Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates. It is known for its upscale shopping centers, it’s modern architecture and its vibrant night life scene. Must see attractions include Burj Khalifa, an 830m tall tower that dominates the city skyline and the Dubai Fountain which offers light shows choreographed to music.
With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder that Dubai makes such a terrific holiday destination. Here are some things you won’t want to miss out on when you’re in town.
Have a Turkey Feast at Home
Traveling for the holidays but looking to have a turkey feast with your family? In Dubai, it’s no problem.
The city is filled with hotels and restaurants that offer Christmas meals to the many visiting tourists. Atlantis at the Palm hotel is recommended due to its truffle butter stuffed turkey with all the trimmings. It’s served with exotic gourmet sides like pommes dauphines, chestnut jam, foie gras brioche, sunchoke Tatin, green beans, brussels sprouts, chipolata, truffle sausage, bread sauce and giblet gravy.
Enjoy the Winter Wonderlands
Dubai is making Christmas extra special by offering Winter Wonderlands throughout the city. These include snow dusted markets, ice rinks and live entertainment. Here are a few you can choose from
· Rooftop Festival Village at Nakheel Mall: This attraction offers free activities, live music and entertainment, an ice rink, a Christmas market, a huge Christmas tree and a kids’ play area.
· La Mer: La Mer offers two weeks of festive activities by the beach. Stalls will be serving up hot chocolate, mulled wine and festive bites. There will also be live DJ’s and entertainment. You can also enjoy Bongo’s Bingo, a show that mixes traditional elements of Bingo with dance offs, raves, heckling, audience participation and chances to win prizes. It’s currently one of the biggest entertainment trends in the U.K.
Enjoy a Winter Terrace
Dubai stays warm and sunny in the winter, but there are plenty of bars and restaurants that make up for it by creating a festive atmosphere on their terraces. Mina Brasseries in an elegant hot spot that goes all out dressing their terrace in twinkling lights and offering cozy blankets to guests. Special brasserie style sharing plates are featured throughout the holiday season.
Other eateries to check out include The Duck Hook gastropub, the Drift Beach beach club and the Reform Social & Grill.
The Festive Garden at Madinat Jumeirah
This festive garden offers the utmost in holiday entertainment. Families can bring their children to meet Santa between 4 and 7 PM and then snuggle up for a classic holiday film at 7:30.
The front courtyard transforms into Santa’s Workshop with family friendly activities including canvas painting, string art, snow globe making and more.
Even though Dubai is warm throughout the year, it’s also a terrific ski destination thanks to Ski Dubai.
Ski Dubai is an indoor ski resort with a 22,500 square meter indoor ski area. It maintains a temperature of 1-2 degrees Celsius and is located on the center of one of the largest shopping malls in the world.
To make the most of your trip, book a room at the Aspen Ski Chalet which is also located in the mall. It offers three floor, three bedroom chalets the come with free standing tubs, winter themed amenities, private butler services and a cozy fireplace. Access to Ski Dubai is included in the room costs.
Santa’s Grotto at Ski Dubai
A trip to Ski Dubai means you can also visit Santa.
The facility gives guests the opportunity to walk though a winter wonderland complete with a 40 ft. Christmas tree and Christmas carols sung by a live choir while enjoying hot chocolate, gingerbread treats and mince pies. Be sure to stop in to say hello to Santa while you’re at it!
Enjoy a Festive Brunch
Dubai is a 24/7 city. As such, most of its attractions stay open, even on Christmas Day. Rather than enjoy a meal at home with family, most residents go out for a Christmas brunch.
Christmas brunches happen throughout the holiday season and festivities may vary according to the location you choose to visit. For example, Grand Plaza Movenpick in Media City offers a Winterland Brunch with live cooking stations.
Alternately, you can choose to dine al fresco by the pool at Bytes Restaurant for a festive themed brunch that features seasonal favorites like roasted turkey, Yorkshire pudding topped with cranberry sauce, mulled wine, eggnog and assorted sweet treats.
Enjoy a Festive Concert
Jingle Bell Rock is an annual tradition that takes place at Sheikh Saeed Hall at the Dubai World Trade Center. There are two performances and past performers have included The Barricade Boys and Kerry Ellis. Holiday songs are sung, and guests are welcome to join in.
See a Holiday Classic
At Christmastime, Dubai’s movie theaters get in the spirit by showing holiday classics. Madinat Jumeirah festive garden has film screenings daily while Ski Dubai just partnered with Vox Cinemas to have their first show at the indoor ski resort in 2020. Cinema Akil will also be hosting outdoor screenings.
These venues provide great opportunities to catch holiday favorites like Elf, Home Alone, Love Actually and more.
Shop at a Christmas Market
Dubai is known for hosting several Christmas markets during holiday time. The previously mentioned Madinat Jumeirah is one of the most popular, but you will also want to check out Ripe Market which features a Santa’s Grotto, Gingerbread making, Christmas workshops and plenty of hand-crafted gifts.
The Bab Al Shams resort also gets decked out with a market, a 40-foot Christmas tree, live holiday music and terrific food.
If you are looking for a holiday experience, Dubai is where it’s at. Which of these activities will you be putting on your to-do list when you visit?