Dubai goes even more shopping crazy during the annual winter Shopping Festival in January and February. A busy programme of fireworks, fashion parades, concerts and high-stakes raffles accompanies the main event: bargain hunting in Dubai’s 40-plus shopping malls. Look out for discount promotions at mega malls like Wafi, Mall of the Emirates, Ibn Battuta, Dubai Mall and BurJuman. Browse international handicrafts at the Global Village in Dubailand.
A winter holiday in Dubai lets you experience life in the city without air conditioning, an impossibility in the summer months. The temperatures are warm rather than hot from October to March, and you’ll need to wear a jacket in the evenings. Forsake the taxis and take the opportunity to go for a leisurely stroll along Jumeirah Beach and around Dubai Marina. And to remind yourself that it really is winter, strap on some snow gear and glide down the indoor ski run at Ski Dubai at Mall of the Emirates.
Dubai winter holidays come alive with major cultural events. The international sights and sounds of the Desert Rhythms Festival rock the Dubai Festival City complex in Deira in October. Live bands play reggae and salsa.. February’s International Jazz Festival brings funk and fusion to Dubai Media City at Dubai Marina. Media City is also the venue for the Dubai International Film Festival in December, an opportunity to see films by regional filmmakers alongside the stars of Hollywood and Bollywood.
The cooler weather means sporting events in Dubai - and plenty of them. The big names in golf head to Dubai for the Desert Classic in February at the Emirates Golf Club off Sheikh Zayed Road. World tennis stars play the Dubai Tennis Championships at the tennis stadium near the airport in Deira in February. Watch big-money horse races from November, culminating in the world’s richest horse race, the Dubai World Cup, in March. Must-see camel races are run from October to March at the Nad Al Sheba Racecourse in south-east Dubai. Rugby fans come to Dubai in November for the Rugby Sevens. The new Sevens Stadium is on the outskirts of the city on the road to the neighbouring emirate of Al Ain.
Traditional sports such as falconry and camel races play a big part in the celebrations surrounding the Dubai National Day Festival on 2 December. Families head to the desert for the day and those who stay in the city are entertained by street parades, fleets of dhows on Dubai Creek, fireworks and cultural festivities. Head to Jumeirah Road and the creek promenades to witness the event.
Dubai’s Indian population celebrates the playful Festival of Lights, or Diwali, in October/November. Garlands of flowers and lights decorate homes and shops, and stalls are stocked with special savoury treats. Visit Karama and Hindi Lane in Bur Dubai to join in the fun.