Sports, film, music, brunch, Christmas and New Year…

It’s hard to believe December is nearly here… Dubai has plenty in store for its residents and visitors during the last month of the year. As well as annual sporting event Dubai Rugby Sevens and all the usual festive fun and games, we’ve got film, extreme sports and mega brunches to look forward to.

Here are 10 things coming up in Dubai this December

1. December 1 to 3: A global rugby tournament descends on Dubai

rugby sevens

The Dubai Rugby Sevens is one of the most anticipated weekends on the Dubai calendar, and it’s happening this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. As well as the small matter of the annual rugby tournament, there’s music, street food and fancy dress all to look forward to.

The Sevens Stadium, Dubai, Thur to Sat, 7.30am to 10pm, Dhs300 in advance, Dhs400 on the door, under-12s free. Thursdays free too. Tel: (04) 321 0008. More info on website.

2. December 6 to 13: Mingle with A Listers

The Dubai International Film Festival rolls around once again this December, and it’s bringing a week of interesting international film screenings and a host of A-listers to the city. You’ll be able to mingle with the likes of Patrick Stewart, Cate Blanchett and Sarah Jessica Parker across the seven days of events, as well as catching films across the city at Galleria Mall, The Beach JBR and the Madinat.

Various locations across Dubai, December 6 to December 13. Tel: (04) 363 3456 More info on website.

3. December 7: Dine around Atlantis with Cirque de Cuisine

Remember how Atlantis put on a special ‘night brunch’ in May? Well, it’s returning, and it will be mighty festive. Cirque de Cuisine: The Festive Edition will be on Thursday December 7, and will run from 7pm to 11pm (with a cash bar after party hosted in The Avenues until 3am). The terrace at Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen will be turned into a Christmas market complete with snow, picnic tables and festive games. Plus, there will be candy cane stilt walkers, a festive choir singing under a giant wreath arch at the entrance and a huge snow globe from which you’ll be able to snap a selfie. Also, the Lost Chambers Aquarium will be partly transformed into an underwater Christmas Grotto where you’ll be able to fill out a festive postcard and give it to Santa and his elves to send to a loved one overseas.

Atlantis The Palm, Thurs Dec 7, 7pm to 11pm, early bird prices adults from Dhs495, children from Dhs295. Tel: (04) 426 2626. Buy your tickets here

4. December 7 to 9: See something magical at the opera

For all those muggles who missed out on the spellbinding Harry Potter concert in Abu Dhabi, they can catch it at Dubai Opera this month. You’ll be able to see your favourite bespectacled hero on a 40-foot screen, with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra performing the iconic John Williams score. Tickets start from Dhs175.

Dubai Opera, Opera District, Downtown Dubai, 8pm Dec 7 3pm and 8pm Dec 8 and 3pm Dec 9, from Dhs175. Tel: (04) 440 8888. More info on website

5. December 8: See a pop legend

The twice rescheduled Elton John concert is set to go ahead this December, almost a year after the initial date of December 15 2016. The musical legend is set to perform his first ever live show in Dubai as a part of his Wonderful Crazy Night tour. With over five decades of performing across the world and more than 4,000 gigs, he is considered to be one of the most accomplished live musicians in the world. Remember, this gig is dry.

Autism Rocks Arena, Dubai Outlet Mall, 5pm to 12am, Friday Dec 8, from Dhs295. More info on website.

6. December 15 to 27: Festive celebrations at Fort Island

Madinat Jumeirah will welcome back its annual Festive Market this December from the 15th to 27th. The 1,750 square metre winter wonderland will feature a German-style Festive Market, as well as rides on an abra boat with Santa, dozens of slides and games, a North Pole train for the little ones and a giant snow ball zone. New this year will be a shimmering interactive LED Christmas tree and daily appearances from Santa himself… at 5pm and 7pm.

Madinat Jumeirah, Dec 15 to 27, Sun to Weds, 3pm to 1am, Thurs to Sat 12pm to 1am free entry. Tel: (04) 366 8888. More info on website

7. December date TBC: Flying through the Marina

XDubai, the people that brought you that epic zipline over The Dubai Fountain, are back with a brand new feat’ for all adrenaline junkies in Dubai to try. Described as the world’s longest urban zipline, the line stands at 170 metres tall at the launch platform, and runs right the way across the Marina, ending at The Address next to Dubai Marina Mall. It starts at the very top of a tower in Marina Promenade, so yes, you’ll basically launch off of a skyscraper.

Xline, Dubai Marina, December, dates and times to be confirmed, Dhs650 single, Dhs1,200 for two. More info on website

8. December 14 to 23: Make music in the Marina

The 2017 theme of The Dubai Marina Music Festival (DMMF) is ‘The Art of Sound’. It’s going to transform the Dubai Marina promenade into a series of activations and installations, that explore all of the senses, plus host music artists and performers, food stalls and a pop up market.

Dubai Marina Mall Promenade, Dubai Marina, 6pm to 10pm, Dec 14 to 23, free. More info on website

9. December 25: Enjoy a festive feast

It’s the most wonderful time of the year (as the Christmas song goes) and as December 25 rolls around once more, there are heaps of ways to celebrate it. Whether you’re staying in, going out, tucking into a turkey with all the trimmings or enjoying an alternative feast, Happy Christmas from team What’s On!

Various locations across the city, see our guide to Christmas Day meals in Dubai to try.

10. December 31: Say goodbye to 2017

As another year draws to a close, it’s time to say goodbye to 2017 Dubai-style. From record-breaking firework displays, to private dinners that cost upwards of Dhs100,000, to more modest celebrations, brunches, parties and dinners, we hope your last day of 2017 is a memorable one.

Various locations across the city, see our guide to New Year’s Eve in Dubai

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