Discover this month’s best happenings around Dubai, from chocolate-tasting sessions to unique Christmas feasts, a shopping extravaganza, and more.
December 1 to December 29: Return to Ripe Market
With the scorching summer behind us, Ripe Market – the city’s al fresco favorite market – has moved outdoors to the lush greenery of Zabeel Park. Spend your time leisurely browsing fashion, jewelry, and craft stalls and picking up organic, locally sourced fruits and vegetables. It will run every Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
December 2: Train Your Palate
Two hour-long sessions will be hosted by artisanal chocolate factory Mirzam, providing participants with the opportunity to learn about the different flavor notes of single-origin chocolate and the production process from bean to bar. These free, one-of-a-kind tasting experiences will take place in Building 3 of d3, with the first session starting at 3 p.m. To book your spot, click here.
December 2: Bend, Twist, Stretch
To celebrate the December full moon, join resident yoga teacher Melanie of Desert Swan as she guides you through your practice on the beach of Fairmont The Palm hotel. Starting at 8 p.m., the 90-minute session costs AED 75 and will entail an hour of yoga followed by 30 minutes of meditation. Spaces are limited, so book a spot by sending an e-mail to email@example.com.
December 6 to 9: Get Your Merry On
The annual Dubai Winter Festival at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre promises “everything you love about Christmas in one place” – and boy does it deliver. The sixth edition will feature everything you need to get into the festive spirit: Santa’s grotto, carol-singing, a winter market, snowball fights, an enormous Christmas tree, gingerbread-house making workshops, and more. Buy your tickets here.
December 6 to 13: Catch a Flick
Over 120 indie hits, foreign films, experimental titles, and even fashion biopics from the Arab world and beyond come together at the 14th edition of Dubai International Film Festival, showcasing the talent of both established and emerging filmmakers. The movies will screen at Madinat Jumeirah, VOX Cinemas in Mall of the Emirates, and The Beach JBR. See the schedule and buy your tickets here.
December 7: Dine the Night Away
The Christmas edition of ‘Cirque De Cuisine’ at Atlantis The Palm kickstarts the festive season with a truly unique experience – you’ll dine on both traditional Christmas dishes and signature creations from the resort’s finest eateries by walking freely from one to the other. Setting the tone of the night will be a full-fledged circus environment complete with street performers, jugglers, and more. For more details and to book a spot, click here.
December 7 to 9: Relive Your Childhood
If there was ever a Dubai-based Harry Potter event not to be missed, it’s Harry Potter in Concert at Dubai Opera. Potterheads will be transported to the Wizarding World in style as the Czech National Symphony Orchestra performs the music from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone while it is screened on a 40-foot screen. Tickets are selling fast, so secure yours here.
December 7 to 9: Hit the Streets
Sole DXB is back, this year with a focus on contemporary Japanese design. Taking place at d3, the urban lifestyle festival will host everything from designer talks (including one by Fragment Design founder Hiroshi Fujiwara) to sunset parties and the latest in footwear. Hip-hop documentary Word Is Bond will screen on opening night, while Kano, Pusha T, and more will take the stage. Buy your tickets here.
December 8: See a Legend Live
Elton John has had to postpone his debut appearance in Dubai on several occasions due to health concerns, but this month promises a performance that will more than compensate. Set to take the stage at Autism Rocks Arena as part of his Wonderful Crazy Night world tour, the legendary crooner has been performing for over five decades, so this one’s not to be missed. Tickets are selling fast, so buy yours here.
December 8 to 9: Test the (Muddy) Waters
A bit of mud never hurt anyone, especially if it helps showcase your grit and glory. Enter: du Tough Mudder, an obstacle course designed to test both your strength and stamina. The challenge entails participants sliding, swimming, and running through 500,000 liters of mud – with absolutely no winners. The idea is simply to get “tougher together”. Register here.
December 14 to 16: Look Ahead
ECHO Dubai – a new event celebrating art, design, and technology – will debut in d3 under the theme Interacting with the Future. The idea is for local and global artists and brands to connect through talks, conferences, and workshops. A highlight will be the ECHO in Dubai sound festival that will bring DJs together to create unique audio-visual experiences. To learn more, click here.
December 15 to 27: Feel the Festive Spirit
An abra ride with Santa, a giant snowball zone, an interactive Christmas tree, and plenty of roasted chestnuts – the festive cheer carries on, this time at the annual Madinat Jumeirah Festive Market in Fort Island. Inspired by the Christmas markets found across Europe, the event will span 1,750 square meters. To learn more, click here.
December 16: Listen Up
The middle of the month will see Alserkal Avenue’s finest crammed into one day alongside Lebanese musician Jay Abo, indie trio Vandalye, cult favorite As Per Casper, alternative band Ab Initio, and more at The Yard Sessions – all brought together by The Fridge. Complementing round after round of tunes will be treats by Mirzam, HAPI, and Wild and the Moon. Click here for more details.
December 16: Prove Your Girl Power
Ready to end the year with a fitness challenge? Sign up for the XDubai Spartan Sprint, the region’s first ever female-only Spartan Race. Taking place at Jebel Ali Racecourse in Al Barsha, the race will be run over five kilometers and comprises 20 obstacles like mud, hills, and barbed wire. Spaces are limited to 1,000 people, so register for your spot by clicking here.
December 18 to 21: Dine Unconventionally
For a dinner pop-up done in style, INKED is a no-brainer. The creative space located in Alserkal Avenue is getting foodies into the holiday spirit with The Nights Before, a dining experience that will feature a themed four-course dinner, festive soft drinks, and plenty of surprises. The best part? There’s absolutely no way of knowing what they are, so head there with an open mind and adventurous palate. To book a spot, click here.
December 21 to 23: Pick up Some Art
d3 continues to promote the creative community, this time with the first installment of Art Market. Up to 30 artists will be handpicked to showcase their work and engage with those who find art fairs and galleries a little intimidating. Supporting the event will be live music, creative workshops, talks, poetry readings, and more. To learn more, click here.
December 25: Celebrate Christmas
Turkey with trimmings on Christmas Day is well and good, but what if you want to stray from tradition? The festive season in a diverse city like Dubai means no rules apply, so you can dine in a circus-themed environment, journey to India through Christmas lunch with a twist, and even swap brussels sprouts for gingerbread waffles. Click here for ten unique offerings to get you started.
December 26 to January 27: Treat Yourself
One whole month of sales – need we say more? The annual Dubai Shopping Festival returns on Boxing Day, featuring discounts and promotions by malls, entertainment venues, theme parks, and even hotels across town. Expect these to be accompanied by stage shows, interactive workshops, fireworks displays, and giveaways, keeping the festive cheer going well into 2018.