Dubai gets hot in the summer. Really hot. We’re talking up to 50c / 122F. But is it still worth planning a stopover, or even a longer holiday in Dubai over the hot summer months?
Yes, it’s going to be sweaty hot, but it’s also a city built to deal with the extreme temperatures. A summer stopover in Dubai may not be as unbearable as you think.
Dubai Summer Survival Guide
In this guide to what to expect during summer in Dubai, we run you through;
- Dubai temperature – how hot does it actually get in the peak of summer?
- Dealing with the heat in Dubai
- Best summer things to do in Dubai
- Where to stay in Dubai during the summer
Dubai Temperature – How hot does it actually get in Summer?
Whilst summer averages are reported at 45c/113F, it is quite typical to experience day time maximums up to 50c/122F. “Summer” in Dubai realistically runs from May until October.
What you feel in Dubai and what is actually reported in the peaks of summer can also be two different things! You need to take into account not only the temperature but the humidity too. It helps if you have a weather app that gives you the “feels like” temperature as well!!
The humidity tends to be more noticeable in the latter half of summer August to September.
It’s also important to note that overnight, although you don’t get the powerful heat of the sun, the temperatures really don’t drop really below 30c/86F. You can certainly see and do a lot more after dark without the glaring sun and heat, but be realistic about what can be done at night time too.
Let’s agree, it’s hot.
Dealing with the heat in Dubai
Dealing with the summer heat in Dubai for most tourists is not nearly as difficult as it might seem, First up, nearly everything is airconditioned to the max – even too cold. You will arrive in an airconditioned airport, transfer to an airconditioned car or Metro train and arrive at airconditioned accommodation. Even bus stops are air-conditioned in many locations!
Whilst the outside air temperature is extreme, most hotels will chill their pools in the summer months to make them a refreshing retreat. Swimming is still best tackled early morning and late afternoon/evenings.
The same cannot be said for the ocean, however! You will need to mindful that the salty waters of the Gulf can be too hot for swimming in over summer (32-35c/90-95F); it will feel more like spa water than a refreshing break.
And in case it isn’t obvious, sand becomes excruciatingly hot in the summer. It only takes burning sand becoming trapped in your sandals or flip-flops once to work this one out, let alone if you dare attempt to walk on it with bare feet!
Dressing for the heat in Dubai
You should always dress sensibly for the heat. Please don’t have any misconceptions though that ladies need to be wearing a full head covering or burkha! This means ideally wear loose cotton clothing that is still respectable.
A couple of important summer clothing observations:
- Tourists need to note is the difference between “resort wear” and what you wear in public. Although this seems to have relaxed over the years (maybe too much?), as a sign of respect, keep the skimpy clothing and bathers only to the pool & beach.
- When walking through hotel public areas, on public transport, in malls and restaurants, you should ALWAYS dress respectfully for the Muslim country you are in. At a minimum, think covered knees and shoulders for both sexes and nothing too clingy and revealing – yep, you will see a lot of people flaunting this “rule”.
- Temperature drops between outside and indoor air conditioning can be extreme. Make no mistake you will still want to pack a wrap or cardigan for those indoor blasts of cold!
Places to visit in Dubai in summer
Whilst many seasonal favourites may be closed, there’s still plenty happening indoors to enjoy in Dubai over the summer months.
If you are looking especially for family activities in Dubai head over to this post to learn about 60+ indoor activities for kids.
Dubai Mall & Burj Khalifa
One of the world’s largest malls still has a huge amount going on over summer. You could literally spend a couple of days here and not run out of things to do. Some of our favourites at Dubai Mall include:
- Burj Khalifa Observation Deck (Levels 124 & 125 “At The Top” advance booking essential). Entrance is through the Dubai Mall basement level.
- Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo you can view the world’s largest suspended tank from within the Mall for free, or come in for plenty of interactive water life experiences.
- Kidzania Dubai – a real-to-life town where kids “work” to earn Kidzos to spend on fun activities.
- VR Park – a virtual reality theme park.
- Dubai Ice Rink – indoor ice skating fun.
- With the kids, don’t forget the giant Hamleys store, plus The Toy Store in the basement – plenty of FREE fun entertainment!
Dubai Mall is certainly not the only shopping mall with a lot going on. In fact, Malls are where most summer life circulates around in Dubai during the day. You can also try a few more novel indoor ideas in Dubai such as:
Mall of the Emirates
- Ski Dubai & Peng-friend encounters
- The climbing wall and interactive sports simulators inside Go Sport
City Centre Mirdif
- ifly indoor flying simulator gravity-defying indoor fun!
- Adventure Zone by Adventure HQ – offering indoor climbing walls, obstacle courses and more
- Chillout Ice Lounge – enjoy a desert drink in sub-zero temperatures!
Top Tip: Look out for shopper discounts with My Emirates Pass if you have an Emirates boarding pass
Top Dubai tourist attractions to visit in the summer
These are the best ones for keeping cool inside, though you may still need to walk outside a little to get to them!
- The Dubai Frame – superb views as well as interactive displays around Dubai’s past and present in Zabeel Park
- Etihad Museum – learn more about the country’s recent history and journey to unification
- The Green Planet Dubai – an entirely indoor biodome experience transports you to a tropical rainforest (warm but much cooler than outside!!) at City Walk.
- La Perle evening extravaganza by Dragone is one of the city’s most highly acclaimed shows in Al Habtoor City.
- IMG Worlds of Adventure is the only entirely indoor theme park in Dubai.
- Mattel Play! Town – a great themed indoor adventure playground for the younger kids in City Walk.
- Dubai Parks and Resorts is another favourite family offering including Legoland Dubai and Motiongate but as it’s partly outdoors, it may not suit everyone.
There’s a good detailed review here what you should expect at Dubai Parks and Resorts in the summer so you are fully prepared for just how hot it can be.
- If time permits and you have access to a transfer, our favourite indoor theme park is actually Warner Bros World in Abu Dhabi – you can easily access Warner Bros on a day trip from Dubai.
There are a tonne more fun indoor activities from rock climbing to escape rooms that can all be enjoyed entirely indoors over the summer in Dubai.
Outdoor activities in Dubai over Summer
The main outdoor attractions that are still in full operation over the hottest summer months are the water parks.
- Atlantis Aquaventure Water Park (entry included if you stay at Atlantis the Palm).
- Wild Wadi Water Park (Entry included if you stay at one of the Jumeirah hotels).
- Laguna Waterpark part of the fairly new La Mer Waterfront development.
- Legoland Water Park – best for your smaller kids, based out in Jebel Ali attached to the Dubai Parks & Resorts complex.
- Yas Waterworld (ok this one is actually on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi but definitely worth considering as a day trip, alongside the entirely indoors Warner Bros World with a free shuttle service from Dubai).
REMEMBER: Even if you hire a cabana, wear sunscreen and stay in the shade, it can still be excruciatingly hot outside even at a water park. Be mindful of hot surfaces (wear flipflops. or non-slip pool shoes everywhere and be VERY careful of touching surfaces).
Outdoor evening activities to try in Dubai in Summer:
As long as you are prepared for it to still be quite sweaty, even after dark, you could try these evening activities in Dubai once the sun goes down.
- Dubai Garden Glow & Dinosaur Park – previously a seasonal winter venue, this park stayed open over Eid evenings and looks like it will stay open in the summer too.
- Walk around the Al Fahidi neighbourhood, taking in many of the city’s museums and galleries and along the creek front at Al Seef before catching a traditional abra across the gold and spice souks in Deira.
- The Walk in JBR, a popular outdoor dining district alongside the beach still has a vibrant nightlife, although outdoor dining is mostly removed in the peak of summer.
- La Mer – not just the waterpark there’s also a vibrant nightlife district here that still has a good vibe after dark.
- Souk Madinat Jumeirah – a much more modern souk experience, from here you get the spectacular views back to Burj Al Arab. Mostly indoor and airconditioned, lots of dining options and picturesque waterways.
- A traditional dhow boat around Dubai Fountain Lake – see the Dubai fountains up close in this spectacular evening sound and light show.
Should I do a Dubai desert safari in Summer?
Many desert safari companies do continue to run over summer, albeit on a reduced program.
We think this really depends on how you cope with the heat, but based on many years experience, anything from late May to early October starts to get really sticky outside.
If you are heat lovers you may still enjoy it, but with young kids, I would be extremely cautious of recommending a desert safari in the summer.
What will be closed in Dubai over Summer
Our favourite attractions in Dubai that are NOT operational in summer (see links to find out when they will re-open, its variably around end of October/early November) include:
- Dubai Miracle Garden
- Global Village Dubai
- Ripe outdoor markets
- Many day safari’s and beach sporting operators
Many restaurants and attractions do now remain open throughout summer, albeit very reduced programs or only opening in the evenings. Outdoor brunches stop in the summer and rooftop decks will only open in the evenings.
It’s always best to check opening hours from Ramadan (late April onwards) all the way through summer for anything with an outdoor element.
Where to stay in Dubai over the summer
The good news is, almost anywhere is the answer. All Dubai hotels will be airconditioned, and it’s very uncommon to come across a hotel that does not chill their pool in summer.
If you stay in a hotel directly attached to one of the malls or souqs you will have excellent access to leisure and dining facilities without having to put a foot outside. Why not try;
Dubai hotels attached to shopping malls
- Sheraton at Mall of the Emirates, or top end the Kempinski
- Address Dubai Mall and Address Downtown – attached to Dubai Mall
- Armani Hotel Dubai in Burj Khalifa
- Address Dubai Marina attached to Dubai Marina Mall
- Jumeirah Al Naseem attached to Souk Madinat Jumeirah
- InterContinental at Dubai Festival City – very close to DXB airport
Best Dubai hotels attached to waterparks
- Jumeirah Beach Hotel attached to Wild Wadi Water Park
- Atlantis the Palm attached to Aquaventure
- Lapita at Dubai Parks & Resorts and Legoland Water Park
Dubai hotels with good summer facilities
Many hotel resorts also include mini water parks, lazy rivers, and kids clubs within their grounds. The choices are almost endless and the summer value can be fantastic. A few suggestions to try:
- Dukes the Palm – lazy river & Duksey kids club (and stunning infinity pool)
- Le Meridien Mina Seyahi – kids pool & kids club, playground, extensive dining options
- Habtoor Grand Resort – slides, kids pool & infinity pool, indoor playground
If you are only in Dubai for a very short stopover, you may opt to simply stay in the airport over the hottest time of the year. More coming soon in our ultimate DXB guide!
Before you go…. final tips to help you plan the perfect Dubai trip (even in the hottest months!)
- 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.
- 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:
A final note. We can’t stress enough staying hydrated is key! If you do attempt to walk outside in the daytime heat take precautions, be realistic how far you can go and keep the Careem or Uber app on your phone!