Everything you need to know about visiting Dubai in December
December is probably our favourite month for encouraging visitors to come to Dubai and the UAE. There is so much to enjoy from the perfect weather to Christmas festivities around town – though it is also one of the most expensive times to visit.
- Further Reading: The best times to visit Dubai
Dubai weather in December
If it’s the scorching summer heat that has ever put you off visiting Dubai then get set for the wonderfully mild days of December. Average day time highs of around 26°C/78.8°F and seawater temperature of 25.6°C/78°F – it can even be a little too nippy for ocean swimming – make sure your resort or hotel has a temperature-controlled pool!
You can read our complete guide to Dubai Weather in December here, as well as our suggested ideas of what to pack for Dubai in December.
Dubai Special Events December 2020
Although tourism has returned to Dubai, do expect some events to be restricted or cancelled in 2020 due to social distancing requirements and safety measures. Advance booking is required for most activities/events to control numbers.
- Commemoration Day – 1 December (Public Holiday) – in honour of those soldiers who have fought and lost their lives for the UAE. Previously called Martyrs Day this day of national importance and reflection has been moved to coincide with the National Day holidays.
- National Day – 2/3 December (Public Holiday) – marking the occasion of the country’s federation in 1971. National Day 49 will be a more subdued event than in previous years due to social distancing measures but you can still expect to see a lot of UAE flags adorning buildings, cars, and anything they can be stuck to really! See more on National Day events here.
- The Emirates Dubai Rugby 7’s – cancelled in 2020
- Christmas Festivities – a great line up of events is still expected across the city from markets to opera shoes, kids singalong events and, of course, Christmas Day brunches and takeaway meals. NB Christmas Day is NOT a public holiday in the UAE. You can find our complete listing of Christmas events in Dubai here.
- New Year’s Eve – 31 December always sees spectacular fireworks show that lights up many of the city’s famous buildings. Crowds can be manic and hotel costs in prime locations sky-high so book well in advance to enjoy this one!
Suggested Dubai activities in December
Given the mild sunny days, it’s a perfect time of year to do some of Dubai’s more physical outdoor activities. Our top picks for this December are:
- Take on the Ras al Khaimah zipline course – Jebel Jais Flight! Not only the longest zipline in the world where speeds can reach up to 160kms an hour but also Jebel Jais Tour – seven different zipline courses that meet on a suspended platform in the Hajar Mountains.
Top tip: If you don’t fancy the self-drive up to Ras al Khaimah, check out this tour which can pick you up from your Dubai hotel. It includes transfers to Jebel Jais and the zipline experience.
- This is the perfect time of year to experience Dubai Garden Glow, Dinosaur Park and the Ice Park in Zabeel Park. An evening wonderland, the festive season makes it all the more magical.
- Take a tour of the UAE’s east coast. Cross the spectacular Hajar Mountains and experience the calm, warm waters of the Gulf of Oman. There’s snorkelling opportunities, as well as boat tours that can take you in amongst the spectacular khors of Musandam, Oman, without needing to cross the land border. Check out this east coast Fujairah day trip, or you can hire your own car and set your own pace.
- Visit Hatta Dam. Hatta can be found to the south of Dubai, near the Oman border, approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes from Downtown Dubai. Enjoy kayaking or paddleboarding, or try the tandem water bikes with a friend! The Hatta Heritage Village will take you through this fascinating history of this mountainous border town.
Dubai with the kids in December
This is a fabulous time of year to visit Dubai with your family, though as we’ve mentioned it is also one of the most expensive times to visit and accommodation does book up in popular locations.
We suggest families look at booking serviced apartments or Airbnb – we have selected our favourite Dubai family apartment options here – or go all out if you’re in a big group and book a family villa with a pool!
There are activites a plenty for families to enjoy, some suggestions for December:
Attend a Christmas show at the QE2 Theatre – this hotel-come-entertainment venue permanently docked at Port Rashid is a wonderful family experience with winter shows a highlight. This year the feature show is Beauty and the Beast, showing from 16 to 27 December 2020 – see ticket prices here.
Swing your way through Mushrif Park – a little hidden gem on the outskirts of the city is Aventura Parks – high ropes and zip lines through the almost forest-like Mushrif Park. Ideal in winter when the waterparks are getting a little cool but your kids still want an active adventure – other than the occasional Emirates flight landing over your heads you won’t believe you’re in the city! Check out session times and pricing here.
Thrilling roller coasters at Motiongate – home to the most thrilling rollercoasters in the Middle East, Motiongate, part of the Dubai Parks & Resorts complex on the western side of the city is a family-favourite of ours. Rides cross all ages and interests from the giant indoor Dreamworks to Lionsgate and thrilling Hunger Games rides. Stay at Lapita Resort or Rove at the Park and get your theme park tickets included or check out the One Day Pass here.
You can find our complete family guide to Dubai with over 80 suggestions on family activities in Dubai here.
Splurge for December in Dubai
- It’s quite easy to get carried away in Dubai and splurge without even realising it! But is you are coming to Dubai for something really special in December, you really can’t go past booking one of Dubai’s top hotels or restaurants to ring in the New Year. Here you’ll find our top selection of hotels with the best views of Burj Khalifa.
- The ultimate event, expected to screen as the largest virtual concert event in history and largest pyrotechnics display will be KISS 2020 Goodbye – performing on The Royal Beach at Atlantis the Palm. Due to crowd restrictions, the event will be limited to 2000-3000 revellers attending live, who must be staying at the hotel. We’ll update you as soon as we know how to book (but we understand you must book one of their 5-night New Year packages, starting from $7431USD)
Still not found what you’re looking for?
Before you go… More important things you should know when planning a trip to Dubai
- Pop into our essential planning information page, it includes everything you need to know about getting around Dubai, a handy guide on what to pack and top tips for first-timers on the do’s and don’ts, laws and customs to be aware of.
- Check out this incredible list of 150+ places you should visit when you’re in Dubai.
- Pick up a Dubai Pass to save up to 50% on top Dubai attractions
- Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!!!
- Discover the best areas to stay in Dubai, or bag a bargain on your accommodation here:
Please note we are not a travel agency. This site is a travel blog to help newcomers to the UAE 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 hotel, event or tour recommendation links. First published November 2019, updated for December 2020.Dubai Travel Planner