Discover this month’s best happenings around Dubai, from unique yoga sessions and National Day celebrations to vintage movie screenings, winter markets, and more.
December 1 to 3: Please Your Palate
If you have no idea what the term “single origin” means, join the Cacao & Coffee: Tasting, Pairing & Making workshops jointly hosted by Zero Four Specialty Coffee and artisanal chocolate factory Mirzam. Kicking off at 4 p.m., these will focus on cupping techniques and the identification of both coffee and chocolate notes. Register here.
December 1 to 29: Watch This Space
Movie screenings continue every night at Cinema Akil in Alserkal Avenue during December, with the independent cinema platform hosting a flawlessly curated selection of documentaries, foreign flicks, Christmas favorites, and even Emirati short films to mark National Day. On the roster this month? McQueen, Birds of Passage, The Wife, and more. See the complete schedule here.
December 1 to April 6: Think Global
Impulse purchases, street food, cultural performances, extreme rides, and family-friendly attractions – if you want to pair the return of cooler weather with a little old-fashioned fun, Global Village is where it’s at. Even better? Jason Derulo is set to perform a free concert from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. on December 13th – all you have to pay is the AED 15 entry fee. Details on the ongoing 23rd edition can be found here.
December 2: Light 47 Candles
A little patriotism is in order as the UAE celebrates its 47th National Day. La Perle is offering 47 percent off tickets for all shows during the National Day week, while Prime Grill is hosting an educational evening dedicated to bridging the cultural gap between Emiratis and expatriates. And to indulge the big kid in you, look no further than Black Tap. All locations of this burger joint are serving a limited-edition crazy shake in all the colors of the UAE flag.
It’s not exactly cold, so maybe a trip to an enchanting winter wonderland will get you into the Christmas spirit. Entitled Festive Garden, these 18 days worth of festivities at Habtoor Palace will feature dazzling decorations, live music, daily visits from Santa, and plenty of culinary treats with seasonal flair. The market’s opening night is one to look forward to as there will be a tree-lighting ceremony alongside carol singing, courtesy of a choir from Emirates International School. Find more details here.
December 5 to 26: Escape to Paris
If you believe the “Paris is always a good idea” school of thought, this one’s for you. Every Wednesday – from 7 p.m. until 3 a.m. – sees La Serre take diners into the French capital with La Parisienne, complete with food, beverages, and music. Rife with French delicacies, this fine-dining experience is curated by chef Gauthier Gaschi and complemented by DJ Maxim B spinning his modern lounge signatures. For enquires or bookings, call (+971) 4 428 6969.
December 6: Dine and Dance
The Christmas edition of ‘Cirque De Cuisine’ returns to Atlantis The Palm. Amidst a full-fledged circus environment – complete with street performers and jugglers – guests will dine on both traditional Christmas dishes and signature creations from the likes of Nobu, Ronda Locatelli, Ossiano, Hakkasan, Bread Street Kitchen, and more. They can then hop over to The Lost Chambers Aquarium for dessert before joining the afterparty as resident DJs spin the night away. Book here.
December 6 to 8: Feed Your Sole
Sole DXB returns to d3, marking the seventh edition of a footwear, fashion, and lifestyle fair defying the notion that Dubai is devoid of street culture. Once again, the coolest streetwear brands will gather to unveil new designs as performances by the likes of Lion Babe and Nas entertain audiences. Elsewhere on the agenda? Book signings, film screenings, and industry talks – we’re most excited to hear Bünyamin Aydin of Les Benjamins speak about his collab with Puma. Learn more here.
December 7: Snap Happy
You constantly take photos with your smartphone – now do it right by attending the Introduction to Mobile Photography workshop at Gulf Photo Plus. The three-hour session will delve into essential camera controls, focus, and exposure lock in addition to teaching you the fundamentals of using light and shadow. Also included? How to develop a personal style, apps to conduct in-camera editing, accessories to enhance your phone’s capabilities, and more. Register here.
December 7 to 28: Bend, Stretch, Twist
You’ve done yoga in a studio, on the beach, under a full moon – but ever pushed back to downward dog surrounded by art? That is the premise of Art Meets Yoga, a unique series of yoga sessions taking place every Friday at The Workshop. Led by Anna Shahina, they will take place from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Participants will be treated to free coffee refills, too! Register here.
December 10 to 14: Head Downtown
There’s another cause for celebration as Renaissance Downtown Hotel turns one. And, to our delight, the fairer sex will be treated to a special ladies night at Morimoto on the 11th, during which they can avail discounts and free drinks amidst the soulful sounds of Layla Kardan. Other highlights? Poppy by David Myers will host an epic bash with R&B experience RNWV taking to the decks on the 13th, followed by an unplugged session at BASTA! on the 14th. Find more details here.
December 12: See Them Play
Christmas comes with an innovative twist as pianist Alexandra Dariescu brings The Nutcracker and I to Dubai Opera. A treat for the whole family, this unique take on The Nutcracker features Dariescu at a grand piano on stage while a ballerina performs behind a gauze screen. But that’s not all; hand-drawn digital animations will follow the music and engage with both the pianist and ballerina as they ‘dance’ across the screen. Book here.
December 13 to 15: Prep for Party Season
Liven up your holiday wardrobe by making a pit stop at the latest pop-up by The Amanqi Edit. Here, you can shop both fine and high-fashion pieces by emerging labels such as Indira Jewelry, Bedouin Studios, LOU by Hebatullah, and W by Whyte. The event is the fifth in The Amanqi Edit’s pop-up series in Dubai and will take place at Society Cafe & Lounge in Jumeirah. Find more details here.
December 14: Party on The Palm
Women the world over are still swooning over Enrique Iglesias and, to the delight of his Dubai fans, he’s returning for a 90-minute performance this month. In town to mark the opening of The Pointe – a new waterfront destination in Palm Jumeirah – the Spanish popstar will headline a program of music and entertainment that kicks off at 4 p.m. Buy your tickets here.
December 14 to 15: Listen Up
The middle of the month will see The Yard Sessions return for a second year at Alserkal Avenue with a focus on regional bands playing original music. Kicking it off will be a performance by Jordanian band JadaL from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on December 14th, followed by the likes of Ghaliaa, The Deer Hum, Jamie Wrecs, Counting in Spanish, Amjad Shakir, Monteath, and Seventh Sea performing the next day. Find more details here.
December 15: Learn Something New
Ayurveda is the most ancient form of herbal and holistic medicine known to man, but surprisingly, many are still completely oblivious to its benefits. If you can relate, join the Introduction to Ayurveda session at Alserkal Avenue. Taking place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., it will cover the basics of Ayurveda as well as how to incorporate it into your daily life. You’ll also learn how food choices can prevent diseases of the body and mind. E-mail email@example.com to register.
December 15 to 19: Dine at a Supermarket
INKED pop-ups are always a good idea, and the next in the series will be no exception. Entitled Dinner in Aisle 14, it will host diners in a makeshift supermarket aisle that has been stocked with upscale food products from Korea, Japan, and Thailand. The menu, meanwhile, will recreate staples in Asian cuisine through the use of distinctive ingredients from 1004 Gourmet. Book your spot here.
December 20: Journey Back
The Vintage Film Night series at Courtyard Playhouse is always a treat for cinephiles, and this edition is no exception as Miracle on 34th Street will be screened in honor of the festive season. The story of this 1947 comedy-drama takes place between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day in New York City, and focuses on the impact of a department store Santa Claus who claims to be the real deal. It stars Maureen O’Hara and John Payne. RSVP here.
December 20 to 28: Be Merry
An abra ride with Santa, a giant snowball zone, an interactive Christmas tree, food stalls, live music, and plenty of gingerbread houses – the festive cheer carries on, this time at the annual Festive Market on ‘Fort Island’ in Madinat Jumeirah. Inspired by the Christmas markets found across Europe, it will be open daily from noon to late. To learn more, click here.
December 22: Discover Yourself
Nothing can match the level of peace induced by a full moon, so take it one step further with the beachside Full Moon Yoga session at Talise Spa in Madinat Jumeirah. It promises to unite your body, mind, and spirit as the sound of waves is complemented by soothing classical music during this energetic journey of self-discovery. To learn more, call (+971) 4 366 6818 or click here.
December 26 to February 2: Treat Yourself
Over 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. Learn more here.
December 31: Ring in 2019
As 2018 draws to a close, you’ll be wondering how to spend New Year’s Eve, what to wear to wherever you’re headed, which celebrities you can look to for sartorial inspiration, how to incorporate 2019’s Color of the Year into your home, and what trends you can expect in the new year across fashion, beauty, and weddings – we’ll report on it all, and then some.