BEST THINGS TO DO IN DUBAI IN WINTER
Looking for a perfect, warm getaway in the winter? Well, if you are from the northern hemisphere, this city is the perfect warm winter destination and winter in Dubai is the best season to visit.
With only two distinct seasons, the winter season is the way to go! Winter in Dubai starts at the end of October and lasts until the beginning of April – so, luckily, there are a few months you can enjoy Dubai (because Dubai in summer is not the best time to visit).
But even during these months, the weather changes and so do the activities that are offered – however, overall, Dubai in winter is the best!
DUBAI IN WINTER TRAVEL TIPS
Before talking about the best things to do in Dubai in the winter, you´ll find some winter travel tips for Dubai – find out about the weather, what to pack and wear in winter, and more tips for your trip!
Weather in Winter Dubai
I have visited Dubai in October, November, December, January, and February….and March… and April. And I have a strong opinion on each winter month in Dubai that I will share with you later.
Personally, I liked the end of November, the end of January, and the beginning of February the most.
During the winter season, Dubai has an average daytime temperature of 25°C (77°F).
At night, temperatures range from 12°C (54°F) to 15°C (59°F), while it is colder in the desert at around 5°C (41°F).
Separating it into months, it looks like this:
October: average max. daytime temperature: 36°C (97°F)
November: average max. daytime temperature: 31°C (88°F)
December: average max. daytime temperature: 26°C (79°F), average rainfall: 15 mm
January: average max. daytime temperature: 24°C (75°F), average rainfall: 10 mm
February: average max. daytime temperature: 25°C (77°F), average rainfall: 35 mm
March: average max. daytime temperature: 28°C (82°F), average rainfall is 27 mm
April: average max. daytime temperature: 32°C (90°F), average rainfall is 8 mm
Let me translate: It can be really hot in October and hottish in November. December is warm, as is January and February. March gets hottish again, and April is hot.
This means that some activities are perfect for December and January, but probably not so good in October/November or March/April.
But you should also be aware that it can be very foggy in Dubai, especially in December and January. It somehow looks amazing, but sometimes the fog is so strong that you cannot see far – this is especially upsetting if you have planned something unique like a trip to Burj Khalifa.
However, it tends to get better during the day, and it does not happen every day. So, for some special activities, plan to do them later in the day if visiting in late December or early January.
I seriously dislike heat, and October and early November are too hot for me – as are March and April. But of course, some love this hot weather because you can do a few activities that you might not enjoy during the colder months.
Which winter months in Dubai are perfect for what activities?
Well, that is what you will find out below. Here are just a few more tips on how to plan your winter trip to Dubai.
What to Pack for a Trip in Winter in Dubai
While it is warm throughout the year, it can be chilly (-ish) on some days at the end of November, throughout all of December and January, and in the beginning of February. It gets especially chilly in the evenings.
So, while sleeveless tops and shorts should be fine for most days of the year, I really recommend having a cardigan or two with you. The sun sets quite early and it gets coldish at that point, so you will most likely not be comfortable with just a top.
As I often get asked, here is the dress code for women: You do not have to cover your face or hair. You can wear short sleeves, shorts, and skirts in most parts of the city. You can wear a bikini at the beach.
However, you should keep in mind that Dubai is, after all, still conservative and you should not wear the tiniest bikini you own. In malls, you are asked to cover your shoulders and wear shorts/skirts that cover your knees. Many visitors do not do this though and it has become common not to do so – however, you are ignoring the dress code in these places and might get kicked out of the mall, etc. (I just heard from locals that it has become more common to make visitors more aware of the dress code).
That is why I recommend having a scarf with you: during the day to cover the shoulders and in the evening to stay warm.
It does rain for a few days in the summer months, but while the rain can be heavy, it normally does not last all day or for more than a few days. So, it might be good to know about a few things to do in Dubai when it rains, but that is not a big issue in general.
Will you need an umbrella or rubber boots in Dubai? Well, I never had them with me, and even during the few hours of rain I experienced, I never really missed them.
Where to Stay in Dubai in the Winter
I have a detailed Dubai accommodation guide with the best areas and the best hotels for each budget. Check it out here to find the perfect hotel for you.
WHAT TO DO IN WINTER IN DUBAI
Okay, here are some of the top things to do and best places to visit in winter in Dubai.
Burj Khalifa is the perfect place to visit at any time of the year – and winter is no exception because, after all, Burj Khalifa holds a couple of records:
The tallest building in the world, highest number of stories in the world, highest outdoor observation deck in the world, and highest occupied floor in the world – amongst others.
It stands at 828 meters high and is one of the main attractions in Dubai – and its unique shape makes it stand out. It hardly matters where in Dubai you are – you can often spot it from afar. But being up there is a different experience.
The views from the top are incredible, but getting up is a bit pricey.
Dubai is an Islamic city (and the United Arab Emirates is an Islamic country), but if you visit Dubai in December and a few days before Christmas, you might be surprised to see all the Christmas decorations in Dubai (and other cities in the UAE).
It might be a bit corny as it looks unnatural, but in the end, the gesture counts. So, if you visit Dubai in December, then this is something you will experience to some extent.
Christmas trees can be seen in most bigger hotels and shopping malls. And if you happen to do a desert safari on Christmas Eve, you might even spot Santa, who brings chocolate – which, btw, was my favorite part and the best Christmas gift I have ever received. 🙂
The best time to visit the beaches in Dubai? Well, it depends on your preferences, but you can actually visit the beach during any of the winter months.
October and November, as well as March and April, are quite hot and often you will not find umbrellas or any shade at the beaches (at least not at the public beaches), but the water is perfect for swimming.
December, January, and even the first few weeks in February might be too cold for some to swim (as it was for me), but there are still people enjoying time in the Persian Gulf.
I am not a big fan of shopping in Dubai (too overwhelming and too expensive), but the malls in Dubai are one of a kind!
My most favorite part is the Fashion Avenue of Dubai Mall – the biggest mall in the world – which is the luxury department with the fanciest toilets.
Some other malls, including Mall of Emirates, are good places to visit and great for an activity on a rainy day in Dubai.
One of the best things to do in the winter is to go on a desert safari – in the summer months, some activities are not offered. And so the good news is: from November until the end of March is the best time for activities in the desert.
Whether you go on a wild dune bashing desert safari, watch a belly dance show, go sandboarding, or sleep in the desert – if you come during these months, you can enjoy an amazing time in the desert.
Dubai Shopping Festival
The Dubai Shopping Festival is the largest shopping and entertainment festival in the Middle East, so if you visit Dubai in January then this is a main place to go.
It is an annual celebration of fireworks, concerts, raffles, prizes, and of course, the best retail experiences. Many people come to Dubai for this experience and so it will be even busier. Timing differs each year, but in 2019/2020, it starts at the end of December and lasts for about one month.
JBR – The Walk
In the winter months, JBR is probably one of the best places to visit in winter in Dubai. The fun area has a public beach that gets busy during the day – and stays busy in the evenings, which makes it a place you can spend all day.
As mentioned, the water is a bit too cold for me in December and January, but that does not stop many others from hopping in.
While the water might be a bit cold, these months are perfect for a nice and relaxed beach day, where you can get a tan without burning (do not forget sunscreen in the winter months) or melting.
In the warmer months (November and March), you have many restaurants and cafes where you can drop in to escape the heat (P.S. what I might consider as heat might be only really warm to you) and there are a few palm trees you can seek some shade under.
I am always up for a nice boat ride – including some speed boat tours. But this activity is perfect for the hot days (which you will have in Dubai in winter, too). You can experience Dubai in a different way, PLUS you can cool off when the boat takes off and you get a nice breeze.
There are some stops at some main tourist attractions, but most of the time, you just experience the thrilling ride.
La Mer is, similarly to JBR, a busy and fun district at the beach and, thus, perfect for spending a whole day.
It is here where you will find most of the graffiti and “street art“ – but there are playgrounds, restaurants and cafes, and the beach for you to spend your days and evenings.
P.S. The beach comes with a view of Burj Khalifa and is a free public beach.
In the summer months, it would be suicidal to do a bike tour during the day – but in the winter months, my tip is to rent a bike at a rental station on the Palm and explore Palm Jumeirah by bike.
Cycling here is easy (plenty of well-paved paths) and fun, and you have beautiful views of the Dubai Skyline while passing hotels like Atlantis – The Palm.
If you visit Dubai in the hot months, you probably will not enjoy strolling the impressive Dubai Marina as you will in the winter.
So, if you visit Dubai in Novermber, December, January, February, March or beginning of April then this is a place to go.
Dubai Marina, with all its cafes, food trucks, and restaurants – and skyscrapers – is the perfect place for some nice walks. Even though there are a lot of skyscrapers, it is also ideal for nice walks (or runs in the evening) as it is very well-paved, and in the colder months, it is very enjoyable to walk, sit down, walk, and then sit down again.
Want to experience Dubai in the most luxurious way possible? A good start would be to wake up in Burj al-Arab, one of the most expensive hotels in the world.
If staying overnight is not in your budget, then you can – and this is not only on a rainy winter day – have dinner, brunch, or afternoon tea at one of the restaurants (as only people with confirmed reservations for the restaurant or overnight guests can visit).
Many theme parks are closed in the summer but open in the winter – you have the option to choose from a variety of parks. They are family-friendly and some have fun rides.
Again, I do not necessarily recommend visiting in October or November or March or April, as I personally don’t enjoy walking in the heat and especially not riding carousels in the heat, but anytime between late December and the beginning of March should be fine.
One of the best things to do in Dubai in winter (not in the rain though) is to see Dubai from above.
A helicopter flight is a perfect way to see what the city has to offer. There are different tour operators and went on a helicopter flight with these here.
Strolling Al Bastakiya in the winter months is fun (especially in December and January). It is one of the oldest district, located at Dubai Creek, and quite charming with its narrow streets and surely worth a visit.
However, I would only do it when it is not incredibly hot, as it is sticky and there is not much shade here.
Here you see a different side of Dubai, and though it is actually modern, it is also quite old (you´ll see what I mean if you get there, so surely put this on your Dubai winter itinerary).
Gold and Spice Souk
If you are in Dubai in the winter, make sure to visit the Gold and Spice Souk in the old part of Dubai.
Many say that this area is very intense – the shop owners, that is. However, if the weather is nice (aka not hot) strolling the souks is a must. Even if you don’t plan to buy spices – or gold -en masse, this is a fun activity.
A fun “Dubai winter activity“ is to go on a boat cruise. There are many different types and tours, but without the extreme heat, you can sit on the roof of the boat and enjoy the skyline of Dubai – whether in the old town, in the marina, or in other parts of Dubai.
Since these boats are not as fast as the speedboats, they do not cool you down as much, but it is a relaxing thing to do in the winter.
One of the things that you can do only in the winter in Dubai is visiting the Miracle Garden. So, whether you visit Dubai in November or later in the winter, head o Miracle Garden.
It is the world’s largest natural flower garden, featuring over 50 million flowers and 250 million plants.
It normally opens in November and is only open in the colder winter months. This means that everyone is flocking here in the winter months and it gets crowded, but seeing this garden is a must when it opens.
Water Fountain Show
A free thing to do in Dubai in winter is to watch the water fountain show.
It is located at Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa and does not cost any entry fee. The show takes place several times a day and is short, but do not miss out on it as you will have water dancing to all kinds of music.
From Dubai, you can do an easy day trip to Abu Dhabi. The weather is quite similar to the weather in Dubai in the winter, but it is a great getaway as Abu Dhabi is much quieter and totally different than Dubai.
You have more beautiful beaches, less crowds, the Grand Zayed Mosque (the most beautiful building in the world), and there are quite a few more reasons to visit Abu Dhabi for a day from Dubai in the winter.
New Year´s Eve
If you happen to be in Dubai in December (to be exact on the 31. of December), then you might want to attend the New Year´s Eve celebrations in Dubai – and there is a lot going on.
So, it will be busy as heck and accommodation prices will be high, but you will have a unique NYE celebration.
Dubai surely is not a city for everyone and yet it has a lot to offer for a lot of people. Visiting Dubai in winter is the best season to go and these were my tips on how to spend your winter in Dubai with some of the best things to do. For more tips, head to my post on the top things to do.