Oh, the weather outside is… Actually pretty perfect, mamas (okay, we’ve even heard people complaining that it’s too cold)! Now that the temperature has dropped, it’s prime time in Dubai to brave the world outside and embrace the holiday season with the family. Whether you’re looking for ways to fill the days now that the kiddos are on their school break, or you’ve got houseguests you want to impress – check out a few ways to make the most of our desert city over the next few weeks…
A carolling we will go
Head down to Hilton Dubai, JBR on Christmas Eve , December Thursday 24 December, for a very festive Sing-a-long and maybe even a visit from Santa with a bag full of gifts for the littles! Starts at 5pm and is totally free – just show up, mamas!
Hit the slopes
Don’t write off that winter wonderland just yet! Treat the kids to a white Christmas by heading over to Ski Dubai, our huge indoor ski resort at Mall of the Emirates, where they’ll be able to slip and slide down the powdery slopes. With the option to either ski or snowboard, once they’re all tuckered out you can check out the penguin enclosure as well.
Meet the big red man
Santa’s deserted most of his posts in Dubai, but there are still a couple of places you can meet Mr. Claus, and some of his gang. Find out if you’re on the naughty or nice list by heading over to Emirates Golf Club before Saturday 26 December or Ski Dubai, Times Square Mall (for a seriously realistic Santa, complete with his own white beard) and WAFI Mall, before 24 December. Pay a little extra and you’ll even be able to get a photograph with the polar celebrity himself.
See a show
Switch out the kiddos’ dramatics for something a little more professional. We’ve got a couple of fantastic musicals hitting the golden city, including the very Christmassy Miracle on 34th Street and Cinderella, the quintessential end of year panto. Tickets are getting snapped up quick, so better get on it, mamas!
Pitch a tent
Now thing’s have cooled off a little, heading out into the desert doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. Grab some camping equipment, and don’t skimp on the s’mores ingredients – the weather’s perfect for going trekking with the fam. The area around Big Red’s always a favourite, and perfect for a sneaky Facebook shot, while Al Qudra Lakes are simply gorgeous (just make sure to clean up after yourselves – there are rumours of litterbugs leaving more than footprints behind). We’ve whipped up an in-depth guide to camping to help you out.
Silver screen fun
There’s a load of fantastic family films out this holiday season, including the long awaited new Star Wars film (seriously, go see it). Other family friendly offerings include Pixar’s new film The Good Dinosaur and The Peanuts Movie, which opens on Thursday 24 December. Keen for a cozy Christmas in, instead? We’ve got our go-to festive films, just for you and the littles!
Embark on a journey
Put the iPads away mama, Kite Beach’s gorgeous new play area The Journey is the perfect place for a family outing. Full of lush foliage, waterfalls and wooden jungle gyms, it’s a world away from the bustle of Dubai and even offers archery, cooking and arts classes. Designed to help children reconnect with nature away from technology, we’re tempted to sign up for their urban forest school ourselves.
Mess around on boats
We’re sure you’ve seen the little yellow boats zipping through the Marina and we’re letting you in on a secret – they’re part of The Yellow Boats sightseeing tour. Now’s as good a time as any to discover Dubai differently with the little ones, and these trips cover everything, from the Marina, to the Palm, to the Burj Al Arab. They run a number of 90 minute rides daily and adult tickets are priced at AED 280, while child tickets are priced at AED 210. Book it online here.
Nobody does brunch quite like Dubai and it’s a given that Christmas Day brunch will be nothing short of spectacular. There are a number of family friendly offerings with Christmas activities and trimmings city at Accents, Beachcombers, Bab Al Shams, Reform Social & Grill and Riva Beach Club (note: Santa Claus included.) For the Christmas meal guide to end all Christmas meal guides, see our write up here.
Hit the sales
Been saving your dirhams for the sales mamas? Well The Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) starts on January 1st and promises one entire month of mega savings, discounts, deals and the chance to pick up some serious bargains. On across the city at all of the malls and stores there’ll be events from flash mobs to raffle draws plus amazing fireworks to make sure that everything goes with a bang (apart from the budget)!
Picnic in the park
Get those turkey leftovers transformed into a picnic feast and enjoy some of Dubai’s most beautiful grassy areas mamas! Safa 2 Park near the Al Manara Road is the perfect place for little tots – with 3 shaded playgrounds and oodles of secure space, it’s just the right size for a good run-around without the fear of getting lost. And our other current fave? The amazing park at JLT, complete with zip wire, acres of green, green grass (and so many playground rides that the littles will be spoilt for choice). Check out our list of other parks in the city here.
Let there be fireworks
If you’ve never seen a fireworks display in Dubai mamas then prepare yourselves for a real treat. This city doesn’t do things by halves, and fabulous fireworks on New Years Eve are no exception! This year a domino of fireworks will start at Downtown Dubai and go along the entire coastline – finishing at The Beach, JBR, where big screens will play out all of the city’s festivities. Oh and the best bit? It’s all free! Just make sure you get a spot early – the traffic can be a little crazy. From late afternoon on 31st December (if you fancy Zumba, Yoga by the sea and meditation on the beach!) to sunrise, welcoming the new year.
Grab a meal deal
Italian Festive Feast
Segreto, Souk Madinat, is always a treat and until Saturday 26 December you can enjoy festive specials either a la carte or as a four course set menu for AED 350, fabulous!
Where: Segreto, Souk Madinat
When: Till Saturday, 26 December, from 6pm onwards
Booking: Ring 04 432 3232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Long Festive Breakfast
Take a well deserved break from the cooking and enjoy the Festive Breakfast on the 26th December at Accents, at the InterContinental Dubai Marina. They’re putting on a festive spread with an awesome buffet breakfast with live cooking stations for just AED 138 AND it’s available between 6.30am and 3pm, brilliant!
Where: Accents, at the InterContinental Dubai Marina
When: Saturday, 26, from 6.30am to 3pm
Price: Adults AED138, children under 5 are free, 6-12 50% discount
Booking: 04 446 6777
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