You’ve got out a plan to visit Dubai and have decided what to see and what to do. But do you know when is the best season to visit Dubai so you can really enjoy your time here? I try to cover some of the most asked questions on every tourist’s mind about the best time to visit Dubai.
The United Arab Emirates is known for being one of the hottest countries during the summer. It’s no surprise as it is a desert, but I encourage you to come here and see how beautiful the streets are, they are lined with flowers and trees. All a part of the government to make the country a better place to live.
When is the best season to visit Dubai?
Dubai weather is very predictable even if you’ve lived here for a year or two. November to February is “winter”. Not much of winter if you’d compare to other countries with temperatures going down 14 degrees Celcius at the most. The summers are from May to August. This the hottest season with July and August being almost unbearable if you even have to spend a couple of hours outside.
The months between March and April, September and October are what I’d like to call as Spring months. The weather is pleasant enough to head outdoors and this is the time when you’ll find the locals opting for alfresco seating areas.
The best time to travel to Dubai would be during winter between November to February. If you would like to visit during the coldest months, book your tickets for December or January. However, bear in mind that this is one of the most crowded times as this is also when tourists flock to the country.
However, it depends on the purpose of your trip to choose which season will be best for your stay. No doubt, if you would like to experience outdoors, winter will always be the best choice.
Festivals/ Activities in Dubai:
While festivals are a year-round thing in Dubai, there are some exclusive events that happen on specified timings.
- Gitex: Taking place in October, Gitex is an electronics exhibition that technology geeks will enjoy! Reputed brands like Sony, HP, and the likes take part in the exhibition and display their latest range of products. Most products are even paired with accessories and sold for throwaway prices! The offers even run in electronic stores all over Dubai. The event runs for 4 days on different dates every year. A quick Google search will let you know the next event dates.
- Gulfood: This event prides itself in being the biggest food and beverage show that happens yearly in Dubai World Trade Centre. The time is usually in February and dates vary every year. F&B companies from all over the world set up stalls in the exhibition center and display their offerings to prospective customers. The hall is divided by countries so the visitor has easy access to their areas of interest. This is one of the events I attend every year to know more about the food industry and the trends for each year
- Arabian Travel Market: Like Gulfood is for food, this one is for those in the travel and hospitality industry. It was my first time attending the ATM in 2019 and I was spellbound with the number of companies showcasing their services, talks on trends, and the future of the travel industry. This is a must for anyone interested in travel or if you are in the relevant industry.
- Dubai Summer Surprises is a month-long festival during the summer months in the form of discounted tourist attraction tickets, offers for shopping, and activities mainly targeted for families in Dubai. The festival happens throughout the city and is from July to August.
- Dubai Shopping Festival is during winter in Dubai and is celebrated with fireworks, concerts and shows, offers and discounts for friends and families. It usually runs from December until February each year in various locations all over Dubai. If you would like to know more about shopping in Dubai, read on for the best places to shop in Dubai.
Best time to visit Dubai for shopping:
Although Dubai is often touted as the most expensive city, shopping need not really be an expensive affair if you shop in the right places and do so wisely. Below are some of the places to shop for traditional items and souvenirs.
- Global Village: Coinciding with Dubai Shopping Festival, Global Village is a large festival that is outdoors. Every country has a pavilion with thousands of stalls located inside, each displaying the country’s special items. Though prices are sometimes hiked for tourists, you can bargain or ask around for prices in nearby stalls selling the same item before purchasing. Click here for my ultimate guide to Global Village, Dubai
- Meena Bazaar: Since Dubai houses a majority of Indian and Pakistani nationalities, high-quality clothes are exported from these countries to bazaars like Meena Bazaar. Visiting the bazaar will make you feel like you’re in a small part of India itself. The best way to make a purchase is to haggle to the max! Don’t hesitate or feel shy as most of the sellers quote at least 50% above the cost price.
I’ve purchased many outfits for only AED 250 when the original price quoted was AED 500! Keep in mind that tourists are targeted in these areas to make extra money easily.
- Naif market: If you are looking for cheap souvenirs or traditional outfits like abaya or jalabiya, look no further and head to Naif Market in Deira. This is again a bazaar setting like the previous one and you do need to haggle a lot.
Don’t visit during the weekends and avoid evenings as that’s when these souqs is most crowded. Afternoons are usually empty but some shops may be closed for lunch.
- Malls: If you like to shop indoors, Dubai has a range of malls that run discounts. City Centres are located in almost every part of the city, sometimes having 12-hour offers that are 75-90% off on products. A smart way to shop during this time is to always keep a check on these malls or subscribe to their website to receive offers through SMS or email.
Read below for a complete breakdown of what to do in Dubai during any time of the year.
Fun things to do in Dubai during winter:
Apart from being the best time to go to Dubai, listed below are some best things to do in Dubai for FREE! Yes, that’s right. Dubai is often known as being the most expensive place to visit, but it is totally possible to cut on expenses here. Read some ways to enjoy the best of the weather in Dubai below:
Watch the Dancing Fountains with a view of the tallest building in the world.
I always mention this on any list, even if it is the top 10 things to do in Dubai or if you are only in Dubai for a day. The reason is, the fountains are beautiful to watch and an absolute Dubai must see! (You need to crane your neck a little, but it’s totally worth it)
Ride the Abra!
This isn’t entirely free, but just costs a dirham per person. What you get is a scenic view of Old Dubai. Best if traveling in the evening.
Route 1: Deira Old Souk Abra Station to Bur Dubai Abra Station. (5-12 AM)
Route 2: Sabkha Abra Station to Deira Old Souk Abra Station. (24 hours)
Eat from outdoor food trucks at Last Exit!
Literally, the last exit when going from Dubai and Abu Dhabi, this place has a great lineup of food trucks where you can try some new dishes that make the food scene of Dubai
Climb the mountain
Feeling adventurous? Make a trip to Jebel Hafeet or Jebel Al Jais, both known for beautiful views of the city. (It gets cooler when you head up so pack warmer clothes)
BBQ in Dubai
Fancy making your own food? Barbecue is the way! There’s no better joy than having food cooked by your own hands. Safa Park, Jumeirah Beach Park, Mamzar, and Creekside Park have facilities for barbecue stations. This is also one of my favorite free things to do in Dubai!
Watch the sunset or sunrise
Go walking or set a picnic during sunrise/sunset with your loved ones at the beach. Also, grab a Karak Tea (one of the must things to try from the food in Dubai) This time, you won’t have to worry about the heat 😉
Start a bonfire
Do this with a group of friends and enjoy sharing stories with a round of s’mores. There’s a great write-up on Time Out Dubai featuring the top camping spots in the country. (Click here to read)
Best things to do in Dubai during summer:
Being the hottest season in the country, summers in Dubai are mostly spent indoors. This is also the time when most people are away on their annual leave or go on staycations (more on that later…)
If you want to look at it the positive way, this is also the time when tourist attractions, hotels, and malls put in their best discounts to lure customers since this is there “off period”. If you really want to travel to Dubai on a budget, then I would recommend choosing this as the best time to go to Dubai.
It doesn’t have to be all bad though. I mean, I have survived a lot of summers here when I was younger. But then, summer back then was different from summer now with temperatures soaring to the late 40s degree Celcius.
Using an aircon is a must in Dubai! Rest assured, being the generous country that it is, the UAE has all air-conditioned areas. Public transport, malls, all indoor attractions, even the bus stations have an air conditioner!
- Visit the malls during summer or cool yourself with water activities such as Wild Wadi or Aquaventure Waterpark. Click here to view an exciting deal in Dubai’s best water-themed park.
- You can also visit the much loved Ski Dubai at the Mall of the Emirates to escape the heat and ski your way like it’s winter! (too bad Dubai never gets any snow!)
- Of course, the tallest building in the world is air-conditioned. So make use of the fewer crowds and great discounts to visit the Burj Khalifa! The best time to visit Burj Khalifa is of course during the sunset so you have a chance to see what the view’s like both when it’s day and night! Click here to view tickets for At the Top.
- Not to forget, Dubai has plenty of restaurants offering different cuisines for all budget types. One of the ways to spend summer in Dubai is to eat your way and heart through the city. I’ve visited many restaurants in Dubai and have compiled my experiences at most of them here.
Places to visit near Dubai for a staycation:
The other option to spend the summer in Dubai is to stay at some of their beautiful properties. Each offering their own set of experiences unique to the hotel/resort. For all those tourists or locals looking for places to visit from Dubai, the nearby emirates offer great choices.
Rove at the Park: Dubai Parks and Resorts is a popular attraction in places to visit in Dubai with kids. Since it is quite a drive from Dubai, there is now an option to stay at Rove The Park when you have decided to visit the theme park.
I always recommend Rove Hotels as having tried them personally, I believe it is the best option for a budget traveler who doesn’t want to compromise on quality. The hotel is also very instagrammable and has friendly staff who are always ready to help. Click here to look at the prices of Rove at the Park.
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Villas: Another for the families visiting Dubai, Park Hyatt is located on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. The resort has kid-friendly activities in addition to delicious options to dine at. Saadiyat Island is a very nice getaway from Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Since it’s an expensive holiday, I strongly suggest this for luxury travelers. Read about my experience here.
Jumeirah at Etihad Towers: To tick looking at Abu Dhabi city from its highest viewing point; Observation Deck at 300, book a night at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers. The hotel is for the mid-range budget travelers with a room for around AED 500 currently. Click here to view their prices and reviews.
Al Bait Sharjah: Want to experience the traditions and heritage of UAE? Then head to the cultural capital of the country; Sharjah. Located right in the heart of the emirate, Al Bait has its own museum and offers a luxurious way of living life the Emirati style.
Built from houses belonging to important families of the UAE, Al Bait literally translates to The Home in Arabic.
Kingfisher Lodge: This lodge by far offers my favorite experience. Staying in a tent in the middle of the desert surrounded by wildlife? Yes, please.
The experience is intimate with a private pool and tent all to yourself and is possibly one of the best places to travel from Dubai. I would recommend this for Muslim travelers or ladies looking to have a hijab free holiday as all tents are located far from each other and only need a buggy to travel around the area. Click here to view more details about Kingfisher Lodge.
I hope this guide helps you experience important places in Dubai and ensures that your Dubai holidays have only sweet memories. Whichever season you may visit in, Dubai sure has lots of activities planned for you!
Until then, happy traveling! xx
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