Festive events, party brunches and new restaurants…

It’s the last weekend before Christmas and as we build up to the big day we’ve gathered some of the city’s best events to keep you merry and bright.

Here are 15 things to do in Dubai this weekend. 

Thursday December 20

1. Head to a magical festive market

Dig out your Christmas jumper and loosen up those carol-singing vocal chords as Madinat Jumeirah is set to welcome the return of its festive market this Thursday December 20. The Fort Island festivities will run for nine days and will feature a traditional German market, food stalls, the opportunity to ride an abra with Santa, and of course, the stunning Christmas tree.

Fort Island, Madinat Jumeirah, Jumeirah, daily 12pm to late, (3pm to late on Sunday 23 and Wednesday 26), December 20 to 28. jumeirah.com

2. See a vintage film

The Courtyard Playhouse will screen the original Miracle on 34th Street movie starring Maureen O’Hara this Thursday.

Courtyard Playhouse, Al Quoz, Dubai, 8pm onwards, Thursday December 20. Tel: (055) 967 3927. courtyardplayhouse.com

3. See a top house DJ spin

Legendary Italian house DJ Marco Carola has been spinning for more than 20 years, and this weekend he’s returning to the decks of open-air super club Base Dubai.

Base, Dubai Design District, 10pm to 4am, Thursday December 20. Tel: (055) 313 4999. basedubai.com

4. Do some Christmas shopping at a festive market

For the first time ever, the outdoor Festival Bay has turned into a magical festive market, complete with a huge Christmas tree, a pop-up market and even snowfall. Each day, little ones will be able to pay a visit to Santa from 3pm until 10pm through the week and 4pm to 10pm on weekends, as well as playing in the snow as hourly snowfall drops on the magical festive market. There will also be carnival games and rides plus arts and crafts, face painting and festive storytelling, serving up hours of endless fun for children.

Fesetive market at Dubai Festival City Mall, Thursday December 6 to Tuesday December 25, free. dubaifestivalcity.com

Friday December 21

5. Adopt a furry friend

Dubai-based animal welfare group Kittysnip is hosting a number of pet adoption days this month, and this Friday they’ll be taking place at The Pet Shop in Al Quoz. This special event will bring together kittens and cats from different backgrounds and circumstances – some have been abandoned, neglected and injured, or their owners couldn’t afford their medical care.

The Pet Shop, Al Quoz, 11am to 5pm, Friday December 21. Email kittysnip@gmail.com for more info. @kittysnip_uae

6. See an American rap star perform

Fresh from a swift turnaround from poolside day club to sleek new nightclub, Drai’s is bringing another American star to headline at their new Friday night event this week. On Friday December 21 multi-Grammy nominated rapper Busta Ryhmes will bring his unique style and intensity to his performance at the new club, where ladies can drink for free until 1am. On Saturday, he’ll headline at neighbouring club White Dubai’s weekly ladies’ night, URBN.

Drai’s Nightclub, Gate B, Meydan, 10pm to 4am, Friday December 21. Tel: (052) 388 8857. draisdxb.com

7. Play in the snow

Adding to the festive feel this December is Snow Park, found within Burj Plaza just off the Downtown Dubai boulevard. The Snow Park features falling snow where guests can enjoy an array of seasonal activities including tubing, a snowball fight zone and curling as well as the opportunity to be enclosed in a giant snow globe.

Snow Park, Burj Plaza, Downtown Dubai, 5pm to 10pm weekdays, 5pm to 11pm weekends, free. Facebook.com/DowntownDubai

8. Get selfie ready with a Hollywood facial

It’s loved by celebrities and now you can get party ready for less with the Hollywood Facial, which is available this festive season at Nova Clinic for Dhs500, reduced from Dhs800. Aimed at leaving your skin feeling healthy and glowing in just one session, the laser treatment is completely pain free, has no downtime and fits into your lunch break.

Nova Clinic, Utamah Villa 1047, Al Wasl Road, Al Manara, Jumeirah, Dhs500. Tel: (04) 384 5666. thenovaclinic.com

9. Glam up for a white party

Toast to the full moon and the upcoming Winter Solstice with a white party at ikandy ultralounge. Those who come dressed in all-white can enjoy complimentary canapes from 8.30pm to 10pm and a welcome drink to start the evening with a bang. Dance the night away as SaxoKid plays the saxophone along to house music from the resident DJ. Prizes will be awarded to the best dressed male and female of the evening.

ikandy ultralounge, Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai, 8.30pm to 2am, Friday December 21. Tel: (04) 405 2703. shangri-la.com

10. Get a discount at a top party brunch

Downtown party brunch Hidden is one of the city’s best for a lively Friday afternoon, and in the spirit of Christmas, Hidden at Treehouse is offering 15 per cent off all of its packages this Friday. It comes complete with live cooking stations from BBQ to sushi, a variety of cocktails, and an after-party from 4pm till 9pm.

Hidden Brunch, Taj Dubai, 1pm to 4pm, Dhs277 soft, Dhs320 house, Dhs362 sparkling. Tel: (052) 798 7292. hiddenbrunch.com

11. Grab breakfast at a new restaurant

Gourmet by Kcal has had a glow-up, and now goes by the name of Bounty Beets. Found in Le Meridien Mina Seyahi, the new spot is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with seating fro 130. It’s designed to be photographed – think angel wings in a mural on the wall and a huge blossom tree in the centre, while the menu has a big focus on healthy eats.

Bounty Beets, Le Meridien Mina Seyahi, Dubai Marina, daily 8am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 399 3333. Facebook.com/Bountybeets

Saturday December 22

12. Head to a family friendly winter festival

If your idea of the perfect Christmas includes a festive market, live music, a huge Christmas tree, and snow then you might want to make your way to Bluewaters this weekend. Described as Santa’s Secret Island, Bluewaters now has a 12-metre-tall bespoke Christmas tree at its entrance, plus three giant snow machines that will shower snow throughout the day. A festive market, set among snow-laden trees, will feature themed kiosks selling unique gifts, alongside food and drink stalls. 

Bluewaters, off JBR, Dubai Marina, 1pm to 11pm on week days, and 1pm to midnight on weekends, December 13 to January 5. For more details, check out Santa’s Secret Island events page.

13. Test your wine knowledge with a grape festival

The hotel’s first ever Grapeskin Fest was such a success that the hotel is bringing the event back once a month, and December’s promises to be full-on festive. The courtyard will be transformed into a tasting sensation, with 50 different grape varieties, along with cheese and charcuterie, savory snacks and live music.

Grapeskin Courtyard, La Ville Hotel & Suites, City Walk, 4pm to 10pm, December 21, free entry, food priced at Dhs40 and grape at Dhs40 or Dhs80. For reservations click here.

14. Fuel up with a full English

Scottish pub-meets-gastro Copper Dog serves a full fry-up every Friday and Saturday which is priced at Dhs115. Guests can also add on two hours of bottomless bellini’s or Bloody Mary’s for Dhs180.

Copper Dog, Hilton Doubletree JBR, Friday and Saturday from 10am, Dhs115. Tel: (04) 5595 355. copperdog.ae

15. Get creative over breakfast

The Long Table, set on the terrace of Boulevard Kitchen and Via Veneto will host a community get together on Saturday morning. A perfect way to exchange ideas, meet new people, make friends, expect a table full of international dishes with a festive twist.

The Long Table, Manzil Downtown, Downtown Dubai, 10am to 12pm, Saturday December 22, Dhs99 adults, Dhs50 children. Tel: (04) 428 5888. vidahotels.com

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