Got friends visiting town for Christmas? Or just taking a break because you feel like it? Here’s your guide to the next week-and-a-half in Dubai…

27 things to do in Dubai over Christmas week…

Thursday December 22

1. Snow fight in Dubai (yes, actually)


There’s a Festive Market at Souk Madinat Jumeirah featuring a snow ball zone for all children over three years old (dang it, we really want to make snow angels. Sucks being an adult sometimes). There are also slides, bungee jumps, roasted chestnuts, a market and even a cookie garden. Yum.

Fort Island, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Al Sufouh, 3pm to 1am on weekdays and 12pm to 1am Thursday to Saturday, free entry. Tel: (04) 432 3232. More info on website.

2. Have Christmas lunch at the Village


There’s just something about the Irish Village that makes us feel festive, and in the 12 days leading up to Christmas they’re offering a traditional roast lunch (plus pudding) for Dhs135. Sit in the garden and eat the three-course festive feast anytime between 12pm to 11pm.

Irish Village, Garhoud, 12pm to 11pm, until December 24. Tel: (04) 282 4750. More info on website.

3. Watch festive films


Head to Bay Avenue in Business Bay tonight from 6pm to 9pm and you’ll get to watch both Home Alone and Parent Trap at the open-air cinema, no ticket charge. Plus, they’re giving away free popcorn (that’s us sold). Oh, and on December 29 there will be a Looney Tunes marathon too.

Bay Avenue, Business Bay, 6pm to 9pm, free. More info on Facebook

Friday December 23

4. Say goodbye to The Ivy

Roast The Ivy

The Emirates Towers bistro is closing its doors at the end of the year, and to say goodbye they’re doing a two-for-one brunch this Friday. The brunch includes either four- or eight-courses of Brit cuisine, with packages starting at Dhs299 (so Dhs150 per person at two-for-one).

Emirates Towers, 12.30pm to 4pm, from Dhs150 per person. Tel: (04) 319 8767. More info on website

5. Go to Rockfest II

There’s a pre-Christmas rock festival on at Dubai classic The Music Room tonight – head down for a midnight mosh to Bull Funk Zoo (see a taste of them in the video above) and Freeman’s Pocket.

The Music Room, The Majestic Hotel, Mankhool Road, Dubai, 9.30pm, Dhs75. Tel: (04) 3598888. More info on Facebook.

6. Try a festive high tea


The lovely Sheikh Zayed Road-based Shangri La has had a bit of a lobby refurb’, so why not celebrate with a high tea in the lobby? It includes scones, pastries, sarnies and of course tea for Dhs135 per person. Pay Dhs235 to include a glass of bubbly.

Shangri La, Sheikh Zayed Road, until December 30. Tel: (04) 405 2703. More info on website

7. Listen to Dubai’s poets


There’s a poetry slam being held at The Jam Jar tonight – registration starts at 6.30pm and the spoken words, raps, stories, lyrics and monologues will carry on from 7pm to 10pm. It’ll cost you only Dhs20 to watch and listen.

The Jam Jar, Al Serkal Avenue, 7pm to 11pm, Dhs20. More info on Facebook

Saturday December 24

8. Go to the (camel) races


On Friday and Saturday this weekend you’ll find full on racing sessions at the Camel race track on the Dubai-Al Ain Road (which is near the Sevens Stadium). The big races are at 7am on Friday and 2pm on Saturday according to Dubai Calendar – but call ahead to double check if there are races when you want to visit, as they’re likely to be running throughout the day.

Dubai-Al Ain Road, various times. Tel: (04) 832 6526. More info on website. 

9. Learn how to make the perfect hot chocolate


Well this one’s a nice festive mood booster: you’ll find a masala hot chocolate making workshop at Jones the Grocer in Al Manara from 4pm to 6pm. Two hours spent honing the art? It’s clearly serious business.

Jones The Grocer, Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Manara, 4pm to 6pm, Dhs75 per person. Book on the phone (04) 346 6886 or by emailing More info on Facebook

10. Go to a Panto’


“BEHIND YOU!” … who doesn’t love a pantomime? The panto’ on at Ductac this year is Peter Pan – expect lots of laughs and plenty of audience participation. The show run is from the 20th to the 27th, so there’s plenty of opportunity to see it.

Centrepoint Theatre, Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, Barsha, 11am and 3pm today, from Dhs140. Buy tickets here. 

11. Eat glorious Indian (with a fountain view)


Got guests in town? You really need to take them out for an Indian meal because the breadth and quality of subcontinental cuisine in this city is exceptional. There are few places more impressive than Armani/Amal with its inventive menu and elevated Dubai Fountain view. From December 24 to 26 they’re putting on a four-course festive menu for Dhs450 with food and soft drinks and Dhs550 with food and selected beverages (the a la carte menu is also available).

Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai, 7pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 888 3666. More info on website.

Sunday December 25

Merry Christmas! For 28 brunch and dinner deals for today – as well as Christmas Eve and Boxing Day – head here. Because let’s be honest, doing the washing up on Christmas Day sucks.

12. Have a food truck Christmas dinner


The Food Truck Jam is putting on a special Christmas Festival from December 23 to 25. Pay Dhs50 to enter, which includes a drink, and then sample the food truck food throughout the day or night. It runs from 12pm to midnight, and is sure to be a budget-friendly Christmas dinner out.

Emirates Golf Club, Dubai, 12pm to midnight December 23, 24 & 25. More info on Facebook. 

13. Go Italian


Roberto’s in DIFC has an affordable (for the festive season) set menu running on Christmas Day – for Dhs350 you’ll get to sample a five-course menu that features tagliolini with lobster or turkey breast with cranberry sauce. Pay Dhs550 and you’ll get a wine pairing with every course. (The menu is actually available all month until the 25th in case you want to go earlier).

DIFC Gate Village, DIFC, 7pm until 2am, from Dhs350. Tel: (04) 386 0066. More info on website.

Monday December 26

14. Don’t fight that festive feeling


Got the boxing day blues? Fear not, the vibe is still festive down at the free-to-visit Christmas Market at The Versailles Garden at the St Regis. It’s open until December 31, from 5pm to 9pm on weeknights, or 3pm to 9pm on weekends. You’ll find a Santa’s Grotto, shopping, a hops garden, a Christmas stage with live entertainment, a snow fight zone (cool), a merry-go-round, Christmas cookie decorating stations and more.

St Regis Dubai, Al Habtoor City, 3pm to 9pm or 5pm to 9pm, free. Tel: (04) 435 5544. More info on Facebook.

15. Check out a new attraction in Festival City


Festival City is launching a new multimedia show, and it’s happening tonight. The new ‘extravaganza’ will feature lights, water, and even fire. There will also be huge 3D projections. For the launch tonight there will be entertainment from 4pm, giveaways, and the show will start around 8pm (after fireworks).

Dubai Festival Centre, from 4pm – show from 8pm. Tel: (800) 332. More info on website.

Tuesday December 27

16. Shop, a lot!


The Dubai Shopping Festival begins on December 26, running all the way until January 28. We’ll bring you more on the specific events for it as they roll out, but in the meantime, expect sales in all of the malls. Big ones. This is the time to catch a good discount in Dubai (but we say go to the malls early, as post-12pm on weekends they get mighty busy).

Various locations throughout the city, more info on website

17. Drink great coffee


Have you tried Gold Box roastery on Umm Suqeim Road yet? If you’re serious about your coffee, you need to get down there. They roast their own beans (which are excellent) and even have a ping pong table. Keen to try lots of good coffee this weekend? See our full list of the best flat whites in the city here.

Warehouse #7, Umm Suqeim Rd, next to Warehouse Gym, 9am to 6pm Saturday to Thursday (closed on Friday). More info on website. 

Wednesday December 28

18. Go to Cove ladies day


Got the week off? Well, take advantage of the weekday downtime and head to a ladies day: for just Dhs100, girls get unlimited rosé (or the cocktail of the day) from 12pm to 5pm at Cove Beach. You’ll also get a huge platter of food per person, as well as dessert and fruit and the chance to hang out at the beach club all day (yes, there is a pool and a beautiful beach). Plus, on the ladies day the sun loungers are complimentary (although they do tend to get nabbed early).

Cove Beach, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Al Sufouh, Dubai. 12pm to 5pm every Wednesday, Dhs100 deal for ladies, entry free for men. Tel: (050) 454 6920. More info on website.

Thursday December 29

19. See fireworks


You don’t have to wait until December 31st to see the night sky light up because there will be fireworks every weekend at The Beach opposite JBR for the duration of the Shopping Festival (which finishes at the end of January). Ooh, and there’s now a free shuttle bus to The Beach too – check out their Facebook page for route details.

The Beach opposite JBR, 8pm, free. More info on website

20. Get your Guetta on

david guetta dubai

Can’t wait until New Year’s Eve to get your groove on? Well, DJ legend David Guetta will be performing at Atlantis, The Palm on December 29. Guetta has sold more than nine million albums and 30 million singles worldwide, making him one of the world’s biggest dance music DJs. Plus, his Media City gig on New Year’s Eve last year was so good he won the What’s On Award for best concert.

Nasimi Beach, Atlantis, The Palm. December 29, 7pm till late. Tickets from Dhs295. Tel: (04) 4261000. Buy tickets here

21. Shop carpets


From today until January 15 Sheikh Saeed Halls 2 and 3 at Dubai World Trade Centre have been transformed into a carpet buyer’s dream, featuring around 200,000 silk and wool carpets (80 per cent of which are handmade). So if you’re after a work of art for your floor, whether from Uzbekistan or Afghanistan, this is a great place to peruse.

Dubai World Trade Centre. Tel: (04) 332 1000 for timings. More info on website.

Friday December 30

22. Check out a new ladies’ deal

JB's Gastropub

JB’s Gastropub in Amwaj Rotana has a new late-night ladies deal that means Dhs10 glasses of grape and Dhs20 cocktails from 11pm to 1am on Thursdays and Fridays. So if you find yourself out and about in Dubai Marina this weekend, this is a good new option.

Amwaj Rotana, Jumeirah Beach Residence, 11pm to 1am every Thursday and Friday night. Tel: (04) 428 2000. More info on website.                                                                      

23. Party in a carpark

Don’t fancy the traffic battle that is going out on NYE? Well go out the night before to party in the P7 carpark at the Media One Hotel. Electronic prodigy David August headlines – the young artist from Hamburg had classical training, and he recently collaborated with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra: you can listen to the whole thing in the video above. Should be a pretty epic night out.

P7 Carpark, Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City, 9pm to 3am, from Dhs150. Tel: (056) 921 8484. More info on Facebook. 

Saturday December 31

Yes, this is New Year’s Eve! Still don’t know what to do? Read about the big parties here, and the more chilled out dinner deals here and here.

24. Celebrate with the Swedes

There are SO MANY things on for New Year’s Eve tonight – but probably the biggest party will be the one at Meydan. Head down there to welcome 2017 with open arms while dancing to the sounds of Axwell & Ingrosso. Formerly of the Swedish House Mafia, Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso have since paired up to bring their unique blend of stadium-sized progressive electro to the masses. Should be huge.

Meydan Racecourse, Dubai, 7pm to 3am, from Dhs299. Tel: (04) 2743555. Taxi: Meydan Racecourse. Buy tickets here.

25. Celebrate the New Year with an Arabic superstar

Amr Diab is one of the best selling Egyptian pop stars of all time – and he’ll be at the Dubai Festival City Arena to perform well into the night this New Year’s Eve. He’ll be joined by the mega-glamorous Lebanese star Myriam Fares.

Dubai Festival City Arena, Festival City, 8pm to 3am, tickets from Dhs390. Tel: (055) 338 8420. Buy tickets here. 

Sunday January 1

It’s Sunday, sure, but today’s a public holiday, so the weekend isn’t over!

26. Ring in the New Year with a brunch


Karma Kafe in the Souk Al Bahar is hosting a New Year’s Day brunch to welcome 2017 – the a la carte meal will feature sushi, a Japanese BBQ and even eggs. It will be Dhs295 with soft drinks, Dhs395 with house drinks and Dhs495 with bubbles. Try and book a table on the terrace.

Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai, 2pm to 5pm. Tel: (04) 423 0909. More info on website.

27. Spend the day by the pool


The Spa at the Intercontinental Dubai Festival City has a day pass deal on at the moment that we think would be a great way to start 2017: for Dhs350 you get to use the two outdoor pools, get a lunch at Med’ restaurant Zaytoun between 12.30pm to 3pm, get Dhs100 to use towards a spa treatment and get 20 per cent off at the Pool Bar. Make a day of it.

Intercontinental, Dubai Festival City, Dhs350, 12.30pm to 3pm. Tel: (04) 701 1111. More info on website

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