Festive food, arts and crafts and lots of entertainment for the little ones…

One of the best things about Christmas has to be the festive markets, and Dubai definitely does them in style. We may not have snow, but that won’t stop us from filling our festive markets with lavish decorations, super sized Christmas trees, festive foods and loads of oh-so-pretty arts, crafts and trinkets just waiting for you to take them home.

Here are 7 of the best Christmas markets in Dubai to visit this year… 

The Winter Garden Market at Habtoor Palace

The gardens at Dubai’s Habtoor Palace are once again transforming into an enchanted winter wonderland for the 2019 festive season. There will be entertainment and themed activities for everyone to enjoy, including a selection of retail and food stalls, children’s activities and attractions, and even an appearance from Santa himself.

Habtoor Palace, Al Habtoor City, daily 3pm to midnight, December 5 to 24, free entry. facebook.com/HabtoorPalace

Madinat Jumeirah Festive Market

Arguably the city’s biggest and best Christmas market, the ever popular Fort Island festive market at Madinat Jumeirah makes its return on Friday December 13. There’ll be traditional food, drink, live music and, of course, the infamous giant Christmas tree. Theres loads for the little ones to get involved in, with a giant snow ball zone, play area, four-lane bungee jump and they can even get creative at a gingerbread house making station.

Fort Island, Madinat Jumeirah, Jumeirah, 3pm to late Sunday to Wednesday, 12pm to late Thursday to Saturday, Friday December 13 to Saturday December 28. jumeirah.com

JLT Christmas Market

Head to the JLT Park behind Cluster P and Q for JLT’s first ever festive market. The four day magical event kicks off on December 20, 2019 where a Christmas tree lighting will take place at 7pm. Little ones will also be able to meet Santa and take home a photo as a souvenir. There will also be plenty of holiday-themed activities, entertainment, music and gift stalls.

JLT Christmas Market, JLT Park behind Cluster P and Q, from December 20 to 24, 3pm to 9pm 

Dubai Opera Christmas Market

Dubai Opera’s awesome Christmas market goes on for ten whole days, from December 4 to 14, so you’ll have plenty of time to go and check it out. The family-friendly event is a feast for the eyes and bellies, from kitsch Christmas arts and crafts to mince pies, hot chocolate and other festive favourites. The kids will be kept entertained with a candy making station, arts and crafts and even a visit from the man himself – Santa.

Dubai Opera Christmas Market, Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, December 4 to 14, free entry. Tel: (04) 440 8888. dubaiopera.com

Winter Wonderland at the QE2

The QE2 are throwing a weekend-long winter wonderland this year. On Friday December 12 there’ll be a grand Christmas tree light switch on, with a choir singing festive carols and even an appearance from Santa. A free-to-enter festive market will run on the Saturday from 10am to 2pm with an array of stalls selling local handmade arts and crafts, seasonal gifts and live cooking stations – the perfect family day out. There’ll even be some Peter Pan-themed entertainment, theatre shows and dining experiences to get you into the holiday spirit.

QE2, Port Rashid, Dubai, Thursday December 12 to Saturday December 14. Tel: (04) 526 8888. qe2.com

Ripe Market

The Ripe Market is one of Dubai’s most popular markets and it’s getting a festive makeover just in time for the Christmas holidays. There’ll be festive music, festive activities and you’ll even be able to buy your Christmas tree from there if you haven’t got it already. You’ll be able to throw yourself headfirst into festive activities including a gift wrapping workshop, chrismas sewing decoration, wreath-making workshop and loads for the kids like gingerbread man and house decorating, polar express ride, meeting Santa at his grotto and lots more themed activities. The stallholders will be putting a festive twist on their handmade products, so expect to go home with your pockets full.

Ripe Market, Dubai Academy Park, Dubai, Ripe Market every Friday, 9am to 7pm and Saturday, 10am to 7pm. Tel: (04) 315 7000. ripeme.com/the-ripe-markets

Kempinski Mall of the Emirates

There’s a festive market taking place at Aspen Lounge in the Emerald Kempinski, and it doesn’t get much more Christmassy than see the snow of Dubai’s very own ski slope behind it as you browse through the trinkets, treats and gifts on sale. There’ll also be a selection of mince pies, cookies and gingerbread houses for those festive feels as well as stunning hampers – the perfect gift without too much hassle.

Aspen Lounge, Kempinski Mall of the Emirates, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, December 3 to January 8. Tel: (04) 341 0000. kempinski.com

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