What’s On previews Christmas markets in Dubai including the Dubai Christmas Festival, Shop the Night, and DUCTAC’s Things Yule Like.

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Looking for gift inspiration? Look no further than Dubai’s Christmas markets and fetes. Among a host of special festive events you’ll find foodie gifts, hand-crafted items and usually a few mince pies to help you get into that merry spirit. Whether you’re shopping for a special gift or a stocking filler, Dubai’s many Christmas markets are sure to please.

Dubai Media City Amphitheatre gets glammed up once again with its annual Christmassy additions. The park will be kitted out with rides and attractions, including a snow fight zone, Santa’s grotto, and an ice rink. Also included in the mix, is a pantomime show (tickets are extra) and live entertainment on stage throughout the day. The sprawling market sells decorative sweets and festive treats as well as fabulous Christmas trinkets, hand-crafted gifts and festive home-ware. Look out for crazy colourful stationery from the likes of Tinc, unique furniture from boho boutique Urban Yogi, and beautiful active-wear from yApparel.

December 11 to 13
Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, Dubai, Thur 4pm to 10pm, Fri 3pm to 10pm, Sat 3pm to 10pm, Dhs55 (adults) Dhs25 (children). Tel: (800) 4669. Metro: Nakheel. dubaichristmasfestival.com

christmas fair

From the magical ‘Tree of Wishes’ in the Grand Lobby to the authentic European inspired foodie treats and other goodies, the Atlantis Christmas offering really brings the season to life. The main area is covered in snow and decorated with sleighs, trees, life-size gingerbread houses and, of course, Santa’s little elves. The highlight, though, is a chocolate river all in the shadow of the Ambassador Lagoon.

December 1 to 31
Atlantis The Palm, Dubai. Daily 8am-11pm. atlantisthepalm.com

Atlantis The Palm - Winterland


Walking in a winter wonderland can be more than just a tune you hum if you visit the Christmas market in Galeries Lafayette. Its chalets are packed with gift ideas such as fragrances, candles, and hampers. There are live cooking stations, visits from Santa, and carols. Oh, and they have a 16-metre Christmas tree covered in 10,000 Swarovski crystals too.

Until January 7
The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, Sun to Thur 10am to midnight, Fri and Sat 10am to 1am. Tel: (04) 3399933. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. galerieslafayette-dubai.com

Galeries Lafayette Christmas Market

Fairmont the Palm will be shimmering with festive cheer thanks to a variety of stalls selling festive gifts, which will be open all the way until December 27. Once you’ve browsed to your heart’s content, treat yourself to festive food and drink such as Glühwein (mulled wine), eggnog, and irresistible festive treats.

December 4 to 27
Fairmont the Palm, The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, Thur to Sat 5pm to 9pm. Tel: (04) 4573457. fairmont.com/palm-dubai

fairmont palm

For a more intimate celebration, head for Media City’s Urban Bistro and their relaxed lakeside setting. Fuel up on the chef’s special mince pies and signature drinks then mooch around a selection of stalls selling arts, crafts, festive goodies and other treats. There’s also face painting for kids.

December 13
CNN Building 2, Media City, Dubai; 12pm – 6pm. Tel: 04 3624330. facebook.com/urbandubai

Urban Bistro brunch - new brunches in Dubai

Struggling to get in the festive spirit? Groaning that it’s just too sunny and warm to feel like Christmas? We may have just the answer. Just in time for the festive season, Ski Dubai and Disney have teamed up create a special winter wonderland experience. From a festive market environment to a daily array of workshops, sing-alongs and snowman-building, celebrate one of the best-loved family movies while basking in the festive merriment. The wintery venue, inspired by Disney’s FROZEN, will feature traditional nordic chalets filled to the brim with costumes and toys.

December 5 to February 28
Ski Dubai, Mall Of The Emirates, Dubai, Sun to Wed 10am to 11pm, Thur 10am to midnight, Fri 9am to midnight, Sat 9am to 11pm. Tel: (04) 4094242. Metro: Mall Of The Emirates.skidxb.com


You’ll find plenty more than baubles and gingerbread to tempt you in the DUCTAC piazza. Expect a carefully-curated, hand-picked selection of stalls selling unique gifts and goods made by local creatives and entrepreneurs. Plus there’s street magic on the day from Dubai-based illusionists The 7th Delusion.

December 13
DUCTAC, Mall Of The Emirates, Dubai, Sat  12pm to 7pm. Tel: (04) 3414777. Metro: Mall Of The Emirates. ductac.org

things yule

The annual Souk Festive Market is back, boasting a winning combination of gifts and delicious food. Get your mits on handmade festive treats and gingerbread creations, in addition to a variety of family friendly activities including a traditional North Pole train, a unique ice rink, Santa’s Grotto, bouncy castle and a Reindeer Rodeo. Adults can take part in cooking classes with Lindt Master Chocolatier Matthew Muller and award-wining Madinat Jumeirah Pastry Chef Paul Hayward.

December 17 t0 27
Souk Madinat, Dubai, Sun to Thur 3pm to midnight, Fri and Sat 1pm to midnight, free. Tel: (04) 3666730. Taxi: Souk Madinat. jumeirah.com

Madinat Festive Market

After the massive success of the first shop the night event in November, Shop the night is back with festive flair this December with 20 independent vendros. Set in the industrial-chic confines of Dubai’s favourite café, shop the night serves up a selection of cool jewelers, handmade crafts and cool imported goodies. Don’t forget to tuck into ready-to-eat treats courtesy of the Tom & Serg crew while you shop. There’s also a free gift wrapping service. Christmas gifts sorted.

December 16
Tom & Serg, Al Quoz, Dubai, Tue 6pm to 9pm, free. Tel: (056) 345 2135. Taxi: Behind Ace Hardware. facebook.com/thecornershopme

shop the night


Celebrate the spirit of the festive season with huskies, dog sleds, reindeer, penguins and polar bears… right in the heart of Jumeirah! There’s interactive activities for the kids including a snow-fight area and a photo opportunity inside a live igloo!

20 to 27 December
City Walk, Al Wasl Road, Dubai, free. Tel: (04) 5114670 Taxi: Junction of Al Wasl Road and Al Safa Road. citywalk.ae

Winter Wonderland

THE BEACH opposite JBR has come alive with festive flair and live entertainment. Running until 25 December, activities on offer include ‘The Nutcracker’ holiday show playing daily at the amphitheatre, and the ‘Festive Market’ selling favorite seasonal treats and handmade creations.

20-25 December
THE BEACH opposite JBR, Dubai Marina, Dubai, Festive Market (10am to 10pm on 24 December; 5pm to 10pm on 25 December), The Nutcracker (8pm to 10pm), Festive entertainment (5pm to 10pm). facebook.com/thebeachdubai