as Eggspectation) close to the shore, is a very welcome addition to the city. Free. Open 24 hours. JBR (between Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort and Amwaj Rotana), thebeach.ae (04 431 0190).
Ride the tram
Dubai Marina residents are breathing a sigh of relief as the Dubai Tram takes its first journey this month – and your visitors will think its pretty cool too. Trams connect JBR, JLT, Dubai Marina, Dubai Media City and Knowledge Village. From Dhs2 (adults), www.rta.ae.
Browse Ripe market
Ripe market isn’t new to the city, but its new location in Zabeel Park is, and it’s well worth a visit during the colder months for foodie finds, crafts, and other gifts. Dhs5 per person to enter park, free to enter the market. Fridays 9am-2pm. Gate 1, Zabeel Park, www.ripeme.com (04 3807602).
Watch the big switch-on
Kick-off the festive season with The Irish Village’s traditional tree lighting ceremony. Grab a seasonal beverage and home-baked mince pie and listen to carols at the foot of the tree. Free. Monday 8th December, tree lighting and choir 7pm-9pm (children are welcome until 9pm). The Irish Village, Garhoud www.theirishvillage.com (04 2395000).
Head to a Festive market
Souk Madinat Jumeirah’s Souk Festive Market will feature traditional shopping stalls, a North Pole train, ice rink, giant snow globe, Reindeer Rodeo, and much more. Free. Wednesday December 17 to Saturday 27 3pm-midnight (weekdays), 1pm-midnight (weekends). Souk Madinat Jumeirah, www.jumeirah.com (04 3668888).
Sing in the desert
It might be a bit of drive, but thousands of people turn up for Carols in the Desert every year to sit among the dunes with flickering candles and belt out carols in unison. Free. Friday December 12, 5pm. Al Wahdah, Abu Dhabi, firstname.lastname@example.org (050 827 1604).
Enjoy a show
Take your seat for Ductac’s annual festive show. This year, it’s the musical Willy Wonka, which celebrates 50 years of Roald Dahl’s classic tale Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. From Dhs200. Friday December 19 to Saturday 27, 11am and 3pm. Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha, www.willywonkadubai.com (056 131 9964).
Attend a Christmas Fest Still struggling to get into the festive spirit? Head to Dubai Christmas Fest to soak up the seasonal atmosphere. Ticket prices to be confirmed. Thursday December 11 to Saturday 13, Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, www.dubaichristmasfestival.com.
Where to meet Santa
Desc festive fayre Meet the big man at the Dubai English Speaking College Festive Fayre on Saturday November 22, where there will also be stalls, entertainment and camel rides. Dhs20 (including a gift). Saturday November 22, 1pm-5pm. Dubai English Speaking College, Dubai Silicon Oasis (04 360 4866).
Wafi Widely believed to be the best in the city, Santa’s Grotto will be open for business at WAFI from December 9. Dhs60 per child (includes gift, pass to Kids Connection, kids’ meal in the restaurant, and raffle ticket). December 9-24. Sat-Thu 10am to 10pm, Fri 10am-11pm. WAFI, Oud Metha, www.wafi.com (04 324 4555).
Fdess christmas fayre Mark Saturday November 29 in your diary as Santa will be in attendance at the Friends of Dubai English Speaking School Christmas Fayre. Dhs35 (including gift). November 29 1pm-4pm. Dubai English Speaking School, Oud Metha (04 337 1457).