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Winter in Dubai: Reasons To Love It & What To Do [2023]

Thinking about spending a few days in winter in Dubai? Great choice! It’s the best time to explore everything the city has to offer. Check out these ideas to enjoy Dubai at its best.

Winter is the best time to visit Dubai, no question about it. Summer in Dubai is boiling hot, humid, and suffocating — and walking outside can feel like walking on the surface of the sun.

Temperatures in the summer easily surpass 40 degrees Celsius (104º F), which leaves you no choice but to take shelter in your hotel or one of the many air-conditioned malls scattered throughout the city.

A couple in front of an old-looking building in Al Seef, Dubai, inserted in a post about Winter in Dubai.

But Dubai in winter is almost like an entirely different city. Temperatures drop and the place comes to life with renewed energy brought in by the cool breeze. It’s also when the crowds of tourists start arriving from all over the world!

Locals and foreigners alike flock to the parks, beaches, and streets to enjoy the best season of the year.

An Introduction to Dubai Winter

What are the winter months in Dubai?

Dubai’s winter months go from mid-December until the end of February. During these months the temperatures are cooler and the weather is more enjoyable. Bear in mind that this is the high season, when crowds are bigger and prices can rise exponentially. No place is perfect!

However, the period from mid-November through mid-December, and the month of March, are good times to visit Dubai too. Yes, temperatures start to rise but are still perfectly bearable, while the crowds start dwindling and prices drop.

How cold is Dubai in the winter?

Image by Holiday-Weather

Cold is not really the word I would use here! In the winter, the city is blessed with almost perfect weather

From December to the end of February, the average temperature in Dubai is around 20-25º Celsius (68-77º F) during the day. During the night it drops to the mid-teens (15-18º C / 59-64º F) I told you: perfect weather!

The coldest month in Dubai (cold being a relative term here) is January. The average temperature scratches 20ºC (67ºF) during the day and it’s about 14-15ºC (around 58º F) at night. How amazing is that!

Does it rain in Dubai in the winter? 

I take back what I said before: Dubai’s weather in the winter is almost perfect. Even though it only rains an average of 14 days a year in Dubai, this is likely to happen in winter. In fact, February is the wettest month. If it rains, it will be in the form of short but intense showers. But don’t worry, nothing that will impact your trip.

Does it snow in Dubai?

Believe it or not, there have been snowfalls in Dubai (the emirate, not the city itself). It’s a rare phenomenon, but snow has fallen on a few occasions on the UAE’s highest peak, Jebel Jais (1700 m). Located in Dubai emirate, it has temperatures dropping as low as -3º Celsius. Needless to say, the locals were ecstatic!

4 Reasons to Love Winter in Dubai

  1. The best events take place in the winter: Dubai Shopping Festival is one of the most popular, with discounts of up to 90% all over the city. There’s also the Dubai International Film Festival and Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championship. Foodies will love Taste of Dubai, then there’s the Dubai Jazz Festival… I could go on all day! All the coolest events (pun unintended) happen in the winter.
  1. Where else can you hit the beach and go skiing on the same day? The weather outside is beach-perfect, but if you get tired of the sun and are homesick for your favorite winter sport, that’s no problem. Head to the Mall of the Emirates and enjoy the snow in their huge indoor ski resort.
  1. New Year celebrations are out of this world! This is Dubai, after all. With their “go big or go home” philosophy, they have taken fireworks displays to a whole other level. And they keep getting better each year. There are no adjectives to describe it, just… just go.
  1. Enjoy the outdoors: All the best winter activities in Dubai take place outside, either on the streets or in nature. This is the perfect time to go on a safari, camp under the stars, or relax on the white-sand beaches of the Gulf. You can also visit the many city parks, walk around the Marina, and enjoy the outdoor markets and festivals. And these are just a few of the activities you can experience!

Best Things to do in Dubai in Winter

Visiting Dubai in winter is all about exploring the outdoors. You’ll be able to take part in all the activities that can’t be enjoyed during the summer! Maybe the outdoors is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about this city. However, there are tons of things to do in Dubai, both in the city and in its surroundings.

Go for a walk at these Outdoor locations

▶️ Dubai Marina – Loved by locals and tourists alike, the Marina is a great place to go for a stroll (or a run!).

There is a 7km palm-lined promenade, with yachts sailing the emerald waters on one side, and chic cafes and shops on the other. It’s all framed by the skyscrapers that make the city skyline shine bright at night. And it’s near the beach!

▶️ Al Seef – This charming district was developed to pay homage to Dubai’s history, combining traditional Arab architecture with modern services. Take a leisurely walk along Dubai Creek or get lost in the cute alleyways full of shops. You’ll find stores featuring both local artists and big fashion brands.

▶️ La Mer – One of Dubai’s top beachfronts, La Mer is a 2.5 km path along the white sand beaches of fancy Jumeirah. It offers tons of entertainment options: watersports, restaurants, bars, shops, and even a water park.

▶️ City Walk – A contemporary, fancy, and design-inspired open area in the heart of the city. You can walk along tree-lined avenues among shops with the most iconic brands in the world. You’ll also pass by gourmet restaurants and everything you can think of in terms of entertainment.

▶️ Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary – A great spot for a break from the city, this nature reserve attracts large numbers of migratory birds. However, it’s also home to flamingos, small mammals, and fish, all scattered around the salt flats, mangroves, and lagoons. Don’t forget to take your binoculars! The view of the flamingos against the backdrop of Dubai’s skyscrapers is unexpected and absolutely beautiful.

▶️ Al Fahidi – This charming historic district was built in the early 1900s, and it retains its traditional-looking buildings and alleys. It completely juxtaposes the futuristic look of the rest of the city! It’s home to the city’s oldest building, so it’s a fantastic place to get a sense of Dubai’s past.

➤ This Al Fahidi Walking Tour gives you a great introduction to the district, visiting the nearby souks, riding an abra across the creek, and trying tasty street food as you follow a guide around different attractions. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ Mushrif Park – Unlike most of the city’s parks that are beautifully manicured, Mushrif Park has a more wilderness feel to it. It features native shrubland amongst the native Ghaf trees. It’s a very popular weekend picnicking spot, and home to the treetop ropes course Aventura. It’s hard to believe such greenery exists close to the city!

Check Out the Traditional Souks

▶️ Souk Madinat Jumeirah – Is there anything more Middle-Eastern than walking around a colorful bazaar? This is like a luxurious version of a traditional Arabian souk (it’s Dubai, after all). It’s full of souvenir stands, global cuisine eateries, and stores selling everything from colorful lamps to carved traditional items.

There are treasures to be found. The outdoor walk is beautiful too, offering a perfect view of the Burj Al Arab. You can even go on a short boat tour around the canals if you feel like it!

▶️ Dubai Gold Souk and the other souks in Deira -The Dubai Gold Souk is one of Dubai’s main attractions. Souk means market, and this massive souk specializes in all kinds of objects and accessories…made in gold.

The nearby Dubai Souks are also very interesting and colorful. The Textile and Spices Souks are well worth the visit!

➤ This Old Town & Souks Guided Tour takes you to the three souks accompanied by a guide, which I highly recommend! You’ll also try street food, visit museums, and ride an abra across the creek. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Go For a Splash at These Dubai Waterparks

▶️ Atlantis Aquaventure – This is an immensely popular waterpark in Atlantis the Palm. It’s the biggest waterpark in the world!

You can get a shot of adrenaline at one of the many water slides or at the rapids of the tidal river. Otherwise, relax on the private beach, or explore the underwater world at the aquarium!

➤ I recommend buying your ticket in advance, especially if you’re visiting in the winter. With this ticket, you can skip the lines and get unlimited access to the Water Park and Aquarium. All in one. ➥ BUY TICKETS

▶️ Wild Wadi Waterpark – Wild Wadi is the largest water park in Dubai, located right next to the iconic Burj Al Arab. You’ll get pumped on endorphins on the many slides, roller coasters, and riptide rides. In fact, there are more than 30 adventures to choose from. It’s perfect for kids and adults alike.

➤ You can secure entry to the Wild Wadi Waterpark in advance with this full-day access ticket. All you have to do is show up and enjoy! ➥ BUY TICKETS

Boat Tours & Watersports

▶️ Boat tours in Dubai – Boat tours in Dubai take you along the coastline, so you can enjoy a stunning panorama of the city from the water. You’ll also get up close to some of the main attractions, like Ain Dubai and Burj Al Arab.

➤ This Dubai Speedboat Tour offers an exhilarating hour as you zip past the coastline. A guide will point to the main sights and you’ll get some fantastic photo ops from the water. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

➤ The Yacht Tour features a more relaxing experience. You’ll enjoy breakfast or BBQ while you glide past Dubai’s main landmarks, chilling on the deck. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ Jet ski – Jet skiing is incredibly popular in Dubai, and one of the most thrilling water activities in the city. You’ll get up close to different landmarks to take pictures, and drive your jet ski along Dubai’s skyline.

➤ This Jet Ski Tour of Dubai allows you to drive your very own jet ski after you’re briefed on the instructions and safety measures. You’ll enjoy great views and get to choose the departure time. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Enjoy These Theme Parks in Dubai

Dubai being Dubai, it’s home to some of the biggest theme parks in the world. It boasts several movie-themed parks that will delight children, as well as impressive cultural landmarks. Dubai theme parks aim to cater pretty much to all tastes and interests. Check out the best ones in the city!

▶️ Global Village – The whole world in a single space? You got it. At Global Village, you can explore wonders from all over the globe, and dive into their culture, cuisine, and art. You’ll also get to marvel at the recreations of world-famous landmarks. There are dozens of theme parks for all ages, live shows, food stands, and exhibitions.

➤ Don’t forget to get tickets in advance to skip the queues and get there early so you can make the most of this wondrous project. ➥ BUY TICKETS

▶️ Motiongate Dubai – This Hollywood-inspired theme park combines the best of three of the biggest motion picture studios: Columbia Pictures, DreamWorks, and Lionsgate. With exhilarating rides, amazing shows and performances, and movie-themed adventures, it makes for a fun-filled day.

➤ With this One Park Pass, you get unlimited access to all the rides, attractions, and performances across the park, and free parking at Dubai Parks and Resorts ➥ BUY TICKETS

▶️ Bollywood Parks – Rides and shows inspired by the colorful cinema industry from Mumbai, one of the biggest in the world. On top of fun for all ages, you can learn more about India’s leading film industry and drool over the mouth-watering food.

➤ Only 25 minutes from the Marina, Bollywood Parks is easy to reach. This is always something to be thankful for in Dubai! This Admission Pass will make it even easier to enjoy, with access to all the rides and shows in-store. ➥ BUY TICKETS HERE

▶️ Legoland – Take a trip back to your childhood in this amazing park. It features thousands of LEGO models and more than 40 theme rides! There’s a mix of indoor and outdoor attractions, including a water park, and the LEGO factory. Here you can see how LEGOS are made!

➤ With this LEGOLAND® Dubai One Park Pass, you get access to all the attractions in the park, the LEGO factory, and everything this park has to offer. ➥ BUY TICKETS

▶️ Miracle Garden – Launched on Valentine’s Day 2013, this is the largest natural flower garden in the world (of course, it’s Dubai!). A perfect getaway from the bustling city, Miracle Garden offers a quiet and relaxing space for a stroll around the colors and scents of over 100 million flowers.

There are flower-covered walls, pyramids, houses, and even a plane. A Dubai-sized extravaganza — only open from October until April.

➤ This Miracle Garden Ticket allows you to skip the lines and access the attraction immediately, without waiting time. You’ll then be able to stay at the garden for as long as you wish. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ Garden Glow – A gigantic garden with amazing artistic creations recreating both nature and city. It’s made of recyclable items that light up at night for an unforgettable show. The park also features performances by acrobats and other artists. Don’t forget to get skip-the-line tickets so you don’t have to wait in the sun!

➤ With the high season in full bloom, it’s always a good idea to plan in advance so you have more time to enjoy the park. Here you can get skip-the-line tickets and go straight in. ➥ BUY TICKETS

It’s the Perfect Beach Time!

The winter months in Dubai are perfect to hit the beach! Many hotels have their own private beaches, but there is no shortage of great public ones too.

La Mer is a long stretch of relaxing white-sand beach with a promenade that’s perfect for an evening stroll. Kite Beach, as the name implies, is the go-to beach for sports in general and kitesurfing in particular.

Jumeirah Open Beach is great for families, very clean and with amenities that include a public library with beanie bags to relax and get your beach reading done!

Sunset Beach is popular with surfers, right next to Burj Al Arab and with views of the Burj Khalifa. The Beach JBR, loved by both locals and tourists, it’s the closest public beach to the Marina, right next to restaurants and malls, and with pretty special sunsets.

If you want to add some luxury to your beach day, there is no shortage of beach clubs in Dubai either! 

These are a few of the best beach clubs in Dubai:

  • Nikki Beach Club, one of the best in town, with pristine white sand, a temperature-controlled pool, and fine dining options.
  • Beach by FIVE, with an infinity pool, a chandelier screaming Instagram, and stunning views of the Marina.
  • Bla Bla is a huge venue with everything you may need to stay all day and all night.
  • Zero Gravity, with a glass infinity pool to chill during the day, it turns into one of the hottest clubs in Dubai at night.

Escape to the Desert

The mild weather in Dubai in winter is perfect to try something not many get to try in life: go out into the desert. Dubai has the added bonus of having great dunes and landscapes very close to the city, although you will feel like light-years away. Try one of these experiences for a classy desert escapade.

▶️ Desert Safari –  Where in the world do you get to do a desert safari so close to a modern city like this?! You’ll get to ride through red sand dunes, enjoy a BBQ under the peaceful open sky, visit a Bedouin camp, ride camels, and a lot more… an experience to remember.

➤ This Premium Red Dunes, Camel Safari, & BBQ Tour takes you on a full-day adventure through the red dunes all the way to the exclusive Al Khayma Camp. There you’ll enjoy a feast of both local cuisine and desert activities. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

➤ The Heritage Land Rover Desert Safari is a full-day trip into the sand dunes. You’ll be driven in an open-roof, 1950s vehicle and visit the Conservation Reservation, besides spending time in a camp where you’ll have dinner and entertainment. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

👉 I’ve written a whole post about the best Dubai desert safari tours. Check it out!

▶️ Nara Desert Escape – This is a private and exclusive desert campsite that lives by the promise “Ask, and Nara will make it happen”. They put together unique experiences adapted to your taste and wishes. From luxury camping in the desert and dinner under the stars to stargazing with an astronomer, fire shows, or desert yoga, the options are plenty. Nara really lives up to their promise.

▶️ Sonara Camp is a chic restaurant offering world-class food prepared in an open-air kitchen under the open desert skies. They also offer pre and post-meal adventures, from drumming and archery to dune driving lessons. It’s perfect to spend a day in nature without resigning comfort and luxury.

▶️ Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa is a luxury hotel tucked in a green oasis, surrounded by palm groves and sand dunes. They offer exclusive activities to explore the surrounding desert, spa treatments to pamper you, and a pool with the most amazing views to relax. Tranquility at its finest. The best part? It’s only 45 minutes from the city!

Missing the Snow? 

▶️ Ski Dubai – If you miss the mountain slopes back home, don’t worry, just head to Ski Dubai, the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort. It features 5 ski runs of different gradients, lengths, and levels of difficulty. The longest run is 400 meters long!

And you don’t need to bring anything: just show up in your flip-flops fresh from the beach and they will give you all the clothes and equipment you need. Enjoy!

➤ You can book a 2-Hour or Full-Day Slope Session to keep improving your skills. Both equipment and all the necessary clothing are provided! ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ Chillout Ice Lounge – “Ice bar in Dubai” might sound like an oxymoron, but it’s also a very cool place! This is a unique venue showcasing ice sculptures and seating at below-zero temperatures.

No need to stuff your suitcases with big coats, you’ll get thermal clothes and everything you need at the entrance! This way you’ll just have to focus on walking around the ice art, and enjoying the homey food and hot beverages.

➤ Get your pass here and cool off at this unique bar and lounge, with warm clothes and a complimentary drink included. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ Snow Cinema – Wrap yourself up in a blanket, and cozy up with popcorn and a cup of hot chocolate to catch the latest blockbusters at Ski Dubai’s winterland movie theatre. Besides the chocolate and popcorn, the ticket includes clothes to keep you warm and wireless headphones.

Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Dubai

With Dubai’s tendency to overdo everything, can you imagine how incredible New Year celebrations get here? For you to have an idea, the 2014’s firework display was so spectacular that it set a Guinness World Record. Yeah. 

Now, visitors from all over the world flock to the city to welcome the new year. There are more celebrations than you can count, but some of the main spots to enjoy the fireworks are these below.

▶️ Burj Khalifa – Of course one of the main shows revolves around the tallest building in the world! People gather around the Dubai Mall Fountain to see the show, but it can be seen from pretty much everywhere. Burj Park is another gathering point, and so is Jumeirah Beach for a more panoramic view.

▶️ Palm Jumeirah – Crowds flock to the tree-shaped island eager to see the jaw-dropping show of fireworks, lights, and music. You can also enjoy it from right outside the island, the Marina or Jumeirah Beach.

▶️ Burj Al Arab – Completing the list of the biggest landmarks in the city, Burj Al Arab also sets up a spectacular display to start the new year. Many people spend the day at the nearby beaches and stay until nighttime to beat the crowds and enjoy the show. Sounds like a solid plan to me!

Take a Day Trip

▶️ Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi – One of the largest mosques in the world, this building is a magnificent work of architecture that will leave you stunned! It features over a thousand columns and 82 domes, 24-carat gold gilded chandeliers, and very elegant interiors. It’s also one of the very few mosques in the country that allows visits by non-Muslims.

➤ The Abu Dhabi Sightseeing Tour includes a visit to the Grand Mosque, as well as a drive around the Corniche, a stop at the presidential palace, and the Marina Mall. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ Parks at Yas Island – Yas Island is an entertainment destination in Abu Dhabi, home to several theme parks that will delight thrill-seekers. Ferrari World is the most famous, as it boasts the fastest ride in the world, Formula Rossa, besides other tens of experiences.

There’s also Yas Waterworld, a water park suited for all ages, and a Warner Bros.-themed park featuring all the favorite brand’s characters.

➤ This Yas Island Tour includes transfers from Dubai, and access to all three theme parks on a full-day excursion, with unlimited rides in most experiences. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ Al Ain Garden City – Al Ain is the second largest city in the Abu Dhabi emirate, and it’s known as the Garden City for the lush vegetation and green areas that you’ll find everywhere. Al Ain actually means spring, after all.

The city features many attractions, including the Al Ain Palace Museum, a mall, an adventure park, and the striking Jebel Hafeet Mountain.

➤ The Al Ain Garden City Tour is a full-day trip from Dubai that takes you to the main attractions and monuments of Al Ain with a knowledgeable guide. You’ll also enjoy a buffet lunch before heading back. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ Musandam Peninsula – Located in the northeastern point of the Arabian Peninsula, Musandam is right between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. While it’s connected to Dubai’s mainland, it’s actually part of Oman, and it offers one of the most incredible landscapes in the region.

Small fishing villages and towns dot the area, which is frequently compared to the Norwegian fjords. It offers spectacular cruising opportunities, one of the main activities enjoyed at the Musandam Peninsula.

➤ The Musandam Day Trip and Dhow Cruise is a great way to visit the area. The tour departs from Dubai and it includes a wonderful cruise along the rugged coastline, as well as snorkeling on an island and a scenic drive through the peninsula. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Winter in Dubai: What to Wear

Winter clothes in Dubai are very much like summer clothes everywhere else. To give you an idea, expect the temperatures you would expect in the summer in northern European countries, or the Midwest in the USA. 

As cosmopolitan as it might be, don’t forget that Dubai is a Muslim state, and respecting the local culture and rules should be a number one priority. The fact that there is a huge expat population, though, means more freedom and looser regulations than in other Middle Eastern countries. Most of the time you’ll actually be able to wear whatever you want!

Basic rules of thumb are that the torso should be covered (no tank tops, ladies), and trousers or skirts should cover your knees (yes, even for the boys). For women, a good piece of advice is to always have a pashmina or light scarf in your bag. This will help cover your head or shoulders whenever necessary.

At the beaches, hotel pools and water parks, you can wear your normal swimsuit, even bikinis are OK. However, you should 100% put some clothes on when you leave those places, like when you go to a restaurant, bar, shop, or inside the hotel.

When packing for Dubai, do not forget:

  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Wide-brimmed hat, especially if you’re planning to go to the desert
  • Long, light-weight trousers or skirts
  • Comfortable walking shoes or sandals
  • Loose, breathable, long-sleeve shirts
  • A light jacket and a couple of lightweight sweaters for the night
  • Pashmina or scarf for women
  • Swimsuit
  • Flip flops

Even though the change between the seasons in Dubai is not as sharp as in other places, they are still there, and the contrast between summer and winter is noticeable. Choosing the right time to go will greatly affect your trip to Dubai. If you want to enjoy the very best this city has to offer (and it has a lot to offer), definitely head there in the winter. Trust me. You can thank me later!

Winter in Dubai FAQ

What is the coldest month in Dubai?

January is the coldest month in Dubai, with an average temperature of around 20°C (68º F).

Does Dubai get cold in Winter?

It never gets cold in Dubai! During the winter, though, temperatures decrease considerably, averaging around 20-25º C (68-77º F) during the day and 14-15º C (around 58º F) at night.

Does Dubai have snowfall?

Surprising as it may sound, Dubai has experienced snowfall in the past. Jebel Jais, which is UAE’s highest peak at 5570 feet above sea level (1700m) and it’s located in Dubai emirate, has seen snow a few times. It’s a rare event, though, and it definitely does not snow in the city.

Can we swim in Dubai in December?

With an average temperature of 25°C (77° F), December is a great month to enjoy various activities in Dubai, including swimming. In fact, it’s one of the best months to visit the beach and go for leisurely swims in the Persian Gulf.

  • Stefania Guglielmi

    Stefania Guglielmi is the founder of Every Steph. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she's been traveling full-time since 2016 and has visited over 50 countries across 6 continents. She believes sustainable travel and luxury travel can go hand in hand and has been advocating for responsible tourism since 2014. Stefania's advice and travel experiences have been featured in important publications such as Business Insider, Refinery29, and Yahoo Money.

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