Dubai is a city where you can always find something to do, thanks in part to the many events held there in a packed calendar throughout the year. From sporting events to trade fairs, from festivals to concerts to shopping, almost every day of the year there is an event in Dubai that will satisfy everyone.
It’s easy enough to say when to go to Dubai: the UAE city has a scorching desert climate, summers are so hot that going outdoors is practically impossible. Therefore, the best time of year to visit Dubai is undoubtedly the winter, also to escape the low temperatures.
In winter in Dubai, the temperatures are ideal: they never drop below 25-28 degrees, the sky is always clear and blue, and the days are much longer than in Europe as the city is at a much lower latitude.
It is easy to walk around in a T-shirt, the open air is great and even on the beach you never suffer from the heat. The water in the Persian Gulf is still warm and there is no difficulty bathing.
Christmas and New Year are by far the best periods, but they can be very expensive as far as flights and hotels are concerned. Ideally, leave just before the holidays or just after Epiphany (January is also a great time to take advantage of the Dubai Shopping Festival discounts).
Going to Dubai in other seasons, however, can be a forced choice due to several factors. Autumn and spring are borderline seasons because October and March are very hot, while summer is definitely not recommended because of the extreme temperatures.
Staying at the beach is impossible and so is walking around the city, but Dubai is fortunately very well equipped: the metro is fully air-conditioned, as are the buses and even the public transport stops.
Needless to say, the malls are all air-conditioned, and many of them are directly connected to the metro by walkways, which are also air-conditioned.
Visiting Dubai in summer is therefore more complicated, but if there are no alternatives, it is still feasible, and especially economical as August is low season due to these factors.
It starts with the Dubai Shopping Festival, also known by its acronym DSF, held every January in various locations around the city. It is a global event where shops and malls offer discounts and raffles. More than an event, it is a widespread celebration in the city, many shopkeepers offer numerous deals, and doing business at this time of year is easier than ever.
Also of interest are the Market Outside The Box, held in Downtown Dubai, and the more sectoral Arabian Travel Market and International Property Show: the latter is held every year in April and allows visitors and traders to keep an eye on the latest property trends in the city.
Contrary to popular belief, Dubai’s music scene is quite rich, thanks in part to the fact that many foreigners live in the city. Multiculturalism is also reflected in the events, such as the Dubai Tango Festival, held every year in May since 2008, or the Middle East Film and Comic Con, the meeting point for thousands of fans of popular culture and entertainment in the Middle East, where the public is given the opportunity to meet artists, writers, directors and entrepreneurs from the entertainment and show business.
The largest music festival in the Middle East could only be held in Dubai: it is RedFestDXB, launched in 2014 with the likes of the Lumineers and Jessie J.
RedFestDXB lasts for two days, and on the stages specially set up in the Dubai Media City Amphiteatre area, past editions have featured The Script, Iggy Azalea, Bastille, Rita Ora, John Newman and many others, as well as world-class DJs such as Mark Ronson and Zane Lowe, Marwin Humes, Wilkinson and Trevor Nelson.
Next to the stages you will find the best street food vendors from all over the Middle East, and you can admire several really interesting interactive installations.
Jazz music fans, on the other hand, look forward every year to the Dubai Jazz Fest, which started way back in 2003; artists of the calibre of Santana, Sting, James Blunt, David Gray, Peter King, James, Mike Stern and many others have taken turns on its stages. The location for the Dubai Jazz Fest is also the Dubai Media City Amphiteatre.
Dubai has now become home to many sporting events, starting with the Masters League Championship in cricket, a sport that has little global following but is extremely popular in the city, given its large Indian community. Then there is the Dubai Marathon, held every year in early January to take advantage of the excellent weather conditions at this time of year in the city.
The race is a wonderful showcase for Dubai and every year more and more participants take part, including in the non-competitive 10-kilometre race held alongside the official marathon.
February sees the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, one of the most exclusive golf tournaments, in which the big names of the sport take part. Also in February, it is the turn of the Dubai Tour, a cycle race in stages that traces the great tours of Europe, and the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, a tennis tournament featuring the world’s greatest tennis players.
But in the city the first few months of the year are all about the Dubai World Cup, the most important equestrian event in the region, a tribute to the Arabian people’s love of horses that over the years has become one of the biggest sporting and social events in the UAE.
The Dubai World Cup takes place on the last Saturday in March at the iconic Meydan Racecourse, and is the richest day of competition in the world, with a combined prize pool of as much as USD 30 million.
City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.