christmas tree in Dubai Burj Al Arab

Dubai at Christmas 2023 Visitors Guide

by Dubai Travel Planner

Christmas? In a Muslim country? You better believe it!!

If you’re seeking out a northern hemisphere winter holiday in the sun but don’t want to miss out on the fun and festivities of Christmas, Dubai could just be the destination for you!!

Christmas in Dubai is not a public holiday but is widely celebrated by the large expat community and tourists.

So other than the reassurance that the shops will still be open on Christmas Eve (and Christmas Day!!), what should you expect in Dubai at Christmas? We’ll take you through everything you need to know to plan your trip at this special time of year:

Please note many events on here still need updating with precise details for 2023 – we have left the 2023 event dates where relevant to help you plan approximate dates and events you should expect in Dubai this December!

Weather in Dubai at Christmas

In late December, you should expect wonderful mild weather – average daytime highs of 26°C/78.8°F and seawater temperature of 25.6°C/78°F.

Rain is not unheard of in December, but certainly don’t expect a long string of dreary grey days. Fog can be an issue in December, particularly in the early mornings.

You can find our complete guide to Dubai weather in December here.

fog sitting over skyscrapers in downtown Dubai
Fog is a common occurrence in winter, it usually burns off by mid-morning

The wonderful weather in December, combined with the fact it is also school holiday time in Dubai (along with most of the world) means that the week from Christmas to New Year in Dubai is one of the busiest of the year. You can expect hotel & AirBnB prices to skyrocket and in some cases, your first choice of accommodation may not be available.

2022 Christmas Celebrations in Dubai

Christmas festivities in Dubai, generally speaking, start as soon as National Day events have concluded (the weekend around 2 December). From shopping mall Santas to Christmas tree lightings at most of the city’s hotels, you will not escape the jubilant atmosphere of Christmas in Dubai.

Winter City

New for 2022, Expo City is transformed into Winter City for the festive season, from 23 November 2022 to 8 January 2023. Al Wasl Plaza again takes centre stage, with a 52ft Christmas Tree and a festive village.

From 20 to 25 December, a nightly Carols by Candlelight performance will take place.

Entry is free, with charges for some activities and workshops. Carols by Candlelight is 100 AED, with advance tickets required.

Learn more at

Winter Wonderland at Ski Dubai

A Dubai classic winter experience that never disappoints can be found at Ski Dubai. Home to one of the city’s most popular Santa Grotto at Mall of the Emirates, not just Santa meet and greet’s with a Christmas goodie bag and a hot chocolate included.

You can also enjoy fun adventures in the snow park, including Snow Movies, snowman building and breakfast with Santa. Packages start from 125 AED for a standard meet and greet.

Learn more at (1 to 25 December 2022)

Want to make it extra special? Add on a stay at the Aspen Ski Chalets at Kempinski Mall of the Emirates. Ranging in size from a one-bedroom chalet up to the three-floor, three-bedroom ski chalets, each sleeps between two to six guests, overlooking the slopes of Ski Dubai.

Winter Wonderland at JBR

Found at the popular beachfront venue The Walk in JBR, you’ll find ice skating through to bouncy castles before taking a unique audiovisual journey to the North Pole. Live entertainment is on offer, and Santa will be making some appearances. Learn more at @magiclaplandia360 (dates TBC)

Festive Garden at Madinat Jumeirah

Madinat Jumeirah’s Festive Market makes its return from 15 to 30 December 2022. Festive food and drinks with fun activities for the kids, this is always one of the best places to enjoy the festive season in Dubai.

Held at Madinat Jumeirah Fort Island, some of the highlights include a North Pole train and Venetian Carousel, don’t miss gingerbread house making, live entertainment and decorated abra rides.

Learn more

Winter Garden at Habtoor Palace

One of the longest-running festive celebrations from 1 November 2022 until 31 March 2023, the Al Habtoor City rooftop is transformed into an enchanting winter garden. Expect dazzling decorations, carols, street artists, acrobats, mulled wine, gingerbread and even Santa in December!

Weekdays from 4:00 PM until 12:00 AM and 1:00 AM on weekends.

Register in advance with a minimum fee of 25AED (fully redeemable) via the “Loyal App by AHG iOS | Android

Learn more at

Winterfest by McGettigans at Dubai Media City

As well as hosting one of the biggest FIFA World Cup venues in the city, Winterfest at Dubai Media City Ampitheatre will commence the festive season with a tree lighting ceremony on 20 November 2022, followed by four weeks of festive markets and Santa’s grotto.

Entry for both World Cup and Winterfest is combined, with entry 50AED pp, fully redeemable on F&B.

Learn more at

Santa’s Secret Island, Bluewaters Island

Enjoy Santa’s winter grotto and giant snow globe; there’s also a skating rink on offer and festive workshops for kids.

This event is free from the 10th to the 29th of December 2022, from Midday to 10:00 pm.

Learn more at

* Also look out for the Dubai Shopping Festival drone show, expected to return on the waters between JBR and Bluewaters in late December.

Dubai Garden Glow – all winter

Although not entirely a Christmas event, the wonderfully enchanted setting of Dubai Garden Glow makes the perfect attraction to visit around Christmas for a magical evening.

Cirque de Cuisine 2022: Naughty or Nice Edition

A special adults-only event at Atlantis, one night only on 16 December 2022. Roam around the Avenues and experience dishes from Atlantis’ signature restaurants, such as the world-renowned Nobu, Bread Street Kitchen, Hakkasan, Seafire, En Fuego and many more!

Expect roving entertainment and free-flowing drinks with an after-party at The Wavehouse. Tickets start from 695 AED.

Learn more at PlatinumList

Dubai Santa Run

Taking place on 10 December 2022, Dubai Festival City will play host to this fun family event. Adults need to register and pay 125 AED in advance; kids go free with an adult. There are 1km, 2.5km and 5km events, the chance to meet Santa himself and prizes on offer for best dressed.

Learn more at

Christmas Shows in Dubai 2022

Kids’ Christmas shows in Dubai 2022

In addition to the above shows, you’ll find the following events, especially for families in December:

Free evening shows in Dubai

These events run throughout the year but are particularly special in the festive season and a great cheap night out in Dubai:

Christmas Day Brunch 2022

If you think being in Dubai on Christmas Day means you will miss out on a traditional Christmas dinner, then think again!

Many hotels and restaurants in Dubai will provide a hugely extravagant lunch with all the trimmings – the only real question is – what’s your budget? From pub feasts to 5-star luxury, here’s where you’ll get Christmas dinner in Dubai.

We are still confirming if all these brunches are running in 2022

Budget Christmas Brunch in Dubai

Less than 250 AED per head with house drinks

Mid-range Christmas Brunch in Dubai

250 AED to 500 AED per head with house drinks

  • Belgian Café – Dubai Festival City
  • BiCE Ristorante – Hilton Dubai Jumeirah
  • Bistro Des Arts – Dubai Marina
  • Boardwalk, Casa de Tapas & Lakeview – Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club
  • Cascades – Fairmont Dubai
  • Crown & Lion – Byblos Hotel, Barsha Heights
  • Indya by Vineet, La Strega, Rhodes Twenty10 & Zengo – Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa
  • JA Hatta Fort Hotel – Hatta
  • Café Artois, Kitchen6 & Prime68 Steakhouse – JW Marriott Marquis
  • McGettigan’s JBR – Hilton Dubai Jumeirah
  • Bread Street Kitchen & Bar, Nobu, Seafire Steakhouse & Bar & WHITE Beach & Restaurant – Atlantis The Palm
  • Picnic Pantry – Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City
  • Publique – Souk Madinat Jumeirah
  • Pure Sky Lounge & Dining – Hilton Dubai the Walk
  • Raffles Dubai – Raffles Hotel, Oud Metha
  • Spark by Caramel – DIFC
  • Trader Vic’s JBR – Hilton Dubai The Walk

Luxury Christmas Brunch in Dubai

500 AED+ per head with house drinks

  • Manava – Sofitel Dubai The Palm
  • Reform Social & Grill – The Lakes, Emirates Living
  • folly by Nick & Scott – Souk Madinat Jumeirah
  • Geales, Maya Mexican Kitchen + Bar & Brasserie 2.0 – Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa
  • Hakkasan – Atlantis the Palm
  • Hidden Brunch – Taj Hotel, Business Bay
  • Il Ristorante Niko Romito & Yacht Club Restaurant – Bulgari Resort Dubai
  • Marina Social – Intercontinental Dubai
  • Rhodes W1, Siddharta Lounge, Sloane’s, Toro Toro – Grosvenor Hotel
  • Traiteur – Park Hyatt Dubai
  • Winter Wanderlust Brunch – JW Marriot Marquis

Church services in Dubai at Christmas

Dubai is a proudly tolerant city when it comes to religion, and there are several different denominational churches in Dubai.

More happening in Dubai over Winter

For a complete picture of what happens in Dubai over the winter, including many more seasonal events, pop over here for our Dubai winter guide.

We also have month-by-month guides for what’s happening in Dubai:

November | December | January | February | March

Keep your eye out as we’re also updating our guide to New Year’s Eve in Dubai! Be warned, top venues book out fast, and this year, especially with COVID restrictions, you should expect reduced numbers and venues that will be unable to operate, so you will really need to plan ahead.

You can find a detailed guide on what’s happening in Abu Dhabi over Christmas here

Before you go… More important things you should know when planning a trip to Dubai

  • Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!!!

Take me back to the Dubai Travel Blog

Please note we are not a travel agency. This site is a travel blog to help newcomers to the UAE and transit passengers self plan their trip, we cannot book your flights, hotels, visas or connections for you. We may make a small commission if you click on any of our recommendation links.

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