A child decorates a Christmas tree on the beach
Ian Packham

Things to do in Dubai in December

December is a popular time to visit the desert state of Dubai. It’s one of the coolest times of year when it comes to the climate, whilst still providing the warmth that many will be missing back home.

The emirate’s venues and attractions are alive with events too. Fancy a pre-Christmas break, or even spending the festive season amongst the souks, beaches and skyscrapers of Dubai? Check out our guide to Dubai in December!

What’s the weather in Dubai in December?

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Usually weather sections are good news/bad news. Not so with Dubai in December, where it’s pretty much all positive. Whilst cold by Dubai standards, average daily temperatures hang around the mid-twenties Celsius, dropping to 16-19°C by night.

That’s warm enough for most people to take a turn on Dubai’s beaches by day and head out and about by night with nothing more than a light coat, which are also useful additions for anyone entering the fierce air conditioning of the city’s malls and other indoor attractions.

Describing it as rain probably makes too much of the showers that appear across two to four days of the month, since just 14 mm of precipitation is usually recorded for all of December. Like much of the rest of the year, days are dominated by sun, with eight hours of sunlight and 11 hours of daylight. Humidity levels hover around 60%, ensuring this isn’t much to worry about either. No wonder December in Dubai is peak tourist season!

Making the most of the weather

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Out of bounds for several months because of the extreme heat, December welcomes people back to the dunes of the desert beyond the sky-piercing structures of downtown. An extraordinary contrast to the modern center of Dubai, the traditions of the sands can be explored with a desert safari and BBQ dinner.

Capturing the dunes at sunset, this evening of Arabian delights includes authentic hospitality in the form of food, drink and entertainment. You’ll also have the chance to have your hands hennaed and ride a camel. Morning desert safaris and 4x4 quad bike rides are other ways to explore these landscapes.

Further contrasts can be found at Miracle Garden. Never one to do things on a small scale – we give you the Burj Khalifa as an example – the Miracle Garden is the largest flower garden in the world, containing around 250 million individual plants. Open from October to April each year, December is a great time to visit both it and its attached butterfly garden – home to 15,000 of the insects from 26 different species.

But if you’re somehow already missing the winter, you only need to head as far as the Mall of the Emirates, where amongst its boutique stores you’ll find Ski Dubai. It’s artificial mountain slopes provide over 22,000 square meters of skiable snow, alongside a small colony of gentoo and king penguins.

Honor National Day

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If you hadn’t realized it already, behind its brash contemporary exterior Dubai has a soul that traces its heritage back to the pearl fishers of the Middle Ages. Saved from destruction, it’s Dubai Creek where much of this history is easiest to discover.

The ideal place to start is Dubai Museum, occupying the 18th-century walls of Al Fahidi Fort. It is joined by the attractions of the Shindagha historic district, incorporating ancient structures in the heritage village and the Crossroads of Civilization Museum to boot.

Cross the creek by boat or metro and you’ll be standing in the alleyways of the city’s souk marketplaces, from the reflected light of the gold souk to the rich aromas of the spice souk. It can all be enjoyed from the waters on a dhow dinner cruise of Dubai Creek. These are all the more special on the UAE’s national day on December 2, with skies lit up with major fireworks displays come evening.

Christmas in Dubai

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Dubai has become a favorite destination for Christmas escapes. Acting as an international vacation and business hub has helped to ensure the season doesn’t go unnoticed, even if the vast majority of Dubai’s population are Muslim and don’t abide by the religious aspects of December 25.

Large Christmas trees decorate many public spaces and santas set up workshops in many of the city’s malls with the help of their elves. Dubai Harbor and Souk Madinat Jumeirah are just two of the Christmas markets that appear, with ice rinks, food stalls and gift buying some of the attractions that await.

Homely festive meals such as roast turkey with all the trimmings are easy to find in the restaurants of downtown, whilst those keen to attend mass are able to do so at Dubai’s churches.

How to spend New Year in Dubai

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You only have to wait a few days after Christmas for the next celebration – New Year’s Eve. From quiet beginnings, midnight on December 31 has become an important way to advertise Dubai on the world stage.

Celebrations usually center around the Burj Khalifa, with crowds gathering beside the Dubai Fountain next to it for several hours in preparation for the light show on the side of the building and the fireworks display above it.

If you’d rather have a gala experience, there are plenty to choose between, with most of the city’s top venues the location of parties of one form or another, including the QE2. You’ll want to dress up for the occasion, so don’t forget to pack a cocktail dress or rent a three-piece suit in good time.

Enjoy all Dubai in December has to offer

Sun, sea, sand – and snow too if you want it – Dubai in December is everything you’ll want from a vacation destination during the festive season. Cool enough to explore the desert but warm enough to hit the beach, the Christmas events aren’t the only reason to holiday in Dubai in December.

Grab your vacation time with both hands by taking advantage of the reduced attraction admission provided by Go City. Travel with one of our passes in tow and huge savings on many of the city’s top attractions will be at your finger-tips!

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