Dubai: Nine Events and Festivals You Must Experience

It could be said that Dubai extends extravagant choices for locals as well as tourists to plump from. And, more often than not, these myriads of skyscrapers to gaze on, boardwalks to saunter on and shopping arcades to splurge on, would leave you bewildered. Along with witnessing the sunset from the Burj Khalifa and skydiving over the Palm Jumeirah, you could also experience events exclusive to this Emirate. If you have been looking for what-to-do suggestions for your Dubai trip, dive further into this piece and kick your itinerary up a notch.

1. Dubai Shopping Festival

A celebration of the shopping culture, the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) is an inviting time for tourists from varied parts of the world. This month-long affair has its hotspots as one gets to experience world-class concerts, outdoor markets, fireworks displays and much more. However, the draw is the heavily discounted merchandise, whether you want kidswear or designer handbags, this festival is an ideal shopping destination for everyone. Apart from getting an extensive retail therapy session, you can also devour some fantastic food and revel at the carnivals.

Date: December 2020 – January 2021

Location: Multiple Venues (some hotspots are The Mall of Emirates Global Village, Al Seef, and La Mer)

Things to do for families: Shop your heart out and get exclusive deals on jewellery, apparel, and home decor. There are diverse interesting activities for kids too like Children of World Olympiad and Circus shows to keep them entertained.

Things to do for youngsters: Attend live concerts by famous artists and singers from all around the world. What more? Discover heavy discounts on the gadgets that you wish to buy.


2. Art Dubai

Art Dubai is an international art fair and its 14th edition would be transpiring over the last week of March 2020 at the Madinat Jumeirah. This prodigious exhibition showcases artworks in varied forms such as paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations, and photography. From 41 different countries, the awe-inspiring compositions are displayed across four galleries:

– The Contemporary section features some established and emerging artists – The Modern section highlights the influential work done over the 20th century from the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa – The Bawawaba section focuses on conceptual work based on a ‘Global South’

– And, the Residents section is expressed as a dialogue between the UAE and Latin America.

The exceptional curation of Art Dubai gives it the ability to stimulate indispensable conversations. A vacation during this time will be paradisal for art aficionados.

Date: 25 March 2020 – 28 March 2020

Location: Madinat Jumeirah, 6 King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud St – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Things to do for families: A lot of family-based art programs are organised, especially for kids, where they can showcase their talent.

Things to do for youngsters: These galleries will give you the chance to build your Instagram profile with some great art. But, make sure to take permission before doing so.

Credits: The National

3. Dubai World Cup

Since 1996, the Dubai Racing Club has held an annual thoroughbred horse race at the Meydan Racecourse. Known as the Dubai World Cup (DWC), this social sporting event is the key highlight of the Dubai racing season. Experience nervous anticipation and thrilling sensation at DWC which hosts globally celebrated horses which are also some of the best horses in the world. One can choose to watch the race at home on their screens, but to watch this race live is truly exhilarating.

Date: 28 March 2020

Location: Meydan Racecourse

Things to do for families: At this race, children can be introduced to the world of horses and the event serves as a great outing for the whole family to enjoy.

Things to do for youngsters: Wouldn’t it be cool to put stories with some of the fastest racehorses on your social media? Also, you can enjoy some food and drinks with friends while watching the competition.

Credits: Racing Post

4. Hatta Hills Run

The Hatta Hills Run is one of the prominent sporting events of Dubai that offers breathtaking scenery through palm tree villages unto the glorious, green-watered Hatta lake. It commences at the JA Hatta Fort Hotel and ends at the Hatta Dam. One can choose from different scenic stretches like the 21.1km half marathon, the 10km route, the 5km route and 2.5 km route to run on. There are no age restrictions so anyone can participate in this event and have a great time running with families or friends.

Date: 6 March 2020

Location: JA Hatta Fort Hotel, Hatta

Things to do for families: The event offers separate running courses to both adults and kids along with refreshments and cool goodies.

Things to do for youngsters: Compete with your friends or make new ones, Hatta Hills Run is a great platform for socializing as well as for making memories of a lifetime.

Credits: Super Sports UAE

5. World Expo 2020

The Expo 2020 came to life when the Bureau International des Expositions awarded Dubai as the host in 2013. It is a 173 days international fair, that is dedicated to discovering solutions of the fundamental challenges by showcasing the intricacies of the theme through multiple engaging activities. This time, the theme of the expo will be “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”. If you have dreamed of seeing the whole world in one place, book your round trip tickets to this Middle Eastern metropolis before it’s too late.

Date: 20 October 2020 – 10 April 2021

Location: Expo Road Dubai South, Jebel Ali

Things to do for families: Various family-friendly shows to be organised and a separate “exercise gaming” section to be set up for the kids to enjoy the world of esports gaming.

Things to do for youngsters: For new entrants to the world of entrepreneurship, the Expo will assist them in getting new ideas and opportunities.

Credits: The National

6. Dubai Food Festival

The Dubai Food Festival (DFF) has been an inviting venture for epicureans since 2014. This 18-days fiesta will give you the chance to immerse yourself into the culinary expertise and extravaganza. From hidden gems to haute cuisine, give your buds an exclusive taste of seven-course meals curated by Michelin star chefs.

Date: 26 February 2020 – 14 March 2020

Location: Multiple Venues (some hotspots are JBR, City Walk and Jumeirah Beach)

Things to do for families: Get to taste the worldwide cuisines and also learn the BBQ skills under the expertise of masters. Special kids zone is also set up for the children to immerse themselves in different activities.

Things to do for youngsters: What can be more awesome than the combo of delicious food and unlimited music? Now you can relish your favorite cuisine while grooving to the music of renowned DJs and bands.

Credits: Shutterstock

7. Dubai Summer Surprises

The Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) presents the best offers to residents and visitors looking to splash out. From waterparks and game shows to transportation and merchandise, one can avail great offers basically on everything. If you have been looking for something special to do over the summer of 2020, then this festival is one of the reasons you should fly your family down to Dubai.

Date: 25 June 2020 – 8 August 2020

Location: Across the city of Dubai

Things to do for families: Go on a shopping spree and put your hands on the sizzling sales across all the products. As for kids, interactive games and creative workshops are organized to engage them.

Things to do for youngsters: Buy the Dubai Summer Surprises Pass and get 60% off on over 30+ attractions across Dubai. From glam performances at Bollywood Park to exciting rides at IMG Worlds of Adventure, get to enjoy every thrilling activity at a half price.

Credits: Rayna Tours

8. Dubai Fitness Challenge

Just as being healthy has gained increasing significance, the Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC) celebrates fitness and wellness in its utmost form. The DFC is a two-year-old tradition, where residents (temporary or permanent) are challenged to complete 30 minutes of daily physical activities for 30 days every year. During DFC season, there are over 13000 classes and workouts such as community runs, mass yoga gatherings as well as triathlons. Along with these tasks, this month-long event also offers Zumba, Spinning, Pilates and many more activities to its participants.

Date: October 2020 – Nov 2020 (Exact Dates TBA)

Location: Fitness Villages at Kite Beach and Festival City Mall

Things to do for families: Go for a community-run and some family fun. A plus-point is that some of these are accessible to everyone without cost, so don’t be shy to flex your biceps or do some asanas here.

Things to do for youngsters: If you’re visiting with friends, you may not want to miss the triathlons at this event.

Credits: The National

9. Diwali in Dubai

The festival of lights, Diwali is unexpectedly popular within the Emirate of Dubai. During this festive week, you can experience the magnificent fireworks from the Dubai Creek or watch the theatrical shows at the Bollywood themed park. You can also get henna designs on your hands or form colourful rangoli while getting entertained by the dance and musical performances. Every Diwali occasion in Dubai has something new to offer and that gives you one more reason, to be in the city around Diwali.

Date: 14 November 2020

Location: Across the city of Dubai

Things to do for families: Visit the Diwali Mela at Al Seef, where you can buy handmade diyas, decorative items, jewellery and traditional clothing.

Things to do for youngsters: Enjoy concerts by iconic singers and artists or visit a remarkable restaurant along with your friends to enjoy a grand dinner from a special Diwali menu.


Are you contemplating Dubai in the next week or next month? Well, whenever you are visiting this land of diverse culture, you won’t find yourself running out of festivities to be a part of this year. So, don’t forget to mark your calendars with these happening events and maybe plan your trip around these amazing festivities.

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