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Best Places To Visit In Dubai During Christmas & New Year’s Eve

The holiday season is nearly here, and you must be wondering where the best places in Dubai are to fully immerse yourself in the Christmas and New Year’s Eve spirit. Who can blame you? Dubai has emerged as one of the most rising cities in the world to celebrate the end-of-year holidays. Dubai has everything from dazzling displays and festive markets to epic parties and fireworks. 

As a Dubai resident or tourist, you’re in for a magical treat this holiday season. The city pulls out all the stops, transforming into a winter wonderland. We’re talking decked halls, fancy light displays, Christmas tunes, and general Yuletide fever. But with so many spectacular holiday experiences popping up across town, how do you decide where to spend your time? 

Well, fret not! we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide to experiencing Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Dubai to help you out. Below, you’ll find a detailed breakdown of why choose Dubai for Christmas and New Year’s Eve attractions this city has to offer. 

Experience the Magic of Christmas in Dubai 

The Christmas vibes kick off early in Dubai. As the end of November hits, you’ll notice the entire city shifting into holiday mode almost overnight. Twinkling lights draped on palm trees, massive Christmas trees popping up across malls and hotels, holiday tunes echoing in the air, and general festive fever – you can’t miss it! 

So, where should you head first to bask in all the magic? We’ve rounded up the unique Christmas experiences in Dubai to help you out.

Christmas Festivities at Dubai Mall

It’s simply impossible to talk about Christmas in Dubai without mentioning Dubai Mall’s epic holiday centrepiece. Every year, the shopping mecca unveils an ornately decorated, multi-story Christmas tree that has to be seen to be believed. We’re talking over 13 meters tall and decked out with over 181,000 LED lights arranged in the shape of roses, peacocks, and stars. It’s visually stunning, with a new theme unveiled yearly, making it an Instagrammable treat. 

The festivities extend beyond the giant tree, too. You can meet Santa at his cave close by and join carol singers as they belt out classic hits every afternoon. Not to mention, take a spin around the Dubai Aquarium while listening to their underwater holiday playlist. And that’s just the start! From roaming carolers to Christmas markets and festive window displays, the Dubai Mall pulls out all the stops. 

Insider tip: Head to the Dubai Mall early (ideally before the evening rush) to soak in all the Christmas magic without massive crowds obstructing your view!

Christmas at Global Village

Global Village already ranks high as a must-visit Dubai attraction, but it truly transforms into a magical wonderland during the festive season. As you enter, fairy lights, Christmas trees, and fanciful holiday scenes greet you from every corner. Beyond the dazzling decor, Global Village has plenty of quintessential Christmas activities to enjoy. 

You can ride the festive train singing carols at the top of your lungs as you pass by twinkly light displays. Let the kids unleash their inner elf at Santa’s Toy Factory with cookie decorating classes and arts-and-crafts workshops. 

Taste festive treats worldwide as you explore Global Village’s 80+ cultures. Come sundown, get ready to be dazzled by the nightly tree-lighting ceremony, too!

Budget tip: Global Village offers discounted entry for families and special weekday rates. So, hit up this Christmas wonderland on a weekday evening for maximum value. 

Christmas Shopping & Dining spectaculars 

Is Christmas complete without a feast, gifts, and quality time with loved ones? Definitely not! And Dubai offers endless options to check eating, shopping, and family bonding off your holiday bucket list in serious style.

Dine Under the World’s Tallest Christmas Tree 

If you’re looking for unique Christmas dining in Dubai, Kempinski Hotel has you covered. Every festive season, this luxury hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road unveils the world’s tallest free-standing Christmas tree, towering at over 100 feet! Have a holly, jolly meal under this record-breaking fir tree at one of Kempinski’s six festive dining experiences. 

From winter garden brunches to Christmas hotels in Dubai, you’ll be immersed in holiday magic with log cabins, snow-covered pine trees, twinkling lights, and Christmas tunes setting the mood. 

Not to mention indulging in sumptuous holiday spreads, including whole lamb roasts, honey-glazed hams, festive cakes, Christmas puddings, and all the trimmings while loved ones laugh over bubbly toasts (or hot chocolate for the little ones!).

Experience an Underwater Christmas 

Dive into an underwater wonderland this Christmas by dining beside marine life at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo. The floor-to-ceiling aquarium tank creates a spellbinding backdrop as you feast on a holiday menu complete with roast turkey, gingerbread houses and all the Yuletide trimmings. 

In between courses, gaze in awe as sharks, rays, and exotic fish glide past, bringing truly immersive ocean views. It’s like having Christmas dinner on the set of Finding Nemo – talk about a memorable family experience!

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Go on a Christmas Shopping Spree

With the holiday gifting season in full swing, Dubai’s glitzy malls try to outdo each other by unveiling increasingly ostentatious Christmas makeovers across their atriums, storefronts, and walkways. It sparks cosy Christmas market feel… minus the cold weather of course! 

Mall highlights include Ski Dubai’s Santa’s Grotto, the larger-than-life dancing trees at The Dubai Mall, and the Narnia-esque winter forest vibes at the Mall of the Emirates. And with every Christmas shopping in Dubai running Christmas sales and promotions, you can cross everyone off your gift list in serious style.

Insider tip: Malls often unveil holiday performances, winter pop-ups and appearances from Santa during the festive season, too. So keep your eyes peeled for unique Christmas experiences in Dubai

Where to Catch the Best Christmas Concerts & Shows

What’s Christmas without some festive tunes, dances, and merriment? To steep yourself in the holiday spirit, be sure to catch one of Dubai’s many Christmas-themed concerts and performances playing across town. 

Rock Around Dubai’s Largest Christmas Tree

Dubai Festival City Mall unveils the city’s second-largest Christmas tree every year, and you can rock around this 14-meter fir in style. On select nights, the Dubai Festival City Winter Festival hosts evening concerts at the Festival Bay stage, set against the towering tree.

Previous lineups have included Arab Idol stars and X-Factor finalists belting out unique Christmas experiences in Dubai. So keep your eyes peeled for this year’s performances!

Insider tip: Arrive 30-60 minutes before showtime to secure seats closest to the mega tree for maximum Christmas impact! 

Enjoy Classic Holiday Tunes 

Fancy an evening of the orchestra, strings, piano, and choir belting out your favorite Christmas classics and carols? Dubai Opera often hosts a series of Dubai Christmas concert evenings during the festive season featuring classics like Hallelujah Chorus, Winter Wonderland, and Silent Night. 

Meanwhile, the Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre and Emirates National Schools put up annual Christmas shows, too, complete with festive music and dance performances. It’s a fab way for the whole family to get into the holiday spirit!

Party Into 2024 at Dubai’s Hottest New Year’s Eve Celebrations

New Year’s Eve is when Dubai pulls out all the stops. We’re talking lavish hotel galas, sit-down dinners with insane Burj Khalifa views, glittering rooftop parties, mega beach festivals with A-list headlining acts, and more! 

Frankly, Dubai has endless options for epic countdown partying. Below we’ve rounded up the hottest picks across town, catering to all vibes and budgets. Just pick one that matches your scene, and get ready to see 2023 out with a seriously legendary, only-in-Dubai-style bang!

Burj Khalifa NYE

No list of Dubai’s festive season celebrations is complete without mentioning the iconic Burj Khalifa. Every New Year’s Eve, the world’s tallest tower puts on the most mesmerizing fireworks show just after the clock strikes 12. For over an hour, the burj is lit up with dazzling fireworks synchronised to a laser light show while Bollywood/Arabic/pop music plays in the background.

The atmosphere in Downtown Dubai, where the Burj Khalifa is located, is simply electric. Thousands of revellers gather with their families, enjoying the vibrant vibes. You can catch the fireworks display from viewpoints like The Dubai Mall, Emaar Square or Old Town Dubai. 

Or book tickets to higher floors of Burj Khalifa for a premium viewing experience. Make sure to arrive early as roads close and it gets packed real quick. The wonderful NYE bash at Burj Khalifa is a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle you do not want to miss.

Atlantis The Palm

Offering stunning views of Palm Jumeirah as well as Dubai’s coastline, Atlantis The Palm is another top contender for one of the best NYE parties in the city. Their Lost Chambers NYE package includes dining at celebrity-chef restaurants, exclusive water park access, and an overwater cabana to watch the fireworks show.

Live jazz, R&B, and pop performances keep the vibe going all through dinner and well into the night. You’ll also get premium beverages and access to all Atlantis main pools and the beach. With so many luxurious amenities, it’s an incredible premium option for a truly lavish NYE. Book early, as packages sell out in advance!

The Pointe NYE

For a more affordable yet vibrant NYE experience right on the Palm, head to The Pointe. This outdoor promenade located at the tip of Palm Jumeirah offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding waters and a lively ambiance with pop-up bars and street food stalls. 

As midnight approaches, the atmosphere reaches a crescendo with thousands of locals and tourists packed together. After the ball drops, Palm Springs comes alive with an unparalleled fireworks show lighting up the sky. Enjoy the spectacular from viewpoints like Señor Pico or Palm West Beach which see the entire spectacular display.

Global Village NYE

If you’re looking for a family-friendly NYE experience with your kids, head to Global Village. The multicultural festival grounds are decked in festive decorations during the holidays. On NYE, they host live acts and a fireworks spectacular to welcome the New Year 2024

With carnival rides, arcade games, and over 30 international pavilions representing world cuisines, there’s fun for all ages. Wander through stalls selling holiday souvenirs, catch cultural shows on main stages, and sip mulled wine or hot chocolate. Global Village offers a lively celebration for the whole family at a reasonable price point.

Dubai Ice Rink Christmas Market

For truly magical Christmas vibes, visit the enchanting winter wonderland at Dubai Ice Rink. Admire the giant glowing Christmas tree, explore festive market stalls selling gifts and décor, indulge in holiday treats like churros and roasted chestnuts. Then strap on your skates and glide on the real ice rink surrounded by twinkling lights. Live carol singers and dance performances energize the atmosphere. It’s the perfect spot for couple selfies or family photos with Santa. Spend an afternoon soaking up Christmas spirit amongst Dubai’s palm trees under the warm sun.

Dubai Fontainebleau 

Nestled within the Dubai Fontainebleau at Burj Al Arab, this private New Year’s Eve celebration is one for the books. Premium beverages and live performances accompany Gala dinners with exquisite 8-course tasting menus till late into the night. 

Watch the fireworks unfold before your eyes over the Dubai skyline from an outdoor terrace with plush cabanas and lounging sofas. Dressed in your formal best, you’ll feel like a movie star amid the luxe surroundings of Burj Al Arab. This one comes at a pretty penny but guarantees an unforgettable start to the New Year at one of Dubai’s most iconic landmarks.

Gardens on Bay NYE

Located in Downtown Dubai facing the Burj Khalifa, Gardens on Bay hosts a dazzling NYE bash with panoramic views of the fireworks spectacular. Their tickets include a festive buffet dinner spread, premium beverages till late, live international DJ performances and access to the open terrace for premium viewing. 

Sit back relax at cushioned day beds dotting the lawn or dance the night away at the main party area. With a great balance of sophisticated surroundings and lively energy, Gardens on Bay NYE delivers premier celebrations at an affordable rate compared to 5-star properties.

Dubai Ice Rink Christmas Market

For truly magical Christmas vibes, visit the enchanting winter wonderland at Dubai Ice Rink. Admire the giant glowing Christmas tree, explore festive market stalls selling gifts and décor, indulge in holiday treats like churros and roasted chestnuts. 

Then strap on your skates and glide on the real ice rink surrounded by twinkling lights. Live carol singers and dance performances energize the atmosphere. It’s the perfect spot for couple selfies or family photos with Santa. Spend an afternoon soaking up Christmas spirit amongst Dubai’s palm trees under the warm sun.

Dubai Fountains NYE

One of the best spots to witness the Burj Khalifa NYE fireworks show is right outside it at the Dubai Fountains. Arrive early to grab a spot right at the railing overlooking the dancing fountains. As midnight nears, take your position and wait with bated breath for the dramatic 8-minute long pyrotechnic spectacular. Fire fountains launch water blasts timed to music while bursts of color light up surrounding towers. With the Dubai skyline as the backdrop, you’ll never forget ringing in the New Year here amid gasps and cheers of the crowd.

Hatta New Year Trek

Looking for an adventure this NYE away from the city crowds? Head to Hatta where you can hike up Jebel Hafeet Mountain just in time to watch the sunrise on the first day of the new year. Fuel up for the 5-hour round trip trek at Hatta Dam café before starting your ascent at dusk. Cheer friends on as the climb gets tougher in the dark. 

Once at the summit, sip coffee with breathtaking views of the valleys below. At daybreak, welcome 2024 with the natural wonder of colors painting Hatta’s landscapes. Trekking in the desert is a unique way to celebrate NYE.

Yas Waterworld NYE

Yas Waterworld transforms into an aquatic wonderland every Christmas with their festive illuminations, live shows, and family holiday activities. Head there on NYE to experience the largest fireworks display over a waterpark ever. 

As rides and slides continue operations till late, find a spot curbside to view the spectacular show lighting up the night sky with thousands of fireworks. Dance and splash away any 2023 troubles at their family friendly extravaganza before saying goodbye with a BANG!

Abu Dhabi Corniche NYE

If you don’t mind a short day trip from Dubai, check out Abu Dhabi’s Corniche for New Year’s Eve. Stake a claim along the waterfront promenade with a picnic mat as the sun goes down. As midnight approaches, witness their larger-than-life fireworks galore set off from barges stationed along the coastline and bridges.

 Cheer with crowds as lasers trace shapes in time with an original soundtrack created especially for ADNYE Fireworks. Its grand scale easily challenges any other city’s fireworks displays worldwide.

NYUAD Film Screening NYE

For an artsy alternative to parties on NYE, catch cult classic movies projected under the stars in NYUAD’s outdoor amphitheater. Arrive early with blankets and low-backs to claim a spot, then cozy up and immerse in cinematic experiences alongside UAE’s creative communities.

 As the final iconic scene plays at the stroke of midnight, raise a toast and collectively welcome the new year along with on-screen characters. Discuss favorite scenes over complimentary snacks before heading back satisfied. This unique screening celebrates new beginnings through the magic of film.

Arabian Ranches NYE BBQ

Hosting a small gathering this NYE? Check out community clubs within residential compounds like Arabian Ranches that throw lavish barbecue bashes. Opt for their premium packages, including meats cooked over an open fire pit, unlimited beverages, sparkling wine, and more. 

Access exclusive swimming pools and games like cornhole or foosball tournaments while children enjoy dedicated play areas. As midnight nears, gather around fireworks set off within the compound to welcome 2024. It’s a fun neighborhood celebration amongst friends at affordable rates.

Dubai Desert Safari NYE

Escape city lights and ring in the new year under a starry desert sky. Dubai Desert Safari excursions take you dune bashing into the sands just before sunset for breathtaking golden hour views. Enjoy an authentic BBQ dinner followed by belly dancing, exotic folklore and energizing Indian dances at their Bedouin-style encampments. 

At the stroke of 12, fireworks light up the desert horizon in all directions, creating a truly magical backdrop better than any cityscape. An unforgettable cultural experience through and through.

Nakheel Beach Club 

Located at Palm Jumeirah, Nakheel Beach Club offers a relaxed way to welcome 2024 by the sea. Snag a lounger facing the stunning fireworks show across Palm Springs. Sip tropical cocktails as DJs spin island tunes all through dinner and into late night. When the time arrives, countdown with the crowd before partying on. With a more lounge vibe compared to mainstream bashes, Nakheel is ideal for couples seeking an intimate NYE celebration.

Where To Stay

With hundreds of thousands of tourists flocking to Dubai over Christmas and New Year’s Eve, accommodation can book out very quickly. So whether you’re planning a holiday getaway or looking for a seasonal luxury property as a home away from home over the holidays, make sure to finalize your stay well in advance.

Downtown Dubai is undoubtedly one of the most popular neighborhoods, given its proximity to top attractions like Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Mall. 5-star properties like Address Downtown and Palazzo Versace Dubai as well as chilled-out hotels like Vida Downtown Dubai are fabulous picks.

The Dubai Marina area is also a wonderful place to base yourself over Christmas and New Year’s, with no shortage of dining and entertainment options. Properties like the Five Palm Jumeirah Dubai, Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa, W Dubai – The Palm and Habtoor Grand Resort Autograph Collection offer indulgent stays with stunning waterfront views.

For beachfront bliss, JBR hotels like Rixos Premium Dubai and Hilton Dubai Jumeirah promise easy access to popular hangouts, restaurants and New Year’s Eve beach parties. Or pick Jumeirah hotels near Burj Al Arab and Sunset Mall if you’d rather be closer to Downtown.

Those looking for quiet can consider staying at one of the beautiful luxury villas or holiday homes available for rental across Dubai. From Palm Jumeirah beach villas to private pool villas in communities like Arabian Ranches and mansions in Downtown, seasonal home rentals promise comfort, privacy and convenience.

Whether you prefer budget stays or over-the-top luxury beachfront hotels or private holiday homes, rest assured there’s something for every taste and budget.

How To Get Around

With thousands of tourists and residents looking to make the most of Christmas and New Year’s Eve events in Dubai, getting around town can get slightly trickier than usual. But some planning will help you avoid being stuck in traffic jams.

Using the efficient Dubai metro system is your best bet to beat the holiday crowds. The Red Line covers key destinations like Ibn Battuta Mall, Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall, Business Bay, and more, while the Green Line takes you to hotspots like Dubai Marina.

Other convenient public transport options are the Dubai Tram connecting Jumeirah Beach Residence to Dubai Marina or taking the Dubai ferry across the Creek.

Taxis and buses tend to get very crowded, which are best avoided during peak times. If you plan to drive around, account for extra travel time, as roads will be busier. Opting for a chauffeured luxury property in Dubai may allow you to cover more ground and reach venues on time.

Dubai truly sparkles brighter than ever over the Christmas and New Year seasons. With world-class celebrations, events, and attractions across the city, December promises unforgettable experiences whether you’re a tourist or a resident.

Conclusion

Whichever experience you choose from this list, Dubai will make your Christmas and New Year festivities truly unforgettable. So start planning and book early to avoid missing out on the magic! Let me know if you need any other recommendations or tips for celebrating the holidays in this dazzling city. Wishing you a merry Christma

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