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Best Things to do Dubai in December 2023

Best Things to do Dubai in December 2023

Are you looking for the best things to do in Dubai in December? Or maybe you are even spending Christmas in Dubai? Well let me tell you visiting Dubai in Winter is a fantastic time to go. In this guide we will tell you all the best things to do in Dubai in December as well as tips for visiting at this time of year.

Why visit Dubai in December?

Visiting Dubai In December

Visiting Dubai In December

December is actually my favorite time time of year to visit Dubai. Although not a white Christmas destination like some places in Europe in December, there are actually loads of great reasons to visit at this time of year including: 

The weather in December

Dubai is a fantastic Winter sun destination and the weather in Winter is perfect for spending time at the beach and in the pool. Summers in Dubai can be unbearably hot at times with the average temperature soaring over 40C /104f.  However in December, the average temperatures hover between 26°C/78.8F and 16°C/60.8F which is perfect for exploring outside. 

Festivities in December

Although Dubai is a Muslim country, there are plenty of festivities in the UAE in December, including for Christmas. 

Generally speaking the main celebrations in Dubai in December are:

  • UAE National Day 
  • Christmas 
  • New Year’s Eve. 

We will discuss each of these in further detail below. 

 Cost of Visiting Dubai in Winter

However, the only drawback of visiting Dubai in December is the cost. December is peak tourist tourist season in Dubai due to the perfect weather and plethora of things to do in the city which makes it a very expensive time to visit. 

What to Expect from Dubai Winter Weather

Although December in Dubai is Winter, it isn’t like the Winters you experience in Europe or North America. In fact December has some of my best weather in Dubai.

Winter in Dubai usually means clear blue skies and sunny days with temperatures reaching on average high of 26°C/78.8F which for Dubai is relatively cool but not cold. And the average sea temperature in December tends to hover around 23C /73.4 which means if you want to hit the beach it shouldn’t be a problem.

However, if you do feel the cold then be sure to book a hotel with a heated pool so if you do find the sea a bit cold then you can always retreat to the pool.

What to Wear in Dubai in Winter

Baby's First Holiday - Dubai - Where to stay in Dubai with baby

Baby’s First Holiday – Dubai – Where to stay in Dubai with baby

Although December is one of the cooler months in the UAE, for visitors you should still be packing all of your summer gear. However we always recommend packing some extra layers such as a cardigan and a pashmina as indoors can be very cool because of the air conditioning. 

You should also be mindful that Dubai is an Islamic country which expects a modest dress code. This usually means that knees and shoulders should always be kept covered, and that clothes should to be overly tight our revealing. And despite what people think, the dress code applies to both men and women. 

Generally speaking my Dubai December packing list usually includes:

  • maxi dresses, 
  • maxi skirts and trousers 
  • blouses
  • t shirts 
  • swimwear and beach cover
  • top layer including cardigans
  • light jacket and
  • a pashmina. 

For further advice on what to wear in Dubai check out this in depth post. 

Best Things to do in Dubai in December

So now that you have decided to visit Dubai in Winter, here we will round up the best things to do in Dubai in December. 

Celebrate Dubai National Day

One of the best things about visiting Dubai in early December is that there are lots of special events that only happen in this month. Of of these events is Dubai National Day.

National Day is usually held on 2nd and 3rd December and is a public holiday. During National Day it is common to see the flag of the UAE everywhere. There are events through the United Arab Emirates but if you are in Dubai there are lots of special events at malls and hotels. However my favorite place to head is around the Burj Khalifa and Dubai fountainsin the evening. 

On National Day the Burj Khalifa will be lit up in the in the colors of the UAE flag and there is also an amazing fireworks display too. 

Watch Dubai Rugby Sevens

Another December event is the very popular Rugby Sevens. This annual event is very popular among expats but if you are a sports fan it is a great one to add to your December itinerary.

 Dubai December event and one that is exceptional popular with UAE expats is the Dubai Rugby Seven Events. If you are a fan of sport this really is a must for your Dubai December itinerary. 

Head to the top of the Burj Khalifa

Top Tips for Visiting the Burj Khalifa Dubai

Top Tips for Visiting the Burj Khalifa Dubai

No visit to Dubai is complete without heading to the top of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Unfortunately, no visit to the Burj Khalifa is going to be cheap. However it is worth checking out the various ticket options before going. Queues for the Burj Khalifa can get very long so you will want skip the line tickets to save you time in your itinerary. 

There are three main ticket options for the Burj Khalifa and the cost varies on how high up you wish to go and also the time of day. 

Peak times to go up the Burj are in the late afternoon around sunset. So if you are traveling to Dubai on a budget you will want to look out for the cheapest time of day which is usually, but not always the morning.

It is worth noting that while your ticket is timed for entry, you are not restricted on how much time you can spend at the top so. 

For more tips on how to visit the Burj Khalifa check out this post. 

Dubai Miracle Garden

Miracle Garden Dubai - one of the Best things to do in Dubai - travelling to dubai while pregnant

Miracle Garden Dubai – one of the Best things to do in Dubai – travelling to dubai while pregnant

One of the things I love about visiting Dubai in Winter, is that you can do more outdoor activities. One of the best things to do in Dubai in Winter has to be visiting the Dubai Miracle Garden. The Dubai Miracle is only open in the Winter as the summer temperatures are too hot for the flowers and for people to enjoy this attraction. 

Usually this attraction opens at the end of September / early October and will remain open throughout December. 

Dubai Garden Glow

Similar to the Dubai Miracle Garden, the Dubai Garden Glow is another Winter only attraction and is one of the best things to do at night for families. 

Dubai Garden Glow opens around sunset every evening, and is a walk through attraction filled with large lanterns and illuminations. It is absolutely one of our favorite things to do in Dubai with toddlers or kids in Winter. 

Dubai Theme Parks

Motiongate dubai with toddler and baby - one of the best indoor things to do in Dubai

Motiongate dubai with toddler and baby – one of the best indoor things to do in Dubai

One of the things we loved about living in the UAE was all the theme parks that you can visit. It actually surprises people to find out how many theme parks there are in Dubai city limits. They include: 

  • IMG Worlds
  • Motiongate Dubai
  • Legoland Dubai
  • Legoland Water park and 
  • Bollywood Parks Dubai.

Depending on the age of people in your party will depend on which park is best for you. For those traveling with younger children we recommend Legoland and Motiongate (which has rides featuring some of Dreamworks most beloved characters including Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and the characters from Madagascar). Although IMG also has a Cartoon Network area which younger children may enjoy.

However if you are visiting as adults or with teenagers then IMG Worlds is likely the best theme park for you as this has some of the largest rollercoasters in Dubai. 

The great thing about Dubai theme parks is that they are often indoor or indoor – outdoor attractions which mean you can visit them no matter the weather. However there is something very special about visiting in December when the theme parks go all out with their Christmas decorations. 

mily and for those that love water parks the Legoland Water Park is a must for your Dubai bucket list

Visit the Desert

Bab al shams desert resort

Bab al shams desert resort

Visiting the desert in Dubai is often near the top of many people’s Dubai bucket list and December is a great time to do this. Now there are a few way to do this.

You can take an easy desert safari day trip from Dubai to the desert where you can go dune bashing and camel riding. Just be sure if you are going early in the morning or will be staying after sunset that you keep plenty of layers with you as the desert gets very cold once the sun goes down. 

Alternatively, if you want to spend more time in the desert you could choose to stay at a desert resort in Dubai. There are many desert resorts, but the closest to Dubai is the Bab al Shams resort which is the one we stayed at. Here you can enjoy all the usual luxuries of a 5* Dubai hotel but also experience some desert activities like camel riding, falcon riding, quad bikes and horse riding. 

Dubai Water Parks

The weather in December is usually good for hitting the water parks in Dubai and there are many for you to choose from including:

  • Aquaventure Waterpark at the Atlantis Hotel on the Palm
  • Wild Wadi Water Park
  • Aquafun Water Park and 
  • the Legoland Waterpark. 

Aquaventure is the largest waterpark in Dubai but is also the most expensive. 

Head to the Beach

Best Beaches in Abu Dhabi with kids

The weather in Dubai in December is perfect for visiting the beach. Now if you can afford to we recommend staying at a Dubai hotel with a beach attached such as those on the Palm.

However if you budget does not stretch to that there are plenty of public beaches in Dubai which you can access for free. Some of our favorite beaches in Dubai include:

  • Jumeirah beach
  • Kite Beach
  • Marina Beach and 
  • La Mer

to name just a few. Although these beaches are free to enter you can usually rent chairs, umbrellas and even partake in some water sports. 

Visit Dubai Mall

Dubai is the home of shopping, and there are loads of great malls to visit. However the most famous is of course the Dubai Mall attached to the Burj Khalifa. Here you can shop till you drop and it is a great place to get Dubai souvenirs and complete your Christmas shopping. 

However if shopping isn’t your thing there are plenty of other attractions in the mall including an ice rink and the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. 

Take a Dhow Cruise in Old Dubai

Although many people associate Dubai with glitz and glamour, a visit to Old Dubai is a great way to learn more about what Dubai used to be like. We love to take a dhow cruise along the Dubai Creek and people watch as we go. 

Dubai Global Village 

The Dubai Global Village is another seasonal attraction in Dubai. The Dubai Global Village usually opens in Mid-October and runs until the end of April 2024.

This is a shopping spectacular which features stalls representing different countries which is a great place to buy some unusual and international Christmas presents.  But on top of that the village is full of live entertainment and music. 

On top of shopping, little ones will love the traditional fairground attractions like the ferris wheel

Best Things to do in Dubai in December for Christmas 

So now you know what to do in Dubai in December generally speaking we will turn our attention to Christmas specific things to do. 

Madinat Jumeirah Festive Market

The Madinat Jumeirah Festive Market is the home of Christmas in Dubai. Running from 15th December 2023 to 7th January 2024 the market is filled with festive fun. Here you can take an Abra ride with Santa, go on a North Pole train and even see snow. 

Families visiting Dubai in December will particularly love this one. 

Meet Santa at Ski Dubai

Although you won’t get a white Christmas in Dubai, you can see Santa amongst real snow at Ski Dubai in the Mall of the Emirates.

Every year Ski Dubai has a Santa’s Grotto where you can dressed up in snow boots and head out into the snow to see the big man. After you have met Santa you can then get tucked up under a warm blanket to watch a festive film with popcorn and hot chocolate. 

Winter Wonderland Dubai

This year the Dubai Winter Wonderland runs from Sunday December 8 2023 and wrap up on Sunday January 7 2024 at the Dubai Expo.  There is usually festive treats, snow and it is a great place to see Santa in Dubai. 

Watch Carols in the desert

Okay, this one is technically in Abu Dhabi but if you are adding an Abu Dhabi day into your Dubai itinerary then try and coincide this with carols in the desert. A truly lovely spectacle that can only be seen in December. Please note: if you are not familiar with desert driving this one probably isn’t for you and you should always visit the desert in a convoy of vehicles. 

Spending New Years Eve in Dubai 

One of the busiest but also most expensive times ti visit Dubai is for New Year’s Eve. That is because the Burj Khalifa has one of the most famous New Years Eve firework displays in the whole world. 

If you want to spend New Years Eve in Dubai we recommend trying to book this a long way in advance in terms of accommodation, restaurant, travel and attractions to avoid disappointment and to save money. 

Where to Stay in Dubai in December

The Palm - Best place to stay in Dubai with family (Dubai family hotels and area guide)

The Palm – Best place to stay in Dubai with family (Dubai family hotels and area guide)

Depending on whether you want to spend time in the city, at Dubai Mall, at the beach or in the desert will really affect the hotel you want to stay in. 

For those of you who feel the cold you may want to make sure your hotel has a pool with temperature control as you may find the sea a little cold. For a full guide on the best places to stay in Dubai check out this post. 

Do you have more questions on visiting Dubai in December? Then drop us a comment below.