Winter wonderlands, grottos and Christmas markets in Dubai

A visit to one of these spots is a much to put a festive spring in your steps…

Christmas markets in Dubai are back. Not only is it a great way to celebrate the festive season, but you can also shop for loved ones, indulge in Christmas treats, play a few games, meet Santa, bond with loved ones and much more.

Here are 11 winter wonderlands, grottos and Christmas markets in Dubai you have to check out.

Jebel Ali School

school festive market

When: November 25

Jebel Ali School is transforming into a Winter Wonderland for one day only on November 25 from 4pm to 8pm. JAS Festive Fayre is hosted on the school grounds of Jebel Ali School in Damac Hill. The event is hosted by Dubai 92’s Catboy and features traditional fayre games, train rides, an enchanting carousel, a winter park, a festive market, food trucks, performances and loads of amazing prizes, including a family vacation to the Maldives.

Jebel Ali School, Damac Hill, Dubai. Nov 25 4pm to 8pm. Tel: (0)4 884 6485. jebelalischool.org

The Ripe Market

ripe Christmas markets in Dubai

When: November 26 to December 25 (every weekend)

Ripe Market at Academy Park is getting a sprinkle of some elves magic dust and transforming into a festive market. It takes place on Friday from 9am to 9pm and on Saturday from 10am to 9pm from November 26 to December 25. Activities the whole family can enjoy include visiting Santa’s grotto, wreath-making workshops, gingerbread decorating and much more. You can even buy real Christmas trees, shop for gifts and listen to live festive music. If you need to refuel, sleigh on over to the food and beverage stalls.

The Ripe Market, Academy Park, Umm Sequim, Dubai. All weekends from Nov 26 to Dec 25, Fri (9am to 9pm) and Sat (10am to 9pm). Tel: (0)4 315 7000. @ripemarket

Ski Dubai

ski grotto

When: December 1 to 25

Dreaming of a white Christmas? Head to Ski Dubai where a plethora of festive activities awaits. The whole family can meet Santa and his merry elves at his grotto and sip on signature hot chocolate, while the little ones get a gift and a photo with the big man in red. You can also do breakfast with Santa on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday morning (8 to 10am) from December 1 to 24. On the menu, there’s snowman pancakes, hot chocolate and more. Each ticket includes one breakfast dish and a beverage from a wide-ranging menu as well as a souvenir photo. A line-up of all the events can be seen here.

Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. Tel: (600) 599 905. skidubai.com 

Winter Garden at Habtoor Palace

When: December 1 to 31 (5pm to midnight.)

Located outside the Al Habtoor City, this winter garden has a number of jolly activities the whole family will enjoy. There are fun rides for little ones, a dedicated play area, art displays and more. And of course, foodies will have plenty of food vendors where they can indulge in Christmas treats. Santa himself will also make an appearance. If you have a furry four-legged family member, they are welcome to join in.

Winter Garden, Habtoor Palace Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. Tel: (0)4 435 5555. lxrhotels3.hilton.com



When: December 3 and 10

For two days in December, the conscious shop is offering its space to a specially curated list of vendors. There will be all things warm and homely for visitors to try, and take home including hot cacao drinks, herbal organic teas and vegan cheeses for the home pantry. You will even be able to purchase hand-poured candles, ceramic pieces and so much more for gifts.

Seva Experience, Jumeirah 1, behind Magrudy’s, Dubai, Dec 3 and 10, 9am to 7pm. Tel: (0)58 543 5888. @sevaexperience

Times Square Center

times square centre

When: December 8 to January 2, 2022

Families can head on over to Time Square Center and visit Santa Claus’s Grotto. Sit in a traditional sleigh for a photo with Santa or have the little ones write their Christmas letters. At the Floating Toy Factory, you can take home a toy that has been created from plastic waste or get creative with Mrs Claus in her arts and crafts space. The grand festive tree here is also made out of recycled plastic cups from the world’s oceans.

Time Square Center, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. Tel: (0)4 341 8020. @timessquaredxb 

Bab Al Shams


When: December 10 to 21

Bab Al Shams Desert Resort is set to welcome the festive season with the launch of the biggest festive-themed desert market. Taking place daily between 6pm and 10pm, and priced at Dhs50 entry, guests can explore the huge market right in the Dubai desert. There’s live music and entertainment including daily carols, stalls selling gifts and a 40-foot tall Christmas tree. There’s even a chance to meet Santa.

Bab Al Shams Desert Resort, Al Qudra Road, Dec 10 onwards. Tel: (0)4 809 6100. babalshams.com/festive

Madinat Jumeirah Festive Market

souk madinat jumeirah

When: December 16 to 30

The annual Madinat Jumeirah Festive Market returns this December where visitors will step into an enchanting winter wonderland. There’s an immersive market with shopping and entertainment including a live band playing seasonal tunes. Fuel up on traditional festive food, a North Pole train ride and snap up the chance to ride the Abra with Santa.

Madinat Jumeirah Festive Market, Madinat Jumeirah, Al Sufouh 1, Dec 16 to 30 Sun to Wed 3pm till late, Thur to Sat 12pm till late. jumeirah.com 

Christmas Carnival at Gems Private School Oud Metha


When: December 17

This school is transforming into a Winter Wonderland for one day only on Friday, December 17 from 2pm to 10pm. Organized by Indian Expats in Dubai visitors can expect 50 plus homegrown exhibitors, kids activities such as face painting, bouncy castles, magic shows, train rides food stalls and much more.

Dubai Gem Private School, next to Iranian club, Oud Metha, Dec 17, 2pm to 10pm. Tel: (0)56 480 0026. dubaigem.ae

Studio One Hotel


When: December 18

Shop at One Big Christmas Market at Studio One on December 18 while being entertained by dancers and indulging in mulled wine, mince pies and other Christmas-themed dishes. Santa will of course be there, too. The market can be enjoyed hotel-wide, at Larte, The Void and poolside.

You might also like

Christmas Day in Dubai: Festive brunches, lunches, roasts and more to book
Whodunit? A festive murder mystery is taking place on a cruise this December
Christmas in Dubai: Where to buy your Christmas tree

Studio One Hotel, Dubai Studio City, Dubai. Dec 18 10am to 6pm. Tel: (800) 788 346 @thevoid.dxb

Theatre of Digital Art


When: Until January 20

Theatre of Digital Art in Souk Madinat Jumeirah is a must-visit for art lovers but this December it’s a must-visit for those feeling festive. The creative team has launched an immersive Christmas-themed digital multimedia show displaying a realistic and picturesque winter scene. Top this off with live actors and you will truly feel like you’re witnessing a scene in the North Pole. The 15-minute narrative is one that children will love and includes snow-covered forests, glittering palaces and even lollipop trees. Over the weekend, there are festive workshops, too.

Theatre of Digital Arts, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai. Nov 21 to Jan 20 11am to 1.30pm. Dhs100 combo ticket one adult and one child, Dhs50 per adult, Dhs60 per child. Tel: (0)4 277 4044. toda.ae 

For all things festive, head on over to whatson.ae/Christmas