Winter Wonderland: Best Things to Do in Dubai During the Holidays

Are you longing for a break from the traditional winter wonderland? Looking to celebrate the festive season in the sun? Then look no further than Dubai.

Celebrating the festive holidays in the City of Gold is an experience unto itself. As a renowned travel destination, there are plenty of things to see and do during the winter break.

If you’ve never been to Dubai, or this is your first time visiting during the holiday season, then pack your bags — a world of splendor and glamor awaits. And with family hotels in Dubai getting into the festive spirit, Dubai will feel like a home away from home.

Here are our top picks to help you get the most out of your Christmas break.

    1. Join the yuletide shopping spree

Dubai is undoubtedly known as a shopping haven. But during the winter break, Dubai celebrates a month-long shopping extravaganza known as the “Dubai Shopping Festival” or DSF. Held from December 26th till January 28th, the DSF is the largest shopping festival in the Gulf region.

Not only does the DSF give the city a vibrant and cheerful vibe, bargain hunters get to celebrate with the ultimate sale of the year. During the DSF, malls, retail shops, shopping venues, and markets all slash their prices to compete for your business.

Some will even offer 90 percent off promotions.

But amazing deals and huge discounts aren’t all the DSF has to offer. Expect to see a host of competitions and prizes to celebrate the festive season.

    2. Cheer on the nation

Even if you don’t celebrate the traditional festive season, December still is still a month of celebration.

Every year on December 2nd, the city-state comes together to celebrate UAE National Day.

This is a celebrated day that marks the unionization of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) back in 1971. As such, the city celebrates with a week-long observance complete with festivities and fireworks.

Beyond retail offerings, National Day has cultural festivals, parades, and delicious traditional cuisines on the menu. No matter your preference, during the National Day festivities, there’s something for everyone.

    3. Celebrate Christmas at the Winter Garden Market

Dubai may not rival Europe’s famous Christmas markets, but it certainly pulls out all the stops to try.

Of all the Christmas markets that populate the city, none may be as celebratory and as festive as the Winter Garden Market at St. Regis Dubai Gardens. As the year turns festive, so does St. Regis Dubai, transforming itself into a winter wonderland amidst the desert.

Experience the holiday magic at this enchanted winter wonderland with its lineup of holiday-themed activities and entertainment. There’s also festive-themed décor, glittering lights, and a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony to help you get into the festive spirit.

    4. Overindulgence with festive feasts

Christmas in Dubai means ‘tis the season to be feasting.

Shopping may make the headlines outside of Dubai, but anyone who’s ever visited Dubai knows that one of the best things about the city is its brunch parties. Brunches in Dubai are an institution. These multi-hour feasts have quickly become an unmissable city tradition.

The best restaurants in the city pull out all the stops to throw the ultimate Christmas feast.

Each lays out a luxurious Christmas brunch menu that will rival any home cooking. All the trimmings aside, there are also hours of free-flowing bubbles that will get you in the mood for the holidays.

    5. Experience Arabian adventures

All the experiences on the list are so far a reflection of Christmas festivities that can be enjoyed at home. So why not try something a little more local and homegrown?

The dunes and desert landscape that surround the city provide the ultimate adventure for thrill seekers and those looking to escape the city. Travel through the desert by 4x4 or by camel for a more Arabian cultural experience.

Welcoming the New Year in style

Whether it’s festive feasting, traditional Christmas markets, or shopping aplenty, a yuletide trip to Dubai should be on your Christmas wish list. No matter what festive experience you’re looking for, Dubai has it in spades.

And as the year comes to a close, Dubai is where you’ll want to be.

No one celebrates the New Year quite like the City of Gold. As the clock strikes midnight, you’ll be witness to a fireworks display like no other. Then, finish off the night with a five-star hotel party only experienced in Dubai.

Thomas Grundner is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for JA Resorts & Hotels. He has more than 20 years of expertise in the hospitality and leisure industry – across international markets including Germany, Egypt and Spain. Grundner oversees all sales, marketing and revenue efforts as the company continues to build on its key growth and development strategies and further cultivates its unique blend of "Heartfelt Hospitality" and "Casual Luxury."

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