With its location in the Arabian desert, it's no surprise that Dubai has only two settings on its thermostat: warm and hot. In the months when much of the Northern Hemisphere is shivering, Dubai makes a great getaway for winter sun, but in the sweltering summer months, anyone who is brave enough to stay in the city is hustling between air-conditioned patches of cool.
Here's a month-by-month guide for the best time to visit Dubai.
Editor's note: During COVID-19, please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip and always follow government health advice. Events may be subject to change.
High season: November to April
Best time for outdoor urban adventures
When much of the Northern Hemisphere is bundled up in hats and winter coats, Dubai is blossoming. Moderate temperatures bring in major festivals and events, and al fresco dining lasts late into the night. Accommodation rates are high. Outdoor activities and excursions into the desert are best done at this time of year.
Shoulder season: May, September and October
Best time for quiet beach holidays
The days are hot, and the nights are balmy. Because the winter crowds have disappeared, these months are good for quiet beach holidays, with sea temperatures averaging 82°F (28°C). Pleasant temperatures also mean it's still possible to camp in the desert.
Low season: June to August
Best time for budget travelers and indoor shopping
During the hot and humid summer months, travelers on a budget can more easily book into Dubai five-star's accommodations thanks to steep discounts. Life moves indoors, and summer sales lure shoppers into the air-conditioned malls.
Here's a monthly guide to what you can expect through the year in Dubai. All events are subject to change.
January is a blissful month in Dubai. When much of the rest of the world is suffering post-festive season doldrums and icy conditions, the daytime temperatures in Dubai average a pleasant 77°F (25°C). January is still Dubai's coldest month, so bring a light jacket for evenings out.
Key events: Dubai Shopping Festival, Dubai Marathon
February in Dubai is another warm and winning month, with sun-kissed weather and plenty going on, including many outdoor events. Pack a pashmina for al fresco evenings.
Key events: Dubai Jazz Festival, Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Dubai Food Festival
Dubai's weather in March might be heating up a fraction, but it is still near perfect in this action-packed month, with warm seas for swimming and enough of space on the sand.
Key events: Festival of Literature, Art Dubai, Sikka Art Fair, Taste of Dubai, Dubai World Cup, Middle East Film and Comic Con, Burj Al Arab Swim, Dubai International Boat Show
The spring weather in Dubai is still warm rather than blistering, but school breaks mean you’ll see more tourists around the Easter holiday. April is a rollicking good month for beach fans and fashionistas.
Key events: Fashion Forward, Al Marmoom Heritage Festival, start of Ramadan in 2021 and 2022
In May, temperatures in Dubai can nudge 95°C (35°C) or more, and most visitors have cleared out in anticipation of the summer heat wave. Beach clubs and indoor shopping centers provide welcome relief during the day.
Key events: Al Gaffal Dhow Race
Summer has arrived, and it's already blisteringly hot outside. Life shifts indoors to air-conditioned malls and museums, and swimming in the sea or a hotel pool feels like sitting in a bathtub.
Key events: Dubai Summer Surprises
July is the hottest month of the year in Dubai, and it's a scorcher, with average temperatures of 105°F (40°C). Flight prices and hotel rates drop significantly. You can really cool down at the city's snowy indoor slope, Ski Dubai.
Key events: Eid Al Adha in 2021 and 2022
Dubai is still roasting hot in August. Tourist attractions are generally empty, especially toward the end of the month when schools start up again.
Dubai's searing summer temperatures are slowly starting to drop, and it's a good time to be by the sea. Excursions into the desert are possible again, and the balmy evenings lend themselves to stargazing among the sands.
Temperatures in Dubai have started to cool nicely, although you can still expect humidity and toasty warm days in early October. The cooler nights are lovely for a stroll along the Dubai Canal and for dining outdoors.
Key events: Diwali in 2022
By November, the summer heat has subsided, and visitors from colder climes are returning to enjoy the balmy temperatures. Much of life moves outdoors.
Key events: Diwali in 2021, Dubai Rugby Sevens, DP World Tour Championship, Global Village
The end of the year marks the beginning of the peak tourist season for a reason: the sea is still warm, the air is crisp and clear, and evenings are warm enough for outdoor dining.
Key events: UAE National Day, Dubai International Film Festival