Everything you need to know about visiting Dubai in December
December is probably our favourite month for encouraging visitors to come to Dubai and the UAE. There is so much to enjoy, from the perfect weather to National Day and Christmas festivities around town – though it is also one of the most expensive times to visit.
In this Dubai December guide, we cover:
Dubai Weather in December
If it’s the scorching summer heat that has ever put you off visiting Dubai, then get set for the wonderfully mild days of December.
Average daytime highs of around 26°C/78.8°F and seawater temperatures of 25.6°C/78°F are experienced in Dubai in December; it can even be a little too nippy for ocean swimming – make sure your resort or hotel has a temperature-controlled pool!
You can read our complete guide to Dubai Weather in December here, as well as our suggested ideas of what to pack for Dubai in December.
Dubai Special Events December 2023
- Commemoration Day – 1st December In honour of those soldiers who served their country and lost their lives for the UAE. Previously called Martyrs Day, this day of national importance and reflection has been moved to coincide with the National Day holidays. Commemoration Day has not been announced as a Public holiday this year, but schools and many Government offices will be closed, with distance learning/work-from-home arrangements in place for this half-day.
- National Day (Public Holiday) – 2nd, 3rd and 4th December – marking the occasion of the country’s federation in 1971. You will find 52nd Anniversary events across the city. This year’s theme is sustainability, and the holidays fall inside the COP 28 Summit, which is also taking place in the UAE until the 12th of December.
- The Emirates Dubai Rugby 7’s – back bigger and better than ever; one of the city’s biggest sporting events will take place on the 2nd and 3rd December 2023 at the Sevens Stadium, south of the city. Don’t forget those evening concerts. DJ Luck & MC Neat and Becky Hill will entertain this year.
- Dubai Opera has a great line-up this December with the Orchestra of the Teatro alla Scalia and their Concert for Tomorrow on December 1st. Comedian Russell Howard will take to the stage on the 11th of December, followed by Handel’s Messiah on the 13th.
- From the 15th to the 17th of December get festive at Dubai Opera with the Ballet Theatre and State Opera Orchestra of Astana’s adaption of The Nutcracker.
- Christmas Festivities – a great lineup of events is still expected across the city, from markets to opera shoes, kids singalong events and, of course, Christmas Day brunches and takeaway meals. NB Christmas Day is NOT a public holiday in the UAE. You can find our complete listing of Christmas events in Dubai here.
- New Year’s Eve – 31 December always sees spectacular fireworks show that light up many of the city’s famous buildings. Crowds can be manic, and hotel costs in prime locations are sky-high, so book well in advance to enjoy this one! Find the lineup of New Year’s Eve events here, which includes Sting performing live at the Atlantis!
Suggested Dubai Activities in December 2023
Given the mild sunny days, it’s a perfect time of year to do some of Dubai’s more physical outdoor activities. Our top picks for this December are:
- Take on the Ras al Khaimah zipline course – Jebel Jais Flight! Not only the longest zipline in the world, where speeds can reach up to 160kms an hour but also Jebel Jais Tour – seven different zipline courses that meet on a suspended platform in the Hajar Mountains.
Top tip: If you don’t fancy the self-drive up to Ras al Khaimah, check out this tour which can pick you up from your Dubai hotel. It includes transfers to Jebel Jais and the zipline experience.
- This is the perfect time of year to experience Dubai Garden Glow, Dinosaur Park, and the Ice Park in Zabeel Park. An evening wonderland, the festive season makes it all the more magical.
- Take a tour of the UAE’s east coast. Cross the spectacular Hajar Mountains and experience the calm, warm waters of the Gulf of Oman. There are snorkelling opportunities, as well as boat tours that can take you in amongst the spectacular khors of Musandam, Oman, without needing to cross the land border. Check out this east coast Fujairah day trip, or you can hire your own car and set your own pace.
Dubai with the Kids in December
This is a fabulous time of year to visit Dubai with your family, though, as we’ve mentioned, it is also one of the most expensive times to visit, and accommodation is booked up in popular locations.
We suggest families look at booking serviced apartments or Airbnb – we have selected our favourite Dubai family apartment options here – or go all out if you’re in a big group and book a family villa with a pool!
There are activities aplenty for families to enjoy, here are some suggestions for December:
- Attend a Christmas show at the QE2 Theatre – this hotel-come-entertainment venue permanently docked at Port Rashid is a wonderful family experience with winter shows a highlight. This year, there are several feature shows, including Cirque Du Silly with Magic Phil and Peter Pan, from 15 to 26 December 2022. See the full Theatre by QE2 line up here.
- Swing your way through Mushrif Park – a little hidden gem on the outskirts of the city is Aventura Parks – high ropes and zip lines through the almost forest-like Mushrif Park. Ideal in winter when the waterparks are getting a little cool, but your kids still want an active adventure – other than the occasional Emirates flight landing over your heads, you won’t believe you’re in the city! Check out session times and pricing here.
- Thrilling roller coasters at Motiongate – home to the most thrilling rollercoasters in the Middle East, Motiongate, part of the Dubai Parks & Resorts complex on the city’s western side, is a family favourite of ours. Rides cross all ages and interests, from the giant indoor Dreamworks to Lionsgate and thrilling Hunger Games rides. Stay at Lapita Resort or Rove at the Park and get your theme park tickets included or check out the One Day Pass here.
You can find our complete family guide to Dubai with over 80 suggestions on family activities in Dubai here.
Splurge for December in Dubai
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Please note we are not a travel agency. This site is a travel blog to help newcomers to the UAE self plan their trip, we cannot book your flights, hotels, visas or connections for you. We may make a small commission if you click on any of our hotel, event or tour recommendation links. First published November 2019, updated for December 2023.
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