Dubai offers the best of all worlds at Christmas time, with gorgeous blue skies making the weather perfect for enjoying the beach and surprising ways of enjoying more traditional festive celebrations that remind us of home.
The vibrant cosmopolis has grown into one of the most popular winter destinations and that’s not just because of the glorious sunshine. Here we take a look at some ways you can celebrate Christmas in Dubai, with all the magic and joy you would expect from one of the world’s most luxurious locations.
Get Festive at Ski Dubai
Snow is one of the more traditional ingredients for Christmas celebrations and there’s no reason to miss out when you visit Ski Dubai. This is the very first indoor ski resort in the Middle East, with five slopes for skiers of varying levels of experience and skills. Here you can ski, snowboard, enjoy a warm drink from a chalet-style café in between runs, and even take lessons at the in-house ski school. You can also rent snow boots, jackets and ski trousers so there’s no need to pack your gear ahead of your visit. Just be mindful that the indoor slopes are maintained at a constant temperature of -5 degrees Celsius, so you’ll need to make sure you’re warm. Ski Dubai currently offers Christmas packages which include meeting and greeting Santa, access to rides in the snow park, an encounter with enchanting penguins and Zorb balls, among many seasonal activities.
Attend a Christmas Concert at Dubai Opera
If you’re looking for exclusive fun at Christmas, you should consider booking something at the Dubai Opera. This is one of the best venues for performing arts in the UAE and there’s no shortage of entertainment available during the festive season.
From 21st to 22nd December, there is a mini-jazz festival called The Sound of Christmas headlined by the Dubai Opera Big Band, with 25 of the very best musicians in the GCC. The highly talented Adam Long is leader of the band and he’ll be inviting some very special guest singers on both nights of the performance.
The Nutcracker is a ballet that is most commonly associated with Christmas. On 23rd-25th December the Russian State Ballet returns to Dubai Opera with the all-time favourite festive ballet set to Tchaikovsky’s stunning score. This is an epic experience that combines the beauty of ballet with expressive music to create a living art form that remains in your memory forever.
Discover the Winter Garden Market
From 4th December, the five-star Habtoor Palace has again transformed its immaculate Versailles Garden into a winter wonderland. Here you’ll find an amazing range of themed activities and entertainment that can be enjoyed by everyone, from young children to adults. The stunning garden of the luxurious Habtoor Palace is bedecked with glittery decorations, with Christmas carols playing in the background. Families can enjoy a ride on the merry-go-round, play mini golf or make a gingerbread house and just for the fun of it, there’s a dedicated snow fight zone for fantastic season fun. You can also book your place at one of two feasts at Habtoor Palace restaurants on Christmas Eve; one is at the World Cut Steakhouse and the other at BQ- French Kitchen and bar.
Celebrate at EXPO2020
If you’re in Dubai during December, there’s a stunning array of unmissable cultural events on offer at EXPO2020. To mark Christmas, the biggest gathering in global history will undergo a transformation into a magical winter wonderland. Decorations will adorn Al Wasl, the Welcome Plazas, Jubilee Stage, Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre, Al Forsan Park and all concourse areas to create a vast fairytale environment that encapsulates Christmas.
Dazzling fireworks, bedecked and sparkling Christmas trees and a hint of snow will visitors combine to transport visitors to the North Pole, where children can meet Santa Claus and his reindeer (which are actually 3D camels), join carol concerts or enjoy performances by local musicians. The list of activities is endless and you can enjoy the best of everything with an EXPO2020 Festive Pass, which costs just AED95 and gives you full access to the seasonal fun.
Marvel at Christmas Displays