Top Events

Dubai Shopping Festival, January

Dubai Food Festival, February

Art Dubai, March

Global Village, November–March

Dubai International Film Festival, December

January

A blissful month here when much of the world is suffering post-holiday doldrums and icy conditions. Expect daytime temperatures averaging a pleasant 25°C.

Dubai Shopping Festival

Held throughout January, this shopping festival lures bargain hunters from around the world. There are huge discounts in the souqs and malls, and the city is abuzz with activities, ranging from live concerts to fashion shows and fireworks.

Dubai Marathon

With mild weather and one of the flattest and fastest courses in the world, this full marathon attracts pounding participation from all over the world.

February

Another warm and winning month, with sun-kissed weather and plenty going on, including many outdoor events. Pack a light jacket or pashmina for al fresco evenings.

Dubai Jazz Festival

This popular festival sees top talent headliners, which in the past have included Tom Jones, Ricky Martin and John Legend, but also gets the crowds toe-tapping with free jazz and blues concerts at various venues around town.

Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

Attracting the big serves of the world’s top pros, the men’s and women’s tournaments are a firm fixture on the international tennis circuit.

Dubai Food Festival

For several weeks, this tasty festival celebrates its gastronomic diversity with food-related events, entertainment, celebrity chef appearances, dining tours, food trucks and pop-up restaurants.

Dubai International Boat Show

Don your deck shoes and head down to the Dubai International Marine Club to see some fabulous yachts and boats go under the hammer; buyers come from all over the yachting world.

March

The weather might be heating up a fraction, but it is still near perfect in this action-packed month, with warm seas for swimming and plenty of space on the sand.

Festival of Literature

Sponsored by Emirates Airlines, this huge lit-fest shines the spotlight on authors and poets from the Middle East as well as international best-selling writers.

Art Dubai

Keep tabs on the rapidly evolving art scene in the Middle East and South Asia at this prestigious showcase of nearly 100 galleries from the UAE and around the world exhibiting works at Madinat Jumeirah.

Sikka Art Fair

Dozens of Emirati and Dubai-based artists create site-specific works spanning all media during this lively 10-day fair in Bur Dubai's Al Fahidi Historic District.

Taste of Dubai

A feast for foodies, this three-day Taste of Dubai festival offers not just delicious bites but also cooking classes, beverage tastings, concerts and all sorts of other entertainment for young and old.

Dubai World Cup

Dubai’s racing season culminates in one of the world’s richest horse races and a big social event. With no betting allowed, attention also turns to the styles and hats of the attendees.

Burj Al Arab Swim

With proceeds benefiting a different charity every year, this event sees around 800 swimmers competing in an 800m or 1600m race around the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel.

April

It’s still warm rather than blistering, but the school holidays mean you’ll see more tourists during Easter break. This is a rollicking good month for beach fans and fashionistas.

Fashion Forward

Models clad in the latest threads by the Middle East's top designers strut the catwalk at this twice annual fashion fair (also held in October) that also includes talks, seminars and panel discussions by industry insiders.

Al Marmoum Heritage Festival

Held at the Al Marmoum Heritage Village some 40km south of Dubai, this four-week festival celebrates traditional Emirati culture with music, crafts, food, carnival rides and camel races that see thousands of animals competing for prizes and prestige.

Middle East Film and Comic Con

This film fair draws some 70,000 fans with the world's biggest brands in film, TV, animation, comics, sci-fi and other popular genres.

May

Temperatures can nudge 35°C or more, so air-conditioned malls provide welcome relief.

Al Gaffal Dhow Race

This traditional dhow race follows the route once taken by pearl divers. It starts at the small uninhabited island of Sir Bu Nair and heads east for 23 nautical miles before finishing at the Burj Al Arab. All crew members must be Emirati.

July

It's hot! Most of life moves indoors and hotel rates drop significantly.

Dubai Summer Surprises

Despite the sizzling mid-summer time of year, a combination of free kids’ entertainment and major sales in shopping malls draws plenty of tourists for the more family-focused little sibling of the Dubai Shopping Festival. Runs July to mid-August.

October

Temperatures have started to cool nicely, although you can still expect humidity and toasty warm days early in the month. Nights are perfect for dining al fresco in shirtsleeves or for overnight desert trips.

Diwali

Lights, candles and firecrackers characterise this magical festival of light, which brings together the ever-growing community of Indian expats. Look for traditional sweets in supermarkets and lavishly lit balconies and windows, particularly in Deira and Bur Dubai.

November

With the summer heat having subsided, visitors from colder climes are returning to enjoy the balmy temps, and much of life starts moving outdoors.

Dubai Rugby Sevens

The first round of the 10-leg World Rugby Sevens Series is a three-day event featuring 16 international squads, amateur teams and live entertainment. It's held at the Sevens Stadium, about 30 minutes south of Dubai en route to Al Ain.

DP World Tour Championship

This golfing championship is the crowning tournament of the Race to Dubai that pits the PGA European Tour’s top players against each other in 49 tournaments in 26 destinations over the course of one year.

Global Village

At the appropriately named Global Village, around 30 international pavilions showcase their respective culture and cuisine.

December

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 al fresco dining.

UAE National Day

The birth of a nation in 1971 is celebrated across the country on 2 December with a range of events, from boat parades to fireworks, concerts to horse shows and traditional dances to military parades.

Dubai International Film Festival

This star-studded non-competitive film festival is great for catching international indie flicks as well as new releases from around the Arab world, India and South Asia.